person Nicole Melchionda, four poems

Nicole Melchionda is a graduate of Stetson University where she majored in English with a minor in creative writing. There she completed an independent study on gothic poetry with award-winning poet Terri Witek. She’s worked as an English teacher in China and now resides in Poland.


Poseidon’s Blanket

Twenty splits in the biological clock
and fear sequesters cryopreserved embryos.
Suspended animation: half-mother, half-amphibian.
Fetal pathos deposited on the lily pad.
Mutations can rip endometrium
and oxytocin burns holes through plasma.
If male expires after implantation,
the quilted child births Mother Fusion
whose genes shred and fossilize
to commemorate the dead:
his eyes, his laugh, his lizard legs.
If one mate expires cradling untapped breed,
when must the decision to abort, ignore, or engulf be made?

*previously published in In-Flight Magazine


Hearse / Shrine
Multiple redactions of “Heir and Sea” by George Salis

I. Mother?

The churning womb, like shivering yolks, soaked
deathless trenches. She contained earth, wonder.
Fabled wounds cremate her waves, the cosmic ritual
an uninvited void.

II. Omniscient again

Veins hovered over the hinges
of netherworld. She awoke half-formed,
the melancholy stirring refracted nonsense.

III. Deeper still

The sound of human chalk persisted as wings
consoled. Membranes smelled the frenzy,
settled by immensity.

IV. Buoying hues

The note beneath the mania said
engage in obscure patterns,
forget the found, twice deceased then sunk.


Oneiroscopist jottings: a month of unconscious mumbles recorded by G

That looks terrifying. This picture. This, like the weight of stuff. I don’t know what that was. That was a lot of cards. Any ideas? You’re not supposed to see anything. Don’t raise it back to life. We have the house to ourselves. Tired enough to bring him? I guess plants and puzzles and shit make me tired. You covered your mouth. I keep finding dead bodies. How do we get back there? Neither of us can see now. Your stuff looks written all over. I wish we could change the color of the candles. I don’t even want to imagine hearing adults say when they hear whatever. Fuck. It’s just different colors. Every way you position it it’s a different thing. Isn’t it ridiculous, my tongue? I’m old because I’m just like very slow with things. I always think people will think my stuff is trash and dump their trash on it because it looks like trash because that’s where the trashcan is. You don’t have to be so careful. He stretches his little legs. Is Charlie still here? I thought he was here. There’s a goat. It’s doing something bad. You want to try doing it? Try doing it with two hands, because I can’t. Last week. Just don’t break my flower. It’s all I got. Those are the north apples. Lace him up. The cat. Handsome.

*previously published in The Sleep Aquarium



You promised it wouldn’t feel this way,
7 daffodils compressing against tongue.
Can you still feel it, the love I sung so deep into your fibers it created emboli?
I still taste the static on your translucent arm hairs
(splinters caking the back of my throat)
and fucking like an eclipse wasn’t just part of our imaginary lingual foreplay.
I miss the self I never wanted to be.
Now I guide your lips through the labyrinths of legs knotting into you
hoping my silence in vibrato allures you
to crawl inside my bones split to sarcophagus.
We could laugh and then cry about our bodily anomalies.
You and I, an estuary of sadness.


person Margarita Serafimova, seven poems

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She was awarded a merit-based fellowship by Summer Literary Seminars as one of fifty runners-up in their 2018 poetry contest. Margarita has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip New Poetry, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, The Journal, A-Minor, Waxwing, Nixes Mate Review, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, The Writing Disorder, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Noble/ Gas Quarterly, Origins Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, TAYO, Shot Glass Journal, Opiate, Poetic Diversity, Novelty Magazine, Pure Slush, Harbinger Asylum, Punch, Tuck, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Liquid Imagination, and many other places. Some of her work:


The evening port
was passing into the earth.
It was impossible to be outside the blue.



I looked at the water.
It was the book of life.
After that, I left.




Inside a grave is the Iskar winding.


The sun set, and in the pre-night waft of the blue,
the church, on a light high bell note spoke:
I speak of the love of people,
I repeat, not God’s,
but the love of people.


A ship with its lights on
was sailing away.
The future was banging its fists on the door.


A Flag

My mood was in the wind –
not good or bad,
but up.


Everything was flowing, windy blue,
under an elusive light.
Each day, I was being born from the end.


person Rebecca Ruth Gould, three poems

Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer whose poems have appeared in Nimrod, Kenyon Review, Tin House, The Hudson Review, Salt Hill, and The Atlantic Review, and who translates work from Persian, Russian, and Georgian. Publications include After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi (Northwestern University Press, World Classics series).


Yerevan in Winter

As we hewed words from the stone tower,
the planets completed their orbit.
Ice cracked and froze.

Our glass walls gazed on the circus below.
Cars sailed through smog.
Buses creaked their way to work.

As we sat secluded in our icy fortress,
the firmaments lit the horizons
that met in our union.

I watched you stare into the abyss.
I watched the passage of
the lives we could have lived.

I watched our fates diverge,
and our shadows merge.
I watched the images

from our quarry twist and turn,
then melt like snowflakes
in the crisp morning snow.


