Issue #2

M. Stone

Early Warning

My aching head tells me soon
rain will pummel window glass
like frenzied locusts.

I dread the humid aftermath:
air grows palpable—moist hands
fondling my skin.

Lately the sky throws tantrums,
spits quarter-sized hail.
Downpours strong-arm rivers
into breaching their banks.

Months from hurricane season,
these storms are infants
at the breast, sprouting
needle teeth.

Summer, 1995

Night concedes to day.
The sun gloats, rising higher;
I long for leaden cloud cover
while treading frying pan asphalt.

I imagine earthworms torn
from cool soil, wriggling
blind in merciless heat.

The mailbox is a metal oven,
flag lowered in surrender.
I pry open the door and peer
into an empty mouth.

On the Night of My Grandmother’s Death

Neighbor men roost
on the front porch—
sympathetic buzzards
clutching beer cans
My uncle wanders
the yard, heedless
of sleeping copperheads
as he smokes and swears
This is how mountain
folk mourn, holding a wake
without a body
Women: consigned
to the kitchen, where comfort
food collects on countertops
Our eyes red-rimmed,
tender from weeping,
but death beckons
prodigal children home

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes fiction and poetry while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poetry will appear in the September 2017 issue of SOFTBLOW. She can be reached at

Lisa Brognano

Midday Sky

Solitude spawned a gentle wave—
the palpable edge of serenity—
mercenary ripple
to determine where the shadows
twisted, when the calm would burst,
oh honeysuckle in the forest den,
beguiled, misled to the point of
extinction; very likely the truth of the
matter remained—mankind stamped
out the garden
to dwell in proper houses,
tall grasses trimmed,
high volume of crickets no more
the clatter of birdsong scalped,
they’ve flown south;
everyone saw them take off
in the clear midday sky

Poor Ol’ Cap’n

  • The measure of a good man,
  • his impeccable taste in cravats,
  • blondes, bridge partners, bank investors—
  • unlikely, rare and foolish
  • with a vitally-strong, honestly-pointed chin,
  • prone to nudge forward
  • when his pace picked up,
  • very capable eyes of the softest blue,
  • drops from the sea
  • contained by the bridge of his nose,
  • and how the underside of his mouth
  • made square corners for faint smiles,
  • all distinguished qualities
  • if there were no more,
  • but he owned a yacht with sleeping quarters,
  • sailed it sea bound in stormy weather,
  • wise to the water’s turbulence—
  • the frantic didacticism of the waves;
  • no one could tell him otherwise if
  • the water would sink him wholly
  • or just enough to get a rise out,
  • poor ol’ cap’n

Lisa Brognano has two master’s degrees, one in English and one in Art. Fifteen of her poems and seventeen of her articles on the arts have been published in journals. Her first romance novel, A Man for Prue, debuts in September 2017. Her first book of poetry, The Willow Howl, will be published shortly.

Andrew Kuo

December Philly Delivery

Drive herky-jerky stop
grab nylon strings feel them dig
sling futons through Arctic air
turn, cut, push up the steps.
Once more on the snowbank
once more on the black ice
once more over the wall
between clocked-in
and clocked-out.

Andrew Kuo lives with his wife in sunny California. His hobbies include hiking and tennis. He’s been published in online literary magazines including Blaze Vox and Every Writer.

Benjamin Nardolilli

Enjoying Hunting?

I had to stop going outside in nature because everything was a test.
The rocks wanted me to figure out what was missing
the branches needed me to point
out the direction of the wind,

meanwhile the clouds at day
and the stars at night
wanted me to treat them as a Rorschach endeavor
Even at this moment, mountain peaks are asking me
what shape or symbol
of the future is creeping up behind their stone blockade

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel.

Suchoon Mo

The Agendum of this Meeting

I am calling this meeting
to talk about what to talk about
in this meeting which is
to talk about what to talk about
in this meeting

Suchoon Mo is a retired academic and a war veteran living in the semiarid part of Colorado.

S. A. Gerber


Melting like
Dali’s clocks
at the
murmur of
your heart.
Goose bumps,
on a
summer day,
on sand
making love.
The eyes
well up
at the
smallest suggestion
of separation.
Too many
raw pangs,
of loss
and pain.
Leaping forward
without the
usual armor.
After all,
there is
no romance
in indifference.

S. A. Gerber is a native and resident again of Los Angeles, CA. after having spenttwenty-four years in a neighboring “city of sin” in the Silver State of Nevada. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as Desert Voices Magazine…Subtopian Magazine…Talking Sidewalks… Mad Swirl… Sediment Literary and Arts Journal… Poetica Magazine… Black Heart Magazine… The Blue Collar Review…Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, The Linden Avenue Literary Journal, The Poet’s Haven, Stray Light Literary Magazine, Literature in Los Angeles Magazine, Opiate Magazine, and Pacific Poetry. He is a member in good standing in the Los Angeles Poet’s Society. where his work has been “Spotlighted” on their website.

His two (2) volumes of poetry, Under the Radar and Inventory can both be obtained on Barnes & Noble and, as well as Beyond Baroque bookstore in Venice, CA. and The Amber Unicorn in Las Vegas, NV.