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issue 6 cover image

cover image - winter 3 by leo kolnberger

Rt. 2 Haiku

(honorary submission from Will Miller, a teacher at the Academy at Charlemont)

Wild geese downriver

As trucks barrel down Rt. 2

Honk honk... honk honk honk!

rt 2 haiku - will miller

first frosty morning - paloma hsiao-shelton 

photographic lamentations in magenta - lyla storey-wein

from the receiving end of your radio - chanina kosovske

spicy cheeto poem - garland salloom

untitled - beck gritzner and arlo dube-hooker

magpie and magpie, reprise - anonymous

squiggle horseshoe crab - cosmina "coco" gamsey-boudier 

lunar eclipse - fallon paxton 

hagebutten 2 - leo kolnberger

水墨画 - jonathan schmidt

sirkus - adella catanzaro

free bird - jonah pollock

a blink of nature - leo kolnberger

winner - anonymous

valtatie taivaaseen - johanna määttänen

coming home - monique hadley

sugarplum fairy - lyla storey-wein

you were always into god - emma dornburgh

untitled - graham mcquade-sharleville

candle-wax vendetta - rachel friedman

magic for royalty: chapter 1 - jack palmer

squiggle horse -  cosmina "coco" gamsey-boudier 

first frosty morning 

 paloma hsiao-shelton

Cows grazing on the sheer hillside 

On the edge of the shadows

In the sun

Standing in the grey zone

Where the grass is neither 

Bright chartreuse nor

Robins egg blue

Where the light has not melted

The ice crystals from each blade 

But the suns rays have touched

from the receiving end of your radio

chanina kosovske

I was crushed.

I think I always knew, in the back

of my mind, in that 

little part of my brain that whispers

You’re not good enough

I try to push it away back

behind a wall of self doubting

Self loathing.


But hearing it aloud Hits different, Hits 

like a bullet, Hits 

like a Hot metal sheet of an Iron rod, Hits 

like a stabbing pain, 

over and over again, every time

I think back to that moment, and wonder 

what could have been.

photographic lamentations in magenta 

lyla storey-wein

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spicy cheeto poem

garland salloom

Your spice a disappointment, your name a lie, me, for I am just like you. Your crunch unbearable

Your cheese a small flavor. But alas I cannot stop you are an addiction that I cannot break, your cheese on my fingers your texture on my tongue for it is never ending.


beck gritzner and arlo dube-hooker

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squiggle horseshoe crab

cosmina "coco" gamsey-boudier

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magpie and magpie, reprise




Patience is the hours

put to scheming, planning

each move, each rumor

on maps stained with time.


Pride is the approval of the masses

while a blood-stained crown

adorns the new king’s head.


Confusion is freezing

in a blizzard, when the gods

don’t want the people’s hero dead.

“Heroes” are invincible.


Satisfaction is snow

covering the body

of a man who thought 

he could take on the world.


Magpie, Reprise

And the birds sing.


They cackle and sway

over the cities of ash 

the sunken, scorched boats,

the blood-stained streets,

the unmarked graves,

the fatherless children.


And the bones.

They sing over the bones.


The cold, frostbitten skeleton

whose owner faded from memory

and succumbed to the elements.

No one would think that it belonged

to someone who thought himself

a king,

a hero,

a savior.


Maybe one day, years in the future,

someone will find the lichen-covered

skull, overgrown and anonymous.