On Leaving Iran

The plane ascends. Women disrobe
while crossing into Turkey’s airspace.
Their hair cascades like waterfalls.
I lift my skirt to let my legs breathe.
So much sin is compressed
between my toes and my teeth!
Thus men fear losing their virginity.
I stride over the pavement.
The wind runs through my hair.

The hijab stimulates male fantasies.
I am happy to unveil—
for myself rather than a male guardian—
to return to my body,
to desire myself for myself,
in this corner of the cockpit
between two countries,
without male eyes
watching over me.


A Pagan in Islamic Egypt

Like two woman’s breasts, the Giza pyramids rise
above these scorching sands. I tighten my belt
and bow to the unknown god, remembering my
companions in the south, where the sun does not set.

Though they call me pagan, I’m just hedging
my bets, playing like Pascal,
looking out for the long term, bidding
for immortality before the wager is called.

Dear river god, please stop swelling
the Nile as if there were no tomorrow.
Stop demanding the sacred cow.
The revelation has come. Sacrifices are done.

God has won. The Crusades are over.
Allah rules Jerusalem.
Universities churn out doctorates on every subject
known since the Prophet’s hijra.

Time moves slower than the caravans.
My skin is roughened by the sand
that sheltered me as I awaited revelation,
and forgot to prostrate before the pyramids.

The pilgrim who, on his way to Mecca,
heeds not the wonders he passes
on his journey across the desert,
finds no paradise at the end of his road.


person Rosemarie Dombrowski, six poems

Rosemarie Dombrowski is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Phoenix, AZ and the founder of rinky dink press. She is the recipient of five Pushcart nominations, a 2017 Arts Hero Award, the 2017 Carrie McCray Literary Award in Nonfiction, and a fellowship from the Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics. Her collections include The Book of Emergencies (2014, Five Oaks Press), The Philosophy of Unclean Things (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story], winner of the 2017 Split Rock Review chapbook competition.

~ The following poems are from Rosemarie Dombrowski’s unpublished chapbook entitled Corpus Callosum, a few of which were previously published by Split Rock Review. ~



Your heart is light,

like a stone

with no mass.

Your mind is dense

with harried thoughts.

Someone suggests electrolysis,

begins to probe you in places

that require lubrication.

In the telescope’s mirror,

you look like a spaceship

destined for a black hole.



You confuse the 17th century chemist

with the guy from the early nineties,

a time when everything depended on

two-thirds of the body being invisible

and everything that remained

being burned off like pig-fat

but with more pressure

than you thought possible,

more than you imagined

could fill the esophagus

of a woman already gagging

on liquefied air,

standing on a planet

that used to be so breathable.



You can barely remember the last

streetlamp-nocturne in yellow,

cabin vapors trapped inside your body,

a bag of Chex mix and coffee sludge

clenched between your thighs

and your finger between his teeth,

his molars igniting your senses

and your air-sign proclivities,

thinking how brilliant you might be

if you survived this.



You were inactive,

so you called yourself

a slow-glow in the night,

like the gasses that illuminated

the bank building on Southern.

When you were young,

you wanted to be the one

who uncovered King Tut’s tomb.

When you got older,

you realized that you preferred

the Nobel prize in anything.



Your heart is ancient,

like a lake-bed caustic to the touch,

sometimes riddled with holes

between here and Las Cruces,

your vision battling the I-10 ash

until you beg someone to pull over

next to a no trespassing sign

so you can retrieve the burnt-orange crystals,

become one with the mythological origins,

the time before match-heads and Drano.



The essence of lime-rind

curled like a double helix

around your tongue,

feeling its way around your orifices,

through the holes in your teeth and bones

until you stop to slake your thirst

with the carbonated amalgamation

of something that isn’t too sweet or viscous,

like the summer you spent patching walls

and drinking peach tea,

rolling the plaster of Paris

between your forefinger and thumb,

which we both know was a metaphor

for something unspeakable.


Date Palms – Pointillism – poetry – Sophia Naz

Date Palms
poems, Sophia Naz
City Press, June 2017

poems, Sophia Naz
Copper Coin, 2017


In the poems of Sophia Naz, the creatures have dress codes and the angels hang eyesight’s laundry. Naz sees double, says double. Has two words for every language. As disappearance might draw the crowds away from abandonment, this poet misses more than home and raises the message bottle, broken, to all that is vocal and vexed.

While the collection Date Palms polls the ghost vote on the slow-burn of miracle, Pointillism summons woman as the only darkness left to approve night’s parole. Both collections take seriously their toying, and nurture wordplay from glow to revelation. These verses speak not only of, but also to, those who wear silence as a badge to call it mouth. And so deepen the beauty all anger should have.

