Three poems by Bruce Niedt

Another Sunrise

And if it’s so, we’d only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of time….
– Elbow, “My Sad Captains”

I can imagine my ancestors in a pub
on the foggy north end of the heath
banging pewter cups on oaken tables
as the governor barked last orders

while in the harbor, moorings came loose and frayed
and some of the boats would drift into the river
trying to remember where they had been.

I want to bang my cup for another lager.
I want to float downstream, past castles and canals.
I want to miss the train but catch the next one.
I never want any of this to end.

I want the last sunrise to also be the first.
I want to toast myself when I wander off
and leave only my words to echo me.



I dreamt the guns were melted down
for bridges, cars and monuments
to victims in our bloody town.
I dreamt the guns were melted. Down
the chute they went. “We will not drown
in grief or hate.” This covenant
I dreamt. The guns were melted down
for bridges, cars and monuments.



I dreamt I gave you flowers
but I didn’t know how to pronounce

those little cousins of petunias
a million trailing bells, a riot of

variegated in violet, yellow,
blue, pink and white and

a carnival in a hanging pot
and I bought enough to fill your

and I bought enough to fill your bedroom
and your front and back

and you had so many we decided
to share them all over

and we hung them from lampposts and trees
and a tall man standing on the

and we waltzed down the middle
of the street to the song of

and we said the word over and


until we got it

until it became

until it became

and when I woke I went
straight to the garden shop

bought the biggest, most vibrant
basket of calibrachoa I could

and the man at the counter smiled
at me because when I said it

it sounded like


Bruce W. Niedt is a retired civil servant whose poetry has appeared in many publications, including Rattle, Writer’s Digest, Tiferet, Spitball, Mason Street Review,US 1 Worksheets, Your Daily Poem, and many previous appearances in Chantarelle’s Notebook. His most recent books are his first full-length collection, The Bungalow of Colorful Aging (Kelsay Books), and his eighth chapbook, Knit Our Broken Bones (Maverick Duck Press). He lives with his incredibly patient wife in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Two poems by Russell Rowland

The Window-Box

By the time you realized how crushing you can be,
the flowers in the window-box had turned
from peeking in the window. They’d all realized

that she who planted them reaps elsewhere now,
no longer available to them. Nothing to see
in there any more, the flowers concur in whispers.

Their pretty bonneted heads started to droop
the day she didn’t return. Were they sad
it was she who left the house, instead of you?

Will you be tending them? You are all thumbs,
none green. She left behind a little
watering-can, but no directions for its use.

Awake at 3 A.M.

I was kicking off sheets in a sweat
from schizoid dreams, as you swallowed Advil
seventeen miles to the south.

Down there in Tilton, a police car patrolled
Route 3 on your behalf: late shift;

here my newspaper carrier was stopping
at driveways, convenience stores: high beams.

Necessary exemptions from slumber;
and more, a covert world for those who make do
without the collusion of daylight—

red fox, barred owl; hooded souls
who creep up to lighted windows, or crawl
beneath cars and flee with catalytic converters.

Above, lonesome communication satellites
crossed the zodiac, no one to talk to
about the isolation up there, about the cold.

You and I returned incrementally to sleep.
Outside our bedroom walls, eyes glowed.

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall (Encircle Publications), and Covid Spring, Vol. 2 (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, Magnificat, is available from Encircle Publications.

Two poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Non Minoris Aestimo me

As I apply my mascara, I tell you—
I have always been the oracle.
I don’t need to hold your palm,
read your love lines. I am more
than a fortune teller on the side
of sagebrushed highway.

I know how you rage in your dreams—
destroy brick walls, cut your knuckles
so deep you taste metal from the spray.

You are safe here in the valley.
You have found the lotusland,
feast on sweet honeysuckle—
there is still an oasis in this desert.


Dreams in the Wasteland

Roadside diner in the desert,
serving up everything, but salvation.
It’s easy to end up plastered in the torn
leather booths, writing hymns on napkins—
drinking the newest version of Jim Jones Kool-Aid.
Everyone is a prophet these days,
when the apocalypse is a promise ring.
Here is the plot-twist: you’re already in purgatory.

