Humana Obscura Issue #04 (Spring/Summer 2022)

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LOST IN A DAYDREAM, SASHA JIMENEZ FRENCH


CONTENTS POETRY Mukund Gnanadesikan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Subnivean Zone 9 Andre Peltier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Snowdrops 10 Corinna Board. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Copper Beech 15 Skye Rozario . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Of Snow and Sand 13 Byron Wilson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aspiration 14 We’ve Got It All Wrong 17 Habit 61 R. Nikolas Macioci . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Tease of Spring 18

SPRING/SUMMER

2022

ISSUE

#04

Anna Laura Reeve . . . . . . In the Garden, Watching the Storm Come In 20 Sarah Rossiter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Weather 21 Christie Buchovecky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Overcast 23 City Poor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Seafare 27 Stan Sanvel Rubin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cap-de-Mer 28 Subhaga Crystal Bacon . . . . . . . . . . . . Lessons in Survival: Bridge Creek 32 Ireland Thomas. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Goodbye 33 Kimberly Kling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rivers 35 Alisha Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My Soul Crawls Back to the Riverbank 36 Jenny L. Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anadromous 39 Joyce Meyers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Falling to Spring 40 Jaya Avendel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bloom 43 Jerome Gagnon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Notes from Snow Mountain 44 Sophia Joan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Somewhere On This Hike 50 The Great Sand Dunes 55 Jocelyn Ulevicus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Drama of Getting Caught 51 Keep Running Across the Long Forgotten 106 Karen Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sand Dune Forest 56 Steal the World 80 Doug Stone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . At Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park 59 Sarah Jeannine Booth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . And Yet, The Woods 60 Ashley Lawrence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ghosts Now 62 Margaret Doyle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cancer Moon 65 Mary Anna Scenga Kruch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moon Phases 66 Samantha R.S. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two Poems 69 Nicole M. Mutchler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Today, For What It Is 72 Tiffany Tuchek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Haiku 75 Ian William L. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sacred 76 SPRING/SUMMER 2022 ISSUE 4

ISSN: 2693-5864 (Online) ISSN: 2693-5856 (Print) ©2022 Humana Obscura, an imprint of Bri Bruce Productions. All Rights Reserved. All rights to all original artwork, photography, and written works belongs to the respective owners as stated in the attributions. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and publisher. Founding Editor-in-Chief BRI BRUCE Front Cover: Sphere by Melanie Schoeniger Back Cover: On a Blank Shore by Meg Venter

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George Looney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bas-Relief Is No Relief At All 79 Julia Travers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . For Birder Me 81 Kayla Adara Lee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cattle Song 82 Hailey Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fledge 83 Karolyn Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pondering Bird Songs 84 Bronwen R. C. Evans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Sighting 86 K. L. Johnston . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trailhead 87 Luke Levi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wind and Stars 90 Dick Altman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hunger 91 Fayth Simmons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Green for Green 92 Stelios Mormoris . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mimosa 95 Janis La Couvée . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Imagine a Spring 96 Michelle Meyer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prodigal Garden 99 On an Overcast Day 100 Rachel Jacobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Memorare 103 Kimberly McAfee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sweet Scents 104 B. L. Bruce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Smell of Lemon Blossom 105 Sienna Taggart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Poppies 109 Kim McKellar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Waiting 110 Jaqi Holland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dry Spell 113 Jean Tuomey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Magical Thinking 114

PROSE Tesni Clare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Notes on Attentiveness 38 F. Scott Giffin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Autumn’s Descent 48

ART Melanie Schoeniger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sphere FRONT COVER Sasha Jimenez French . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lost in a Daydream 2 Daria Panichas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Caught from the Bridge 8 Lisa Jean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Walking on Clouds 12

ABOUT HUMANA OBSCURA Humana Obscura is an independent literary magazine that seeks to publish the best of new, emerging, and established writers and artists in what we like to call the “nature space.” As our name suggests—”obscured human”—we focus on poetry, short prose, and art where the human element is concealed but not entirely absent, aiming to revive the genre of nature-centric creative work in today’s modern world. Humana Obscura’s mission is to publish and promote the best nature-focused work of today’s voices and talents, seeking work that is unexpected, real, evocative, yet subtle, with strong imagery and sense of place. The publication’s intention is to inspire readers and enrich their lives while providing an inclusive space for elevating the voices and creative work of its contributors. Founded in 2020, Humana Obscura is published online and in print twice yearly, and features work by artists and writers from around the world.

Walk With Me 73 A New Beginning 111 Bryan Stewart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shapeshifting 15 Lonely Tree 16 Ursa Major 26 Maureen Bennett . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Balancing Descent 19 Ornamental Glory 98 Ethel Voronkova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Head in the Clouds 22

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Vian Borchert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peach Waves 24 Peach Haze 25 Aaron Lelito . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intrinsic Enigma 29 Jenny Brown . . . . . . . . . . . Tide Pool Halo As Seen from the Sky, Part II 30 Susan G. Sancomb . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Digging in the Deep 34 Vibrations 37 Early Sedges 41 Genevieve Leavold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Shifting Ground 42 Grounding 97 Erin Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Blue Monday 45 Philip Arnold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dead Horse Point III 46 Dead Horse Point II 47 Liliana Martinez Saucedo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We Seek Magic 49

SUBMISSIONS Humana Obscura accepts poetry, prose and short fiction, and art. Submissions are considered on a rolling basis and can be sent through the publication’s online submission manager at www.humanaobscura.com/submit. INQUIRIES

Margaret Dries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Big Sky II 52

For questions regarding submissions, or for general inquiries, please contact:

Pete Britz. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . In a Gentle Dawn 54

editor@humanaobscura.com

Wild Nectar 115

We Seek Clarity 57 S. J. Hunt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Forest Lights 58 Christopher Paul Brown . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dancing Trees II 63 B. L. Bruce . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moon 64 Sugar Pine 71

CONNECT Twitter: @humanaobscura Instagram: @humanaobscura

Retura Claar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Spontaneous Combustion 67 Olivia Juliet Taylor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . White Sands 68 Whitney River . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Beech Leaves I 70 Meg Venter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . By Morning 74 Jesse 102 On a Blank Shore BACK COVER Martha Nance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . After the Rain 77 Vinita Agrawal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Birds That Visited Me in Delhi 78 Laura M. Terry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ozarks Landscape, Late Summer 85 Esther Fisher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marigold Monarch 88

SUBSCRIBE Subscribe to Humana Obscura online at www.humanaobscura.com

Roger Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fallen Angels 89 Tiffany Fraser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Partners 93 Jasmin Javon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Transparency 94 Buffy Davis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Tulips, Movement 101 Fragmented Ocotillo 112 Jocelyn Ulevicus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Wild Riot 107 Other Wonders 108

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Humana Obscura is made possible in part by a team of volunteer editors and readers. Sincerest thanks for your efforts and contributions.

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featured contributors COVER ARTIST MELANIE SCHOENIGER Melanie Schoeniger is a visual artist living south of Munich, Germany. She studied media design and had a career as an art director for a number of years. Traveling the world she fell even deeper in love with the beauty of nature fascinated by the abundance of rainforests and coral reefs. With her art she intends to shine a light on the wonder of life. Her cover image is part of her multi-award winning octopus garden artivism series, transforming her grief about the loss of coral reefs into agency, imagining a life sustaining future where plants contribute to a new form of underwater life. Check out her work at www.ma-vida.com or on Instagram @_ma_vida.

FEATURED ARTIST SUSAN G. SANCOMB Susan G. Sancomb has lived near the ocean in southern Rhode Island for most of her life. Her interest in art and photography started at a very early age, and quickly developed into a passion during college at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Photography became her primary medium for more closely looking at the world and capturing the people, places, and objects that drew her. It is nature, and more specifically water, that is her consistent inspiration. Sancomb can frequently be found photographing the sandy shorelines, rocky coasts, tidal pools, and various rivers in her corner of New England.

FEATURED POET BYRON WILSON Byron Wilson grew up in a tiny town on the northern California coast where he enjoyed unfettered access to some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring landscapes on Earth. He graduated with an English literature degree from Chico State and he currently lives in Oregon, where he works as a marketing copywriter for a toy company. Nature often serves as the impetus for introspection in his work, exposing the many nuanced tensions inherent in the idea of self. He is working to complete his first collection. Follow him on Twitter @olddelusion.

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INSIDE THE FRONT COVER LOST IN A DAYDREAM, SASHA JIMENEZ FRENCH SASHA JIMENEZ FRENCH is a Cuban American artist making work throughout Canada creating oversaturated portraits, memories of landscapes, and physically demanding movement work layered with personal narratives. She is currently a Resident Artist at the Tett Centre in Kingston. French’s visual practice is informed by themes of identity, displacement, and her exhaustive movement work. Through her current series “Plants You Can’t Kill,” she searches for the resiliency of the body in a fragile stem ecosystem, investigating themes on what it means to have and to be a body in the current landscape.

ON THE BACK COVER

ON A BLANK SHORE, MEG VENTER MEG VENTER is an East Coast native, and began splashing her Canon along the Atlantic Ocean. These days, she can be found chasing sunlight throughout the California coastline. Her lens points to the beauty of the local landscape and explores the nostalgia and memory found within it.

