2 Poems By Trevor Moffa

Disclaimer: When viewing these poems on a mobile device, we recommend turning your phone to the side for the best viewing experience.

Dissolving with the heavy edge of light

There is a      weight      to all tonight, a haze,

The air is thick, the moon is full, the lights,

The lights each fade to nonlight          irregular,

Late August blurred and settling on the world.

No leaves too      heavy      with dampness downtown,

But wetted brick equally oppresses,

No rain but water beads on roofs and hoods,

And I can hear it in the distance       falling.

How water wades from pores to air      return,

I watch it obscure my world in          rising

Protest of its earthly boundary     changing

State en mass      diffusing      in the after-

Rain around a moment, around present,

Dissolving      with the heavy edge of light.

Forgive me my lingering

The bed is too big and smells of us

And I feel the fitted sheet creased and patterning

My body beneath me

      my body like wax

Spoon heated and poured to seal what memories

I’ve folded into this morning without you

Wrapped in what presses an incantation

In dream-rolled dunes too gentle to notice

Upon my restlessness

      my body like fleeing

Glacier over kame and kettle of cotton

Focused telescope imaging ghosts

Of stars that might be like ours

Worth missing

Trevor Moffa is a poet and former coal miner, park ranger, bookseller, and button pusher from Pittsburgh, PA. His poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Stoneboat, Sampsonia Way Magazine, and Nimrod International Journal.


3 Poems By Michael Conner


Having regrettably killed a spider

silently stalking the bedroom dresser,

I began to wonder why I did not

simply let her be, or calmly catch her;

rehome her in a tree. What is it that lurks

in me, defaulting insistently to

violence? — How do I gently set it free?


This little strawberry plant on the stoop

has been through it; tripped on, toppled, dumped out.

Face down clump of dirt beside the front door,

each time repotted once more, another

chance to defy the odds, growing despite

roots exposed to the elements, soil

soaked in dog piss. Pick it up and move it.

Starting all over again from nothing

is a particularly potent form

of progress — the coming Spring will prove it.


I take no interest in work that disturbs

a sleeping infant.

For there is no work more worthwhile

than maintaining a place of peace

for a mind that cannot comprehend it.

Furthermore that which cannot be done

by choice among the crisp whims of quiet solitude

is not work at all—

it is mark-stepping time; toil

for the vampire class.

            I know it well — the way it drains.

And so I will my hands

into knotted clubs of oak, keeping

time in generational circles of grain —

            building tables,

            foraging mushrooms,

            shoveling snow,

in service not of keeping some ghastly hand at bay

but so the work may be finished when the child awakes.

Michael Conner is an English Literature and New Testament scholar specifically interested in exploring society’s relationship with nature & the climate crisis. His nonfiction work has appeared in Tenderly Magazine. He resides in South Florida with his wife and daughter.


Should I Ever Pass This Way Again

Disclaimer: When viewing these poems on a mobile device, we recommend turning your phone to the side for the best viewing experience.