The local beauty queen knows leaving is important—
knows you can’t keep returning to the same place
expecting a different story, especially when casting
the same characters. She’ll ditch her sash and crown,
expertly apply a fresh coat of magenta lipstick
as she kisses the what ifs of yesterday goodbye
in the rearview mirror. Everyone expects her
to become the prodigal daughter, but she’ll never
return to small town-fishbowl life, it’s not for your
viewing pleasure; she’s not an Instagram reality star.

She will send postcards from paradise,
no return address, let them think she’s living
in hell where the palm trees are burning. She’s curled
up on her crushed red velvet couch, with her faux fur
blanket, popcorn, and 3D glasses. She’s the nostalgia dream,
making it another Blockbuster night—away from neighbors
with a thousand eyes. Maybe one day she will fade into oblivion.


Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, ArLiJo, Pink Plastic House, Sledgehammer Lit, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine. Her second chapbook, “When Goddesses Wake,” was released in December, 2021 from Maverick Duck Press. Her first full-length collection, “Allison,” was recently published by Querencia Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris. To check out more of her work go to

Two poems by Kerry Trautman


She stumbles to the cornfield due for plowing under, crackling brown under sandaled feet with chilled toes, under woolish night with mothhole stars, her body raw beside dry stalks, why, she thinks, why does every surface her skin touches—every fingertip reaching for her armskin in the dark of a velvet movie theater or palm on her lower back in a crowded club—spark and rub her raw. Thinking how sad the corn’s been grown and given-up and still there’s some left that got missed, she figures this must be how the pebbles in a stream feel.



You look like you don’t have a mother, mine would say, frowning at my rumpled plaid school uniform skirt, my wrinkled white-ish blouse. And I understood it to mean I should shake them out good before dressing, should hang them on my closet doorknob or bedpost after school, should keep them as near to ironed-looking as I could, though the pleats could never crisp themselves, would instead widen with crosshatch yawns like a bored bedspread. She would sigh at me then drag her tote-bag to the public school, leaving me to take the Catholic bus. I would wear the skirt as many days as possible, until I spilled chocolate milk at lunch, or slid down the slide too fast into its mud-patch terminus, then I tossed it sheepishly into the laundry pile, used skirt number two. Until I taught myself the machine, learned laundry like a mother, knowing it was supposed to be enough that I had been given the plaid at all.



Kerry Trautman was born and raised in Ohio. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various anthologies and journals, including Slippery Elm, Free State Review, The Fourth River, Thimble, Midwestern Gothic, and Gasconade Review. Her poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020,) and Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas (Gutter Snob Books 2022.)

Ballet Bun by Jeremy Szuder

Ballet Bun

You, my daughter, face the horizon
of these California mountain sides,
sitting in a wooden chair
and brushing your hair to the South.

First you fan it out from the center,
the tips reach to touch all of the beaches,
and then you gather it sternly and
twist it taut into the perfect bun.

Today you will dance while the gulls
fly over sandcastles whose moats
melt away with every
crash of stone cold saltwater wave.

Today you will laugh as the foam lips of ocean
lap back, and forth and back again.
The coastal seasides have got their work
cut out for them as they continue
bidding nature’s call,

and being beautiful simply because
it is what the miles of beaches
do best in our observant eyes.
But only after shadowed under you,

my child, who spins and washes
nimble legs across shiny floorboards.
It all lies sacrificially under you,

waving graceful arms and
pooling in quick circles,
gliding that ballerina glide.
They were the dances that had been

best left to the salty winds of Earth
and the tides from gravity’s most
difficult school for students.

Jeremy Szuder (he/him) lives in a tiny apartment with his wife, two children and two cats. He works in the evenings in a very busy restaurant, standing behind a stove, a grill, fryers and heating lamps, happily listening to hours of hand selected music and conjuring ideas for new art and poetry in his head. When his working day ends and he enters his home in the wee hours, he likes to sit down with a glass of wine and record all the various words and images that bear fruit within his mind. Jeremy Szuder only sets the cage doors free when the work begins to pile up too high. In this life, Szuder makes no illusions of being a professional artist in any way, shape, or form.