ABOUT THE EDITOR BRI BRUCE (B. L. Bruce) is an award-winning poet and Pushcart Prize nominee once deemed the “heiress of Mary Oliver.” With a bachelor’s degree in literature and creative writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz, her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and literary publications. A recipient of the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize and the PushPen Press Pendant Prize for Poetry, she is the author of four books: The Weight of Snow, 28 Days of Solitude, The Starling’s Song, and Measures. In addition to writing, Bruce is a painter and photographer. Follow her on Twitter @the_poesis and on Instagram @thepoesis.

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CAUGHT FROM THE BRIDGE, DARIA PANICHAS

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THE SUBNIVEAN ZONE MUKUND GNANADESIKAN

Between icy tundra and frosty air, polar winds drop fragmentary clues in the trail of a snowshoe hare. The white blanket unravels in springtime, and newly naked earth gives no concealment. The snowy owl scans his demesne, swoops down upon the vole. Winter’s shortened calendar loosens the lichen’s grip. What flourishes enwrapped in ice dies swiftly at first thaw.

MUKUND GNANADESIKAN is a novelist, poet, and physician who lives in Northern California. His first novel, Errors of Omission, was released in 2020. Recent poetry can be seen in Poetry Quarterly, Remington Review, Concrete Desert Review, and Moss Puppy. DARIA PANICHAS’s style is clean and direct yet evocative and sometimes otherworldly. Panichas’s photographs are meditations on mutable moments, such as the swell of a crowd or the quick flicker of an animal’s eyes, as well as unassuming things—rocks and ice, fallen trees, dried-up plants, winter geese—that often escape notice, but with the warmth of attention will yield whole hidden worlds. By distilling her humble subjects into unexpected, graceful new forms, they morph into shapes and scenes that often provoke fascinating associations and memories among viewers. See more of her work at www.panichas.com or on Instagram @dariapanichas.

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SNOWDROPS ANDRE PELTIER

In early spring, tiny petaled snowdrops push through frozen Michigan earth. Signaling the vernal equinox. Tiny: like a poem, like a frozen Michigan prayer.

ANDRE PELTIER (he/him) is a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with his wife and children. A Pushcart nominee, his poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Version 9 Magazine, About Place, Novus Review, Wingless Dreamer, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently he has had a poem accepted by Lavender and Lime Literary. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books. Follow him on Twitter @aandrefpeltier.

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COPPER BEECH CORINNA BOARD

This tree is not dead, it has been sleeping. Look a little closer: next to the old leaves, new buds are ripening. There is life teeming through the labyrinth of bark, lichen blooms in the cracks; stippling the surface with tiny explosions of colour: ochre, fern, moon. Snowdrops grow in clumps between web-laced roots. At dawn, the tree’s song spills from the throat of a robin, who sings the sky awake from its outstretched branches.

CORINNA BOARD lives in a village in the Cotswolds and works in Oxford, where she teaches English as an additional language.She loves her job, although she often wishes she had more time to write poetry. Her main sources of inspiration are art, nature, and mythology. She can be found on Instagram @parole_de_reveuse and on Twitter @CorinnaBoard.

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WALKING ON CLOUDS, LISA JEAN

LISA JEAN is a self-taught artist and began creating in childhood. Currently she works with watercolor, acrylic ink, dry pigment, alcohol ink, or a mix. As an adult, Jean earned her master’s in counseling and kept her artistic endeavors private aside from a few juried art shows in California and Oregon. From her peaceful Solace Series to her vibrant Ink Abstracts, Jean’s work threads light and its relationship with elements of nature within her creations. Recent works are showing at Obie’s The Gordon and Maude Kerns Gallery in Eugene and at L-Jean.com

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OF SNOW AND SAND SKYE ROZARIO

When I stand under the lamplight, alone in the dark, the sky that pinkish gray like a grapefruit, only then do I realize the snow doesn’t make a sound. It was me: my boots, my breath. The hum of the wind, snow blowing like sand across a beach. There’s an ocean here, too.

SKYE ROZARIO is a recent graduate from the Harvard Divinity School, where she earned her MA in Theological Studies, and she is originally from Iowa. She studies English, Humanities, the Study of Religion, and Creative Writing, and is currently recentering herself on her inner passions, writing and art.

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ASPIRATION BYRON WILSON

To be a stream frozen solid at the surface. Underneath the ice, irrepressible water courses forward from one unknown place to another.

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SHAPESHIFTING, BRYAN STEWART

BRYAN STEWART is an emerging artist based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, whose practice is based on observation and transformation of the normal to the noteworthy. Using both digital and film photography, Stewart’s wideranging subjects are tied together by an overarching curiosity to notice, experiment, and share. His latest work explores the emotional ups and downs of a pandemic winter, the way in which the natural world can reflect our inner worlds.

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LONELY TREE, BRYAN STEWART

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WE’VE GOT IT ALL WRONG BYRON WILSON

Consider the peace of trees in winter. Resolutely undressed in spite of the cold, mimicking death until conditions are right to grow.

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THE TEASE OF SPRING R. NIKOLAS MACIOCI

The label of winter still sticks to each day like a tagged warning to forestall the anticipation of spring. Cold spells, like inescapable hands, grip the dogwood’s new growth. Lacerating March winds lash green hints of the tree’s buds. A forecast of snow clears store shelves, bread and milk suddenly priceless. By morning, streets and yards thicken six inches. Deep white appears fastidious, otherworldly, a mask hiding faces of hyacinths, minuscule tendrils of daffodils. At best, these mid-days of March lack the brazen force of February, bring a hint of green to grasses. Tomorrow, crews will plow, spew moon-colored streets into the air in an explosion of silvery flakes, clear the way for the meek emergence of March’s demise.

R. NIKOLAS MACIOCI earned a PhD from The Ohio State University. OCTELA, the Ohio Council of Teachers of English, named Macioci the best secondary English teacher in the state of Ohio. He is the author of two chapbooks as well as nine books. Critics and judges called his first book, Cafes of Childhood, a “beautifully harrowing account of child abuse,” but not “sentimental” or “self-pitying,” an “amazing book,” and “a single unified whole.” Cafes of Childhood was submitted for the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. In 2021, he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and The Best of the Net award. More than two hundred of his poems have been published here and abroad in magazines and journals, including Chiron, Concho River Review, The Bombay Review, and Blue Unicorn.

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BALANCING DESCENT, MAUREEN BENNETT MIXED MEDIA, 24”X24”

MAUREEN BENNETT is a visual artist who explores the natural world in Northern New Jersey, with drawing, painting, mixed media, and photography. Her art is deeply personal and at the same time universal within the greater context of the global climate crisis. As an activist, Bennett has been awarded numerous grants to use art as a transformative force for social change. She was the creator of the global art project Peace by Piece, involving thousands of participants and 50+ exhibitions. Maureen is the recipient of the NYC Circle of Mercy Award and currently the Artist-in-Residence for the Oyster Point Hotel.

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IN THE GARDEN, WATCHING THE STORM COME IN ANNA LAURA REEVE

A green lynx spider rests atop echinacea bristles, spined legs drawn up into a crouch. Distant thunder unrolls its rug, and to the east, dark rays of rain shine from slate clouds. I hope the winds aren’t bad. My three rows of Cherokee corn are chest-high and still unhilled. A vee of Canada geese heads toward the storm, talking urgently amongst itself, and cumulostratus begins to thin above me, revealing the thunderhead, summit impossibly high, lit blush and apricot in the dawn, appearing like Mount Mitchell on a beneficent day.

ANNA LAURA REEVE is a poet living and gardening near the Tennessee Overhill region, historic land of the Eastern Cherokee. She’s working on her first poetry collection. Previous work of hers has appeared or is forthcoming in Jet Fuel Review, Canary, The Racket Journal, Cutthroat, Fourteen Hills, and others. Read more at www.annalaurareeve.com

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WEATHER SARAH ROSSITER

Up north where mountains hug the sky, weather as unpredictable as life erupts without warning, trees twisting in wind, the sun extinguished, the squall slams the river, pounding, piercing, needling water into sheets of hammered steel. There’s no escape, no accounting for what might happen next, plague, flood, fire, the door that opens in the night, the frozen fear, the forced forgetting, the squall passing as swiftly as it came, as if it never happened, as if it never could.

SARAH ROSSITER‘s publications include a novel, a short story collection, and a poetry chapbook. Poems have appeared in a variety of journals and periodicals including The Sewanee Review, The North American Review, The Southern Review, Nimrod, Sojourners, and The New England Anthology.

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HEAD IN THE CLOUDS, ETHEL VORONKOVA ACRYLIC ON RAW CANVAS 48’’ X 36’’

ETHEL VORONKOVA is an emerging stylized abstract artist based in Ontario, Canada. Since pursuing art full time in 2017, Voronkova has participated in many exhibitions and shows, as well as gained representation at Partial Gallery and The Art Gallery of Hamilton. Voronkova’s work is inspired by nature, history, and life’s ephemeral moments that the artist translates through colors, forms, and lines on raw canvas.