Should I Ever Pass This Way Again

By William T. Blackburn

Under shade of seckel pear tree, juices on my lips

Sun slipping between leaves, breeze disheveled

As songbird wings, flapping, slapping metronome

Green sheaves unfurled in springtime, scrollwork

A record of this season writ

In summer’s youth

Meadow cat peacock strutting, saunters slyly by

To the deep fields, amid folds of earth hunting

Little mousey morsels upon grain seed fed plump

This microcosm of the universe unfolding cycle

The way all things wander

Among summer’s stars

Stage right: graveyard headstones in dark granite

By decades, sun faded, wind and rain exfoliated

Grandad’s gift: shorter walks each Sunday service

Along the border in restive sleep his final home

Visitations every weekend

At summer’s dusk

With uncles, carried there a casket heavy laden

Inter in that sacred soil Grandma’s tiny frame

Mark down another name for those who remember

Bringing flowers as each year rolls slowly by

In my mind alone now

With summer’s passage

Our old farm, left to suburb subdivision lanes

The honeysuckle and sassafras stripped away

A creeping sadness overshadows: memory born

I cannot walk among orchard trees cut down

Laid to rest on hearths

After summer’s gone

My time slipping steady now, years strolling by

Busied surely daily diatribes and pantomimes

In my suburbia trapped as rat in cage on bookshelf

Admired and derided in equal measures panned

Join that happy host

When summer’s passed

Seasons seem to meld year after year progression

Succession in demi-regular heartbeats sounding

This round-trip visitation: a meeting with oneself

For in my own time, my own mind, a universe found

Alone within this grace

As summer’s depth

William T. Blackburn struggles still to find his car keys. He holds a degree in English: Writing/Teaching and Music Composition. His work appears in numerous digital and print publications. He contributed to Adirondack Center for Writing: PoemVillage 2019-21 & Response II. He is an Ageless Authors judge 2020 and Pushcart Prize nominee.


In Abject Defiance of Gravity

In Abject Defiance of Gravity

By Keith Hellard

With her back to the upstairs windows he couldn’t see what she was doing. Even if he went room-to-room, and window-to-window, he still couldn’t tell. He was too high up, and at too steep an angle, to make out the scrap of newspaper in her palm. He’d never understand, she thought, as she surveyed the front yard, the overgrown hedgerow, and the rusted remnants of the wrought-iron fence near the highway. He’d think it, and her, stupid.

For all he knew she was freeing the lawnmower’s discharge of a clump of compacted grass. Maybe she was checking the air filter, or adjusting the carburetor. Those more learned in the ways of machines spoke of those things often. Engines, like people, became persnickety as they aged, and oftentimes downright fickle. They required more attention, more TLC as it were. He couldn’t argue with that, although he undoubtedly would.

Already she felt his disapproval. He was there alright, steely-eyed and stone-faced like the gargoyles in the masonry that held together by sheer obstinacy, the cracked brick and crumbling mortar, shattered slate shingles, and rotting eves in abject defiance of gravity.

No, she reconsidered with a smirk. He was more akin to the crimson-crowned vulture of late seen atop the southern-most gable, mere feet from where he dreamed his vile, angry dreams and glared down upon her now. He could’ve been a vulture in a past life. That seemed apt.

Maybe in her next go around the tables would turn and she’d be the vulture: her penance for insulting the grim, yet noble, work of vultures everywhere. Was that how reincarnation worked? Right now she’d settle for returning as the owner of a lawn tractor. It wouldn’t even need to be a nice one.

Against her sleeve she mopped her dripping forehead and imagined the floodtide of insults collecting on his tongue. “Lay-about,” he’d scold as he wrinkled his crooked nose. “Wastrel.” And though none of his taunts would cut her deeply, if at all, their blunt ends would jab at her relentlessly until she retreated, bruised and somewhat battered, but still living. 

Her attention returned to the scrap of newspaper, and an ad for a theater listing movies of which she’d never heard. Beneath the ad was the photo of an elegant Asian lady with extravagant eyelashes holding between two gloved fingers a long, old-style cigarette holder. Its caption might as well have been written in runes.

From where had the scrap come, she wondered as she recalled the fearsome winds from last night’s thunderstorm. How long was it aloft?

The longer she stared at the ad and the photo, the more she became convinced he was on the front porch behind her. She could almost hear his fragile, uneasy footsteps hissing against the sagging floor slats. The odor of stale sweat, menthols, and off-brand bourbon overwhelmed everything. Not even the freshly-mown grass, the gasoline fumes, or her own perspiration could repulse it. Still, she dared not turn around and acknowledge him, or her own indolence. 

Three half-hearted pulls of the starter later the lawnmower’s engine belched and sputtered back to life. The overgrown hedgerow and the remnants of the rusted wrought-iron fence near the highway seemed further away than ever. Both she eyed suspiciously as she resumed cutting the crisscrossing stripes he favored, and demanded.

Could he do that, she asked as she fought with all her might the urge to glance at the porch and the upstairs windows. So consuming was this notion she roundly ignored the scrap of newspaper abandoned in the grass beside the steps, never mind the million pieces of it scattered in her wake.

Keith Hellard lives and writes in Frankfort, KY. He graduated from Kentucky State University with a degree in English and attended graduate school at Eastern Kentucky University. An internationally published author, his work has appeared in Trajectory Journal, From Pen to Page, and Griffel.


