If I Were A Palmist
by Debasish Parashar

If I
were a palmist
I could have read how
the lines on your palm
merge with the borders
and defines
not merely of maps and geography
a geosophy

just reading your palm
I could have predicted,
“You will find a new love
in your late sixties
a give and take !”

could have warned you
flicker of your eyebrows
would mean so much
for so many !

I must tell you
your lines are curved so deep
they can bleed…
irony is
I am not a palmist
but I dream.

IMAGE: “Palmist” by Vivian Frerichs. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: India historically has been more than a geographical territory, but a wider system of thoughts, cultures, and ideas. Strengthening of personality cult in politics problematizes that very idea in contemporary times.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debasish Parashar is a public policy, governance and art & culture enthusiast,singer/songwriter, lyricist, poet (to some extent), and social journalist based in New Delhi, India. A postgraduate in English literature from University of Delhi, he has sung for “In Search of God” and “Raag.” His write-up on Majuli has been listed among top 100 online #worldheritagesites stories globally in May 2016 by Agilience Authority Index. His literary works have been (or will be) featured in prestigious international Journals/Reviews/Zines, such as Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Scarlet Leaf Review, Enclave/Entropy, Raven Cage Zine,Spillwords, Visual Verse( Germany/U.K), Tuck Magazine (Global), Indiana Voice Journal (U.S.A), Muse India, Indian Periodical, The Poet Community, Swarajya, Youthkiawaaz, Duane’s PoeTree, Thumb Print Magazine (Accepted), Sadda haq, Assam Tribune, and many more. His works are included in two upcoming international anthologies, Apple Fruits of an Old Oak (Kew Gardens Press, New York) and Dandelion in a Vase of Roses  U.S.A). Visit and follow him on Twitter @MrDevParashar.

If I Smile Like St. Dismas the Good Thief
by Catfish McDaris

If I had better concentration, the writer of my novel wouldn’t take the reins. Listening to Johnny Cash sing If I Were A Carpenter warms the heart of an old man on a cold lonely night.

The novel has a writer, a painter, a thief, a killer: those are the 4 main characters.

The gargoyles sneer
down from the Basilique
du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre

Mademoiselles and
gypsies dance and laugh

There is no sadness
or hunger

PHOTO: “Sacré Coeur Basilica (Paris)” by Hugh Smith (2012).  Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is listed in Wikipedia. His ancestors are from the Aniwaya Clan of the Cherokee Nation.His newest book is Sleeping with the Fish.

AUTHOR’S CAPTION: My self-portrait was when I was 50.

if I could make time quiet
by Deepali Gupta

If I could make time crawl into small steps or if I could stop the time for once. A question a feeling of loss drips down every night and dawn if time crawled right here and right now. It would slow down our demons, thoughts, and so much work.
Becoming a poem, picking up our little pieces and rebirthing.
Letting go of the darkness that resides within which consumes us nevertheless, holding on to everything that helps us live through.
Sitting down and appreciating life and its blessings of what life has given.
Sipping the morning coffee and feel every sip, gulping every aroma.
Beautify, resilient up.
I would hear nature, dance along the rhythm. Listen to songs and enjoy this.
I would become the moment I always wanted to be. Soak in it. Think of only growing, learning.
I would come into countenance of every single emotion I put in the “I don’t want to focus on this” just because I did not want to break down and ruin my schedule.
Feel it. Feel it. Relive it. Relieve it. And then learn to feel again like a child. Be the lilac sky.

IMAGE: “Sunset at Giverny” by Claude Monet (1886).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deepali Gupta is a medical student from Mumbai, India. She believes words can heal or break you. You can find more of her work on instagram at ofachesandhealing .She loves to stargaze, sing, read, and have deep talks. Most of her poem is based on her observations in her surroundings. She has been published in anthologies and magazines.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken at home months back– trying to live amidst chaos, something that the world is trying to make me, and something that I am. Trying not to dull my soul.

If I Was Invisible
by Phetote Mshairi

If I was invisible
would you still overlook the fact
that I am exactly
who you prayed for?

If I was invisible,
would my virtuous attributes
still be divisible
by the square root
of what I do not look like,
whom you would
rather I be?

If I was inside out
with nothing to hide,
would my transparency
frighten you?

Would you allow reality
to enlighten you to the fact
that you actually
like me too?

Could you fathom that truth?

If money and material objects
were no object,
would you still object
to your obvious connection
with “Mr. Phetote would be perfect if
(insert something superficial here)”?

If I could convey chivalry
in a million and one ways,
and the authenticity
of the Gentleman in me
would make you see
that chivalry
is not make believe…
then would you believe me?

If physical matter
didn’t matter,
how much more
would I matter to you?

Please tell me
that “we”
matter more
than carnal matters do…

Do we?