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OVERCAST CHRISTIE BUCHOVECKY

Home is loving a thunderstorm in summer, panting in oppressive heat, stifled, exhausted, able to do nothing but close your eyes against the sun; try to hide in the shade. The anxious excitement as you notice the leaves twist, bare themselves to the sky, waiting— the whole world caught on an inhale. Watching the clouds roll in, on edge, every cell aware heaven is about to split open, unsure if it will cry out in pain—or rage yet welcoming it, this certainty: everything is about to change.

CHRISTIE BUCHOVECKY returns to poetry to examine truths we hold within ourselves after over a decade adrift, searching for truth in science and academia. A geneticist in New York City, she devotes her days to finding answers for families caught in the diagnostic odyssey. n the evenings, she can be found enjoying good food, games, and laughter with friends, or curled up on the couch with her husband and cats, notebook in hand.

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PEACH WAVES, VIAN BORCHERT ACRYLIC ON CANVAS

VIAN BORCHERT is an established expressionist artist. Borchert has exhibited in many group and solo exhibitions internationally and is a Notable Alumni from the Corcoran College of Art and Design George Washington University, Washington, D.C. Borchert exhibits in major cities such as New York City, Berlin, London, and Hong Kong and has had her artwork in prestigious places like the United Nations Lobby Gallery in NYC, Art Basel Miami Beach’s Spectrum Miami. Borchert’s art has been featured in press like The Flux Review, ARTPIL, Art Reveal Magazine, Vie Magazine and others. Borchert is an art educator in the D.C. area. Learn more at www.vianborchert.com

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PEACH HAZE, VIAN BORCHERT ACRYLIC ON CANVAS

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URSA MAJOR, BRYAN STEWART

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SEAFARE CITY POOR

Loveless floating wind Endless life on a riptide Hurricane season

CITY POOR is a pen name coined by Tracy A. Miller, a longtime poetry enthusiast and unpublished writer. Miller created City Poor as a reflection of her love for the urban struggle. A long-time city residence and lover of science, the poetry found on City Poor intertwines classical thought and modern elements with the natural world. You can find subtle notes of chemistry, biology, and philosophy throughout each work. Miller is currently working on publishing her first poetry book under City Poor after 25 years of writing and perfecting her craft.

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CAP-DE-MER STAN SANVEL RUBIN

The pomade of the sea runs up the sand, skitters along in a curl. I put my hands in it up to the wrist, leaving a kiss of salt. The promenade of afternoon is done. The naked bronze ones disappear like sharks going somewhere else where they sense new blood. Light elongates in this hour. Everything left to itself is a silhouette of something we can’t see. Do I need to mention who isn’t here to call my name?

STAN SANVEL RUBIN’s poems have appeared most recently in Book of Matches, little somethings, Tar River Poetry and Blue Mountain Review, as well as the anthologies, Abrazos: Dove Tales 10th Anniversary and Moving Images: Poems on Film. Four full-length collections include There. Here. (Lost Horse Press) and Hidden Sequel (Barrow Street Book Prize). He lives on the north Olympic Peninsula.

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INTRINSIC ENIGMA, AARON LELITO

AARON LELITO is a visual artist from Buffalo, New York. In his photographic work, he is primarily drawn to the patterns and imagery of nature. His images have been published as cover art in Red Rock Review, Peatsmoke Journal, and The Scriblerus. His work has also appeared in Barzakh Magazine, LandLocked Magazine, EcoTheo Review, and About Place Journal. He is editor-in-chief of the art and literature website Wild Roof Journal. See more of his work on Instagram @runic_ruminations.

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JENNY BROWN is visual artist working in Providence, Rhode Island, whose primary mediums are drawing and collage. With a focus on visualizing the most lush and ethereal phenomena of the natural world, her collages and drawings are first and foremost celebrations of the ongoing physical and spiritual evolution of our universe. Brown received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2005, and currently works with galleries in New York and metro Boston. Brown also recently finished collaborations with Hudson-Chatham Winery and The Wayfinder Hotel, and was featured in the inaugural issue of Juniper Rag Magazine.

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DETAIL OF TIDE POOL HALO AS SEEN FROM THE SKY, PART II, JENNY BROWN

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LESSONS IN SURVIVAL: BRIDGE CREEK SUBHAGA CRYSTAL BACON

Such abundance here. Water, fierce and loud crushing down the steep drop of rock ledge; rock itself, a whole island of it home to moss and spindly tree, a scatter of offspring that hug its base along the bank. And dotted there, wild carrot, cottonwood. River boils white with spray, turns to green quartzite where it breaks, throws up liquid pearls or wet confetti, a celebration of itself. Here is what water knows: it is all one thing. Winter’s snow, last night’s rain, river, lake, stream. You cannot separate it from itself. Even as it goes, it remains.

SUBHAGA CRYSTAL BACON is the author of two volumes of poetry, Blue Hunger (2020) from Methow Press and Elegy with a Glass of Whisky (2004), BOA Editions. Her book, Transitory, is forthcoming in fall of 2023 from BOA Editions. A Queer Elder, she lives, writes, and teaches on the east slope of the North Cascade Mountains in Twisp, Washington. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in the Limit Experience Journal, Indianapolis Review, Mockingheart Review, and Hare’s Paw. Her work can be found at www.subhagacrystalbacon.com.

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GOODBYE IRELAND THOMAS

The lily pads in the river are dying because someone up the way has poured herbicide in. The fish in the river are dying because without the lilies to conceal their shapes the birds gorge themselves on unsheltered prey. The birds aren’t going to die, but they are going to leave soon because the food source has dwindled from their overeating. Goodbye to what was there. Does someone down the way say goodbye too?

IRELAND THOMAS is a poet and memoirist. Diagnosed at age eight with rare, incurable, and potentially lifethreatening illness Neuromyelitis Optica, she writes to raise awareness of rare illnesses to make sure there’s no more stories like hers. She is a creative writing student at the University of Central Florida enjoying the life she was told she’d never live to see.

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DIGGING IN THE DEEP, SUSAN G. SANCOMB

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RIVERS KIMBERLY KLING

Rivers run through her— torrents of muddy water fiercely pummeling rock and silt, beaten up, battered, eroded over time— clearing the channels for calmer weather. When moved, it settles into crystal clear pools of reflection, sparkling with wonder and hope and passion again. There is beauty in all of it— the storm and the calm. Raging waters. Serene sanctum. Rivers know these things just as wild women do.

KIMBERLY KLING’s first poem was published when it was selected for an award in 7th grade, and she didn’t start writing poetry again until 2017. Ever since, poems have been flowing out and taken on a life of their own. Kling lives in the high desert of Arizona where she explores homesteading with her family, adventures within the rivers and mountains, and creates herbal magic with the plants she grows and tends. The Earth is her informant of life’s lessons, and it is through the alchemy of observing the world around her and studying herself that her poems take life.

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MY SOUL CRAWLS BACK TO THE RIVERBANK ALISHA BROWN

When I let go of it all my soul crawls back to the riverbank and sits, looking out across the green water with its skimming water spiders and sinking shadows. If the wind is still, I can throw a rounded stone across the surface and watch the light return my face to me over and over again. Even after everything, it is the face of a child. The birds sing.

ALISHA BROWN is an emerging queer poet living on unceded Yuin Country, Australia. She recently placed second in the 2021 Woorilla Poetry Prize and has been shortlisted for the South Coast Writers’ Centre 2022 Poetry Award. You can find her words in the Australian Poetry Anthology Vol. 9, Baby Teeth Journal, Aniko Press, Art Collector Magazine, and the South Coast Writers’ Centre anthology Legacies.

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VIBRATIONS, SUSAN G. SANCOMB

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NOTES ON ATTENTIVENESS TESNI CLARE

I have started noticing things. Started to feel a little more spacious. Stichwort and celandine tumble through the hedgerows, as they always did, except now they have names, and an attentive audience of one. I walk for hours now and no longer feel the rush. I drift along the sunken path, swollen and slowed by newfound allure for everything living. I walk basked in the burgundy glow of copper beach, twist through gnarled hawthorn stumps, tiptoe across oceans of soft wild mint. I have been noticing long enough to notice things come and go, notice the fading of one season to the next. Fairy-trumpets of bluebells wilt before they’ve barely made a show –I think of the ongoingness of that which accepts ephemerality, whilst we die in our struggle to endure. I stop by the river, clambering onto a rocky perch in the middle of the channel. Something has settled in me, something so fragile that I fear walking may shake it loose. I dip my toes in the freezing liquid glass and watch the mallards mingling in the rootwad. I tune in to the mellifluous hiccups of water in a million miniature eddies. I feel the willows weep into the rushes, tickling the river’s foaming surface. There is something virginal and raw and delicious about this encounter with utter presence. And I realise: These are the small hours that we miss. The backwater, the space in between, the softness that is always interrupted. I sit, dead still, as the water flows through me, and at the confluence of movement and stillness, I find peace. I wonder how we lost hold of stillness. How we came to value noise, inundation, speed, superfluity, and stimulation. How we lost touch with our souls. Dissolving into the morphology of the river as the terracotta sun sinks into a milky haze, I feel I can finally breathe again.

