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Sentimental Poetry edited by Anthony Watkins



A pair of fitted shoes,
a bucket of clean water,
a hot meal to fill your belly.

My baby cousin sits on
a throne of toys,
with her pack loyally
waiting to defend her.

Let me remind you of the women
whose wrists were fractured
and tongues severed by
the shadow of a man.

And their children who walk
five miles a day
for a drink of something
mistaken for water.

I would die for her,
the fragile beast
frolicking on the ground
at my feet.

Family: a group of people
with a web of love
that always seems to grow
like a field of dandelions.

They labour for love,
they sacrifice for family,
we all die for each other.


The Last Day


We walked down the street alone,
in a bubble with only each other.

Unaware of the nosy eyes
exploring our bodies from
the safety of a passing car.
Unaware of the sniper
shuffling behind us,
preparing to shoot us
as though we were celebrities.
He wanted to take the perfect,

fatal shot.
The bullets appeared on every
social media platform,
and they lodged
in both
of our hearts.

Our love was tainted with shame,
and that was the last day
I held her hand in public.



Her broken wing beat
against the rattling walls
of the confining cage.

She threw her body
against the door,
ripping herself to pieces.

She pecked at the lock
for months, until the
echos exploded.

She beat herself
with the hope for

until all she knew
was life as a helpless

When they came for her,
she was too far gone.
She couldn’t be saved:

her mind had wavered,
her spirit had withered,
her soul had crumpled.

She would remain in
her beloved cage,
forever a jailbird.


Mikaela Norkus, a high school student in Aurora, Ontario, her poetic ramblings can be found at She uses poetry as a way of documenting her own life, as well as the lives of people who are unable to do so for themselves. When not writing poems, she is snowboarding down steep slopes throughout the winter season, watching Netflix, or leaping into a good book.

Heart Sounds


I listen to my heartbeat like a golden oldie.

I listen to my heartbeat, which seems to come and go.

I listen to my heartbeat, its own dark story.

I listen to my heartbeat and its undertow.


I listen to my heartbeat like distant thunder.

I listen to my heartbeat quicken, then slow.

I listen to my heartbeat, its murmur, its secret.

I listen to my heartbeat and pretend I know.



Articles of Faith


I put my trust

in the small and slow.

Things that take

a long time to know.


Roots, seeds,

the eye of the crow.

The ripe fruit,

the nodding rose.


Time passes.

The quicker it goes,

the more

the ordinary glows.

Antonia Clark has published a chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors, and a full-length poetry collection, Chameleon Moon. Her poems have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including 2River View, The Cortland Review, Eclectica, The Pedestal Magazine, and Rattle. A medical writer and editor, she has also taught poetry and fiction writing and manages an online poetry forum, The Waters. Toni lives in Vermont, loves French picnics, and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion.



“it will change you forever” 
i hear for the millionth time 
i smile politely, hand resting on my belly 
eager to slip away, hide from the attention 
people have babies every day 
i think to myself 
and i really don’t believe 
every one of them has changed 
all that much

six months later 
i sit in front of the tv 
the christmas tree to my left 
illuminates my apartment in shades of 
red, gold, green 
the colors of holiday cheer, a beacon 
of happiness for the dreary winter 
she sits in my lap 
completely fascinated by the lights 
dancing and twirling on the walls 
a tear runs down my cheek 
as i smile at her 
“you are my sunshine...” 
i softly hum 
to my tiny, living, breathing beacon 
of happiness for this grey world

i never was one to cry very often 
i think as i sit in my car at 
noon, time for lunch 
tears stream down my face 
like silent echoes of emptiness 
i wish she was here to enjoy 
this first beautiful spring day with me 
i call the babysitter to check in 
“please tell her mommy loves her” i request 
wiping the remnants of sadness from my face 
as i walk back to my desk

she creeps into the room 
wearing her mischievous smile, 
peeking around corners 
i am dumbfounded for a moment 
how is it even possible that my baby 
my tiny little baby 
is walking 
i feel the tears coming 
burning in the corners of my 
eyes at the thought that she is 
no longer a baby 
but my nostalgia is interrupted suddenly 
when he jumps out 
“ahhhhhh i gotcha!” 
he says as he grabs her by the waist 
and she erupts into a fit of giggles 
“da!” and she points to be set down 
so she can turn around while he hides again 
i once thought it would be impossible for me to 
love him any more than i already did 
until she came 
and i watched him fall 
in love with her

sweet Madelyn 
my beautiful daughter 
you have changed me 
but not in a 
hey did you do something different 
with your hair 
kind of way, like i had thought 
all those months ago

more of a

part of my heart, part of my soul 
walking around the living room 
sharing her crackers with the dogs 
while her cartoon sings playfully in 
the background 
as i stare at her 
and suddenly feel the desire to cry 
happy tears 
as i do so often 
ever since she arrived

kind of way


Kathleen Briggs

Sonnet for Dean


Because our lives were blessed with tender grace

inspired by a father’s love that grew

to shine within his children’s happy face

each hour spent more beautiful and true

unbound by earthly promises to fly

beyond the breadth of stars and mortal things

Invincible as angels dance on high

and gallant as the glory heaven sings.

