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Issue 6, March 2023: Darkness

A sense of one’s strength

He’s a glass of wine kept in the darkness;

A silver line here...

A silver line there…

Like the armor of a knight

Hiding in the night,

Made to glisten like a sword

Sharpened more on flesh than metal;

A sword that drips in black blood,

Covered with veins of the dead

That are still alive;

Pulsating here and pulsating there,

As if it will grow into a creature itself.

Reminded of his sword,

The knight rises.

Abel Johnson Thundil is a poet from India. His works have appeared in Terror House Magazine, The Pangolin Review, namely. His latest anthology of poems, Wilted: Poems of Modern Tragedy, is available on Amazon.



At War With Trolls

In the pinprick light / talking heads come into focus / the horror is in the tiny touches / the hoods / and dancing fools / as the homeless woman / saves her words in a plastic bag


Listening to the peaceless staccato of bird song / and the sizzle of fried chicken voices / with their kaleidoscope of words / we are not sure if we’re being enlightened or punished


Aren’t we tired of soup can consumption / and empty speeches / noisy as dice / as they bring out the bodies / and aren’t we tired of pretending / life is not a work of deconstruction


What if locked down by wrongness / the silence rustled / so we disembarked / and saved ourselves from falling into endless conversations / with no talking / and called it victory


Adele Evershed prose and poetry have been published in over a hundred journals and anthologies. Finishing Line Press will publish Adele’s first poetry chapbook, Turbulence in Small Places, in 2023


Shadow Dancing

Maybe it’s right

that parts of me want to stay

rooted in my seven deadly sins,



Maybe it’s okay

sometimes, to live among

the roots, buried, innermost



Maybe it’s good

to let light collaborate, not win,

to make the darkness


Carol Casey lives in Blyth, Ontario, Canada. Her work has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies from around the world.


By the Dark Shores of Night

A glimmering full moon, solid as earth, floats

on a sea of silver clouds over tall pine trees

that cast shadows, alter my perceptions,

induce a drug-like state where a new awareness

greets me. I practice lucid dreaming, practice

what it is to bring dream-sights into wakeful

existence. A line blurs and realities shift like

wind-blown sand that trans-morphs into a

new world each day.

It is miraculous to still see all the elements

of yesterday’s world, but rearranged

by the turn of a kaleidoscope.

Emily Black, second woman graduate in Civil Engineering, University of Florida, had a long engineering career, the only woman in a sea of men. She recently began writing poetry and is published in numerous journals. Her first poetry book, The Lemon Light of Morning, was released in 2022. Emily wears Fire Engine Red Lipstick.





is fragile like

black feathers… look into

a raven’s eyes and see the truth


is the

wings of a moth

disintegrating on

your fingertips… darkness is a

silk shroud

peeled back

until even

the moon surrenders to

the light… this is darkness’s truth

Farah Ali lives in the UK and writes fiction and poetry, with a particular interest in haiku and other short forms. She has been published in a variety of journals and her supernatural Deerleap Hollow series is available from Amazon.



Stanzas for Corri on Mother’s Day


It is difficult to tell

With mother and daughter

Which is the root

And which is the flower


Because there is no love

Between the minute and the hour

Conspiring to kill

The father with the water

Jake Sheff is a pediatrician and US Air Force veteran. He considers life an impossible sit up, but plausible.



River of Death


Beside the dark, cobbled path

lies the black river.

Fierce and outflowing, each droplet

a wrath for sinners.

Evil-doers of the past continuing

to pull off sins perish and melt in the river.

The droplet splashing on their feet

is the executioner, calling the prey

in the dark, vicious night, every night.


Either walking near the river must cease,

or it is the death of the river.


Born on a 13, Jenny Cruz started writing poems at 31. She adores cooking, television and palindromes.






slapdash makeup

beneath the gaslights

pepper’s pigment

buying time

or earning paper


calmly in the darkness

he begins assembling

rocket launcher

Jerome Berglund has many haiku, senryu and tanka exhibited and forthcoming online and in print, most recently in the Asahi Shimbun, Bear Creek Haiku, Bamboo Hut, Black and White Haiga, Bottle Rockets, Cold Moon Journal, namely.



Opel, emshee, stay back, FOB, fobbit,

“mister, mister, mister... give me chocolat.”

Recognize these touchstones,

too rough to be granite, too unpolished to be opalescent.

Nod knowingly at these shared reference points.

Please relate to these fusty, familiar totems of my Iraq War sojourn.

I’m alone in the murky slop of the night's edge, and my friends are dead.

It’s 4 a.m. a decade later and I’m sobbing.

Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, the author of three local interest books, an Indiana University graduate and a Pushcart Prize nominee. His writing and photography have appeared in more than 100 journals, including Gravel, Chaleur, The Offbeat, and Tipton Poetry Journal, and his short plays have been staged in Detroit and the Boston metro.



Light Study


So this is the edge of night

in what should at this hour

be called a moonroom

rather than in my usual parlance

A Robin, two blue jays,

crickets, katydids, my breaths

as darkness quiets the woods

leopard frogs’ songs anon


I need to put on socks

lean into evening’s soft demise

as summer yellows, dries, drops

shivering season begins


On this north side of home

in a northern clime in near

autumn in this room named sun

silence falls on a screech owl’s cry


Here I am bathed in rays

Here I am awash in beams

Karla Linn Merrifield has had 1000+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has 16 books to her credit. Her newest poetry collection, My Body the Guitar, recently nominated for the National Book Award, was inspired by famous guitarists and their guitars and published in December 2021 by Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY).





darkness is the stealth

of creeping years


days darken into winter

lengthen as our


lives dwindle to bones

that creak under


night’s lumpy quilt wake

to blackness of


another morning’s slow

stumble into death’s


blackout swallowed by

its yawning shadow


Kate Meyer-Currey lives in Devon, UK. Her poems have been published in a variety of journals worldwide.



It Is Dark Here


I am running my fingers through the furred dust. Light, blindfolded, cannot find the key;

Now at last the smallest of chinks has appeared; the walls of the dam have been

pierced. Flashes of torchlight in unpredictable sequence light up the mothy darkness.

Exercise books, satchels, morning prayers. Music drifting across misty playing fields awakes the ear of the past. The dead feel their way through the dusk. They struggle for breath, like desperate fish emptied from a creel on a cold quayside. My father, in his old mac, is ploughing the twenty acre field. The rich earth turns, noisy seagulls form a foaming wake above the dark waves. My husband is listening to Bach. As the violin soars unbearably, he wipes away a tear. Now the far horizon is fading. It's no more than a faintly pencilled line, the edge of memory. It is dark there.


Sarah Das Gupta is a retired teacher who taught in UK, India and Tanzania. She has had work published online and in print. She lives near Cambridge, UK.



Insomniac Shadows


Seeking slumber in Elysian Fields

like a restful warrior, sword set aside,

agitated closed eyes twitch on edge,

far from a comforting REM respite,

I reach out to follow Hypnos, god of sleep,

grasp his son Morpheus’ drowsy hand,

who snoozes in a crystal cave upon

a poppy seed filled mattress,

molding, forming delirious delusions—

clutching only wispy shape-shifting digits

that slide through my own fingers,

leaving me in a wakeful nightmare

deprived of relaxation, intoxicating bliss,

dark serenity in ever morphing dreams.


Author, educator, and Pushcart nominee for poetry, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in many international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies such as The Ekphrastic Review and Anti-Heroin Chic. Warner’s poetry and fiction collections include Flytraps and Cracks of Light: Pandemic Poetry & Fiction (2022)—as well as. Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories.



No one’s dancing in the dark


It’s late in the evening

The city hides its darkness

With lights

Festival lights


I attend a soirée

One that tries

Its level best

To slot me

“Do you drink?”

I am asked


The haves and have-nots

At a glittering do

Those with whiskey glasses

Those without

Those holding them

Hold them well


I don’t really belong anywhere

I drink

I drink not


I occasionally sip

Perhaps I tease

Life has to be lived from both ends


The music grows softer

The conversation

A wee bit louder


The festive lights

Hold the night’s secrets

Like that girl there

In a tight black dress

Holding in her stomach

With a tummy tucker


Once the revelry says adieu

Street lights will be

As erratic as ever

In a country in the subcontinent

Everything shines from the outside


Vandana Kumar is a New Delhi-based French teacher, poet, film producer, writer and cinephile. Her poems have been published in several national and international websites, award winning/nominated anthologies and journals of repute. Her debut collection of poems Mannequin Of Our Times was published in February 2023.



Rommel Swallows Cyanide


no one comes to visit

me: I wonder how long

I would lie, dead

in this a.p.t.?

The landlord would miss

his rent in a month;

mail would slowly build

in the box;

people at work might

call the cops:

Richard Brautigan, who was getting


a book

while he was hot,

lay for a month


on the 2nd floor

of his house

while flies and

maggots gathered.


Wayne F. Burke’s poems have been widely published in print and online. He has published eight full-length poetry collections and a book of short stories. He lives in Vermont, USA, and worships the dodo.

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