Geneva Webber: “Do you think the lobsters”

Do you think the lobsters

in the tanks at Red Lobster
are really red?
Or are they brackish and imperfect

with the blue rubber bands
around their claws?
Do you think the lobsters

know they could live
half a century
if given the chance?

Do you think the lobsters
know we have to believe
they don’t feel pain?

We sometimes believe that
about our own species too.

Do you think
the lobsters know?

About the Author: Geneva Webber is a sophomore Creative and Professional Writing major and is minoring in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. She is a member of the Writing Club, is Vice President of P.A.W.S. (Pro-activism With Service) and her work has been previously published in The Insider. She has lived in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and small-town Michigan, and derives much of her writing from small, intimate, personal experiences.


Image Credit: Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The American lobster Washington: Govt. Print. Off., 1895.

James Croal Jackson: “Poppy”


everywhere on the bagel, poppies
in the out of focus fields, poppies

the feeds scroll full of puppies
the home, poppies

what can you say about fireworks
has already exploded

in mouth in blood
we buds. we bud.

grandpa was a farmer
he tended to his poppies

white and wild wind
the wind. white and wild

About the Author: James Croal Jackson works in film production. His most recent chapbooks are Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022) and Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021). Recent poems are in Stirring, White Wall Review, and Vilas Avenue. He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Poppy” (2022)

Paul Jones: “Snake”


I used to be afraid in other ways.
When one fear comes another goes away,
I should count myself lucky in that way.
My fear of apes at night just fell away
when I saw a snake put a rat away.
Those fanged apes were dream creatures anyway.
The snake coiled and crushing. Death underway.
Those sounds. The hissing. A shriek. They outweigh
sleep's imagined deaths. They won't fade away
at dawn. Experience smooths night's highway.
Like rockets, fears race down the straight-away.
Then they take my head for their hideaway.
I used to be afraid in other ways.
But then I saw the black snake's weave and sway.

About the Author: Paul Jones poems have recently appeared in Hudson Review, Grand Little Things, Tar River Poetry, and not so long ago here in As It Ought To Be. His book, Something Wonderful, came from RedHawk Publications in 2021. In 2019, a manuscript of his poems crashed into the lunar surface carried in Israel’s Beresheet Lander. In 2021, he was inducted into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame.


Image Credit: Image originally published in Descriptiones et icones amphibiorum. Monachii, Stuttgartiae et Tubingae, Sumtibus J.G. Cottae1833. Public domain image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Rose Mary Boehm: “Another ordinary story”

Another ordinary story

Spring, it seems, has changed
its mind. Like a disenchanted lover.
Pink, white, purple and tender greens
encased in winter-hardened water
topped with powdered sugar.
Fulgent in that white winter sun.

One harsh spring morning you
turned. No last glistening glory,
no last display of what
could have been.

About the Author: Rose Mary Boehm is a German-born British national living and writing in Lima, Peru, and author of two novels as well as seven poetry collections. Her poetry has been published widely in mostly US poetry reviews (online and print). She was twice nominated for a Pushcart. Her latest: DO OCEANS HAVE UNDERWATER BORDERS? (Kelsay Books July 2022), WHISTLING IN THE DARK (Ciberwit July 2022), and SAUDADE (December 2022) are available on Amazon.


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Spring Blossom” (2022)

CL Bledsoe: “A Lightness of Feathers”

A Lightness of Feathers

Who among us hasn't broken a collarbone falling
out of a tree after we climbed into a bird's nest
and pretended to be an egg? The ghost of omelets
gone wrong. Something with feathers condemned
to a passing glance. A side table. Somewhere dust
calls home. I’ll rebuild my life with doilies
and photos of surgeries I’d like to have. Did I mention
so-and-so died after a lifetime of regret and forced
choices? Never forget your name is on someone’s
Do Not Love Again list. No matter how you measure
it, you’ll never have what you’ve lost again. Another
name for insouciance. At least you’re not the kind
of bird that kicks the other eggs out of the nest
when you settle in. It’s the small victories keep
us going and coming. That’s how they get you.
I don’t even know what kind of tree it was.

About the Author: Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than thirty books, including the poetry collections Riceland, The Bottle Episode, and his newest, Having a Baby to Save a Marriage, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.


Image Credit: Public domain image originally published in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, London : Academic Press. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Yvonne Morris: “Floodlight”


The moon’s blank tambourine
amplifies the drizzle’s guitar—

fragile droplets bruised become
sunlit wires of rain. The rising

world finds ruined fountains,
broken stonework converted

to carry running streams.
The wounded sleep to dream

again, when the day’s pain
assembles then disbands.

