Issue #6

Megan Mealor

Your Grandfather’s Cottage

This storybook depot
tells of tawdry baroque fires,
intangible bygones,
punch-drunk operas
embittered in brocade,
settled in sateen damask.

The texture of my shadow–
rawboned with jarring seams,
slavish in the shrieking embers–
rescinds itself in rare revolt.

A rococo relic trundle
imprisons passing passions
inside intricate poppies,
grape-thorned vines,
footboard ornament angels.

Lusty windows yawning,
renegade starlight makes
straight for our thunder,
for once believing everything.

Koi Pond

finished cursory cerulean
ornamental coquelicot quivers
in the unuttered deep carmine gloss

Megan Denese Mealor has been writing her entire life. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, most recently Literally Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, Haikuniverse, Right Hand Pointing, and Third Wednesday. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her partner and son. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in her teens, Megan hopes to inspire others stigmatized by mental illness.

Robert Ford

Philadelphia Skyline

Our 767 rolls lazily, saluting the sun,
upsetting its cargo of anxiety, anticipation;
well-drilled, tight with the knot of our
reunions ahead, we do not lose a drop.
Through my earbuds, the ghost of
Lou Reed has made a big decision.
A long snake of windows to our right
– across the aisle – is framing infinity;
to the left, the final, weary laps of the
underlit ocean gatecrash the view, then
the leaky intestines of Jersey factories,
and – in a brushstroke across the horizon
– the glass and steel teeth of a city,
its cages rattling with a furious, unseen love.

Your country

I travel through it sometimes, on that road
you didn’t build but like to think you did.
There are bridges in the distance, grey towns
that are both mean and smug about it. I see
the fields that feed them, the damage done.
I’ve heard your anthem repeated ad nauseum,
seen your flag venerated on bumper stickers,
cereal packets, postcards you send to yourself.
There’s something here, everywhere, that –
although you can’t put your finger on it –
you’ll fight to your final breath to defend.
But it’s all a myth, isn’t it? An illusion.
A collection of the most convenient lies.
Pull at that loose thread hanging from
the hem of your skirts, and it will all unravel,
leaving your emperor butt-naked underneath.
And so angry. So incredibly angry.


Your car’s furious teeth chew up the flat tongue of road,
eating towards them as they peck away at
the stonewashed carcass of a hare, perhaps a large rabbit,
– hard to tell from here – spackled across
the asphalt up ahead, this being what they do, because hunger
needs no complex expanding upon, no
translation. And as the morning slants its light across the globe
in deliberate slices, equally worthless and
serene, the calculations begin behind their inscrutable oil-spot eyes,
the slick machinery restlessly weighing-up
distance/speed/time/escape-velocity, exactly like the ones
you can never quite catch yourself
consciously making, before this daily journey to the edge, towards
the moment you forgot you were waiting for.

The quietening down

It is happening as we speak.
As I notice through the window
that sharp diminution in the rain,
and the furious workforce of gulls
in their regulation labcoats,
treading up worms from the
football pitch across the road.
The TV has lost its mind in yet
another bout of attention-seeking.

Downstairs, you are putting him
to bed again, making sure the sides
are secured, the blue foam padding
wiped clean, the emergency buzzer
hanging there like a portable heart.
But even from this many rooms away
I hear it; that stony rattle, wedged
in the throat, hushing itself ahead
of a long night, heavy with gravity.

Robert Ford is a UK-based poet whose work has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including The Lake, Brittle Star (Issue 41 – ed.), The Interpreter’s House (issue 66 – ed.) and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at his website.