Dorota Szumilas – 2 poems 


Poem by Dorota Szumilas

(translated by Dorota B.  Zegarowska) 


Traveling awoke an unspeakable longing

penetrating painfully

Regardless of the aim intensified fear, insecurity,


Traveling without someone close was like

closing your eyelids when wind blows harder into your eyes. 

Do not weep

God loves you

the animal that you have taken in loves you

A book is your Friend

They will protect you

against negligence. 





Poem by Dorota Szumilas

(translated by Dorota B.  Zegarowska)  


A poet of sadness

or a poet of bliss


one of loneliness

and of quiet 


hidden in it.





Dorota Jolanta Szumilas is a graduate of the Institute of Information Science and Book Studies at the University of Warsaw and the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw. Her poetry books have been translated into German, Ukranian, Belarusian and her poems have also been translated into English, Russian, Slovak and Pashto. She is a member of the Polish Association of Authors and Siwobrowych Poetów Association in Krakow, Polish Association of Authors, Polish Haiku Association.  Her published poems and literary views appear in: Poezja Dzisiaj (Poetry Today ed. by Barbara i Aleksander Nawroccy), Kwartalnik Kulturalny (ed. by Andrzej Debowski), Radostowa, Hybryda (artistic and literary writings of the Association of Creative Pol-art in Krakow), Podlaski Tygodnik Kulturalny, Prace Pienińskie, Migotania, sZAFa, Znaj and the Dorota Szumilas is one of the authors of the second ed. of ‘Contemporary writers of Poland’. She gave speeches at both the Slavic Poetry Festival and World Poetry Day in Warsaw.  


Mare Leonard – 4 poems 

Still Life Red Canna


You left Stieglitz for six months

every year, living in Abiqui

with your chow dogs only.

You painted the landscape outside

your house: the badlands, the bones,

the hills, your door 17 times,

its red more alive than the Canna lily.


Sometimes I imagine us sipping tea

from the cups of red lilies, your witch eyes

seeing inside me, Write anything

you want, but do it with passion,

precision, telling secrets

men believe only they possess.


When you grew old, eyesight failing,

you let in a young potter to care

for your house. You arranged shows

for him.  He taught you how

to throw pots, to see with your hands.


I read that if you saw something

you liked you slipped it in your pocket.

You stole this man.  You felt

an austere passion: the red petals

of the lily, smooth feathers

hiding music that makes

              holes in the sky. 





Pawley’s Island  Seascape


The decorator shakes her head.

 I can’t fix this plain Jane.


The blues don’t match: the sky

washes out the deep aqua sea.


The greens don’t blend: Palm trees

overshadow the faded dune grass.


 The creamy shells disappear

 in the gold and rocky sand.


This will never do. She purses

her lips, sighs in despair


 stares at the sky, the sea,

 and hypnotized by the  swish


of waves, lies down in the hammock,

while blues and greens run amok on the beach. 





Star Crossed Lovers



Even as she writes this, she sees

you walking on the Camino Del Monte Cristo

hears the sounds of Spanish so foreign

but certainly not to you: shoulders thrown back,

head cocked to the mountains, but eyes

on a street game. Por favor Senor?

You pick up the ball,  toss it to the kid,

wishing you could play instead of sprawling

 in front of the TV, whooping and hollering

 for the Red Sox. Only during the commercials,

 only when your beer is emptied do you lift

 your head from an antimacassar on the back

 of your chair only then do you glance

 at your shelves, pick up a rock, her rock,

 and remember when you cracked the geode

 finding at its center, a fossil, a star.


The last time she saw you

was like the space between time zones,

when two people float toward each other

but don’t know night from day.

She told you she did not want

to be a collectible, not even a star fossil,

but even as she said that, she wanted

to fold you into a book, to be hidden

in some dark corner of a library

under some arcane topic from another

 era like antimacassar. Even then,

 you would walk off, without a glance,

 even then you would walk off wearing

 only star-crocheted lace on your head. 