Because our hearts are burdened with a fate

too great for even one to understand.

We must remember destiny won’t wait

and know he walks beside us hand in hand

he’ll whisper through the verdant trees and streams

forever in our hearts and in our dreams

With a Broken Heart


I read his note that said “my brother’s death

is imminent,” advising every friend

and distant kin before the final breath.

I’m sorry for your loss, I wrote, hit send;

without a way make to amends. The hand

is quicker than the eye and second thoughts

proved axioms don’t lie. An ampersand

could follow with some blue forget-me-nots− 

or prayers of sorrow offered, if unread;

I’m sorry for your loss?! What’s left to say

when something so definitive is said?

There’s nothing more pathetic or cliché,

excuse me for my premature goodbye

I’m sorry for your loss, needs no reply.

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is an eight-time Pushcart nominee and a four-time Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of 5 collections of poetry, along with several chapbooks, and the winning chapbook in The Red Ochre Chapbook Contest, “Before I Go to Sleep”, Her latest collections slated for publication this year with Main Street Rag are “An Ode to Hope in the Midst of Pandemonium” and “ In the Making of Goodbyes”, Clare Songbird Press. Her work has appeared in a wide variety of online, print magazines and anthologies.  She is the Assistant Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson.



They say I sow unruly seeds,

talk gibberish to trees,

I give their children gifts of weeds.


They see me circling ‘round the cabbages,

bowing to the Brussels sprouts,

poking with a stick, just like a kid,


and once, they swear,

I worked all night upon my knees,

pushing rocks around, digging deep.



They whisper, thinking I don’t hear.

They wink, and think that I don’t see.

They sleep, they do not know the dark.


I wander in my garden skeined with memories of green,

listening like an animal to winds begin and cease.

I feel my way along the roots and nubs of things.

My fingers cultivate a wilderness of need.


I’m using all the tools I own.

I’d build a wall to end their watch.

I would but time ticks down . . . .

Hands I cannot still, unearthing stone . . . .


Night birds tend me, I am not alone.

Berries ripen while I wait.

Leaves come early, fruit comes late.




I squandered winter, wanting spring.

What meaning should I give to crows on snow?

I only felt the weather turning cruel.

Naked branches pleading with an empty sky

I saw as metaphor

For cold so deep no words could say.


And when spring came

I raged against the rain:

“Don’t ruin my day!”

Might as well tell the sun

To shine on your parade.

And what about the sun ?

When river’s green turned gold

I feared its shadows, let the gold

Slip through my hands.                                  


I envied birds their wings.

Their music filled the sky.                 

They could have taught me how to sing.


I dared the waves.

“Don’t take my castle in the sand!”

I didn’t hear their old refrain:

Next time build on higher ground.


Is where I’m standing safe?

I thought I felt it shake.

No consolation came.

We live in earthquake country.

There is no escape.


I tried to count the stars.

The stars just winked, as if to tease.

The lights I saw have ceased.


I argued with the sky.

”How far? How wide?

The sky went on and on . . . .

I tried again. “And then?”

The sky grew tired of me.

And I grew tired of listening in the dark.


As if the moon would always light my way . . .                                  

The moon smiled down.

But when it’s hidden, or it’s new,

We’re on our own.


I begged for time.

It ran away from me. 

This is all we get.

Don’t waste your days of grace.




Uneasy in my lethargy,

I’ll call in sick, a kid again,

This green and growy day.


Cat’s in the closet, popping her litter,

Fat poems ‘round the corner,

Ready to burst. Hurray!


I’ll dance in happy socks,

I’ll pogo –stick my way to the zoo!

Learn Italian, fly to Paris, or Brazil.


That boy with droopy pants

gets born again

and in the Dollar Store, there’s joy.


Spring! A bird pooped on my head!

Release the meter-maid!

Declare a holiday! Give the pigeons amnesty

Even though they foul the square

And yes they’re dirty but I love their birdiness.


Today I love everyone,

Even lady poets with three names

Even my neighbor’s dog sniffing at my crotch

Yes even that old guy counting out pennies in the express line.

Oh blowy day when anything might happen:

Maybe I’ll meet Mr. Right in Trader Joe’s . . . .

Find the winning ticket in a pocket at the Goodwill . . . .

Have an epiphany while eating a fish taco.


Oh I could live forever in this day!


Sun pokes its fingers in my face . . . .

Possibilities  blossom, words bloom on trees,

trailing leaves in a filigree of light.


Beyond this neighborhood the distances are far.

I want to walk and walk and not turn back.



Miriam D. Aroner is a children’s writer, having published three children’s books. A number of her poems have been published, including her latest, online in the Boston Poetry Magazine.

Kelly Writers House
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