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Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Writer's Site

Sarah W. Bartlett

Emptied of Heart

“as I get older, I feel emptier”—jbk

You sit, vacant eyes an island

on your inner landscape, emptied

for lack of desire for more. Emptied

of loves lost and leaving you

lonely and afraid. Emptied

of life, left only with pain. Emptied

of will unlike those valiant years

of hair loss, chemo. Emptied, too,

of relentless worry over holding

a job, putting bread on a table you sit at alone

without appetite. Emptied of things

as we consult and consign, pack up

on the eve of change. All that remains

is bleak dark, the vast fear

of fading away


For My Sister

All night your heart treads

the rough ground of uncertainties,

rumbling over their spiky terrain

like a hamster striking the spokes of his wheel

racing as if to outdistance pain.

Or outsmart the doubts strewn ahead

with careless abandon. You

could choose to pause and reflect.

Assess the landscape before you.

Select your steps intent

on placing your feet on smooth ground

to assure balance. Sense

the solid nurture of knowing

you are whole. The rough ground

but a transient truth. Uncertainty

the true texture of a lived life.

Fear of Falling

She fears falling in the shower

so I go first, set the water to welcome

then extend my steady arms for her

to grasp. Reassured, she steps

leaning against the wall, the bar,

my naked chest as she seeks support

that speaks safety. Slowly I seat her,

leg bracing the stool as I lower her down.

Water courses past her shoulders

blessing her trust, our bond.

I hand her soap and washcloth, hold

the spray above her head.

Unbidden, her hands unfold the motions

of life-long ritual. Side by side, we sisters

slake a thirst for simpler time shared

if not recalled—immersed

in laughter, leaning one

into the other, trust unspoken.

And now, her hair washed

and rinsed over and over

’til it squeaks as she likes,

I towel her dry in the warmth of the stall

as we plot our exit, her fear of falling returned

full force. I stand strong, lift

support her weight on me only

to discover her legs no longer hold.

She reaches arms around my neck

as I step slowly back, clutching her

withered body to mine, our shuffled tango

an uneven course the few feet to bed.

For the last time, I hold her close

before she falls away.


dark gray puffs of cloud

interspersed with neon pink

backlit context of the day’s

layered leave-taking, light

and gray intermingled at the end

of a too-short visit with a life too-long

lived in the gray of loss—appetite

or energy for life— the same

day in and out, no hot pink zip

or even the pretext of joy

just the occasional shimmer

of a few days together

yesterday and tomorrow

a soft glow fading quickly away

like the sunset over the tarmac

anticipating an on-time departure

Summer Cycles

I. Last night, I brought the first

red daylily of summer inside.

It had been bent, the quiet way

things happen, unnoticed.

By this morning it had wilted,

its short life shed into a single tear

shaped blood red pool.

II. How sweet my sister’s seaside visit

last summer—her first

wheeling her on canary yellow wings

to float on waves. We never got

that far, it being low tide.

But we laughed a good deal

and looked forward to this

year’s return. Instead, I revisit

her final trip, relive those firsts

and what I recall of her joy.

III. All day, I have been noticing things—

daylilies clumped along old stone walls,

daisies’ ardent faces vying to be counted

as if pulling petals could tell

what I already know: she loves me . . .

she loves me not . . .

she loves me.

Sarah W. Bartlett’s work appears in Adanna, Ars Medica, the Aurorean, Minerva Rising, PoemMemoirStory, Mom Egg Review, Wellesley College Women’s Review of Books, and several anthologies including the award-winning Women on Poetry (McFarland & Co. Inc., 2012); and two poetry chapbooks (Finishing Line Press). Her work celebrates nature’s healing wisdom and the human spirit’s landscapes. She founded writinginsideVT for Vermont’s incarcerated women to encourage personal and social change within a supportive community (

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