Civilized at last


According to legend, Romulus and Remus were twins abandoned by their mother and nursed by a wolf until found by a shepherd who raised them. When older, they decided to build a city  on the spot where the wolf had found them. They quarreled over the site. One wanted one place and the other said, this one!  Romulus won and so Rome was built on his hill and named after him. But this is legend and Rome was not built in a day.


I put a photo of the twins on Facebook,

                eight months old  Paolo scowling  Sylvia smiling

 53 Likes    so cute  so lucky  congrats.


 At ten months  Paolo devours a big bowl of pasta

                Lily nibbles   she’s a lovely bird   big eyes  tiny mouth 

one curl on top   a cockatoo


Sylvia could  balance on a branch    singing the high notes

                 but swings in her jump seat

Paolo  teeter totters    falls forward    lets out a wolf yowl.


Sylvia’s happy with Cheerios

                 Paolo  hungry and teething  gnaws

my finger like a juicy rib.


At the beach  they notice the other   grab and pull 

                not property   not hills  

only a pail and red shovel.


I post a video of the brawl  on Facebook

                screech, howl, screech  

so cute, so typical, wait ’til they have to share the Ipad


A bird and beast raised by humans

                They’ll never fight over hills in Italy

 never be   Romulus and Remus

                 those brothers saved by wolves.


These twins?  ordinary kids tagging

                  their castles with beach glass

destroying moats with one sweep of their hands.


Soon we’ll tame them    use your words

                when they bite  screech  push  yowl

 throwing their heads back into the wild.


On Facebook   Friends will see them strapped

                 into a double stroller   blinders on either side

 53 Likes    so cute  so lucky  grown up at last. 




Mare Leonard’s work has appeared most recently in A Rat’s Ass,  Perfume RiverThe Courtship of Wind,  Bindweed,  Forage, New Verse News, The Chronogram and Communicator’s League  She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek.  Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College. 

Paul Beckman – Fiction

Cloud Wars




“Look at that big one at 2 o’clock. Is that a tricycle or what?”

Suni, lying on her back in the grass next to Henry agreed with him on the shape of the cloud. She’d rather be making out than playing cloud games.

“Look, Henry,” Suni pointed, “those two clouds are kissing. Don’t they appear to be having fun?”

“It’s like they’re next to each other,” Henry said. “See, now the tricycle is turning into a bicycle.”

“Will you look at that,” Suni said. “The kissing clouds have a third one in the mix—a ménage a tois. Boy they’re so lucky, aren’t they, Henry?”

Henry thought Suni talked about hugging and kissing too often and told her so. Most fifteen-year-old girls in his class were the same.

Suni rolled on top of Henry. “I don’t believe it,” she said, “those two clouds above us look like us lying here. See? See?”

Henry didn’t see and Suni stayed squished atop Henry hoping he’d get the hint and look at her and their faces would be close and she’d kiss him if he didn’t kiss her first.

Henry shifted his eyes without turning his head. He sat up and pointed—rolling her off him. “A dog, a perfect poodle dog right there. I’m going to write that down in my cloud book” he said, pulling out a small blue spiral notebook.

“Holy Moley will you look at that! I’m blushing. The clouds that look like us lying here are moving and one cloud is lying on top of the other. They’re making out right in front of us. Put that in your book, Henry.”

A drop of water fell on his face as the clouds overhead darkened. Henry stood. Suni stayed where she was and enjoyed the big raindrops beginning to splash her.

“Let’s run to the car,” Henry said, reaching for Suni’s hand to pull her up. She resisted and tried to pull him down. She wanted to taste the water on his face and neck. She wanted Henry to put his hand on her breast and his tongue in her month and she wanted to make him forget writing in his dumb cloud book.

Finally Suni stood. Henry refused to stand under a tree and huddle close to her. He only wanted to run to the car. So finally they did that and Henry drove Suni home and turned down her offer of hot chocolate and towels for drying each other off.

That night Henry texted Suni: “Clouds are my favorite things and you didn’t take them serious. I still like you but I don’t think we should date anymore. Henry.” #clouds don’t really kiss.”



Paul Beckman is an award winning author with over 300 published stories to his credit, on line, in print, and via audio. He hosts the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series at KGB.