Archives for posts with tag: Poetry

Star Shower
by Joanie HF Zosike

Little sun-bronzed god…a bit shy
Boy and I hop into my 8-cylinder
Galaxy with automatic steering and
power brakes. Analogy not lost on me
Keep on those brakes, this is too pungent
Salty smell of sea on him, sunshine
euphoria, up into the mountains we go

to appreciate scent of earth, bird song,
fine fauna, sleeping bags on crackling
autumn carpet. Wine flushes our faces
He’s seven years younger than I, but
in this timeless firelight, who cares?
Fire roaring, we toast marshmallows
and good times. Then it’s time to sleep
It’s dark, what else is there to do? Kiss

We do, and it’s agonizing how much
I want him, but he says, “Let’s sleep.”
I can’t believe he says, “Let’s sleep.”
How can I sleep, feeling like an idiot
Hours pass, lump in my choking throat
Hours pass, then he rolls toward me
We blend in a shower of shooting stars

PHOTO: Perseid Meteor Shower by Belish.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brooklyn-born Joanie HF Zosike is a graduate of NYU Gallatin School of Individual Study (formerly University Without Walls). An Edward Albee fellowship recipient for her play Inside, produced at American Theatre of Actors (NYC), she was also honored by the Foundation for Jewish Culture for her play, …and Then the Heavens Closed (at The Jewish Museum in NYC). The Writers Hotel recognized her in 2019 with the Sara Patton poetry stipend. Her work frequently appears in Maintenant—A Contemporary Journal of Dada Writing and Art (Three Rooms Press) and in Silver Birch Press blog posts, and she is featured in Light on the Walls of Life: a tribute anthology to LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI (Jambu Press), Women in American Theatre (TCG), Letters Between Mothers and Daughters (Houghton-Mifflin)and Ides—a Collection of Poetry Chapbooks (Silver Birch Press). Other publications include Alien Buddha, Home Planet News, Humans of the World, Jewish Forward, Levure Literraire, PIM, and Syndic. She was featured poet in August 2019 The New Guard’s BANG!

PHOTO: The author in Franklin Canyon (off Coldwater Canyon) in Los Angles County, California (c. 2000).

vian 1980
by Joan McNerney

In our love nest
watching snow gather.
You say it’s not as
pretty as I am though.
Unloosening my clothes
throwing them and everything
from the bed. Warmer warmer
we want our time together.
When the moon is full
faces of frost cover
our window. We will
nestle asleep while storms
drift past the night.

Photo by Vian1980. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I left the comforts (?) of Brooklyn, New York, and its radiator heat to live in New England. My Michael and I lived in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Let me tell you that not everybody on the East Coast is rich, but New England people are very cool. I will never forget the warm welcome I received up North.

joan mcnerney 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Journals, and numerous Poets’ Espresso Reviews have accepted her work. She has four Best of the Net nominations. Her latest titles are The Muse in Miniature and Love Poems for Michael and At Work all available on and

by Joanne Corey

Wilds chanted to the forest
            as we stood in a circle
                        asking permission to enter

Though I could not understand
            the Hawaiian words, my eyes
                        welled, tears ran down my cheeks

The forest answered that we could
            tread lightly on the jagged
                        lava rocks and visit the new

Trees, planted for their preservation
            protected from invasive competitors
                        fenced from hungry goats

My daughter touched their leaves
            told us their stories, more alive
                        than I had seen her in years

            and tears
                        and tears

First published in the Binghamton Poetry Project Spring 2022 anthology.

PHOTO: Dry forest, Big Island, Hawaii by Notwishinganyone (Sept. 2017).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is a response to a prompt from a Binghamton Poetry Project session about a memory of communing with nature. I was immediately drawn back to a visit to the Kaʻūpūlehu Dryland Forest Preserve on the Big Island of Hawai’i. My daughter Trinity had spent a semester in the Islands while doing her undergraduate work in environmental science at Cornell University and had interned at Kaʻūpūlehu. The intersection of natural beauty, cultural richness, and familial connection was overpowering. This poem attempts to share that with you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey is thrilled to once again be a contributor to a Silver Birch Press series. She currently lives in Vestal, New York, where she participates with the Binghamton Poetry Project, Broome County Arts Council, Tioga Arts Council, and Grapevine Poets. With the Boiler House Poets Collective, she has completed an (almost) annual residency week at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams since 2015. Her first chapbook Hearts is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in 2023. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog, Top of JC’s Mind.

gull feathers in rain MATT WITT 1600_DSC9059
by Matt Witt

By rough estimate
there have been
2,452,800 moments
in my life,
and yet
that one
still stands out.

The two of us
sitting on the yard-sale bed,
facing each other,
cross legged,
knees to knees,
in a silence of smiles.

