Kassie Runyan

United States


As I lay me down to sleep

I wonder what my dreams will reap.

Recently they’ve been rather bleak

And I’ve fallen in so deep

That I’ve only woken with a shriek

When a ghastly hand sweeps

Coldly across my cheek.

I close my eyes and try not to peak

Across the room, I hear a creak.

In the darkness I wish for sheep,

Imagine them forced to leap.

I don’t notice I’ve drifted asleep.

A sheep opens her mouth to speak

But all that emerges is a sound so weak

It almost makes me weep.

She’s lost her voice, not a peep.

Maybe from all the critique.

Or feeling like a freak.

Or thinking that her future’s bleak.

I hold her close and keep

Reminding her that she’s unique

And the world is at her feet.

And of the mountains she will leap.

And there we stay until the sun begins to creep.



Mel Haagman

United Kingdom

Like a river they keep flowing,
Neologisms they procreate,
The dictionary will be too full
If it continues at this rate…
Contact tracing and furlough,
Coronacoaster is a fave,
Zoom-fatique and maskne,
First, second and third wave.
Asymptomatic superspreader,
Coronacation, pod and bubble,
Vaccination status queried
Single, boosted or double?  
Viral load, herd immunity,
Infodemic everywhere,
The question that hangs in the air -
Was it biological warfare?
Quarantine, frontliner,
Social distancing and track,
But soon they will be obsolete,
And they’ll be gladly given back! 



Cynthia Storrs

United Kingdom


Morning mist has smudged the edges of suburbia

softening squares of sidewalks

and trapezoidal siding into watercolor wash.

The fog muffles sharp sounds of birds.


Wrapped in this silent softness

recondite rabbits dare emerge,

taupe ellipticals scrambling across muted greens.


A horizon of parallelograms hang in grey

waiting delineation by the sun.



Abigail Yardimci

United Kingdom


Trudging up the bank in

blue night snow,

tracks churn from their boots.

Streetlights hum

all the way home.

The men rub their eyes and

roar up into the sky.

Cats scarper and hiss across the snow.

Birds blink into blackness

from wiry branches.

But the men clap gloved hands

and belly-laugh across the village.

They trip into homes

tucked up in stars;

laughter gone and

tracks softened by

silent snow.

Everything rests.

Hugging myself with my knees drawn tight,

I wait on the windowsill.

The outside

is in





Abigail Yardimci

United Kingdom


Trudging up the bank in

blue night snow,

tracks churn from their boots.

Streetlights hum

all the way home.

The men rub their eyes and

roar up into the sky.

Cats scarper and hiss across the snow.

Birds blink into blackness

from wiry branches.

But the men clap gloved hands

and belly-laugh across the village.

They trip into homes

tucked up in stars;

laughter gone and

tracks softened by

silent snow.

Everything rests.

Hugging myself with my knees drawn tight,

I wait on the windowsill.

The outside

is in



5am feelings 

slumber beneath the ceiling 

the sky sends me signals 

in silky sleep symbols 


of what was, what’s not, what could have maybe been 

doubts and gladness and all that’s in between 

sadness and growth 

the kindness and the mean 


and as the sun starts to creep 

through my black veiled windows, in shallow grief 

illusions and fantasies still run in me deep 


I battle to pry open these eyes of mine 

and I spend some time, trying to define 

                  if it’s the devil or if it’s the divine 


then I shake off the dream 

                  reborn this morning, it’s all now re-forgotten and newly unseen. 



Kenneth Baker

United States


He remembers glass fibers
Like the perky topknot on a chipper cheerleader,
That splayed from the whirring black box
Casting a whirlwind of colors upon the walls,

A possible promise of gifts to come.

Posters hung on those walls crafted
From what the future held
Pledges blithely made
And gazed upon fondly as he
Drifted off to meet purple flying sheep.

He counts the sheep in patient seconds, 

Waiting while the gold lame clad dancers
And the bands in their leather jackets
Electric guitars slung casually across their backs
Lay out the smorgasbord. 

He becomes a drooling, whining, howling dog
Pacing hungrily at the door marked “The Future”.

Expectations arise,
The colors whirl,
Painted so lovingly, tenderly,
And hung on the walls,
Synchronized with waves of desires.