Loss stretches forward
to its instruments, unpacks

the stars, unravels the tide.
Morning pools the night.

About the Author:  Yvonne Morris lives and works in a small town in Kentucky. Her most recent chapbook is Busy Being Eve (Bass Clef Books, 2022). Her work has appeared in The Galway Review, The Santa Clara Review, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Wild Roof Journal, The Write Launch, and elsewhere.


Image Credit: Edvard Munch “White Night” (1890) Public domain image courtesy of Artvee

Dan MacIsaac: “Garden Spider”

Garden Spider

She spins her
own soft maze,

snare haloed
like an old radio


rippling thin
aural rings,

oval waves
of sonic silk.

At the transit heart,
catching fine

veins of light,
she waits

for the pluck
of a male,

tiny harpist,
blindly orphic,

so tender
on a woven

strand of her
high-strung web

that will pulse
under his touch

like a radiant
and terrible lyre.

Note: The diminutive suitor, even if successful in courtship, often becomes dinner
to his cannibalistic mate.

About the Author: Dan MacIsaac writes from Vancouver Island. Brick Books published his collection, Cries from the Ark. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including, most recently, in AmericaValley VoicesManzano Mountain Review and Poetica’s Rosenberg Award Collection.

Image Credit: Jan Vincentsz van der Vinne “A Spider” (late 17th–early 18th century) Public domain image courtesy of Artvee

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal: “The Green Lizard”

The Green Lizard

I felt like a prisoner
in my dreams. I was
under lock and key
at a prison in Paris
like Verlaine, Villon,
and Voltaire. In a dark
cell drawing sketches
was a green lizard.
It spoke French and a
little Spanish. The
sketches were painted
on the walls. The green
lizard was my cell mate.
Its bleeding tongue was
its brush and the walls
were graffitied with red
moons, red stars, and
red mountains. Through
a window in the prison,
the green lizard would
come in and leave through
the bars in the window.
The prison guards would
beat me mercilessly
every morning, never
believing that it was
the green lizard that
bloodied the walls with art.
They asked me where
I hid the paint and why
the sketches were red.

About the Author: Born in Mexico, Luis lives in California and works in the mental health field. His poems have appeared in Blue Collar Review, Escape Into Life, Kendra Steiner Editions, Mad Swirl, and Unlikely Stories. His latest poetry book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press in 2021.

Image Credit: Thomas Barbour “Dasia Smaragdinum” (1912) Public domain image courtesy of Artvee

Agnes Vojta: “The Topography of Grief”

The Topography of Grief

The topography of grief is karst,
riddled with sinkholes
that suddenly open
under your feet, swallow you whole.

I don’t know what I expected
to feel. Not this emptiness.
Not nothing. I don’t cry
at the sight of my dad’s signature.

The letter from probate court
I’ve been expecting. I know
what it contains: a form letter
and a copy of dad’s will.

I cry when I pack his chessboard,
lay the wooden pieces to rest
in their velvet-lined compartments,
close the box, latch the lid.

About the Author: Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics at Missouri S&T and hikes the Ozarks. She is the author of Porous Land, The Eden of Perhaps, and A Coracle for Dreams, all published by Spartan Press. Most recently, she has been collaborating with eight other poets on the book Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry (Cornerpost Press, 2022.) Her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines; you can read some of them on her website


Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Utah Karst” (2021)

Sarah Carleton: “Guidelines for House Gecko”

Guidelines for House Gecko

Leave pearl eggs in dark spots—
behind sockets or bookshelves.

Crawl the walls on sticky toes, but if you see people,
scuttle to a crack and hide.

Squeak for help. Chirp for sex.
Eat bugs and multiply. 

Let the little ones dash across carpets 
but only at night.

You’ll last for years here, hovering 
in the laundry room, waiting for roaches

but even if a fleshy hand catches you and drops you
in the grass, don’t panic.

Remember, your name is House. 
You know where all the secret passages are.

About the Author: Sarah Carleton writes poetry, edits fiction, plays the banjo, and knits obsessively in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Cider Press Review, The Wild Word, Valparaiso, As It Ought to Be, and New Ohio Review. Sarah’s poems have received nominations for Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Books.

Image Credit: Illustration originally from Histoire naturelle de Lacépède. Paris: Furne, Jouvet et cie. Public domain image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.