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Poetry Winter 2022    fiction    all issues


Li Zhang

Ana Reisens
Pam asked about Europe
& other poems

Krystle May Statler
To the Slow Burn
& other poems

Kristina Cecka
On Remodeling
& other poems

Belinda Roddie
Bless The Bones Of California
& other poems

Summer Rand
Alexander tells me how he'd like to be buried
& other poems

Alexander Perez
Toward the Rainbow
& other poems

Karo Ska
self-portrait of compassion…
& other poems

David Southward
The Pelican
& other poems

George Longenecker
Stamp Collection
& other poems

Mary Keating
& other poems

Talya Jankovits
Imagine A World Without Raging Hormones
& other poems

Laurie Holding
Sonnet to Mr. Frost
& other poems

David Ruekberg
A Short Essay on Love
& other poems

Elaine Greenwood
There’s a thick, quiet Angel
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Carry On Caretaker
& other poems

Jefferson Singer
Dave Righetti’s No-Hitter…
& other poems

Diane Ayer
A Fan
& other poems

Kaecey McCormick
Meditation Before Desert Monsoon
& other poems

Meg Whelan
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
& other poems

Aaron Glover
On Transformation
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
[I'm crying in a sandwich shop reading Diane Seuss' sonnets]
& other poems

Holly Cian
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Selective Memories are the Only Gift of Dementia
& other poems

Steven Monte
& other poems

Mervyn Seivwright
Fear Mountain
& other poems

Writer's Site

Alexander Perez

Black Locust

Behind our elderly house

the black locust

             has always shadowed you.

             Now I live under its shadow too.

             We cannot say how timeless it is.

             It will always be before and after.

First flowers a spray of cream

pale yellow-blushed butterflies.

             When they fall, still fresh

             imagine our wedding there?

             I will brush the blossoms

             from your grey hair.

             Maybe two groundhogs

             for best men, a sparrow chorus

             chipmunks’ cheeky grins

             crickets chirping congratulations

             confetti of sunlight

             gifts of love

             finale of spring

             a gay marriage in June!

Seed-pods in summer dangle

earrings to the shoulders.

             Its rough branches trespass

             the neighbor’s fence.

             And when his dog is loose

             provide an escape route for the squirrels.

Before you and me, tenants

hammered a nail into its side.

             On the rusty nail

             I hung a sundial

             to make use of the wound

             the unnecessary wound

             so the bark can keep time

             on a golden watch

             encircling the years

             (with secret rings)

             kept hidden in a trunk.

             Last time I counted your rings

             you had seventy-three. I, forty-eight.

             I’m a sapling.

             You’re reaching your peak.

Remember the tornado

that twisted up the land?

             You, black locust, did not budge

             no matter how strong

             the intractable wind

             bullying, headstrong argued.

             I hope not to see you fall

             (unwavering monument) on our city

             over which you tower

             floor upon floor of branching


             a façade of gentle foliage

             which we grow proud

             of at our peril.

Leaves of the locust fall late.

You can hear their approach.

             They clap on their way down

             applauding for the view

             of the rising and the setting sun

             they’ve enjoyed.

             Their season pass

             they’re reluctant to let go.

The neighbors insist

on raking

             but that seems futile

             that October ritual

             when I can crunch

             what’s left not to forget

             of our black locust

             under my winter boots.

Joy Ride

Thought we might

go for a ride.

             Where to?

I don’t know.

but let me drive.

I will get us there.

             How far are we willing to go?

Until we get lost

or found.

             God willing.

Promise I will take my time.

You hate when telephone poles fly by

reminding you of prison bars.

Close your eyes.

             What is it?


I won’t tell you

we passed a deer

struck dead

on the side of the road.

The car’s shadow

races over the surface

of the steely river

as we cross the rusty bridge.

             Where are you going?

I will give you a hint:

It smells of maple sugar.

             Will you buy me truffles sprinkled with salt

             shattered bark, peanut brittle?


Miles stack up.

The road’s windy as ribbon candy.

Lone trailers, old cars, barking dogs.

Silos, concentric hay bales, grazing sheep.

Free tomatoes, fresh eggs, cords of firewood.

Garage sale!

Pull up, say hello.

Stainless steel coffee pot

worn car seat, polka records

paperback Stephen Kings.

You find two flowerboxes

five dollars, like new

with scalloped sides

yellow tulips hand-painted

on a blue-sky background

perfect to replace

the weathered ones back home

you filled with care all seasons.