He finds himself collared and chained
Restrained from the feast
His longings

In the dusty halls of memory.



Tomas Reynolds



The only truly good 

person is asleep,

not saying (the wrong things) (hateful things) (lies)

not making (garbage) (work) (enemies)

not eating (too quickly) (too much) (other creatures)

not buying (more and more) (junk) (it)

not driving (up demand) (aimlessly) (too fast)

not standing (for a long time) (alone) (on a ledge) 

not (envious) (sad) (wistful)

not (scared) (resentful) (angry)

just asleep.

The goddamn dawn ruins everything.



Bharti Bansal



Barren home and broken bodies

I dream of a land 

Where I am not a raging river

Or a dying moth

Where the light is not too faraway 

And sun is at the tip of my thumb

Where my lover doesn't hold pillows for comfort but me

Where time doesn't fly

Like a bird in a burning forest

Waiting to escape

Where the dark doesn't scare me

And this lonely world doesn't convince me to find a dream

Big enough to weigh me down

Keep me grounded on earth 

And doesn't let me shoot from the earth at escape velocity 

All I am saying is that I am just trying to stay 

As long as I can 

Without making it sound like a complaint

Because you see, sometimes the best moments should be kept at one hand distance

And best memories are better off without heart 

So, all I am trying to do is detach myself

From this world

A rope being cut

A taut thread hanging loose

For there is no way to heal loneliness 

But to believe that we after all aren't even lonely alone

That somewhere someone feels exactly like us

Tucked in my bed

I am waving everyone off in my dream 

And running to a land

Where nobody knows that I, in fact, am so sad

I might break down on being asked simple questions 

And know perfectly the answers I can never admit.



Jenna K. Funkhouser

United States

But don’t you think

the trees nod off,

just a little, now and then

the river finds itself


down those slow,

mossy slimes,

as water-bugs roll

in silent ice capades 

across their dreams? 

The ferns open 

their ten thousand eyelashes

each morning

and the damp earth

rears its head 

like a great bear of light.

And the paws of the fox 

and the grey-haired bobcat


When the river wakes

it carries only their negatives

clasped like a reversed prophecy 

against its beating heart.

And the earth wakes

with the scent of the night

upon her skin.



Christian Ward

United Kingdom

Can't sleep. The moon

is redrafting outside

my window: Joker's grin,

biscuit dipped in tea,

copper penny, cracked egg,

the burlesque reveal...

More costume changes

than the Super Bowl halftime

show, than the world's

entire butterfly population. I jest.

Is this insomnia or the final walk

in the park where you expect

Michael Aspel to show a film

of your life? It's a bit boring

now. Thanks for the entertainment

I'd say if it could hear me,

while I peel like an onion

and turn into a paper glider,

a 747, a flying squirrel.



Renee Cronley



We toil around the 24-hour clock until

hopelessly coiled around the harmonic oscillator 

that swings counter to our circadian rhythms.

Out of phase; out of mind.

Silencing alarms that caution accelerated living,

tick-tocking with over stimulation— 

wearing weariness as a badge of honor.

If we stop moving, we’ll fall behind.

Society chimes forty winks low on the hierarchy 

as the waking world ignores the internal clock— 

operating in a fog as we lag behind REM cycles.

Barely standing but running on borrowed time.

Abusing stimulants to combat rebound fatigue—

scraping by as we sprint alongside the minute hand

as the hours pull our minds and bodies into a recession.

We can sleep when we’re dead.

An hourglass of ignorance containing grains of truth

as we measure success with chronic self-neglect 

until the cumulative effect puts us on the stopwatch.

The productive insomniac files wellness bankruptcy.

The cost is high when culture shapes sleeping habits,

so, we replace dysfunctional beliefs with healthy ones—

time spent in the land of the nod is constructive. 

The slumbering soul is hard at work.



Rachel R. Baum

United States


Head in hands shudder among shredded waves

On the rocky coast between night and light

Passenger trains screech past

Lifting gum wrappers from mesh bins 

Head in hands parse the lists

From the day before and the day ahead

Cicadas shrill in Chicago trees

Molecules that spin in the dark

Head in hands a bridge a hall to traverse

The sparse lit canyons from kitchen to bathroom 

Swim the riptide on this parallel sea

Lie face up as though you are already gone



Cristina M. R. Norcross

United States

While I sleep the house settles,

small breaths, the cadence of exhales,

the shape and imprint of daily hours.

