Poetry: “Renascent” by Matthew Wallenstein

January

is winter.

Footprints in slush

kicked back to slush,

an honest record.

This ugly alone.

Hoping not but knowing.

Last falls leaves

clinging wetly to gutters

half frozen.

The slush on the sidewalk is pealing paint,

the truth of it.

Step through sliding doors.

They recognize empty pockets.

Then the walk:

street,

then street,

then street,

then              ,

Poetry: “At the Pace of Infinity” by Oliver Rice

At dawn in Bangkok

a protagonist is having breakfast,

boiled rice with fish, pickles,

and dried shredded pork,

all reality engaging again.

Near Kiev a personage hours ago

had quite a hearty breakfast

of crepes filled with pot cheese

and topped with sour cream,

the dew phenomenal as the sunlight

on a mating ground of butterflies.

An expendable man in Haifa,

already craving his dinner,

broke his fast with parsley,

sliced cucumbers, tomatoes,

and onions, without dressing,

in Helsinki, dressed for an interview,

with a sandwich of cold cuts,

in Madrid with fritters and cocoa,

the ruins, the statues, the ids

having silences of their own.

Allegory sailing on the bay.

The rainbow indifferent to its physics.

Poetry: “Samaritans” by Christopher Scribner

The speckled fawn walks among them; as she nibbles earnestly at the foliage, the shade of her body throws the tombstones’ dates into shadow. There’s splendor in the sharply-angled morning light. I imagine my own granite marker, its last line unfilled. In life’s sadness the days pass slowly, the years quickly; each year I keep my birthday quiet; each one unacknowledged pushes that last line of engraving lower down the slab. Yes. And, pushed low enough, the end-date will be covered by the growing grass, and disappear from view.

A stranger gave me a lift after my car died en route to my mother’s funeral. Later, in the procession to her gravesite, unsettled and bleary, I gaze out the window. Alongside the road another stranger, an old man in a black coat and fedora, walks slowly through the fog, limping slightly, leaning toward the side of his cane. As the hearse passes by, the man in the black coat turns, removes his hat, presses it to his breast, and respectfully bows his head. Better than I, he knew what to do.