Do not flinch from the day’s whisper,
the words on the page, the reverberation
of air. Grip them tight in prickling palms
until your eyes weep flowers.

For there are those who would steal names,
wind dead artists in neat flags
in sterile rooms that none may enter.
Draw your pen from stone. Write the day.



In a castle open to the stars,
a girl, neither princess nor servant,
sews a coat of leaves, red and gold,
threaded with earthscent, cries of crows.

She can’t remember why, but knows
that, come morning, she will wrap herself close
in its moist rustling, crown her locks with frost,
and step her shadow through chestnut lanes.

Oz Hardwick
Originally published as Poem 337 in HIV Here & Now


Thy Will

by Hillary Scott


The Midwife’s Riddle

Q: what breaks the little girl’s heart?
A: the father who abandons her

Q: what breaks the woman’s heart?
A: the man who betrays her love

Q: what breaks the mother’s heart?
A: the baby who dies

Are any of these things God’s will?
I doubt it.


Eph. 5:15-21


AJones-AlmondOrchard-CvrMy friend, colleague, and fellow-poet, Dr. Andy Jones, recently published another meaningful collection of poems:  In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War. The book:

“represents the experiences of American veterans who have served overseas, and who are readjusting to life in the United States, especially California, after their service. The book was made possible by support from YoloArts and the California Arts Council. Profits from the sale of this book will fund the Charles Ternes Creativity Prize for Veteran Students at the University of California, Davis.” ~ UC Davis University Writing Program

This is a sequel to two other fine collections, Split Stock and the poetry-and-essay collection, co-written with his wife, author Kate Duren, Where’s Jukie?

I’ve read the newest book and enjoyed it very much. Some of my favorite poems from it are the title poem, “In the Almond Orchard,” and “Secret Milestones,” “Flirtations with Loss,” “Out,” “Goodbye to Elvis Costello,” “Gifts and Prizes,” “The Chosen,” and “Conversion.” Lines from other poems stand out in my memory:

Wearing your coat,

your son climbed

the quaking aspen

~ from “It’s Your Funeral”


Note the scar tissue on the tongue

~ from “The March”


Thread the needle of my imagination

~ from “Overseas, A Tailor Regrets the Absence of his Beloved”

I appreciate the thoughtfulness and insight in the poems Dr. Andy Jones has written for In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War.

Any reader will.


by Jane Beal

in now available in

Kikwetu: A Journal of East African Literature


Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 9.32.59 AM

Listen to “Willow


Psalm 137 and Psalm 126

My God, I am so tired.

But what was cut away from me
is growing back.

Give me strength in my blindness.

If I push down these pillars,
the roof will come down on my enemies.

O Lord, this is my last act of worship.




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