Tomorrow runs in circles

around the house,

waiting on the other side of the door.

While they sleep,

my sons grow taller, cells repairing.

They absorb every moment,

conversation, sensation,

math problem,

French vocabulary,

the motion of running on the track.

While we sleep, as parents,

we anticipate our family

expanding and contracting over time,

like a balloon of memory.

I see us rise and float,

being carried away by the years,

noticing the arc of fall’s golden sun,

the shadow of winter’s early evening,

the newness of the next generation

bringing spring to our doorstep,

genetic blueprints for tomorrow.



Lorelei Bacht


I blink and you begin your day, grabbing 

my last red ribbons of sunlight, weaving 

them into your morning coffee. 


Longing at long range, I picture routines:

slippers, bathrobe, Turkish angora purrs 

himself out of your pillow, yawns. 


You look so frail before makeup, your 

Berlin winter worries me. You froth 

your coffee twice, pour it in porcelain.


Important voices in the transistor recite

their daily litanies of ups and downs,

percentages. Where will you go today? 


Which old friend will you elect to visit? 

Will you carry an umbrella? Anneanne,

I really cannot sleep without orange


blossom water, and I am tired of looking

for your dry, solar hands, for your crinkled

smile on the wrong side of the map.



"Zaman Farki" means time difference in Turkish. "Anneanne" is a word for maternal grandmother. 



Zaneta Varnado Johns

United States


I pray . . . I lie down. . . I snuggle

I close my eyes and submit.

While I sleep, safely and comfortably,

the world turns.

I rest all night, a sacred gift,  

not taken for granted.

Trusting that all is well—

for eight hours—nightly I dream




No rushing

No seeking

No worrying

No regrets!

Peaceful slumber, one of my most

coveted blessings in life!



Richa Sharma


A longer dream is meant to stretch

It cannot tear, it cannot spill

The stars will shine till 

the darkness peaks

even when their muses go to sleep

and while the sleeping muse’s dream

may be made of shining sheets of stars

they may break and fall to ground

in dust to mix and never be found

While I sleep, the inky spill

above my head, dark and still

my breath to reach the blots it holds

like twinkling stains in its folds

in wisps my air rises above

to meet the stars in a forbidden love

While I am lulled to the lack of light

what burns inside is hot and white

Its nearness seems like an impossible far

this heat inside me from that burning star

While I sleep, I fear, someone may steal

My fire bright, my sky dark teal

Stretched across the velvet night

a banner illusory and white

a promise of several burning stars

perhaps a lie from those that far

and while I sleep, they play these games

of Ursa and Orion, Oh, such fanciful names!

For all I know, their promises won’t last

they burn to ground as night goes past



Marion Price

United Kingdom


alone while I sleep

the air holds its breath

the curtains move softly through

the window ajar

the cats snore their wishes

warmed by embers burned low

my hair tumbles pillows as my 

arms catch the throw

but I...while I sleep

am illusion in mists

just a body, a picture

looked down on from high

a scene set in timeless as a 

nighttime ticks through

while I walk the skylines

of heaven

with you



Michael H. Brownstein

United States


I need to stretch my breath a minute or more,

let the broken branch of rain fall away from me,

the filament of hail move forward a Fionn's step or two,

gather my dogs from their hiding places in the stone:

I will be back soon to be with you.


The anvil sparks, the great hammer falls,

the welder flings its fire, the plasma cutter breaks free.


The aquifer fills itself until it can no longer eat,

Waters sprawl over the Missouri banks,

the flood of retribution the revival of our lacking--

then the color of sky colors the clouds and some days 

we do not need the myth of rainbow, just peace, just love,


you, always you, our small house, our smaller garden, 

my hope for you, safe at the end of this storm



Nicole Bird

United States


It is firmly day 

so solidified in its day-ness 

that it feels like an affront 

a slap in the face 

to the night I spent 

trying to be human.  

I took another melatonin at 5am thinking  

it would make a difference 

but it never does.  

What is meant to be awake 

will be stark eyes and concentrated pupils 

finding a way through the dark 

and fighting a burgeoning aversion to the light.