And by some miracle
not only our clothes
fell away

but also her anger at men
like her alcoholic father
who treated women like children,

and my fear of
becoming my father and mother
who slammed doors and yelled
instead of talking

and fallen away were
all the images acquired by osmosis
of men the leaders and providers and protectors
and women the seducers and the valentines

and for that moment
it did not even matter
that one of us was female
and one was male.

We explored each other,
In no hurry,
our human connection made physical.

By rough estimate,
that was one of
2,452,800 moments
in my life

and I had no idea at the time
that there would never be
another one like it.

Photo by Matt Witt,


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Witt is a writer and photographer in Talent, Oregon. His work may be seen at He has been Artist in Residence at Crater Lake National Park, Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation, Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Mesa Refuge, and PLAYA at Summer Lake.

Together Again
by Anne Namatsi Lutomia

you left to go to college abroad
i stayed with memories and dreams of our friendship
looking forward to the day we would reconnect
more than decade and a half after
we returned to our teenage friendship
in a small midwestern city a familiar face
my heart leapt with joy, as i embraced my dear friend anew
the restaurant was warm, with a cozy vibe
as we sat down, our memories revived
the clink of glasses, the murmurs of other customers
mixed with the music and laughter syncopating
as we caught up on the lost time
the colors around us, a muted hue
the warm glow of the candles and the heated space
warmed us up during the cold winter spring season
the gentle lull of the music, a soothing refrain
as we reconnected, our bond stronger like before
as the afternoon wore on, we shared our hearts
our past, our present, our futures and what we had missed
as we parted ways, i knew in my heart
this meeting would be a cherished memory
months later when you called and said you were leaving
i knew we would still be friends
although now oceans apart
we know where to find each other
never separating again

Photo by Petra. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This piece was inspired by a friendship I thought I had lost and how we reconnected and continue to stay in touch with each other.

Anne Selfie

Anne Namatsi Lutomia is a budding poet. She enjoys reading and writing poems. She has published poems with Silver Birch Press, BUWA and awaazmagazine. She also likes going for long walks and now lives in Lafayette, Indiana.

by Kenneth Hickey

Beneath the cold darkness of bleak midwinter
He stares at the clouded moon
Streaked with light as grass on the wind
Returns him
to when moonlight parties were new
He wore a jester’s cloak
And thought it magnificent
They wheel like dervishes before the campfire
As always a girl
Red hair like the dancing flame
An unreachable Paris
In a tame Cologne garden
            Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain
And coolly rebuffed
As Penelope’s suitors
            Your heart was always harder than a rock!

It grows dimmer

… dimmer still…

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is a reflection on a student exchange to Germany when I was 17, over 30 years ago.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in 1975 in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, Kenneth Hickey served in the Irish Naval Service between 1993 and 2000. His poetry and prose have been published in various literary journals in Ireland, the UK, and the United States, including Southword, Crannoig, THE SHOp, A New Ulster, Aesthetica Magazine, and The Great American Poetry Show. His writing for theatre has been performed in Ireland, the UK, New York, and Paris. He has won the Eamon Keane Full-Length Play Award  and was shortlisted for The PJ O’Connor Award and the Tony Doyle Bursary. Shortlisted for the Bournmouth Poetry Prize in 2022, he was selected for the Poetry in the Park project and awarded a poetry mentorship by Munster Literature Centre. His work in film has been screened at the Cork and Foyle Film Festivals. He holds a BA and MA in English Literature from University College Cork. His debut collection The Unicycle Paradox was published by Revival Press in November 2021. He still resides in Cork.

The Night the Turkey Died
by Martina Robles Gallegos

Three silly siblings looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner.
The cook was their little sister, the one who could barely reach the      cupboards.
The older brother mostly rested, as he was battling cancer.
The other one works most holidays: holy cow! Yes. He works at a ranch.
The older one was a gardener turned preacher, but now his Bible
seems to have forgotten him.
Both brothers love to cook, but the younger one could be a chef.
But this birdie was all mine, and nobody was going to touch it.
The entire kitchen was off limits till mealtime. I work better alone.
I cook and clean and clean and clean, so by the time I’m finished
cooking, all the dishes are clean and out of sight.
I had the turkey cooking instructions on a piece of paper on the fridge,
and I kept reading and repeating them to make sure I got them right.
I always prep the day and night before, to make things easier the next      day.
On Thanksgiving Day, into the oven flies the bird, heavy little stinker!
I’d preheated the oven as per the instructions. I turned the temp down
after forty-five minutes.
I then reached for my new baster, but the bastard had disappeared.
Used teaspoons of broth to moisten my angry beast.
When it came time to turn the turkey over, nephew told me it was already
right side up. What good did reading the instructions do? I gave the bird
the stink eye and left it alone. Oops! Got my years mixed up!
When working brother gig home, he picked up the turkey tray
and poured some broth into a small container. Now I could give the bird
a well-deserved bath. After this, I’m going to need one, too.
Both brothers suddenly disappeared. I looked after the bird, for hours,
very long hours. I checked and poked and stuck the thermometer, in the      bird.
I needed a break and sat down to watch the tv, no fun. I went to take a
bath instead. Must’ve taken a bit too long because when I opened the      door,
I could smell something burning, but it smelled kind of meaty.
Doorbell rang, and I wobbled down the stairs as quick as I could walk.
The siblings were back, hungry. They noticed the funny not so funny      smell.
The younger one took the turkey out of the oven and onto the kitchen
table. “I think you over cooked it,” he said. I think it burned, “said I.”
I’m not going to blame myself.
The older brother came to carve the turkey. He confirmed the bird was      burned.
We scraped off the charcoal and ate what we could, but we mostly ate      dessert.
We didn’t sacrifice this turkey; we, er, I killed it!