TESNI CLARE works in environmental communications and has written articles for a number of magazines, including The Ecologist. She grew up on the rugged coastline of West Wales, UK, and has deep fondness for the Earth. Whilst creative writing is relatively new to her, she is interested in the power of poetry and storytelling in reconnecting people to the landscape.

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ANADROMOUS JENNY L. DAVIS

There are fish who swim headfirst against the current to re-immerse themselves in the tributaries of history who leap over waterfalls entire not for war or glory or even safety but to lay groundwork for the next generation who journey in the opposite direction of what everyone says is the natural course of things who prove that fish can fly that the delineations between salt and fresh water are not as tidy as some might believe and that the drive of even the greatest rivers toward the sea is surmountable who push forward even when— especially when— the future is as fragile as a cluster of eggs

JENNY L. DAVIS is an associate professor of American Indian Studies and Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first poetry collection, Trickster Academy, was published in 2022 from the University of Arizona in the Sun Tracks Series. Her creative work has most recently been published in Transmotion, Anomaly, Santa Ana River Review, Broadsided, Yellow Medicine Review, As/Us, Raven Chronicles, and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance, and exhibited at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

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FALLING TO SPRING JOYCE MEYERS

The years fall away like leaves, like dead epithelial cells, invisible snow of an eternal winter. Bare branches keep their silence while the earth swallows what is left unsaid. Somewhere, a spring. A breeze ripples the water, chickadees chirp, and everything in bloom. Time walks lightly over the earth, crushing no blade of grass. We meet for a moment in this silence though we know the drifting current picks up speed as it flows down the mountain. There is no stopping gravity. The river rushes, collects the silt, dead leaves and branches along the shore. How to hold what passes too fast? All, all washed down, gathered up by the sea, the clouds. Reborn as rain.

JOYCE MEYERS is a former English teacher and lawyer. Her poems have been published in Atlanta Review, The Comstock Review, Slant, Iodine Poetry Journal, Evening Street Review, Glimpse, Xanadu, and Caesura, among others. In 2014, she won the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her collections include The Way Back (Kelsay Books 2017), Shapes of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Wild Mushrooms (Plan B Press, 2007).

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EARLY SEDGES, SUSAN G. SANCOMB

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SHIFTING GROUND, GENEVIEVE LEAVOLD

GENEVIEVE LEAVOLD is a self-taught painter from Somerset, United Kingdom. Leavold uses organic forms found in nature as a source of inspiration for the shapes in her paintings. Her process develops through deep observation of nature and subsequent abstraction of essential qualities of form and colour from the worn, overgrown and overlooked parts of her city to create intuitive, direct paintings and drawings. Her approach to painting is immediacy; working wet colour into wet and layering glazes gives her work its recognisable softness and form. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and the USA, and she has paintings in private and corporate collections worldwide.

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BLOOM JAYA AVENDEL

It bursts forth from beneath my skin a river too long dammed. Rivulets and spark push forth into damp air. Field of gold yesterday’s breathless sunshine pregnant with moisture.

JAYA AVENDEL is a micro-poetess and word witch from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, passionate about life where it intersects with writing and the dreamscapes lost in between. Her writing has appeared in Green Ink Poetry, Black Flowers, and Silver Birch Press, as well as in The Anthropocene Hymnal Anthology (Experiments in Fiction Publishing) and Nothing Divine Dies: The Poetry of Nature (Vita Brevis Press). Find her creative writing guides and further writing at www.ninchronicles.com

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NOTES FROM SNOW MOUNTAIN JEROME GAGNON

After an easy climb, we find ourselves in the cone of the dormant volcano. It might as well be a desert or an abandoned quarry— all shards and gravel, a foil for this unexpected pool, not more than five feet deep and ten feet around, like liquid topaz, like thin blue stationery waiting to be written on. I’ve never seen anything so pristine, without a ripple to disturb it, and question who was here before us, who will come after? It listens, warily, as we circle around it, feet jostling stones as they slide down the banks into water—what remains of winter’s flurries, what remains of the old fury.

Lassen Peak, in Northern California, last erupted in 1921. It was originally known by the name Kohm Yah-mah-nee, or Snow Mountain in Maidu.

JEROME GAGNON is the author of the award-winning collection Rumors of Wisdom and a chapbook, Spell of the Ordinary. His poems and haiku have appeared in a variety of publications, including Poet Lore, Spiritus, Modern Haiku, and Verse Daily. A resident of Northern California, he has worked as a teacher, tutor, and free-lance journalist. Learn more at jeromegagnonblog.wordpress.com

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BLUE MONDAY, ERIN WILLIAMS MONOPRINT

ERIN WILLIAMS is a Black artist and creative currently based in St. Louis, Missouri, specializing in drawing, abstract acrylics, and printmaking. With work that has been featured in various newsletters and sites, Williams has led workshops and painting classes, and is currently earning an MFA in Illustration and Visual Culture at Washington University in St. Louis. Williams also hosts the podcast “In Which I Talk To Artists,” featuring interviews with women artists about their work and inspiration.

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DEAD HORSE POINT III, PHILIP ARNOLD

PHILIP ARNOLD is a visual artist and writer living in New Albany, Ohio. His photography explores atmospheres that accentuate transitional and static features in natural landscapes. His work has appeared in The Hopper, Atticus Review, and Black & White Magazine as a winner in the 2018 and 2020 Pinhole/Plastic Camera category, in addition to juried exhibitions across the country. His essays and poems can be found in Arts & Letters, Southern Humanities Review, Iowa Review, Rattle, Blackbird, and in his poetry collection, The Natural History of a Blade (Dos Madres Press, 2019).

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DEAD HORSE POINT II, PHILIP ARNOLD

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AUTUMN’S DESCENT F. SCOTT GIFFIN

Beneath an autumn sky stained cobalt blue, I hiked down from the summit of North Massive, a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado’s Sawatch range. On its upper flanks—above the elevation where snow can persist year-round—the mountain was flecked with the tatters of winter’s white coat. Ridges sprouted granite. Tumbles of talus hugged slopes and flowed into the alpine tundra a thousand feet below. I had climbed the peak many times: it was near my home. Some ascents had felt easy. More recent ones, less so. Now, firmly entrenched in my sixth decade, I no longer danced atop the rocks as I once did; I stumbled over them. My technique had devolved into lurching downward, hiking poles thrust forward. Glancing up from my mutinous feet, I saw a white speck several hundred feet below, near the spine of an adjoining ridge. Conspicuous against the dull background of gray and brown, it dazzled like the flash of a signal mirror. Then it vanished. I was determined to hike toward it. As I teetered down rivers of fractured quartz and feldspar, I scanned the area where I’d last seen the white apparition. Skirting the base of a cliff, I crossed the bones of a toppled rock spire, exited a shallow gully, and emerged onto a sloping meadow pocked with boulders. Summer green had fled. Alpine flora—vibrant until recently—now lay withered and dormant. The wind rippled brown grasses and rusty red cushion plants. The pungent smell of decomposition swirled. Sunflower husks had faded to tan, and their brittle faces swiveled eastward, not toward the sun, but away from the thunderstorms that threatened from the west. The meadow’s northern edge plunged toward an alpine valley; the opposite side rolled upward to form a ridge to the south; the peak was a dagger thrust to the west. Far above, snow melt dripped; drips became trickles; trickles, a stream. The stream snaked through the meadow and slid over a precipice. I still saw no sign of the apparition. Yellow-bellied marmots—Brodingnagian members of the squirrel family—darted among the rocks as I descended on a series of small terraces and steps. A hawk circled; a marmot trilled a warning; other marmots scampered away like the townsfolk in a Western movie when the gunslinger appears. A sepulchral silence followed.