PHOTO: Taken at “Lefty’s on Greenwood,” Tulsa, Oklahoma (Winter 2015).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was motivated by a woman I was dating who told me that I would be perfect if I looked a certain way and if I had more money.:-/


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Phetote Mshairi is a poet, author, Poetry Slam champion (in several competitions), songwriter/performer, teaching artist of poetry workshops,  actor, and mentor from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has a B.B.A. from Langston University, with a major in Business Management. As a member of the Poetry Board Committee at Living Arts of Tulsa, he curates, presents, hosts, and performs in original spoken-art events. The host of a weekly open mic event called “Manhattan Musings,” he is also a songwriter and performer of music from various genres, with two music CDs of various genres in the works.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Taken in February 2016 at a heritage poetry slam near Dallas, Texas.


If I Had Never Been a Runner
by Susan Schirl Smith

If I had never been a runner, I would have received that call early one morning during the mid 80s. There were no cell phones and no texting. No way to reach someone away from home.

I woke up at dawn, left my friend who was visiting for the weekend, and went off to the YMCA in Boston to run before I drove to New Hampshire for a college reunion. Because, in those days, I had to run, no matter what. It was my escape, my sanity, my freedom. I knew that I’d feel better seeing people from college that I hadn’t seen in six years if I had that time of meditation in motion beforehand.

After the Homecoming game, a man put his arm around me on the football field. I looked at him, puzzled at who he was. “Excuse me, do I know you?’’ I said. As I glanced at the name, Smith, on his jacket, I thought “Oh, no.“ This man was an old friend, the kind of friend where something more than friendship always simmered just under the surface, but never rose above in our college days. By the end of the dance that evening, something new had begun.

If I hadn’t run that morning, I would have taken the call that my cousin had been murdered on a beach in California. Homecoming football games, and dances, and newborn love would never have happened that day. I would have been with my family.

If I had never been a runner, the girl who was the miracle of that love would never have been born. The one who hears the story of the phone call that wasn’t and the chance meeting on a football field. Because I ran.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My first “real” running shoes. Prior to these, they were called sneakers.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: That “meditation in motion” helped me through the loss of my cousin, and brought great joy to my life. Though my running days are behind me now, that daughter I spoke of is training to run the Boston Marathon for charity. And for her mother.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Schirl Smith has worn many hats over the years: nurse, creative coach, holistic energy practitioner, photographer, among others. She has decided to put the hat of her first love, writing, back on and has been published in a holistic nursing journal as well as contributing to creative/spiritual blogs and publications. The memoir of her relationship with her brother, Desperado, is her current project. Having been told even when she lived in the New York/New Jersey area that she really had never left New England, she has decided to return home, and lives (mostly) in southern New Hampshire.

If I Leave
by Carol A. Stephen

If I had never slept in barns, nor called
a cellar home, might walls have held me
safe from tractors I could never drive?

If I could ride, would the furrows be straight,
narrow trenches filled with rain, the promise of each seed?

Yet, I’ve tilled myself a garden, made a home
for frogs to hide under inverted clay pots. They wait
for flies, their tongues curled, sticky with anticipation.

If I leave first, bury me with a memory of my garden:
          a blackeyed susan, blue delphinium,
          or an explorer rose, everywhere thorned and twisting.

Scatter the petals of spent blooms in the doorway,
crush them underfoot. Their scent will hold an answer
to when or why. Do not cry then. Walk the old growth forest,
scatter my memories among roots of its oldest tree.

Give what remains to soil and sky, and with each kneeling
do not speak of what’s gone but listen: in the movement of trees
a voice echoes each blade of grass. Your upturned palm
returns my energy to the universe.

IMAGE: “Flower Garden” by Gustav Klimt (1907).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Began as musing about the grief process and a well-known poem “Do Not Stand By My Grave And Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1932).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Carol A. Stephen is a Canadian poet. Her poetry has appeared in Bywords Quarterly Journal and two Tree Press/phaphours press collaborative chapbooks. You can also find Carol’s poems on-line at and in videos at Twice shortlisted,  in 2012 Carol won third place in Canadian Authors Association National Capital Writing Contest. She’s the author of three chapbooks, Above the Hum of Yellow JacketsArchitectural Variations, and Ink Dogs in my Shoes (2014), as well as a collaborative chapbook with JC Sulzenko, Breathing Mutable Air (2015), and a  chapbook of ekphrastic poems, Slant of Light (2016). Visit her at

If I Had A Child
by Thomas Park

If I had a child
With my wife of two years

Our silent place would be noisy
Living room full of toys, activity

A person would be, who came from us
Part myself, part Torrey

The cats would step aside, to
A new occupant, having opposable thumbs

Bank accounts would drop, and free time
No longer free, would be occupied with this person

And travelling, hobbies, selfish activities
Given way to birth, raising, newer priorities

If I had a child, would writing end,
When a real person, walking, talking

Carrying forth my self, my name
Would do the work of chapbooks and anthologies

IMAGE: “Baby” by Gustav Klimt (1918).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem by sharing some considerations I have about the notion of having a child with my wife.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Thomas Park is a multi-disciplinary artist. He lives with his wife and their two cats in South Saint Louis, Missouri. He has been published in several anthologies, and quite a bit online. He has a B.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois).


