Robin Wright – 2 poems

At the Cemetery


I walk the grounds, read stones

with names from my mother’s

generation, Gladys, Florence, Arlene.

My mother isn’t dead. If she were,

she’d listen then.


Her concern no longer a boyfriend or husband

she’s trying to reconcile with or stay with

for the dresses, knickknacks, or booze. Not the one


who checked my homework, tore up

the paper, if one math problem was wrong

or one word misspelled. Not the one


who tickled me until urine ran down my leg

then laughed while I cried. Not the one

who threatened to kill my dog.


Screw them. Pretend Mother died,

lay a rose in front of a stone that’s worn,

trace the name with the tip of my finger,


pluck weeds, faded ribbons, limp stems,

as if I am that woman’s loving daughter,

as if I know what her life meant

while she was alive.








Friends have passed away:

Dave, Marcia, Paula, Kerry, Julie, Laura, Michael, Randy,

Places of former employment have closed:

  1. Salt Fish and Chips, Farmer’s Daughter, Tamary Management, Integra Bank

I miss:

Hot air balloons made from dry cleaning bags, margaritas at Hacienda, Payday candy bars, drum solos, cat stories

I no longer have:

Thick hair, tight skin, firm muscles

I no longer am.






Robin Wright lives in Southern Indiana. Her work has appeared in The Literary Nest, Rune BearEvent Horizon MagazineAnother Way RoundAriel ChartBindweed MagazineMuddy River Poetry Review, Indiana Voice JournalPeacock Journal,Rat’s Ass Review, and othersTwo of her poems were published in the University of Southern Indiana’s 50th anniversary anthology, Time Present, Time Past. She was a finalist in Poetry Matters’ contest for the Spring Robinson/Mahogany Red Literary Prize.

DS Maolalai – 3 poems

We tried to do it perfectly



We tried to do it perfectly;

packed the car

with sandwiches, with flasks of tea,


a sleeping bag

and a bottle of wine.

then we struck


with no destination in mind.


We had wanted

to get lost on the backroads

and find somewhere to visit

people don’t go often

but it was hours

before we were even out of Dublin

and Ireland

has been signposted to death.


You drank wine

while I was driving

and played with the radio

and got bored pretty quick.

4 hours in

and we were looking at the coast,

all the way to America,

with nowhere to go

but backwards.


We’d tried to do it perfectly;

once there was a hawk in a field

and once rainshower

and the country spread around us,

green and glistening

as a dropped bottle.


You tossed a can at the sea

and complained that you needed the toilet.

I sat

with my ass on the front of the car,

eating a sandwich

trying to remember

the last time I’d been excited

by home.






The prince of milky bedsheets



You say

you are

in love again.


is a writer

of course

for magazines,


of course,

and pretty hellish



Parents with car factories in germany

and business interests

stretching all the way france.



of course

are a traitor to your friends

for wanting


for accepting it,

the price of new love.

you accept

our mockery.

one does.

and gossip

which comes

with young bodies,

trotting like a puppy

on a walk to the shop.

our scorn

is a price

for the prince

of milky bedsheets.


All you want

is all

that anyone wants,

for someone

to be in love with


like the river

shearing into a shoreline

or the twist

of the ungrateful snake,

life whips around

and bites,

less miserable

than you are.






On me every day



My wallet

(fake snakeskin)

with its tinderscrap of receipts

and its plectrumbone

of exempt debit cards.

a blood donation slip.

a drivers license

cradled with age.

10 Canadian dollars, 20 American dollars

15 euros

(all I can spend).

2 durex condoms (real snakeskin)

and 4 coffeeshop loyalty cards,

2 stamps apiece.

a crumpled photo of Melissa

smiling by some shrubbery,

her eyes back home.






DS Maolalai recently returned to Ireland after four years away, now spending his days working maintenance dispatch for a bank and his nights looking out the window and wishing he had a view. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

R. D. Ronstad – 1 poem



My father pulled up in his cab, its black
sun visor downturned, proclaiming
then shivered up the gleaming walk
my quiet eyes watching
through gauze curtains.


I lost him at the front porch
behind the stone right angle
behind the half-drawn shade;
the storm door clicked and creaked
before his meager knock, and after
hissed behind our backs.


I climbed across the front seat;
he slid behind the wheel and slumped
and clutched his keys, gazed
longingly into the middle distance as if
something on the other side of Cortland
just past the viaduct, made sense.


I gazed at the meter’s metal flag
perched upright on it’s hinge like a hatchet
waiting to be buried.





R. D. Ronstad