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Then suddenly, from the far side of the southern ridge, like a boat cresting the horizon, a white bulk emerged: arched back, sturdy shoulders, muscular forelegs, wind-ruffled coat and bearded chin, black horns and nose and eyes. It was Oreamnus americanus, the largest mammal of the high alpine environment—a mountain goat. He raised his head and studied me. His chest expanded and contracted like a bellows. No hurry. No fear. We considered each other—strangers sharing a moment. He lowered his head and shuffled a few steps. Halted. Looked again. He was a solitary male. Mountain goats are agile climbers, climbers who find safety in terrain so steep that predators rarely follow. This mountain goat’s cloven, two-toed hooves gripped the rocks far better than my trail shoes. In the alpine climbing world, I was an amateur; he, a maestro. Even so, I noticed a slight hitch in his gait as if weariness gripped his rear legs. Did a surfeit of years hinder his step? Perhaps, like me, he’d crested life’s peak. Over the years—as more and more steps lay in my wake and those ahead dwindled—youth’s exuberance eroded, exposing the reality long ignored: Everything has an end. When will a scarcity of time prevent entry to high alpine refuges? My father, at age 79, fell heavily while hiking on a paved path. A physical fitness enthusiast, he often exercised four hours a day. Yet, age compromised his balance: an imperfection in the pavement sent him sprawling, shattering his patella and cleaving his chin. His recovery was slow and painful and limited his walks to the most pedestrian of paths. Only two decades separate us. If a crack in the pavement grounded him, despite obsessive physical activity, could I—in twenty years—still climb shifting talus slopes? Years have not muted my desire for remote places and physical challenge; they never will. Climbing and running, cycling and paddling grant access to the wild and isolated. But they only delay the perils of entropy. As I’ve nudged towards obsolescence, my perception of effort remains unchanged, but I move slower for the same level of effort. I don’t feel that I’m slowing. But I am. Normally, I notice life and renewal in the mountains; this day, I saw change. Change lurked in those browned grasses and rusted cushion plants; it clung to

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the dried stalks of alpine sunflowers; it scurried in the frantic search of the agitated marmot preparing for winter hibernation; it wafted on the breeze; it slunk and skulked and crept over rock and into den, along the ridges and over the tundra, on steep cliffs and in flat meadows; it followed in the clumsy steps of an aging man. In the high-country autumn, spring’s memory fades and summer’s vigor stalls. Maybe that is why autumn intoxicates. It is a brief respite before the bitter winter slumber. It is the seasons’ Charon, linking life and death. Framed by a background of soaring granite cliffs, the mountain goat remained still. He embodied strength and perseverance. He’s here now. Some days, he flows over the rocks; other days, he strives to find balance. His existence is defined through the prism of persistence: Keep moving until you can’t. The mountain goat climbs. And so do I. He gave me one last look and ascended the ridge. Mesmerized, I watched his progress until he disappeared, and then I continued, moving through my own autumn.

F. SCOTT GIFFIN enjoys skiing, mountain biking, climbing, adventure racing, and just about anything else in the vertical realm. He also works winters as an adaptive ski instructor at Vail. He received a M.A. in Science Writing at Johns Hopkins University and writes about the places he loves and the changes he is witnessing in the backcountry. He lives in Leadville, Colorado, with his wife and a pack of rescued dogs, most of which are rather large Saint Bernards. LILIANA MARTINEZ SAUCEDO is a Mexican immigrant born in Michoacán, México. Now residing in Los Angeles, California, she continues to develop her style through experimental techniques mixing a variety of mediums including 35mm film, acrylics, oil tinting, and more. Saucedo has shown her work in exhibits and galleries throughout the Los Angeles area and has been published in print in art magazines in both Europe and the US. She curates an Instagram platform highlighting underrepresented film photography narratives and photographers coined “Analog LA.”

WE SEEK MAGIC, LILIANA MARTINEZ SAUCEDO EXPERIMENTAL 35MM FILM SPRING/SUMMER 2022 ISSUE 4

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SOMEWHERE ON THIS HIKE SOPHIA JOAN

The sunset clouds smell like wildfire smoke in the canyon— sorbet in the sky, so sweet you could lick it— the color popping up over the peak. I am trying to figure out where I am on the mountain. Sometimes, it feels like I am deep in the valley, looking up at the mass I am too scared to climb. Other days, I am moments from the first summit: the air thin and chill and light; I can feel the beginning of relief— seconds from the sky, close enough to kiss the sun.

SOPHIA JOAN lives in the mountains, where she writes whenever she can. Her recent work can be found in Denver Quarterly, Jellyfish Review, WOW! Women on Writing, where she placed 3rd in the Q3 2021 Essay Contest, Sledgehammer, Anti-Heroin Chic, Entropy Magazine, and elsewhere.. Her favorite life lessons often come from queer cartoons, and one day she hopes to run her own tea shop.

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THE DRAMA OF GETTING CAUGHT JOCELYN ULEVICUS

The world is burning, the lemon trees are being replaced with mangoes in Sicily and yesterday, I saw a dove perched on the back of a city pigeon—have you ever seen such a thing? The carrying of elegance. I want it to mean something, the way a mountain has a shape / your hip bones cupped beneath my hands / in the hour we have / everything / and the light is still good.

JOCELYN ULEVICUS is an American artist and writer whose work interrogates the transience of being and the hospitality of presence. Her work is either forthcoming or published in magazines such as SWWIM Every Day, The Free State Review, The Petigru Review, Blue Mesa Review, and Humana Obscura, amongst others. Ulevicus is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee and her in-progress memoir, The Birth of a Tree, was shortlisted for the 2019 Santa Fe Literary Award Program. She is currently in Amsterdam completing research for her first collection of poems.

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BIG SKY II, MARGARET DRIES ACRYLIC ON CANVAS

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MARGARET DRIES is a contemporary abstract painter who lives and works in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Her colorful paintings translate nature onto the canvas with active brushstrokes and bold colors. Living in the mountains, by the rivers, and near the oceans provides endless sources of inspiration. Dries has worked as a graphic artist, illustrator, and art director for over thirty years. Follow her on Instagram @SunsetHilStudio. SPRING/SUMMER 2022 ISSUE 4

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IN A GENTLE DAWN, PETE BRITZ

PETE BRITZ lives in Port Alfred, South Africa. His photography of the interface of land, sea, and sky intertwined with his sparse poetry represent a healing journey into the self, where melancholy, sensuality, and a gentle calmness is projected into the beauty of nature.

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THE GREAT SAND DUNES SOPHIA JOAN

Sand mounds melt into breasts, and I understand how nature is a mother. The wind carries the voices away from my ears, and I understand how silence can heal. Sand cuts into my legs— I wonder what it will take away. I imagine the land, full of women, shirtless under the night sky, stars out, nipples up, where all you can see are mounds and mounds of breasts, open and free, safe in her arms, tucked inside the valleys of dunes.

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SAND DUNE FOREST KAREN JONES

I woke in early morning to the cool kiss of the foghorn, wandered alone in filtered light through forested dunes. Mosquitoes clouded about my head, spiraling thrush-song echoed through huckleberry and wax myrtle. The far-off surf hummed steady in my ears. The forest breathed green and open. Light sifted through loose weavings of wild rhododendron and shore pine. I walked a network of trails lacing the understory, where thin layers of moss and pine needles returned to sandy paths under my bare feet. Even thickets and dense tunnels of willow and salal carried an enchantment of airy light, a recollection of the forest’s ancestry, when the warm flanks of its dunes basked in the sun, when the fine grains of its sands drifted loose and free in the wind.

KAREN JONES is a teacher, poet, and life-long learner from Corvallis, Oregon. Some of her recent work has appeared in Cirque Journal, Poeming Pigeon, and Willawaw Journal. Her chapbook, Seasons of Earth and Sky (Finishing Line Press), was published in 2020.

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WE SEEK CLARITY, PETE BRITZ

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FOREST LIGHTS, S. J. HUNT

S. J. HUNT is an archaeologist, writer, photographer, and seasoned traveler. When she’s home, which is rare, she is based in southeast Iowa. Her work takes fragments of reality and twists it into new perspectives, focusing on her experiences in backwoods and her relationship with plants. When practicing photography, she uses mediums of both digital and film. In her writing, she intertwines the natural world with emotion to create a story you can feel.

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AT PRAIRIE CREEK REDWOODS STATE PARK DOUG STONE

In this cathedral of trees, in this sacred sanctuary of shadows, it takes a mind of silence to hear these redwoods grieving for what is lost. Listen deep into the stillness of their world and you can hear them praying for each other, and for the earth, praying for what will survive and what will not.

DOUG STONE lives in Western Oregon. He has written three collections of poetry, The Season of Distress and Clarity, The Moon’s Soul Shimmering on the Water, and Sitting in Powell’s Watching Burnside Dissolve in Rain.

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AND YET, THE WOODS SARAH JEANNINE BOOTH

the mind is prone to wander, to go astray and yet—the woods there are secrets in the trees in the dirt in the lichen there are songs in the buds in the blooms in the sweet and sour fruits there are whispers on the wind carried on a seed and planted in the heart that when watered and held onto for dear life cannot help but bloom

SARAH JEANNINE BOOTH is a poet and third year BFA writing student. Because of an irresistible obsession with forests, nature seeps into most of Booth’s writing. She lives on the endlessly inspiring Vancouver Island in Canada with her husband and golden doodle, Sophie. You can see her work featured/upcoming at blood moon POETRY, Quillkeepers’ Press, and Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art. Connect with her on Instagram @sarahjeanninewrites.

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HABIT BYRON WILSON

Plant the seed deliberately. The roots will spread wide and burrow deep. You can’t undo the initial act, and a lifetime of tending will follow. And know that if it becomes unruly— as habits often do— the only hope you have is to destroy it. But if even a sliver of root remains after you’ve cut back the brambles, pulled every stem, and turned the soil, it will grow again.

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GHOSTS NOW ASHLEY LAWRENCE

Silk vapor reflects spaces between the pines, sap frozen in midnight passings romanticizes migrations south, live for another moon of Jupiter, the coyote wind holds tight

ASHLEY LAWRENCE is a geologist and poet. She works as an environmental protection specialist for the State of Colorado and lives on a peach orchard in the high desert of Palisade. Her work heavily draws from the natural world and is featured in The Film Desert Magazine and has previously appeared in Humana Obscura.