If I Had Not, If I Had
by Clive Collins

If I had not been late getting to my bus stop that day, I’d have missed the girl who stood before me saying, “Joy, remember? Holy Cross Infants and Juniors?”

I did, but I was a still-at-school seventeen-year-old ragamuffin, while she, in the years since last we’d met, had changed into a “glimmering girl.”

She lingered, like a smile. “You were kind to me, Walter.”

I disagreed, but she continued, “Yes, always ready with a sweet word you were when I was laughed at, shamed in the classroom. Without you, I’d have given up.”

I said I thought I’d only made things worse for her.

“You mean that silly ‘Walter, Walter, lead me to the altar’ business? I dreamed you would lead me there one day, when we were grown. We used to talk about going to live in Hollywood next door to Doris Day.

“What hurt was being called ‘gypsy’ all the time, because I was dark and we weren’t long off the boat from Ireland.”

I said she should forget the past; that if ever she had seemed gypsylike, she did no longer. “A princess now,” I mumbled.

She lowered her eyes and mimicked a curtsy.

“I mean it,” I said.

And then it was time for her to go. Parting, she slipped her fingers beneath my blazer’s frayed lapel. “I’d like us to be friends again, Walter.”

Joy O’Connell was what I had named her, a princess. I thought for a moment she might kiss me goodbye, and waited, wanting, fearing. She didn’t, though she waved as she moved away from me. Unkissed then, I remained a frog.

I never saw Joy again, although I think now if I had tried to, she might have been my life’s companion. That I did not remains beyond understanding.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The Wendy House, St Barnabas School, 1956. ‘”Joy” sits holding a dolly. The author, in unseasonal long-sleeved shirt and tie, kneels at the opposite end of the table from her.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece is an abridgment of a much longer, so far unpublished, story. I wanted to see whether three hundred words could hold what seem to be recurring motifs in my writing — chances lost, roads not taken, love unreciprocated, self-consciousness, shame, and a debilitating fear of rejection. The expression “glimmering girl”  comes from “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W.B. Yeats. “Walter, Walter” is a song made popular by the English singer and comedienne Gracie Fields.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Leicester, England, Clive Collins has spent the greater part of his life working as a teacher in Ireland, Sierra Leone, and now Japan. He is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding(Marion Boyars/Penguin Books).Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. More recently his work has appeared online and in print in magazines such as Penny, Local Nomad, The Story Shack, and He was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

If I had been brave
by Ryan Stone

If I had been more,
held your hand
when it mattered

and even
when it didn’t,

what started as a scribble
in my yearbook
may not have ended
with this apology.

Ink lasts longer
than nascent buds,
wilted before their bloom.
Notes we wrote
lend breath
to ghosts,

long after
pens fall still.

In this cold place
I see your face
as it was behind the gym;
where your lips
once tasted

of blackberries
and sunshine.

PHOTO: “Blackberries” by Ryan Stone.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem stayed buried for many years until I arrived in a place that allowed me to look back without shattering into a million tiny pieces.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Stone is a poet incognito from Melbourne, Australia. He writes poetry, short stories, and even shorter bios.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The place of lightness that allows me to look back into the darkness.

If I had a good luck charm
by Amanda Tanner

If I had a good luck charm,
Could count the cards
And bluff the farm
I would be a dealer’s doom.

If I had that classic beauty
Rocking body
Luscious booty
I could put away my broom.

If I could learn to rock the kitchen
Prepare great meals
Quit my bitchin
I would be the perfect bride.

If I could win the Powerball
Be super rich
And have it all
I would still be by your side.

If I could write a poem for you
To cheer you up
When you are blue
I would write my very best.

No luck, no beauty, no perfect cook
Resting bitch face
Is how I look
Yet I’d say my life is blessed.

IMAGE: “Shamrock Pot V” by Emanuel Tanjala. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem sort of came to me after I purchased a (losing) ticket for the PowerBall drawing. It contains my personal dry humor and wit, as well as truth. (Yes, I am afflicted with RBF!)


Amanda (call her Nanna) Tanner
is a semi-retired educator and lifelong learner. An eternal optimist, Nanna claims there is nothing that she can’t learn. She will tell you she dabbles in the arts and loves creating things. She paints in oils and acrylics, plays guitar, writes poetry, and sings in the car on road trips. Most recently, she has learned to quilt and has made personal creations for eleven relatives.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken in 2013, hiding the RBF!