But today the world forgets that man,


and the birds sing, satisfied,

over a lump of snow

that covers the bones of a man

who thought he could take on the world.

lunar eclipse

fallon paxton

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hagebutten 2

leo kolnberger

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jonathan schmidt

curate a list of favorite words-

sordid, effervescent, 心爱,aces

curate a list of beautiful things-

thin lines of ash and scars

ink paintings of simulated landscapes


in approaching realism we abandon what we see


photograph eyes, the fingertips almost Caravaggio


the canvas tears when i push


a desert rose isn’t a rose at all

a desert rose can kill you

a desert rose is my favorite flower


running hands across the scrollwork engravings


the moon breaks into five colors in my recollection




the doors of

elegant coral castles


elaborating, et cetera and so on

going through the motions


calligraphy, apropos of nothing

ink wash from someone else’s hands


carefully constructed walls of someone else’s art

my own personal labyrinth




dancing down the ice-crusted switchbacks

say what i mean, deceitfully

i wake up for the third time this morning

remember what it is that you hold in your empty hands

meandering across the side of a tombstone

pleading to the sky




adella catanzaro

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free bird

jonah pollock

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a blink of nature

leo kolnberger



i watched you drink up the pain of others,

lavish in their compelling ways.

you got drunk off of their tears,

you were high off of their fear,

you were a master at your game.

and somehow even though you cheated

because the games, you created

you still were ecstatic with your victories.


i want to peel back the flesh of time.

ripping off the layers of muscle,

until the marrow of bones are left crumbling.

dig your fingernails into my skin,

make it tear and blister.

scribbling the dust i see behind your eyes,

is my catharsis.

nothing is beautiful to me anymore.

nothing except for the elusive images perfectly on display,

the way things used to be.

it is my heart worm.

and trying to fuel the parasite,

is thankless.



feeling like a bumper sticker

a ticket meant to be teared

only enjoyed for a short amount of time

then disposed of

a box of chocolates

a bouquet of tiger lilies

an insect with the lifespan of a day

uprooted grass

a cup of tea

a love letter

a birthday

a sentence

a word

a letter


sugarplum fairy 

lyla storey-wein

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valtatie taivaaseen

johanna määttänen

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coming home 

monique hadley


so quiet it pierced the stillness 

the car slowly floating 

onward to its destination 

looking out expecting the trees 

the greenery and wildlife 

the houses and streets that i knew like the back of my hand. 

at this time of year everyone would be preparing --

preparing for halloween and long held traditions. 

my smile slowly fades

as i take in the charred black stumps of trees

the lonesome house next to piles and piles of 

black rubble 

brick red sticking out 

grey and sadness in the air 

thick, heavy 

smokey and harsh on the lungs

my childhood reduced to ashes 

seared timber, rock 

lifeless trees and bushes. 

i had dreamed of the moment i could finally see 

my childhood, my cherished and beloved hometown 

sitting just the way it had when i left. 

now i see families begging for homes 

tired mothers with no place to lay their child at night 

lost and confused

the tears of mothers and fathers knowing their home is gone 


stolen unrightfully from them 

disoriented and scared. 

as the car moves it repeats block after block 

street after street 

a track stuck on a scratch. 

slowly, silence was filled with laughter and joy

families and friends came together 

my church family helping everyone in need 

giving food and prayers to the hopeless 

rebuilding and returning small pieces of home 

everyone smiled, tears of joy streamed down faces 

as we prepared our own new version 

of halloween. 

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you were always into god

emma dornburgh

i have never been religious

but you were

so i’m sitting here, clutching a cross

hoping that maybe

if i hold it you’ll answer me


you don’t.


i saw you in my dream again last night

and you were reading a magazine

you looked the way you had

right before things got bad


that week we scratched lottery tickets,

and you were skeletal

but i ignored it 

it was my last birthday.


i have never been religious

but if believing in a higher power means

that you’re watching

then i’ll worship on my knees

until they ache

and my fingers are locked around each other.

but i don’t understand why a god that “loved us all”

would ever do that to you

maybe you just always did things your way.


i miss you a lot these days

and it’s not helping

that everytime you visit

you stare

all you do is stare and last night

was the first time you had spoken to me

but you didn’t even say you miss me

it’s gutting because all i do is miss you

and you just want me to leave in my conditioner longer

after 2 months.