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DANCING TREES II, CHRISTOPHER PAUL BROWN

CHRISTOPHER PAUL BROWN is known for his exploration of the unconscious and the serendipitous. In 2020, his work appeared in fourteen periodicals and two hardcover books. His first photography sale was to the Standard Oil Company of Indiana and his video You Define Single File was nominated for the Golden Gate Award at the 47th San Francisco International Film Festival. He earned a BA in Film from Columbia College Chicago in 1980.

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MOON, B. L. BRUCE

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CANCER MOON MARGARET DOYLE

I’m told to burn something. The cancer full moon is coming. I’m told to surrender, open my heart like an oyster and let the universe drink down my soul at some kind of cosmic happy hour. These moons—the blue, the pink, the blood, the super moon—always asking us to do something when all that is required is their light on our searching faces. With luck, we won’t be alone staring up into the unknowable sky.

MARGARET DOYLE is a graduate of the UBC graduate program in Creative Writing and writes for stage and screen when not writing poems. She was recently featured in an anthology by Sunday Morning by the River and One Sentence Poems. Doyle is currently at work on a collection of poems inspired by exceedingly long walks taken during the pandemic.

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MOON PHASES MARY ANNA SCENGA KRUCH

I wonder if what has been lost in years past matches moon phases: last year sorrow loomed large as autumnal equinox waxed supreme perhaps threw heightened light through the window to blanket my sister with the needed peace to let go. I wonder too if what has been found in January Wolf Moon revealed what survived among us: empowerment to prosper as waning crescent transformed to new and new moon to full.

MARY ANNA SCENGA KRUCH is a career educator and writer, often inspired by the natural world and social justice. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, We Draw Breath from the Same Sky (Finishing Line Press, 2019), and a full-length collection, Grace Notes: A Memoir in Poetry & Prose (Goldfish Press, 2021). Poetry is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Red Wolf Journal, and Wayne Literary Review.

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SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION, RETURA CLAAR

RETURA CLAAR is a designer, visual artist, and emerging writer based in the beautiful Eastern Sierra. Her work explores color, form, and texture inspired by mountain ranges and deserts across the West. She’s showed illustrations and photographs in Denver, has poetry published previously in Humana Obscura and photographs published in The Sunlight Press, Humana Obscura, and Plastic Perspective.

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WHITE SANDS, OLIVIA JULIET TAYLOR OIL ON CANVAS

OLIVIA JULIET TAYLOR (she/her) is a self taught visual artist and independent curator. She is interested in how the themes of mysticism, the natural world, and connections to others and herself present a space to articulate feelings of deep wonder and knowing. She is also the founder, curator, and designer of Not Selected At This Time, a digital publication exhibiting visual artists who are underrepresented in the arts by traditional means. She has been awarded residencies at Cel del Nord in Barcelona, Spain, and Art and Soul in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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TWO POEMS SAMANTHA R.S.

TRAGEDY I do not envy the moon and the Earth, what a tragedy it must be— a love in orbit, never destined to meet.

YOU I look for you before the sun. This is how I know.

SAMANTHA R.S. is a poet, writer, and the author of Running with Daffodils. She was born and raised on the tropical twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Having been raised in an Indo-Trinidadian home with a Muslim mother and a Hindu father, her early love for words was shaped greatly by the works of Rumi, Hafiz, and Tagore. Later, her interest in mythology began refining her writing style. While, for her, poetry has long been a medium for personal healing, Samantha now also uses her art as a way of connecting with the wider world.

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BEECH LEAVES I, WHITNEY RIVER

WHITNEY RIVER‘s poetic drawings and paintings invite the viewer to share her appreciation for the intricate details found in nature. Through close observation and realistic rendering of organic forms, River creates meditative compositions that evoke the human experience. Since graduating from Yale University in 1995, she has shown extensively throughout New England, and her drawings and paintings are represented in many private and corporate collections.

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SUGAR PINE, B. L. BRUCE

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TODAY, FOR WHAT IT IS NICOLE M. MUTCHLER

and sometimes it feels like i have been living the same life for a while now but however unremarkable a single blade of grass pushing through the sticky April mud and however unextraordinary the murky river meandering through modest midwestern hills however bleak the cloudy midwinter sky shadowing frozen earth the grass still sprouts a thousand shades of enduring green the river still rushes purposefully toward greater estuaries and every single cloud decorating the daytime sky will never paint this picture quite the same way ever again

NICOLE M. MUTCHLER is a teacher and poet living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She can often be found writing near a window or on her favorite park bench wondering at the fluidity and cyclicity of the natural world and how it parallels human life and emotion. These relationships are often speculated and reflected upon in her poetry. Read more of her work on Instagram at @NicoleMutchler.

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WALK WITH ME, LISA JEAN

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BY MORNING, MEG VENTER

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HAIKU TIFFANY TUCHEK

escape in nature feel your way through the fresh grass face toward the sunshine

TIFFANY TUCHEK is an emerging writer and animal lover. She is a former elementary teacher with a B.A. in education from Michigan State University. She lives in Michigan with her husband and rescue pets—two dogs and five parrots. Her interests include yoga, gluten-free baking, watercolor, and walks with her family.

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SACRED IAN WILLIAM L.

Early rain falls through memory in rivulets breath takes us as birds.

IAN WILLIAM L. is an aspiring poet living in Melbourne, Australia. Having worked in the legal sector for over a decade, he transitioned during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic to more closely explore his love of the written word and how such depth can be translated from the natural world. He has an affinity for native Australian plants and birds, and these are emblematic in many of his pieces. Outside of his garden, he can be found cultivating a landscape of words on Instagram at @ianwilliaml, or capturing the beauty of the world behind his camera. MARTHA NANCE is a physician in Minnesota with a large front yard full of living things that do not require human beings in order to thrive. She enjoys looking at those things, especially the small things. Her photographs have been published previously in journals including The Tiny Seed Journal, Burningwood Literary Journal, and Iris Literary Journal, among others.

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AFTER THE RAIN, MARTHA NANCE

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THE BIRDS THAT VISITED ME IN DELHI, VINITA AGRAWAL

VINITA AGRAWAL is an award-winning poet and a keen birder. She is the author of four books of poetry, the latest being Two Full Moons. She edited an anthology on climate change in 2020 titled Open Your Eyes (Hawakal) and coedited a yearbook of Indian poetry in English (Hawakal) in June 2021. She is an amateur photographer and is on the advisory board of the Tagore Literary Prize. She is also the poetry editor for Usawa.

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BAS-RELIEF IS NO RELIEF AT ALL GEORGE LOONEY

There’s a red-tail hawk whittling away at a sky gray enough it could be said to need consoling, someone to take it in their arms, say There, there, and promise it won’t always be like this. But it’s not shavings of sky coming down, just rain, and nothing anyone could say to you could make you believe all it would take to make everything right would be to cut away what’s wrong.

GEORGE LOONEY‘s books include the just-released Ode to the Earth in Translation, a collection of stories, The Worst May Be Over, which won the Elixir Press Fiction Award, The Itinerate Circus: New and Selected Poems 1995-2020, the Red Mountain Press Poetry Award-winning What Light Becomes: The Turner Variations, the novel Report from a Place of Burning which was co-winner of The Leapfrog Press Fiction Award, Meditations Before the Windows Fail, the booklength poem Structures the Wind Sings Through, Monks Beginning to Waltz, A Short Bestiary of Love and Madness, Open Between Us, The Precarious Rhetoric of Angels (2005 White Pine Press Poetry Prize), Attendant Ghosts, Animals Housed in the Pleasure of Flesh (1995 Bluestem Award), and Hymn of Ash (the 2007 Elixir Press Fiction Chapbook Award). Looney is the founder of the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Penn State Erie, editor-in-chief of the international literary journal Lake Effect, translation editor of Mid-American Review, and co-founder of the original Chautauqua Writers’ Festival.

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STEAL THE WORLD KAREN JONES

Sneak some things into your pockets. Sunlight on water. The scent of dry sweetgrass. Rooted in the earth, the fragrant stems tremble in a breeze so gentle you can’t feel it on your skin. Don’t forget birdsong. Or these exquisite cones of the ponderosa pine. And the young peregrines— how they spar in blue sky, soar wing-stretched circles above the forest, dive and skim the dunes, turning fast as a flicker of flame. Maybe on a day like today your messenger arrives, tells you, yes, it’s time to say good-bye. On Monday or Thursday, she’ll come, though she knows you’re greedy, forever young. You’ve got more trails to hike, waves to catch, rivers to run. Steal the world. How can there be a better one?

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FOR BIRDER ME JULIA TRAVERS

Unname the birds unpocket them from certainty go back to when we noticed them not with an utterance silent, whispered, claimed but a visual reception, a common presence in a space the many moments when we began to call them names some terms gained fluency across the town around the planet some were serious, taxonomic names can be magic making names can be love songs and tokens of friendship but go back, before even before bird see how in shared air, unclassified, unheld by syllables they bloom so close

JULIA TRAVERS (she/they) is a writer, artist and teacher in Virginia, U.S.A. She grew up near the Chesapeake Bay and lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Travers writes poetry, fiction, essays, and news. Their creative works are published with Short Édition, Fish Publishing, Bowery Poetry, Rattapallax, On Being/ American Public Media, Ecological Citizen, The Poetry Society of Virginia (which awarded her two first place poetry awards), and others. She was recently awarded a Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Poet-Author Fellowship. Find their work at juliatravers.journoportfolio.com, and on Twitter @traversjul.

