Fretted Puppet Strings, by John Maurer

Fretted Puppet Strings
by John Maurer

Oh damn it, I’m dead again
Or being dead is on my head again
Which is a paradox to a dead head

A vignette around the sins I haven’t gotten around to yet
Put that on the shivering wall next to my frigid bed with no duvet
Delete phone numbers of friends who fucking died
Don’t need those; I talk to enough ghosts

God can say that I’m not allowed the host
But he’s a loud host, telling me the broken glass carpet
was just installed and he’d like me to take my shoes off
before coming inside

I will just stand outside and smoke illicits and play Tetris
Is it raining? Isn’t rainwater water? Am I not water?
Water you not seeing here? Maybe that I am blind
Maybe that I am a seeing eye dog good at playing visionary

John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than sixty others. @JohnPMaurer (

Yoga Nidra, by Alan Walowitz

Yoga Nidra
for my daughter
by Alan Walowitz

Most nights we descend to a meadow
but tonight she forgets I’m afraid of heights
and the holes a ladder makes in air
and I look down and fear I’ll fall
through to the dizzying ground
so I dare not move up and into the ether.

But each step is a color, she insists,
and sounds so sure I want to believe
though both color-blind and fearful,
I reach for insight, but find
only lack of will, when I rise against both
my terror, and my better judgment.

Aliyah, I recall, is the name of the voice
I hear in my sleep and she means to move up,
same as her name, though sideways and spinning
is the way she travels early mornings, howsoever
much I remind her, and with great portent,
that up and awake are not one and the same.

She hears me clear but stays locked
in that space she’s carved
between wake and sleep,
entwined in the covers that might even catch her
if she happens to fall, meantime thinking
who dares allege this is not the way to live?

Once out of bed she says to me,
You don’t know shit.
And, as she peeks over my shoulder
where I’m writing about our journey,
You don’t even know what a poem is–
And this is the proof, she dutifully submits.

Process: This was mainly written during one of my attempts to meditate. Yoga Nidra tries to help us tap into that magical place between wake and sleep. During that meditation, I was hearing the voice of my daughter. She was in high school at the time, and she was impossible to wake up. Apparently, she either didn’t think much of my poetry then, or she just wanted me to know how she felt about being awakened at some ungodly hour, let’s say, like noon.

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.

You Only Come To Me In Dreams And Only Sometimes, By Kathleen Latham

You Only Come To Me
In Dreams And Only
By Kathleen Latham

bobbing up and down
into sleep
up and down
into sleep

kicking deeper
to reach the depths
of memory
where I find you

among weeds of fear
and desire—
a bright coin
on the ocean bed

which too soon
between my fingers
and disappears

Kathleen Latham’s work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in 100 Word Story, Bright Flash Literary Review, Boston Literary Magazine, and Fictive Dream. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and an ornery cat and can be found online at

I Had A Dream Last Night That We Sat Together In Your Black Corolla, By Kathleen Latham

I Had A Dream Last Night
That We Sat Together
In Your Black Corolla
By Kathleen Latham

graduation tassel newly hung
from the rearview mirror,
ready to say our good-byes,
and there were words all around us.
Eddies of words, currents of words,
flowing through the car like water,
spilling from the glovebox, the console,
the tiny slot where you kept your coins.
We were submerged in word-water,
your car on the bottom of a word-water lake,
word-fish staring through the windows
waving their little word-tails,
pursing their little word-mouths,
waiting for us to choose, to speak, to act
—word upon word upon word
filling the space between us.
If only we had seen

all the things we could have said.

Kathleen Latham’s work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in 100 Word Story, Bright Flash Literary Review, Boston Literary Magazine, and Fictive Dream. She lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and an ornery cat and can be found online at

Voluptuous Innuendos, by Michael Minassian

Voluptuous Innuendos
by Michael Minassian

When I first met you
in the coffee shop
along the shore,

I felt the coast merge
with underwater reefs
until the boundaries blurred.

You were looking for a sign
and spoke in too many syllables,
as if your teeth were ice cubes
melting in a pitcher of ice tea:
click clack, clack click.

On the wall I spied notes
stapled on a bulletin board
warning of chance encounters.

Your voluptuous innuendos
never matched
my dream of you—
still you remained insistent.

Outside, on the sidewalk,
your family approached,
pressing their faces on the window,
leaving smudges like erased poems.

You asked me not to write this down
but I couldn’t help myself—
my words blurred by the glare
of the setting sun on water’s edge.

Michael Minassian’s poems and short stories have appeared recently in such journals as, Live Encounters, Lotus Eater, and Chiron Review. He is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online poetry journal. His chapbooks include poetry: The Arboriculturist and photography: Around the Bend. His poetry collections, Time is Not a River, Morning Calm, and A Matter of Timing are all available on Amazon. For more information:

Second Guessing, by Kate Meyer-Currey

Second guessing
by Kate Meyer-Currey

Pointless to speculate why
you were not there yesterday
when we planned to meet. I
saw the warning signs when
WhatsApp displayed its grey
noncommittal ticks. It’s quite
normal for you to be hijacked
by life’s sudden convulsive
chaos. I don’t imagine the
worst anymore as it’s already
happened; several times. It
might be your phone broke,
you had a fight with your
other half, or you fell back
into it or simply had no credit.
I still went to your address
as it was on my way home.
I looked into blank windows
and rang the dead doorbell.
I sent you a photo of your
front door so you know I
tried. Right place, wrong
time, I guess. I know there
are places no friend can
follow because I’ve been
there too. You’ll come
back online when you are
ready. Experience belies
all second-guessing when
silence has its own subtext.

Kate Meyer-Currey was born in 1969 and moved to Devon in 1973. A varied career in frontline settings has fuelled her interest in gritty urbanism, contrasted with a rural upbringing. Her ADHD also instils a sense of ‘other’ in her life and writing. She currently has over forty poems in print and e journals. ‘Gloves’ recently made top 100 in the UK’s ‘PoetryforGood’ competition for healthcare workers. Her first chapbook, County Lines, (Dancing Girl Press) comes out later this year.