Photo by Deborah Hudson.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When the incident of the burned turkey happened, I felt badly, but not for the turkey. I felt I’d disappointed my brothers and probably left them hungry. Fortunately for the siblings but not for the turkey, the incident became the joke of my family, and every year since then, every time we mention Thanksgiving or turkey, we burst out laughing. I no longer feel badly about it. Last time I prepared and cooked the turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner, it came out just right but still upside down, but nobody starved, and for that I’m thankful.

Author Photo

Martina Robles Gallegos was born and raised in Mexico and came to the United States at 14. She got a Master’s degree from Grand Canyon University after a near fatal hemorrhagic stroke. Her work has appeared in the Altadena Anthology: Poetry Review 2015, 2017, 2018, Hometown Pasadena, Spirit Fire Review, Poetry Super Highway, Vocal media, Silver Birch Press, Central Coast Poetry Shows, Basta! and, more recently, in the award-winning anthology, When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America  (Golden Foothills Press, editor, Thelma T. Reyna).

bowl 1 copy 2
Love’s Long Work
by Lowell Murphree

I cherish the memory of the Valentine’s Day I gave you a small white bowl, a souvenir of our Chesapeake days. A blue crab waved its claws from the bottom in threat or in greeting, domesticated by a fence of 24 blue leaves lining the inner rim. Into this glazed marriage of earth and water I promised to place, each day, some sweet or nourishing or precious thing. Perhaps, one day, a single seed; the next, a bit of soil to help it grow. Each morning the bowl was empty, waiting, wanting, needing to be filled and filling that bowl morning after morning remains a constant reminder that love’s long work is never done.

PHOTO: Bowl from the author’s Chesapeake days. Photo by Lowell Murphree.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lowell Murphree lives in Ellensburg, Washington. His careers include Pastor, Development Officer, Non-Profit consultant, and poet.

epic stock
by Laurinda Lind

When you got back from Nicaragua
you looked like a beach boy, umber-
armed from the revolution, new-bearded

and ragged after a month of Montezuma’s
revenge. I biked to meet you on the road
since my car was defunct and it was

dangerous to be together. You smelled
of summer when I sat in your sedan
and, properly, we didn’t touch until

you parked by a trestle and we hiked
deep down a June-heavy lane. After
that, you braked the car by every bridge

to kiss me crazy—by now, how many spans
past. Beaches grew cold beneath the frost,
the Nicaraguans bided their little while

then sank from the news cycle, and we
both changed too, charged as we were
by that scented season before the clock

caught and raced us forward to the fall.

First published in Exit 13

Photo by Epic Stock. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: During an uneasy time in the Americas, I was in a double-rebound relationship that everyone around us predicted would end disastrously. That was 35 years ago, and we are still together.


Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country. Some of her writing is in Blue Earth Review, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway. She is a Keats-Shelley Prize winner and a finalist in several other writing competitions.

by Joe Cottonwood

Always an embarrassment, my father,
a bow-tie guy and president for Pete’s sake
of the Daffodil Society
so when he fenced a corner of the yard
and filled it with yellow bouquets wilted,
with grass clippings and moldy leaves of elm
wafting an odor like an old sponge,
it was another sad fact to hide about my family
until the dry winter day I saw steam rising.

With friend Jimmy I jumped in,
made burrows, caves,
prairie dogs in a warm hill of decay
spreading chaos which my father
must have cleaned later.

Some gone days like wilted bouquets
grow warm.

PHOTO: Leaf compost by Yves Bernardi.

Cottonwood and Pine

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: An ancient oak tree fell at my children’s school. The arborist cut and chipped. After the next rainfall, a mound of wood chips wafted steam. The scent was the trigger. As a child I thought an old sponge. The scent so sharp yet rich and deep I could now recognize as of an old whiskey barrel. I placed my hand inside the mound and yes, so warm. After decades dormant, this memory poured into my cup, and I drank.

PHOTO: Joe Cottonwood at the intersection of Cottonwood and Pine.

Joe & redwood 300

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book is Random Saints. You can find him (and his poems) on Facebook. Visit him at