Barbara Daniels: “At Shearness Pool”





At Shearness Pool

After rain sandpipers snoop 
for food at the runoff pond 
by the old tennis courts, caught 

in the tides of migration. 
I ask a painter at his easel 
how to live. He says to choose 

exacting silence. Eight turkeys, 
not really wary, step gracefully 
out of the brush. Like a hunter, 

I hold my breath. It’s sudden 
joy to spot an owl mobbed 
by blackbirds, find orioles 

hidden like lovers, like fat 
jewels. I’m happy eating 
my tuna sandwich 

and watching an eagle 
across Shearness Pool. She stuns 
me to stillness. I ask a hiker

how to live. She says 
to watch silver water just 
as the eagle lifts her wings.



About the Author: Barbara Daniels’ Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has recently appeared in Concho River Review, Dodging the Rain, and Philadelphia Stories. She received four fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the most recent in 2020.


Image Credit: “A beautiful scene of some sandpipers at sunset” courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (public domain)

Ryan Quinn Flanagan: “Artisanal Birds”



Artisanal Birds 

Zeddie stood in the middle of the concourse.
Spinning in circles with outstretched arms.
The busy crowds maneuvering to get around him.

Some made faces.
Zeddie did not care to see their faces.
Arching his neck to look skyward at a flock
of artisanal birds just under the glass enclosure.

Suspended by cords that were largely invisible.
Zeddie loved to fly with the birds above the crowds.
They had accepted him as one of their own.
Even though he was not a bird.

Zeddie knew as much.
He figured the birds knew it as well.
But they were gracious in his presence 
and marvelous animals.

When the officers arrived, Zeddie was pulled 
down out of the sky by officer Hablo.
He was glad to see officer Hablo and went 
with him for a ride in his car.

Catching up on all Zeddie had missed 
migrating down south and then 
back again.

Officer Hablo wanted to know about the birds.
Zeddie told him they were marvelous 


About the Author: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.


More By Ryan Quinn Flanagan:

“Robbie the Owl”

“He Brought His Canvases Over”

“Before Evening Med Pass”

“It’s a girl I can tell, we’ve had nothing but trouble”

“Why Answers are Never the Answer”

“Forget Math and Science” By Larry Smith



Forget Math and Science

Birds live inside of birds
tucked away for spring release
their naked bodies embraced
in sleep’s sweetness.
Their wings are tongues licking
each other’s face.
Don’t try to count them all
they’re an infinite multiple of six.

To love a single bird
you must become one
inside and out, top to bottom.
Then rise wings up and fly
sing through beak and body
the song of I Am.


About the Author: Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-publisher of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio where they feature a Working Lives and an Appalachian Writing Series. He is also the biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He lives in Huron, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie.


More By Larry Smith:


No Walls


Image Credit: Frans Snyders “Perroquets et autres oiseaux” (17th Century) Public Domain

“A Murder” By Ruth Bavetta



A Murder

Crescendo of crows, sinister
as black umbrellas preening

around an open grave, conclave
of shadows, damascene of dark.

Where gilded flickers filled the air,
there is only this enormous darkness.

Trees no longer brimmed
with tanagers or thrashers.

The hills have burned. Quail
and mockingbirds

have not returned. Soon
night will be the only color.


About the Author: Ruth Bavetta writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Review, North American Review and many other journals and anthologies. Her books are Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press, 2013) Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press, 2014,) Flour Water Salt (FutureCycle Press, 2016.) and No Longer at This Address (Aldritch Books 2017.) She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.


Image Credit: close up from “Fish Crow” by John James Audubon