Danni B. Martin

United States


While I sleep

Fear sneaks into my room

Slithers on my floor

And crawls into my bed

It caresses me with misgivings

Kisses me with anxiety

And whispers worry in my ear

It massages my body with despair

Rubs my hair with hopelessness

And removes my clothing with unfulfilled dreams

While I sleep

Fear makes love to me

And I wake up afraid



D. R. James

United States


Never up first, he was always

downstairs first, his four little boys

aligned like ascending angels

up the polished staircase, already

dressed, eager to see the tree,

their piles of presents, when he gave

the word. But this – his first since

moving out, holed up in a grayed

box on a slab with a stoop just

blocks away: Christmas Eve with

him, a canned ham, and trifles

stuffed into four new matching

stockings; Christmas day with her.

At forty-four, he’d never spent

this morning alone with its luxury

of infomercials, happy-holiday sales

inserts, fried eggs and left-over ham.

A nice woman stopped to exchange

commiseration, gifts meant to flatter,

their festive fronts. Later, the phone

said what everyone had gotten – 

what he already knew. That night,

back at the rental after kissing four

happy foreheads through their front

porch door, he watched winter turn

his wine black, fell asleep weeping,

Miles Davis playing Blue in Green.



Phyliss Merion Shanken


I’m a drowning nine-year-old. 

In sync with frantic kicks, head back,

my puckered lips protrude the surface of the sea.

I crave the scanty breeze, but

forced to suck through airless straws.

A shark swishes by:

his human face glows through wavy foam.

I am Tinker Bell

spinning on his giant hand.

A stingray puffs fire, drying up nostalgic tears.

At his command, I leap atop his diamond back.

He tosses me onto parched, crew-cut grass

to my funereal home.

Look for me on the beach, the slivered dragon spouts.

No, Daddy:

For years, I searched but never found—

I’ll reappear whenever you demand.

No, you won’t. You lie.

Yes, reluctantly, I do…

Moistened cheeks on my pillow.

Remember when Daddy taught me to swim?

I’ll never let you drown, he promised.

I’ll never let you down.

But then he swam away.



Duane Anderson

United States


If I fall asleep watching the movie, 

it only means my sleep has more importance

than what is on the screen,

no matter how many millions it cost to film it,

or how many favorable reviews it received.

Let me sleep.  

My sleep is well worth the price

of the movie ticket, knowing my dreams

will more than make up for its cost,

and if I fall asleep when I am at work,

fire my ass,

my sleep is well worth the price.

Sleep, a precious commodity,

and a scarcity at night,

most welcomed with open arms when it comes,

no matter how steep the cost,

the movies I may have missed,

the jobs I may have lost.

Don’t wake me up, 

just let me sleep.

My dreams will keep me contented.



Jessica Palmquist

United States

Leaping through the night air

She landed gracefully on her paws.

Sinking into the pillows

Kneading the dough of sheets.

Her lips emitting a humming purr

She drooled happily. 

Upon my chest she lied happily

Breathing in my air.

I felt her vibrate and purr

As she crossed her paws.

Curling farther into the sheets

She moved up to the pillows.

Stretching along the pillows

She gazed at me happily.

When I pulled away the sheets

That she had kept warm from the cool air,

She extended her claws from her paws

And pulled me back in, resuming her purr.

When I finally got up, interrupting her purr

She leapt to the floor from the pillows.

Calling me back she reached her paws

And followed me unhappily.

As the sun brought on the morning air

It was time to leave the sheets.

Leaving unmade sheets

I left behind her purr.

As I entered the frigid winter air.

How I missed my bed and pillows.

My day went unhappily

I longed for my love and her paws.

Upon my return, I heard her paws

As she left my bedroom and our sheets.

I came inside with a smile, and she growled happily

My presence made her purr.

Sitting together with my pillows

We snuggled away the icy air.

That night, she hummed her passioned purr.

As we slept in our sheets.

And our bonded love had warmed the air.



Nina Carroll MD

United States


The parrot caged in her prim dining room

  appears as quintuplets perched 

  on the railing of the balcony  

  where I sit.  It crumbles. They fly. I freeze.

  A hand grabs mine just before





I fall in love again with violet eyes smiling at me 

  single slim and twenty-five 

  I walk cocky in boots and leathers my black hair loose

  he turns around shirtless


  grabs me with crab



My father and I rarely hug

  but he was a kind and charming man with a gentle smile.

