By Erric Emerson:


If I try eyes-shut hard;
recall the misty likeness of a stretcher
and air mask, a trailer lined with
ice-fangs in Napanoch, a red ball
I worshipped at three years old.

How your legacy sits in two boxes.
Poor math, crayoned stick-people,
tidy poems you wrote in the 80’s
             That are all
                                                  like this.

Pour upon the wording, to have
known you. I scrounge your experiences
to exonerate my own.
The exactness of your malady, father’s
a How-To guide on being in one’s cups.

You get dry in centers and rooms,
found something God-like,
pressed petals between pages,
all piecemealed at my fingertips.

I’m faint praise as a pushing thirty
dry spell. Oh how our quenching throats beg,
didn’t and don’t they?

Pour upon the wording, to
know how. Yet, I’ll remain séance-less.
I’ve found something myself.

                                         How to speak.


I put my head on pillow
and wake up with the birds.

When I dream:

I’m adrift in a flowing sea
of rainbow-flavored liquor,
in a boat made from cheap cigarette
cartons, next to a whopper of an impression
of her, who loved my wrong,
who reminds me it’s 2007,
and promises I don’t have
to work tomorrow
or do anything else
ever again.

Today’s poems appear here today with permission from the poet.

Erric Emersony is a poet residing in South Philly, PA. He is a founding member of Duende literary journal for which he also served as poetry editor for the inaugural issue. He’s currently guest editor at Aji literary journal. Erric is a graduate of Goddard College’s Bachelor of Fine Arts Creative Writing program. His first collection, Counting Days, was published in December of 2017. He has published 40+ poems in 20+ magazines including: TL;DR, Crab Fat, The Black Napkin, The Disconnect, FIVE:2:ONE, Beautiful Losers, Prairie Margins, Neon, The Hungry Chimera, Control, Mead: Literature & Libations, Angry Old Man, Rat’s Ass Review, Gingerbread House, Willawaw, and Visitant.

Guest Editor’s Note: Erric Emerson’s poems build mood, feeling, and context by selecting precise details that tell deeply personal and emotional stories. In “Motherless,” Emerson combines distant memories–“the misty likeness of a stretcher / an air mask, a trailer with / ice fangs in Napanoch, a red ball”–with immediate sensations–“how our quenching throats beg”–to link a mother and son. Fragmented recollections from a harsh past and present connect mother and son without resorting to blame or sentimentality, creating a portrait of the two and their relationship both decades ago and today. “Turncoat” recreates a moment of waking when dream and reality combine in a guided wish for unconditional love from “her, who loves my wrong” with the need to escape–“promises I don’t have to / work tomorrow / or do anything else / ever again.” These poems and others in Counting Days are filled with fresh language and harsh realities that create moments and stories filled with deep emotion and angst.

Want to read more by and about Erric Emerson?
Buy Counting Days: Poems on Amazon
“Follow Suit” in Willawaw Journal
“Day One (Zero)” in The Black Napkin, Issue 6
“My Go-To’s” in Visitant

Guest Editor Alan Toltzis is the author of The Last Commandment. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Hummingbird, Right Hand Pointing, IthacaLit, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Cold Noon. Find him online at


After nearly ten years as Contributing Editor of this series, it is an honor and a unique opportunity to share this space with a number of guest editors, including the editor featured here today. I am thrilled to usher in an era of new voices in poetry as the Managing Editor of this series.

Viva la poesia!
Sivan, Managing Editor
Saturday Poetry Series, AIOTB

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