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Poetry Summer 2020    fiction    all issues

Poetry Summer 2020 cover


Cover Vecteezy

Rodrigo Dela Peña
If a Wound is an Entrance for Light
& other poems

Shellie Harwood
Early Evening, Late September
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
The Deacon’s Lament
& other poems

J. H. Hall
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
Two Aphids
& other poems

Sugar le Fae
& other poems

Lauren Sartor
Shopping Cart Woman
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Mushroom Hunting, Jackson County, Kansas
& other poems

Elisa Carlsen
& other poems

Daniel Gorman
The Boy Achilles
& other poems

Samara Hill
I Look for Her Mostly Everywhere
& other poems

Nicole Justine Reid
Returning to Sensual
& other poems

David Ginsberg
Butterfly Wings
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
Café Sant Ambroeus
& other poems

George R. Kramer
Young Odysseus
& other poems

Amy Swain
In Praise of Trees
& other poems

Frederick Shiels
Bad October: 2016
& other poems

Matthew A. Hamilton
Summer of '89
& other poems

Chris Kleinfelter
Getting from There to Here
& other poems

Martin Conte
Ghazal for the Shipwrecked
& other poems

Natalie LaFrance-Slack
I Do Not Owe You My Beauty
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Dark Water
& other poems

Writer's Site

Nicole Justine Reid

My Little Orange Tomato

Gently, my tender toes tiptoe

over grainy, hard ground. Warmth

rising in tiny patches

from last night’s rainfall. Clasping

the yellow watering can with care,

I tilt its fresh contents

into the waiting dirt, giving

what little of life I have to offer.

Leaves, soft and furry, catching tips

of my fingers. Sun, gentle and bright,

catching strands of orange-copper

as I lean forward, stroking stalks

filled with life. Fingertips

to my nose now—

fragrance, familiar and ripe.

Smell of sweet

and something else.

Just one lies on the vine.

An orange little sun streaked with yellow.

On its skin, a little map

of dividing lines, set hard

on the surface. I’ve wavered so long.

Now, I pluck this bulb,

wrestling it resolutely from its true mother.

Holding it in my palm, squeezing

the taut skin slightly, I press

a crevice. Juice wells up, flows.

I made this in a way,

with my offering of water,

my daily barefoot walk. But

I also know I didn’t.

That I have nothing

to do with this miracle.

I think of all the heartbroken women

and wonder if I’ve—unwittingly—

made myself one of them.

I walk back inside, orb in hand,

place it gently on a plate,

feeling somewhat proud. Until

the aching emptiness engulfs me,

drowning slowly

into strangled rage—

a sorrow I cannot name.

Before Georgia

The road slithers

into the night, snaps

us on a straight line

melted white ruler keeping us steady

I look left to you,


if the dream hidden in your eyes

will keep us alive

To the right,

the skyline scatters itself

in shards,

the blur dizzying

and wild.



The chameleon sitsgreenon agreen leaf

 redon ared rock.

     Borders     bleeding

          boundaries      being

deprived          of themselves

The colors—they want their own magic—

pressed up against | each others’ soft edges.

/It’s so hard

being brown (when yellow screams to get out)

being pink (when the black sits heavy)

 in anoffice

 at aparty

 with alover

 or astranger

I always wished to be a rainbow—all those bright colors

separated | working together for beauty.

The rainbow is certain of itself.

I rush to touch it

but my hand comes away clean

Returning to Sensual:
A Prayer, Far Too Many Months After Car Crash

Please, pull this pain from my breasts, 

nipples now too tender to touch

from so much play so needed

Loosen tightness where my spine

meets my hips, I want to worship with rhythm,

dance an altar between us

Make my mouth open gently,

have my heart follow suit

the way it lights up when you’re in one,

All smart, mystery leaking,

naked skin hidden

just beneath those fine threads

I want to return to my body’s waves

where the muscle meets the horizon

and the cold is far far below where I cannot touch it

I want to play in our sheets, waking

to want us, shyness thrust off like covers

exposing salt, heat, and sweat

I want to kiss you like I mean it, mouth hungry

for more, circles circling each other, connecting

like rings, fingers clasping like mouths

I want to lay in the stillness, my spine

curved to your muscle, your arms

firmly around me

So when you touch me, it no longer hurts

I have been drowning without waves—our cold

blinding me from being, but I can see the horizon

here now, we’re in it

Soft and melting, like a sunset over ocean

bright enough for our souls to light again, 

the fire lit and skimming past skin

Sweet Salt

Ocean, large

             then little, lunging

                           at me, a child hugging with ferocity,


                                                      herself around my legs,

                                                      the foaming


                                         a white announcement

                           to come and play. She beckons,

             a best friend, looping lovingly


on to the grainy shore and


                           into herself,

                                        her sparkling, impish, endless eyes await


                           in beyond sand,

             my knees,

my hands

             becoming wet, I follow

                           into her cosmos, splashing        spilling

                                   secrets  and  swapping   kisses her

                                        calming  balming  watery wisdom

                                                  washing over me    a devoted magical mother

                                          soaking salty salves

                                   into quiet  cracked places

                                   a sacred song



                           the entire universe through salt

                                   feeling namelessly alive


                                          deep within me  I feel the sadness churning

                                          the longing

                                   to have come here sooner

                           to have connected more often

                                   to myself or the ocean

                                          I do not know

                                                    I do not understand

                                                                 their separation

Nicole Justine Reid is an emerging poet. Her poetry has been long-listed for the 2020 Fish Publishing Poetry Prize, shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize, won first place for Free Form Poetry in the 2019 San Mateo County Fair, and is published in The Santa Clara Review and the Carry the Light anthologies, Vols II, III, and IV. She loves immersing herself in the salt of the sea and in an ocean of words.

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