I think this is the way

to the Silver Trout café

overlooking the vast wetland:

barren tree trunks half-submerged

sedge grass waving

white rise of the whooping crane.

If we’re lucky

we might catch sunset

on the glassy pools

the reflections

that make me

sneak a kiss

from across the table

hoping some man

grows jealous

wanting to kiss

him too

his best friend

secretly on the lips.

             Probably should head back.

I’m not too tired to drive.

Close your eyes, take a nap.

We’ll be there in no time.

Don’t worry.

I won’t speed.

But that’s a lie . . .

While you sleep

I’m stepping hard

on the gas


against the rushing hours


             the collision

             with our journey’s end.

Poem for Two Men in Love

Rise early. At dawn,

the biting fish like cool water and a slow current.

             He never would have known this.

Potato chips, cat toys, medicine bottles.

Where are the spare car keys?

             In the box on the bedroom shelf

             with our wills and birth certificates.

Ceramic blue bird, electric blanket, wind chimes.

A younger man and an older man

live together on the hill in the middle of the city.

             From here it is possible to see stars of many ages.

Fur hats, rosary, flat screen TV.

He said: I love you.

He said: Still?

He said: Always.

They slept sound.

A golden clock, bowling balls, Bahama shirts.

They went on vacation.

One was sick in the motel room.

The other was right outside the door looking out at the view.

             He tells him of the rainbow and the single dolphin.

Ice fishing gear, greasy tools, books of poetry.

He told the story of the young boy

trapped by a water spout while fishing on Saratoga Lake:

             dark spot on the water surface,

             spiral pattern, spray ring, funnel, decay.

Pushed under a tree’s roots hanging over the water,

in his rowboat, the boy found shelter.

             As a man, he dreads the sound of thunder.

Sunflower seeds, a violin, old photographs.

He is wide-awake in the emergency room at 2 a.m.

The other is being seen.

             Under his breath he whispers:

             it is not time, it is not time, it is not time.

Making a Living

One waits for his social security check.

The other his pay from the university.

             One day they will rise above zero.

His HIV medications could cost him his life.

Every year he applies for a subsidy.

             The other would dare rob a bank for him.

Christmas-time: they both say don’t buy me a gift.

             He always receives chocolate truffles.

             He always receives a bird house.

A gallon of milk: $4.38

A pound of coffee $10.24

Forty-four ounces of fresh raspberries: $4.99

An ounce of gold: $1671.00

Sometimes they splurge.

Their favorite place to go is the Greek diner.

They have excellent specials.

The owner is ancient.

             Her name is Aphrodite.

Or sometimes they go to Sally’s Hen House.

It’s on the way to Vermont, worth the price in gas.

             The egg-yolks are golden orange peel yellow marigold.

They always break even.

It’s like that time they drove up the Green Mountains,

and as they started down the squiggly road,

a cloud parked itself over the visible world,

and the lines on the road flickered away,

and although he was not a good driver,

he would get them there safely,

breathing deep, chit-chatting,

his senses heightened,

knowing how to ride

the edge of a cliff,

like always,

laughing for

their good


Toward the Rainbow

The room watches me sleep.

A guard dog with a scrupulous face.

Many strangers tip-toe through

trying not to disturb the brittle leavings.

Remember when you slept here?

You must. Nights a different color then:

white or pink hibiscus, jade, mandarin.

I tried to identify the taste of your dreams:

yucca petal, pineapple guava, cilantro.

You refused to listen to a word I said

preferred your tongue in my mouth.

Honestly so did I. Its flavors brighter

than those of the northern flowers I ate.

Most seasons are safer now

since I have chosen to sleep solo.

It is sound. My empty room

cares for me. A guard dog with a sly face.

The polite passersby know not to step too close

to the pile of weeds. I’m underneath.

But you upheave me.

Why only you? Always.

You to woo me, bed me, bend me

with your tropics. I prefer the cold.

It’s no use now to try to melt me

under your palms.

Winter thrashes.

Can’t you hear it? I learned to love her

after your lightening lashes.

Winter, she packed me in ice

sealed the burns.

Time you go back to Spanish accents

bleached pastels, blistering blues

clouds you claim spill coconut milk.

I will not follow you toward the rainbow.

Alexander Perez began writing poetry in 2022 at age forty-eight. His partner, James, and his friends and family encourage him to keep going, and he has them to thank for their support. He looks forward to the upcoming publication of his first chapbook entitled Immortal Jellyfish by Finishing Line Press.

Dotted Line