By such roadside flares, readers may make a meal of man’s unfollowed bread crumbs and learn to map hunger as a picky eater while knowing that Naz gets it in the painting- the dove they were sent.


reflection by Barton Smock


more, at:

also, Sophia Naz at {isacoustic*}:

person Rita Anderson, two poems

Rita Anderson has an MA Playwriting (2014) and an MFA Poetry, University of New Orleans, where she was poetry editor of the literary journal. Both of her poetry books: The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press) and Watched Pots (A Lovesong to Motherhood) have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Rita won the Houston Poetry Festival, the Gerreighty Prize, the Robert F. Gibbons Poetry Award, the Cheyney Award, and an award from the Academy of American Poets, and her work has appeared in many literary publications, including Spoon River Poetry Review, Waves (AROHO Anthology), EVENT Magazine (British Columbia), Stonecoast Review, Blue Heron Review, Old Northwest Review, Cahoodaloodaling, The Blueshift Journal, Blotterature, Transcendence, PHIction, Persona (50th Anniversary Edition), and Explorations (University of Alaska Press). Rita is a member of Poets & Writers and The Academy of American Poets. Contact Rita at her website


She Pictures Bees

I. Etiology

They are meeting for the first time. Young,
              he is drunk on the easiness of things
as if he were a small country and his guests
              cities he had already swallowed.
A familiar song plays. An unknown season,

she enters, fresh from elsewhere.
              An acre of corn, he thinks.
Her thoughts are whales, but she has
              only played at passion and she is deep
in her body’s heat when she sees him.

(Heart, he wants to say, to make it less
              crude. More profound, her body
a rattle he can’t shake.) He circles
              her as they gentle other partners.
A mating dance of distance.

It is Autumn in his eyes. Harvest, he
              hums, his mouth bubbling.
Radishes and ferns fall from her head,
              her soul too full to speak. Their
bodies–singing like tuning forks–do not touch.

II. Topography

It is summer of a first year, gardenias oozing.
              Last night, she whispers. (Frightened
of the words, she is more afraid to hold them
              any longer.) When you put your mouth on me
*butterflies and lizards weave in and out
              from between her coral lips* It was Ocean.

He thinks *Hourglass* Stopwatch*
              *Rearview Mirror*
Far away, getting farther.

A decade lapses. . .

III. Analogy

A tropical honeymoon, his. Emptied glasses,
              paper umbrellas limp against the side.
If there was music once, it no longer plays,
              life—a brochure of a beach paradise.
Desert, he thinks.

He has an appetite and the attention span of a fly,
              but a woman shades his side and
he is bound to her. Feelings, he muses, recalling
              the Girl Who Smelled of Cloud and Sky,
are long stretches in the merciless sun and, love, sunglasses
              that slide off of your face.

*first published in Random Sample Review


Putting the Mountain Back in the Molehill

Exaggeration is used for focus.
              Let me put it to you this way:
a surgeon inflates a patient’s abdomen,

organs stark against the gas. A bladder distended
              with water is not an ovary, and so
hyperbole sharpens perspective. I thought

I had buckets of love for you, a gallon of clown
              confetti, but I have found it’s only eight ounces,
of which a teaspoon is left. Having been

lovers, we have more and less.
              If it is not this pain, there’s another.
Not this joy, another. Sometimes

smoke is not fire but what’s left,
              a last ember watched out of fear
not desire to make sure the house

won’t burn down. A last duty before sleep.
              But, I don’t want to talk about it and, having
said so, can think of nothing else. Things.

Things! Things in their thingy-ness
              are kind of personal. And so the reverse
is true: what I have locked out

has seized the cottage, but you will not be
              the wolf I tuck in. You cannot be the friend I call.
Really, you can only be nothing at all.

*from chapbook The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press)


person Stephanie L. Harper, two poems

Stephanie L. Harper grew up in California, attended college in Iowa and Germany, completed graduate studies and gave birth to her first child in Wisconsin, and lives with her husband and children and writes poetry in Oregon. Her debut poetry chapbook, This Being Done (Finishing Line Press), will be released in June 2018.



when the glacial lake outburst

flood scored the dawn of her


bones in the earth

she was meant to be everything

everything                       other than this

bottleneck of basalt
frozen within
this stenosis
the tributaries—

the cascades un-sung
the millennia—

this                                     distended


mantle     of belly     & breasts     burbled to pitch



Had you been capable of opening
your eyes       you’d have seen

that the obvious upside
to my unique   coalescence

of scaly-headed tail         caprid skull
leonine belly       & three belching maws

was my reliable prescience
to forewarn of cataclysm       but

you never ceased to make monstrosity
your sticking point

Even your Lycean forbears’ stories
of the diaspora—           of how my children’s

fetal cells drifted from my womb       endured
the eons amidst the vessel & sinew landscapes

of aliens         & were ultimately delivered
to their new         craggy homeland beyond

the blood-brain cordon         to spawn a nation
of discrete selves as rare & fierce as their maker—

have failed       it seems       to inspire
your affection…

Was the transgression of my seething
once upon a time beneath your collective

hunkering in the basalt’s depths
so heinous as to name me     Anathema

so aberrant as to exonerate
your assassin’s sullying of Pegasus?

Though murder carapaces your shuddering
heads from my ash cloud’s descent

yet know this:       your lost-wax fairytales
have no more tempered the face of who I am

than cast the specter from the dark
hell-fire you dream:       that yet I am