The Stranger

The Stranger

By Bailey Cole

“I know it sounds insane.”

“I mean, sure, you’ve seen the girl before. We don’t live in a huge city, so it’s not surprising. But that’s all it is.”

“I don’t know. I feel like I know her.”

“Then just say hi one day.”

It would, under normal circumstances, be easy to ‘just say hi,’ but for some reason, for years, Chloe had refused to say anything to this girl. Rebecca was right, Columbus isn’t a huge city, but seeing the same girl in random places over years? That was strange.

Chloe couldn’t remember when it started, but she had seen the girl a month ago, and then a few days prior to talking to Rebecca about it. She had definitely seen her around, at the Polaris mall in the game store, at the zoo, at random parks, at a Kodaline concert at the A&R bar. It wasn’t necessarily strange, of course, those were places that people who lived in Columbus went, but it was strange that she stuck out. How many other people had Chloe passed over the years and never remembered? What was so special about this woman that she remembered her, and kept an eye out for her everywhere she went?

She seemed like a normal woman, young, maybe mid-twenties. She had dark skin like Rebecca and her hairstyle was different about every time she saw her, but she was definitely the same person. Over the years, they started to nod at each other, or smile like one does at a stranger. Then, the last time she saw her, leaving Schmidt’s restaurant as Chloe was going in, she waved.

Chloe wasn’t necessarily shy, she talked to strangers, asked people in the grocery store their opinion of certain foods, and made small talk on the bus. But for some reason, she couldn’t even say hi to this woman. All attempts to find out who she was by other means turned up useless. It seemed easy to walk up and say, ‘Hi, I’m Chloe, I’ve seen you around a lot, isn’t that strange?’ but it never happened. Chloe even practiced it at home, but to no avail. It’s like she froze up when she saw the woman.

Chloe didn’t see her for a few months, which was normal. She put her guard down and stopped checking every face at every place she went into. Life moved on as it always did.

Now in the fall, Rebecca and Chloe went to New York to see the trees changing color. They were a little late and a lot of the trees had already started to drop their leaves. They stopped at some little restaurant in Poughkeepsie and were eating a dessert when someone walked through the door. There was a bell that rang out; it had happened a handful of times since they were in the place, but this time, for some reason, Chloe turned and looked at the door.

The woman was there. The same woman from Columbus was states over, in a small town, eating at the same random restaurant.

“Oh my god,” Chloe said. The woman looked over as she was just scanning the restaurant, saw Chloe, and smiled the goofiest smile Chloe had ever seen. Chloe did the best she could to wave, which was a bad attempt; she slammed her hand on the table in the process, but ignored the pain to save face. The woman smiled back, then turned towards the other side of the restaurant and started to order food.

“Maybe you guys are connected,” Rebecca said, leaning forward to keep and eye on this woman.

“I told you. It’s like I know her. Like I knew her. I don’t know,” she said. She turned back around to face Rebecca.

“Maybe we were, like, sisters in a past life. Spouses, neighbors,” she said. Rebecca, eyes still on the woman, shrugged.

“You believe in that stuff?”

“I do now. What else would explain it? Why would she be here?” she asked and Rebecca shrugged again.

“I don’t know. It’s really weird,” she said, finally looking away and back to Chloe.

“Or maybe she will be important in my life. Maybe we’re connected in this lifetime,” she said.

“So it’s fate you guys keep running into each other,” Rebecca said. Chloe poked at her slice of yellow cake and bopped her head around, avoiding answering definitively.

“Go say hi.”

“What? No. I’m too nervous,” she said and Rebecca rolled her eyes. Chloe added, “Next time. Next time, I’ll say hi.”

Once back in Columbus, Chloe looked at every single person she walked past. Every woman on the sidewalk as she drove by, sitting in nearby restaurant booths, going into the movie theater she was in, but she never showed. She had vowed to finally say hi, and she never saw the woman again. She wondered if that was all it was meant to be, to let her know that the universe had some control, that she wasn’t completely alone, her and everyone else just wandering aimlessly. There was some sort of connection, something laid out.

Bailey Cole is currently working at a museum in Ohio and writes when she has the time. She’s inspired by the little things around her work and the real life stories she reads online.