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CATTLE SONG KAYLA ADARA LEE

between coast and road, in seaside pastures, water buffaloes bathe in mournful temper. they weave astray between moon gates carved into stilted cabins, like birdhouses for birds long gone. the terns fly faster than they can follow over the mangroves, and fade to blue. they have no home. they can do naught but wallow in the lukewarm shallows and raise baleful eyes to lonely peaks— dreaming of plow, and field, and fruit again.

KAYLA ADARA LEE (she/zie) is a Hong Kong-based writer, student, and part-time English teacher. A secondgeneration immigrant of mixed Southeast Asian heritage, she was first published at the age of 13 after winning a short story competition in Around DB, a small local community magazine. When not writing, she is also an avid mineral collector, swan enthusiast, and earl grey tea connoisseur. You can find her at @kadaralee on Instagram, Twitter, Medium, and all other platforms.

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FLEDGE HAILEY WILLIAMS

The sea grape’s many ears are broad and full of mirth— petite wax cups steeped in adoration of each skim and sweep of the young sooty tern, his scoop of tail, sea-shine on dark wing. No wonder she raises her round ears to the storm. No wonder she lets them flutter and fold and perhaps, one day, tear free.

HAILEY WILLIAMS (she/they) is an Editorial Assistant at Crazyhorse Literary Magazine, an MFA Candidate for Poetry at the College of Charleston, received her B.A. in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University, and served as the 2019 Artist in Residence for the Dry Tortugas National Park. Born and raised in the Carolinas, her work focuses on the intersection of grief and nature and often memorializes her older brother, Aaron, who died of suicide when she was 13. Poetry, art, and environmental surrealism have become her obsession and community, her solace and religion.

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PONDERING BIRD SONGS KAROLYN SMITH

have you ever heard a banana twit sing? I imagine it trilling musical notes bubbling up from its throat resplendent yellow breast titillating in the bright afternoon sun

KAROLYN SMITH is a Jamaican-born poet and abstract artist who resides in the Cayman Islands. She is a nature lover who often uses nature imagery as well as her experiences of grief, identity, love, and healing to pour into her poetry. When not writing, painting, or journaling, Smith can usually be found immersed in a book from her constantly growing “To Be Read” pile.

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OZARKS LANDSCAPE, LATE SUMMER, LAURA M. TERRY

LAURA M. TERRY is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Arkansas. She holds an MFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from Auburn University. In her teaching she instills the value of hand-drawing and physical model building. Terry’s research and creative practice emphasizes the relationship between the natural and built environment. The landscape, particularly the regional landscape, has been the subject of her paintings, drawings, prints, and writings for over a decade. Her work has been included in many national juried exhibitions and is held in public collections in Arkansas, Colorado, and California, and in private collections across the country.

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THE SIGHTING BRONWEN R. C. EVANS

Listening to autumn, we follow a kestrel sweeping across the dusty orange sky over green fields misted, hills behind for miles. She disappears behind trees and I keep my eyes fixed so as not to lose her. We are level until the road bends and then she is gone forever.

BRONWEN R. C. EVANS is a writer living in Somerset. Her main inspirations are found in nature, memory, and magic. Evans has been published by The Black Cat Poetry Press and has previously won Folklore Publishing’s Poems for Trees competition. She has also been published by Hermes Magazine, Blood Moon Poetry journal, Juno Magazine, and The Teller Magazine.

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TRAILHEAD K. L. JOHNSTON

The cliffs at the head of the trail are home to generations of swallows, nests side by side like apartments in a skyscraper holding sweet-faced tenants. Sleek feathered, folding their wings they barely slow as they hit home. Leaving, they chur like arrows released.

K. L. JOHNSTON is a poet and photographer whose favorite subjects are whimsical, environmental, and/or philosophical. She first published at the age of sixteen and has been writing ever since, mostly non-fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in journals ranging from Small Pond Magazine in the 1980s to travel and history journals, to upcoming work in Pangyrus in 2022.

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MARIGOLD MONARCH, ESTHER FISHER

ESTHER FISHER (she/her) is a graduate of York University with a BA in English and Creative Writing. In her spare time, she writes poetry when she’s not trying to plot a novel. She has been published with Forget-Me-Not Press, Poetry Undressed, and Labyrinth Anthologies. She lives in Toronto.

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FALLEN ANGELS, ROGER CAMP

ROGER CAMP is the author of three photography books including the award-winning Butterflies in Flight (Thames & Hudson, 2002) and Heat (Charta, Milano, 2008). His documentary photography has been awarded the prestigious Leica Medal of Photography. His photographs are represented by the Robin Rice Gallery, New York City. His work has appeared in The New England Review, Southwest Review, Chicago Review, and the New York Quarterly. More of his work may be seen at Luminous-Lint.com.

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WIND AND STARS LUKE LEVI

waxy oak leaves shine white in the sun flickering like stars how easily it goes— yellow butterfly in the wind

LUKE LEVI is a poet who frequently writes about where he lives, the Texas Hill Country. His poems can be found in Presence, Akitsu Quarterly, Autumn Moon Haiku Journal, Narrative Northeast, Wales Haiku Journal, Failed Haiku, Cold Moon Journal, Fireflies’ Light, and elsewhere. Connect with him on Instagram @lukelevipoet.

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HUNGER DICK ALTMAN

A bobcat noses in leaves swirled outside my glass door. Looks up as if to take my measure. As if eyes could lick their lips.

DICK ALTMAN writes in the high, thin, magical air of Santa Fe, New Mexico, where, at 7,000 feet, reality and imagination often blur. He is published in Santa Fe Literary Review, American Journal of Poetry, riverSedge, Fredericksburg Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Blue Line, THE Magazine, Humana Obscura, The Offbeat, Haunted Waters Press, Split Rock Review, The RavensPerch, Beyond Words, Sky Island Journal, and others here and abroad. A poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition, he has in progress two collections of some 100 published poems.

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GREEN FOR GREEN FAYTH SIMMONS

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life, about where it starts; how wide its reach, how long the shadows. How life is about having an acre of land bigger than your body, where love might live. It’s about green for green— seeing the horses again, willing for water when sun is all there is.

FAYTH SIMMONS is a full-time post-secondary student with a passion for the arts—reading and writing poetry in particular. She lives and works on her family’s horse farm in rural Ontario, Canada. Her work has been previously recognized by the Scugog Council for the Arts and published with Cloud Lake Literary. Through each of her pieces, and the approximation of a personal reality, she hopes to initiate a sense of contemplation with the reader.

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PARTNERS, TIFFANY FRASER

TIFFANY FRASER is an emerging photographer in Alberta, Canada. She is married, the mother of two children, and an elementary school teacher of 25 years. Fraser enjoys many artistic pursuits, in particular a passion for theatre and photography. Born and raised in Southern Alberta, Fraser has developed her photography skills shooting the unique landscapes and scenes in the region.

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TRANSPARENCY, JASMIN JAVON

JASMIN JAVON is an abstract artist and photographer from Southern California. Photography as a whole has been a love of hers for as long as she can remember. It has been the only thing in her life where she feels completely herself with no reservations. Using common household items like water, oil, food coloring, and dish soap she has been able to create various artistic images from things we use on a daily basis. Javon’s goal is to provoke the minds of those who view her work. She believes that it’s not about what you’re looking at, but what you see that makes art worthwhile. Her hope is to reach as many people as possible with her art, and to open the eyes and minds of anyone who can love and appreciate art for what it is . . . the essence of a person’s soul.

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MIMOSA STELIOS MORMORIS

You cut me, poured water over wounds’ blossoming flames. A slick of rainbow flowed over contours of the flesh. Outside as I curled into the fabric of lawn chair you were a bubble of air rising in a water glass, and the word that once refused to be spoken as you lifted my limp fingers like unwatered stems rose like the airborne flower of mimosa pale as blush. It hovered in the stippled glare of the winter sun. Until you placed two fingers on my lips to hush, took me by the hand into the garden to stand before the greening lawn as if it were a well and said my name.

STELIOS MORMORIS is a native of Boston, Massachusettes and CEO of SCENT BEAUTY, Inc., which markets beauty products worldwide. A citizen of Greece and the U.S., Mormoris was born in New York and lived most of his adult life in Paris. Mormoris is also a contemporary artist, specializing in abstract oil painting. He first studied poetry in the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University as a student of William Meredith and Maxine Kumin. He received a B.A. in Architecture from Princeton University, and an M.B.A. from INSEAD [Institut d’Européen d’Administration des Affaires] in Fontainebleau, France. He has been published in Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Fourth River, Gargoyle, Good Life Review, High Shelf Press, Humana Obscura, Midwest Poetry Review, Nassau Literary Review, Press, South Road, Spillway, Sugar House Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Verse, the Whelk Walk Review and others. Mormoris’ debut book of poetry titled The Oculus is forthcoming in September 2022 from Tupelo Press.

