Silent Forest – by Rachael Ikins

I’ve had the rending grief,
chopped-off hair, bloody scratches.
Nausea, insomnia. Yes.
I have visited that forest.
This one is silent.

Grief is a young woman on her horse. Shadowing me through trees. No matter how fast I snap my head around, I cannot see her.

Yoked to Summer, garden weeds, pests, harvest, I plod through July.
Huzzah each blossom—bud to husk. My heart isn’t in it.
I flinch beneath sun’s
relentless brilliance.

I want Autumn, leaf piles to hush highway’s yawn as it stretches and pops, Monday mornings.
Leave me alone
in the woods
to listen for those muffled hoofbeats.

I want cold and snow, a trail to follow early evenings.
When I can sneak out of the house, into birdless quiet.

Snow, so I can find those footprints,
See her profile, shout some soundless plea. “Go away!”

her turn her head.
She says, “I haven’t
forgotten you.”

My kettle screams,
the dogs bark at squirrels.
Rush-hour streams the highway. Grief is a shadow,
a girl, her horse,

Copyright Rachael Ikins. 2019. Read more by Rachael here

Rachael Ikins is a powerhouse of creativity as well as Associate Editor at Clare Songbirds Publishing House in Auburn NY Ikins is an Independent Book Award winner (poetry), 2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee, 2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee

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Shift – A Wise Woman Writes

Churned in chronic cloud

Wafted away

To tenebrous fray

I’m wrecked

Face down

Among ash anointed dirt

Abysmally amassing




So lonely

Don’t tell me

About reasons

Or better places

In this house

Where words are weapons

And welts wail long after

The belts been cinched

This is chaos

And I’m lost

Waiting for a day

When I’ll write pretty things

Now sweet singing is stifled

But for mournful melancholy

Seeping from my chest


By weight

Of souls

I’ve collected





For disintegration

To begin

Go ahead


See the original here

A Poet and Her Words – Sabrina Escorcio


These words
oh, these words
what a suffering death
and abundant life
this furtive multitude
of polar opposites;
for it is known
while a poem penned
can be their greatest joy
it could also be
their source of strife
appearing at times
with radiant
illuminating light,
yet other times
held captive in the dark
as useless as a lantern
hidden out of sight

These words
oh, these words
are the poets every wound
exposed to all,
yet the very breeze
that brings healing;
their deepest bleeding gash
but better still
the scab

For truthfully
my dear friend
lover of the written word
it is the very poison
that festers within
as well as the only cure
they need to drink;
it is the sweet truth
humbly revealed
and bitter lies exposed
on which they chew
and think

These words
oh, these words
these words you see
and come to read
are to the poets’
their most prized
fruitful blessing
of a talent
freely gifted,
yet they are
the heaviest weight
they must carry;
a brilliant burden
of a curse
never lifted

© Sabrina Escorcio
December 2017

A giver

Ig@ daijanna (d.a.ij.a.n.n.a)

I have given your mouth a flutter,

To splutter and swallow

The numb atoms of lights.

I am a giver, a pacifier.

Poultice to your scarred eyelids.

I bloom inside you,

Your atlas of belly button.

A splinter of moon,

Beneath the crumble of your pillow

To talk and soothe,

I am a giver.

My green veins of lantern love,

Curtains on lips,

You on me , a gateway.

I give you moon and the sun.

Drizzling springs favorite song

On my flat body now.

To suffice what has leaked,

To make my words, a crisp song.

#MeToo Writing Contest Second Place (tie): Varnika Jain/Why a Poet

Poet in me yet

There is hurt

In measures I’m yet to fathom.

There are pieces,


Which I haven’t yet begun to gather.

There are tears,


Waiting to be stitched and mended.

There are wounds,


Bloodying numerous gauzes.

Despair, you say?

Run and hide?

I’m broken, you say?

What’s there to survive?

But, wait,

I think,

There’s a poet in me yet.

Varnika Jain is prone to having verbal epiphanies in the midst of all the cacophony surrounding her life.  She is a voracious reader, vociferous eater and a vehemently passionate writer. You can read more of her writing at Moonlighting Scrivener where you can find her changing the world, one word at a time.

Once-Introducing Scout McPain


[“Powem” and picture by Scout McPain]

Once, sitting with a woman I was embarrassingly in love with, I’d felt something brush my elbow. Radiating through my body, waves of warmth and sunlight battered my internal world but left me sitting still. I looked over and these feelings drained out of me like a smashed bottle. I had been touching her bag.

[I don’t like writing bios, or telling people my age or name for that matter. Currently I enjoy spending days at a time outside, sharing music and words in the darkest and brightest places I can find. Presumably alive at the time of publishing,

Scout McPain]