today is the 2 month anniversary

and i’m wearing the ring you gave me

that only fits my pinky

that carries more belief than the bible 

that weighed a million pounds in the hall by your room


i remember sleeping in that room

after your husband died i felt watched in that room

i don’t think he ever left you


i remember sleeping in the pink room

waking up to the smell of eggs and bacon

to go and watch the thanksgiving parade in the living room


i remember sleeping in the blue room

drinking chocolate milk after you went to bed

and forgetting about how scared i was to start school 

because i would be all alone.


i remember the way you clung to chairs that last year

you couldn’t hold yourself up much

i could see all your veins

i hate the way that year 

overshadows all the time before


all i want to remember is the before.


i’m calling you from the ground

bare feet in the cold dirt

hoping you’ll answer me

just once


i’ve never been religious

but you always wanted to take me to church

you told me

and i was eating ice cream in the backseat


why do you keep staring at me

i’m always the only one who sees you

but you never say anything

i have never felt guiltier for not calling

but if i had called that morning

i wouldn’t have heard your voice

if i called that morning

you wouldn’t have heard mine

because i can barely hear myself now

and you’ve been gone 2 months


i’ve never been religious 

but if believing in god 

would bring you back,

i’d get on my knees in a church 

and taste the being of christ

and pray until my throat was hoarse

if it meant i’d wake up to see you alive


i don’t know if there’s anything worse

than knowing you’re completely gone

and it’s eating me alive.


and i hated your funeral

because all i did was cry

and people kept hugging me

when the only thing i possibly wanted was to not be staring at a picture of you 

and that box with stained glass


i want to go back

back to baking cakes in your kitchen

back to shopping for quinn’s birthday

back to playing mario kart while you watched Days Of Our Lives, season 1,000 or whatever

back to awkward calls ending in promises of time together

back to saving you a seat so you could watch my play

back to playing surgeon games on my kindle on your couch that first summer

back to being caught taking a big spoon of cookie dough from the fridge

back to basement renovations

back to bikes down the driveway

back to walks to the post office

back to whatever i wanted for christmas because i think i was your favorite even now

back to stewart’s coffee

back to when you could breathe on your own

back to when i didn’t have to go to sleep to see your face.


graham mcquade-sharleville

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candle-wax vendetta

rachel friedman

while the blood rushes down your cheeks

red from the snow

a cold, hard winter’s 

Pride and joy

the cracked window pane glints golden across 

dark-stained floorboards

portraits engraved on their surfaces from 

Footsteps of ghosts and those alive

who are solely ghosts to



moonbeams, fainter as the clouds

drown out your savior

whisper the tragedy of that room and that autobiography

that is Written in those bloody

tears of anguish

on the old newspaper clippings that spare

the loneliness of being alone


but the flames dance your truth and

vainly seek out their reflections

in the pained pools of your eyes

Frost creeping delicately over the threshold

forced back by the beautiful wrath of your friends

Who are not really friends

but merely enamored with the way 

sorrow seeps out of you

spilling down your face and leaving 

a blush so breathtaking

No one would ever know

it was born of death

but their grace entrances your eyes and you begin to dance


Partners: the burned and the burning

the ground creaking underneath bare feet

Grimaces of the ghastly faces painted underneath 

you scuff away and when you wake it will be raw again

but you know invitations were sent out to adorn it anew

squiggle horse

cosmina "coco" gamsey-boudier

magic for royalty: chapter 1

"once upon an orphan"

jack palmer

Once upon a time there was an orphanage that held the loneliest, most dumbest children ever known to man. But one day, there was a mistake in the process of life. There was one child that was . . . Let’s just say that he did not “fit in” at that orphanage. He thought that he belonged in Harvard. And people called him Will. And he was the only person in the orphanage that even thought about the outside world. One day, he made the mistake of reading one of the newspapers that was sitting inside the orphanage mailbox. The only reason he even THOUGHT about reading the newspaper, was that he was the only one in the entire orphanage that knew how to read. And he was GOOD at it. He thought that he had read every book in the world. From the moment that his eyes touched the bold letters of the front page, to the moment that finished the page, he knew that his life had changed forever.

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