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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Kimberly Russo

Inherent Injustice:
a tribute to Trayvon Martin (February 5, 1995-February 26, 2012)

The injustice inherent in the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman was not authored by a jury given a weak case. The jury’s performance may be the least disturbing aspect of this entire affair. The injustice was authored by a country which has taken as its policy, for the lion’s share of its history, to erect a pariah class. The killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is not an error in programming. It is the correct result of forces we set in motion years ago and have done very little to arrest.

—Coates, Ta-Nehisi. “Trayvon Martin and the Irony of American Justice.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 15 July 2013.

With a plastic syringe,

I dispense three beads

of water to the hushed

beak. He is dying—

quiet and ethereal

in my hand. Meager efforts

evolve too late and fail to

assuage the institutionalized

condition from which it

suffers. A murder of crows

shriek in violation and barrage

the airways with outrage.

Apathy settles on alabaster

masses. Eyes reflect the distortions

of a whitewashed mind.

But I can’t erase a youthful

flight. Innocence unaware, the predator’s


The embodiment of ignorance

breeds a “perceived threat.”

A coward’s bullet explodes

your heart. I am left to consider

unwavering racism

amidst the velvety feathers.

My Mid-Life Crisis Rap

Why dontcha wake up and see my face?

It’s a shame for my all my change to go to waste.

Why dontcha wake up and stop my lies?

It’s a shame for all my love to slowly die,

love to slowly die,

love to slowly die.

I’m not certain when it settled in.

But somehow one day I was broke and bent.

Deep inside I underwent a subtle discontent.

Lyin’ still, all my energy spent, fatigue’s intense.

Even though the heart repents, my brain invents

Excuses for lies, flight unrestrained,

No matter how it’s ascertained, hara-kiri, I’m causin’ pain, attention gained.

And when it’s time to pay the price, he blames me.

He restrains me, and I hate it.

“Stop! What are you doing?”

“I’m living life!”

“Shit. Can’t you abstain?”

“I can’t keep you chained.”

It makes me crazy, cuz we had it all, beyond a doubt.

I fucking loved him and proud of him, day in, day out.

Then I drown in the madness, and I freak out; I choke.

Who are you?

Keep that crazy self-contained!

I eat his trust and leave him stranded bare and drained.

The story of my marriage stained.

Why dontcha wake up and see my face?

It’s a shame for my all my change to go to waste.

Why dontcha wake up and stop my lies?

It’s a shame for all my love to slowly die,

love to slowly die,

love to slowly die.

In the beginning when we dated, ’twas a perfect fit.

Every day we were together it was better, bit by bit,

Two magnets that could not be split,

Our marriage was so tightly knit.

Years go by, close your eyes, forget the benefit.

Life impedes and steals a hit; values cloud lickedy-split.

Begin to nit-pick, permit; submit; you quit,

Throw a fit, and split.

Not even tryin’ in the least bit.

Love and hate is interlaced.

Promises erased.

Any chance of hope is chased, replaced with scorn.

Waiting vacant, silent, stillborn, another death to mourn,

Cuts like thorns, distaste,

Fall from grace, wrongs retraced, judged me in haste, but can I blame you.

I had already sworn,

This time you can trust me and

I’m hearing that I am forewarned.

Left me unadorned,

Words never spoken from your lips leave me dyin’

Now I’m hollowed out defeated, mentally worn.

Why dontcha wake up and see my face?

It’s a shame for all my change to go to waste.

Why dontcha wake up and stop my lies?

It’s a shame for all my love to slowly die,

love to slowly die,

love to slowly die.

Antiquated Chamber

Mailboxes, a quiet passing

nostalgic anchor of home . . .

somehow romantic, anticipating

secrets of the womb . . .

tugging trap-door, caressing

bottom grooves . . .

creamy envelope, heart fluttering

sealed and stamped.


First snow

      Streaks the portrait of a home

            Dusting a renovated roof

                  An exposed structure suffers the weight

                        Beneath expectations.

First snow

      Blankets the lawnmower

            Quieting proven capabilities

                  A newfound resource endures the restraint

                        Within a confined space.

First snow

      Alights on grass and tree

            Murmuring, “Time is up.”

                  One scarlet leaf committed to evolve

                        Amidst a tangle of habit.


I am the girl you think of last

when A-listers have heard your proposal and passed,

and B-listers’ refusals have left you outclassed.

I’m the one who’ll respond in eager contrast-

fed-up with a history of being bypassed,

assuming the role for which I’ve been cast.

A movie, a Coke, the ice-cream store-

picnic in the shade of the old Sycamore?

A flash of my skin to even the score,

your hand at my chest; trace every contour.

Tonight, will not close with a kiss at my door,

and dates of such nature present no encore.

And now you’ll pass along my name

with lusty scenes of sin and shame.

Excuse yourself from any blame-

the male player in an age-old game.

And, I, once nameless embrace the fame,

burning with a scarlet flame.

Kimberly Russo is an English teacher in Aurora, Colorado where she resides with her husband, Tony, and her four children. Kimberly spends her free time gardening & bird-watching. Much of her writing is dedicated to marriage/family, social issues, including the perpetuating inequality among genders/race, and the stigma associated with mental illness. Her poetry has appeared in River Poets Journal, Open Minds Quarterly, PDXX Collective, Sixfold (Summer 2016,) and Cricket Media:Spider Magazine.

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