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IMAGINE A SPRING JANIS LA COUVÉE

Imagine a spring without sprouting winter continued dark and grey a cold blanket over the land yet nature—ever faithful lifts our hope banishes despair in every green leaf unfurled every delicate and pendulous blossom the chorus of birdsong and frogs gathered in ponds

JANIS LA COUVÉE (she/her) is a writer and poet with a love of wild green spaces. She resides in Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, on the traditional territories of the Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai and Kwiakah First Nations, and is dedicated to conservation efforts and exploring the great outdoors. Her poems have been featured by the Van Isle Poetry Collective, pocket lint, WordSpring Society of the Arts, and Humana Obscura. Find her at at janislacouvee.com, on Twitter @lacouvee, and on Facebook @JanisLaCouveeOnline.

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GROUNDING, GENEVIEVE LEAVOLD

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ORNAMENTAL GLORY, MAUREEN BENNETT MIXED MEDIA, 22’’x22’’

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PRODIGAL GARDEN MICHELLE MEYER

Every year I wait for them—peonies, coreopsis, bee balm, daisies, hydrangea and their showy snowballs. They visit so seldom, but when they do, I go out of my way to bring them water whenever they want it. They linger for a while and I beg them to stay but they always refuse, disappointing me with sudden absences—always on particularly hot mornings. I can’t help it, I’m sucked in by the terrible magic. Terrible because I love them, though they abandon me. Magical because they always return unannounced—cheerful—acting as if they’d never left.

MICHELLE MEYER is a 50-something emerging poet and author of 10 Pieces of Truth, a chapbook, and The Book of She, a full-length collection of character vignettes devoted to women. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in After the Pause, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Minnow Literary Magazine, Red Eft Review, Tabula Rasa Review, and Welter Online, among others. In addition, Meyer is a house-sitter, hiker, and tireless gardener. Find her at www.michellemeyerwrites.com

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ON AN OVERCAST DAY MICHELLE MEYER

The rain has started to fall. I listen. I listen and watch it glide along the window. The sky is grey and bleak, but I, I am happy. Because the tulips are emerging, pushing through the difficult season of darkness of frozen ground.

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TULIPS, MOVEMENT, BUFFY DAVIS

BUFFY DAVIS is starting the second act of her life through the lens of her camera with an interest in alternative photography. The artist resides in Dublin, California, and chose to revisit her interest in photography to rediscover herself after retirement. From the historic process of cyanotype, intentional camera movement photography, to glitch and deconstruction photography, the artist draws on her travels focusing on the contrasts and imperfections of various landscapes and botanicals. SPRING/SUMMER 2022 ISSUE 4

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JESSE, MEG VENTER

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MEMORARE RACHEL JACOBS

Do not look coldly— look at me like I am warm and full of saccharine-sweet golden rays of honey sunlight. Let me be your return of spring.

RACHEL JACOBS also known by her penname, Phantasma, holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees from California State University Long Beach in Creative Writing and Literature. She explores the non-conscious theme of emotions, nature, and self-identity/the human experience. Her poetry publications are found in Harness Magazine and in Vocal. Phantasma continues to make an impression in the writing world, and she thanks you greatly for reading.

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SWEET SCENTS KIMBERLY McAFEE

Colorful flowers, how they shine in the spring sun, and perfume the wind.

KIMBERLY McAFEE is a writer and poet residing in the United States. She has authored/co-authored works in a variety of formats, such as websites, e-magazines, anthologies, and even a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. She has also self-published three chapbooks and is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection. You can find more of her poetry on her Instagram page @writerpoetkim.

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THE SMELL OF LEMON BLOSSOM B. L. BRUCE

The smell of lemon blossom is on the wind. Spring planting has started. The sweet peas have pushed through the soil. The squash starts its lean, begins crawling along the ground. Later in the season, we will take them into our bodies, becoming anchored to the land in some unexplainable way.

B. L. BRUCE is the editor-in-chief of Humana Obscura. A Pushcart Prize nominee and award-winning poet, as well as a photographer and painter, her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and literary publications, including The Sun Magazine, The Wayfarer Journal, Canary, Northwind Magazine, The Soundings Review, The Monterey Poetry Review, Near Window, and the American Haiku Society’s Frogpond Journal, among others. Bruce is the author of four books: The Weight of Snow, The Starling’s Song, 28 Days of Solitude, and Measures. Follow her on Twitter @the_poesis and on Instagram @thepoesis.

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KEEP RUNNING ACROSS THE LONG FORGOTTEN JOCELYN ULEVICUS

The new found awareness of the tongue re-wilding itself, beyond and beneath language, hissing into the golden light, hinting—at the common sun, a poppy blooms, a burst of relief, it’s everything time— let’s rush.

JOCELYN ULEVICUS is an artist and writer with work forthcoming or published in magazines such as Cathexis NW, The Free State Review, The Petigru Review, Blue Mesa Review, No Contact Mag, The Santa Ana Review, Humana Obscura, Dewdrop, and elsewhere. Working from a female speculative perspective, themes of nature and the unseen and exit and entry are dominantly present in her work. She resides in Amsterdam and is currently working on her first book of poems. You can contact her on Instagram at @jocelyn.ulevicus or via her website: www.jocelynulevicus.com.

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A WILD RIOT, JOCELYN ULEVICUS MIXED MEDIA ON LINEN

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OTHER WONDERS, JOCELYN ULEVICUS MIXED MEDIA ON LINEN

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POPPIES SIENNA TAGGART

scatter thick, oily drops of orange and yellow paint on the side of the mountain. Limestone and silt shift—dry land priming buds, they sprout up for the prickly pear cactus to catch their delicate petals, piercing paper skin; dense pollen coating each needle until all is flushed in a burgundy rouge.

SIENNA TAGGART is a senior at Southern New Hampshire University, studying creative writing and English. In 2019, she studied prose and poetry in Scotland at the University of Dundee, where she wrote reviews for Dundee University Review of the Arts (DURA). Taggart’s work appears in DURA and The Ekphrastic Review. She lives in El Paso, Texas, with her family and spirited pup, Ronin.

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WAITING KIM McKELLAR

spring waits for summer coiled in the bud of a cherry tree its blossoms tightly bound, biding time until this season of longing is over.

KIM McKELLAR is a poet and visual artist who lives and creates on the Bruce Peninsula, Canada. The Bruce is a UNESCO Biosphere site, famous for its rare plant and wildlife and extraordinary geological formations. Much of her poetry is composed on or after hours spent hiking, birding, and floating on Georgian Bay. She has published two collections of poetry and photography, What the Earth Already Knows and Is This Not a Holy Place? and her work has appeared in various online and print journals. You can find her on Instagram @kimmckellar_poetry.

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A NEW BEGINNING, LISA JEAN

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FRAGMENTED OCOTILLO, BUFFY DAVIS

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DRY SPELL JAQI HOLLAND

You tend the spiny succulent in sandy soil, clay pot perched on the sill, fretting over water— how much, how often— angling its newer tender, velvet leaves to the sun after detecting a draft with the back of your hand, then pruning the shriveled leaf clinging to the stem, while I recall its stalwart cousin poking straight up from the desert, defenseless, in heat so absolute that its prickly pads bead with sweat, not worried one bit about drying up or dying before the next rain for it has always come.

JAQI HOLLAND is a poet, essayist, copyeditor, and higher education professional living in Salem, Massachusetts, who strives to pin down ephemeral moments in nature. She gravitates to wooded trails, pockets of moss, and moments of stillness and wonder explored both in the natural world and in poetry and prose. Her work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Ekphrastic Review, Brevity & Echo, Plenty Magazine, and Plant People: An Anthology of Environmental Artists.

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MAGICAL THINKING JEAN TUOMEY

Today is the spellbinding day winter makes us wish for: dry earth, coffee out of doors yellow flooding the flowerbeds. The kind of day I want to fill my heart with, open a chamber closed too tightly, for too long, the one for storing best loved things— his last letter, fingered photos— squeeze in blue sky, birdsong, heat to soften the tightest knot in the neck, release the smell of hay, the hum of freedom, a meadow of wildflowers— magic that ripples whenever I whisper, Summer is coming, soon, soon, soon.

JEAN TUOMEY lives in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland. She is published in A New Ulster 86, Crannog, Crossways, Fish Anthology, Galway Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Poets Meet Politics 2019, The Cormorant Anthology, The Stony Thursday Book, Washing Windows: Irish Women Write Poetry, Empty House, and Poetry and Prose on the Climate Crisis 2021. Tuomey is the author of two chapbooks, Swept Back and Magical Thinking, and is the recipient of numerous awards and recently came first in the Jonathan Swift Creative Awards 2021 and was awarded mentorship in her novel manuscript with Elizabeth Reapy by Mayo County Council Arts Office. A former teacher, she trained as a writing facilitator with the National Association for Poetry Therapy in the U.S.

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WILD NECTAR, LILIANA MARTINEZ SAUCEDO EXPERIMENTAL 35MM FILM

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