Mark Hiskes 09-30-2016
Indypendenz / Shutterstock

Indypendenz / Shutterstock 

Here, nobody stands
for the national anthem.
There’s no debate about
universal healthcare,
no talk of bigger border
walls or who will pay.
Here no one snapchats,
sends selfies or sexts. Google
steals no one’s idle hours.
No political parties here,
no signs to say white
lives matter too: everyone
gets it here. There’s no
NRA, no second amendment,
no bumper-sticker zealots
declaring “if you can read
this you’re in range.”
here at the Pilgrim Home,
just across from the summer
play of a city pool, it’s all
cut-granite reverence
for beloved son, daughter,
dearest husband, moeder,
madre. On this level
expanse no fences
separate black and white,
they enclose. In this green
space the Mexican lies down
with the Dutch, and under
fresh rectangles the refugee
rests with the rich.
old, sleepy spruces cast
long layers of shadow
among the graves. Lilies
and orchids and roses revere
each silent name and date
and the brief dash between—
briefer than an evening walk,
than a child’s splash.

Betsy Sholl 07-29-2016
Andreas Gradin / Shutterstock

Andreas Gradin / Shutterstock


Richard Schiffman 06-30-2016
Lightspring / Shutterstock

Lightspring / Shutterstock


Gary W. Hawk 06-06-2016
gashgeron / Shutterstock

gashgeron / Shutterstock


D.S. Martin 03-23-2016
My Images - Micha / Shutterstock

My Images - Micha / Shutterstock


Muriel Nelson 03-02-2016
courtesy of Jill Krementz

courtesy of Jill Krementz


Tobin Marsh 01-29-2016
S-BELOV / Shutterstock

S-BELOV / Shutterstock


Julia Alvarez 01-04-2016
Laborant / Shutterstock

Laborant / Shutterstock

They steal more than our cash who steal our money, dropped bills
slipped in a finder’s pocket, a wallet emptied of its fill;
they steal a kinder world where we look out for each other,
call to know: How did your date, or, surgery go?

Kemmer Anderson 12-07-2015
Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Ryan Rodrick Beiler 



Linda Pastan 09-23-2015
Maniola / Shutterstock

Maniola / Shutterstock 

what do you call
a skeleton
unburied, performing

a slow dance
in the wind,
limbs akimbo?

Geri Doran 08-10-2015

Lay me down, oh lay me down bankside—
scratched by the blue wildrye, I hear the freshet-rush
of the river drunk on winter’s waters, what lie
it makes of a hushed name.


SARIN KUNTHONG / Shutterstock

One by one the stars come up over the Mekong,
and the Buddhist novices,
finished with the evening prayers,
rush out to the water in their orange robes,
and stand with their hands over their eyes,
as if the light were too much for them.

Their master tells them,
Boys, if you want to dream to the stars
you must ask the universe as you go to sleep.

Aaron Brown 06-08-2015
Micael Nussbaumer/Shutterstock

There’s a photo he carries for long journeys
like this one, for trips on loaded market lorries
where the passengers take their seat, perching
on top of cargo, or sitting on crude benches
inside the buses coming from Sudan with names
like “Best of Luck” or “Mr. Good Looking.”

Richard Schiffman 05-06-2015

The Greeks know how tightly coiled
are circumstances with many windings
before tragedy’s spring snaps.
The horse bolts flame-like from the gate;
we do not see its years of training.

So too, the thunderhead today slow bloating
and thickening with muffled rumblings.
The steeds were restless, but the reins
held tight, until a crack of the whip
unleashed the pummeling flood.


Lisa Dordal 04-01-2015

You hear a voice speaking
about a bird dragging its dark universe
of feathers across your yard,
and you realize it must be you

telling the boy how you carried its body
beyond the ambit of your dogs.
One eye, round as a coin,
fixing fear upon you, the other,

half shut. How the bird hauled
its body back into your yard,
dying with a will you could only
admire. Am I the bird?, the boy asks.

Gene Grabiner 03-09-2015

Mother, mother / There’s too many of you crying / Brother, brother, brother / There’s far too many of you dying            —Marvin Gaye

then they stomped
          John Willet
as he lay on the sidewalk
hands cuffed behind his back
and shot
                      Michael Brown

who was on his way this fall to college

Donna Pucciani 02-05-2015








The tale of nails and wood
is retold on the BBC from Winchester,
with hymns about a balm in Gilead,
a wondrous cross, and the choirboys’ echo
of the Fauré Requiem. Cardinal Newman
sends blessings from the grave,
and the organ grumbles “Amen.”

The wailing and the murmured prayers,
the animal ruckus, and coin against coin,
smoke hanging in the temple spaces—
offerings that bear our love to the seat of heaven.

For sixty years my soul has leaned
so hard toward the Almighty, I’m open
like a flower drenched with light
that blossoms into words.

Yet I wonder, will I rest too soon
will I sleep like Miriam
with no honey from the Promised Land
to sweeten this old life?