  He morphs alive forty years younger than when he died.

  Now just in time

  he shakes up liquor & rocks pours cocktails for my friends.


Nat Geo images of the leopard napping in a tree

and the Afghani girl’s blue eyes widen

  as the spotted hyena laughs then growls

  digs fangs into the sleeping man’s skull

  crimson spills





Scarlet pools on my sheets—

  I awaken late again for the final exam

  a slow elephant - my only ride there

  I wear khakis navy blazer crew-cut

  afraid I will never become

  what I already am.



Ken Gosse

United States


I see foxes in soxes,

a small, twinkly bat,

a walrus and carpenter,

cats in a hat.

Kittens on keyboards

use me as a mat

which they all like to knead

though I tell them to scat!

Awakened abruptly

by Cheshirey grin

face-to-face as it tickles

my nose, lips, and chin,

my kitten’s claws penetrate

sheets, thick and thin—

I count sheep, hoping sleep,

once again, will begin.



Shail Raghuvanshi



“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

while I sleep, exhausted, I am unaware 

that the day I shall rise to will bring with it

a leaking wall, a flooded room and hours of

unexplainable desperation having to fall prey

to an ageing building’s pipeline that decides 

to go berserk, having put in years of service

to ungrateful human life and yet,

hope is the thing with feathers

flying where you see it, invisible to the eyes

of the gloom-monger, lost as he is

in the killjoy emotions of an individual

willing to let go off the present if only

to lose sleep in disquietude which I do

at times, I won’t deny it but then, faith

in a tomorrow that could bring with it solitude

that perches in the soul

transforms me into a person better than the one

yesterday so, even as I swab the water away 

that threatens to moisten the cardboard boxes 

filled with books, written references, kept near my table

last week, I know, there could be a reason for all this

tampering, me, amenable to a positive change

stemming from loss, one who is disposed to dance, 

and sings the tune without the words

sending vibes of embracing acceptance to

the universe like an affirmation destined

to change my immediate world, like a switch word

which when written or chanted changes my outlook

towards my present, for the better if only

I let go off my grudges, tear off my unwarranted expectations

floating on a cloud that gets me sailing with a smile 

and never stops at all.



Mignon Ariel King

United States


The three mountains come crumbling down

Tremont Street to fill in the Back Bay again.

Blue Hill Avenue runs a dismounted stream

rapidly to the Harbor, turrets from Castle

Island leaping to their doom, all caught up

in the bluing of things. And all the bodies

dumped in the Quarry by the old Whitey

Bulger hoodlums tattle as they float on.

Asleep, I cannot hear the slights of slant,

broad alliteration mocking our blue collars.



Peuo Tuy

United States


Mak, we travel with you crossing dark blue oceans, returning to our ancestral birthland.


We hold your hands,

walking through vibrant green rice fields,

hearing drums beat for your return.


Mak, we shower you with white pka champas - We can’t wait to see your radiant smile!


At the pagoda, we pray you 

will meet Phouk in your afterlife. 


On a bed of banana leaves, 

we place your ashes with Phouk, 

let you and Phouk ride with the currents down to the Mekong River.



LaVan Robinson

United States


On the sea of the unconscious binding of broken dreams. My ship of self purpose was just sailing blindly. The compass of life in which I tried to navigate and plot my course had me drifting about. The winds of turbulence many ships I seen it had caused to crash among the rocks. I was hungry and thirsty, and my soul was at its wits end. The darkness of the clouds above made it totally impossible to see what was waiting just around the bend. The flares I shot into the air couldn’t and didn’t fully illuminate the sky. I was in the grips of fear and on my knees, I fell and cried. It was then that I felt  a power greater than I. It had righted the ship and set it on a course of calmer waters and then I realized that he , God was superiority more equipped, and I made him captain of my life and ship. Now I am totally at peace and my riches and blessings have been immensely increased.



Carl “Papa” Palmer

United States

I don’t remember who I was talking to

or what I was talking about, but

it was my voice I heard

and I remember saying it. 

That’s what woke me up,

“No thank you.”

Had I said it on the telephone 

to a telephone salesperson

persistently selling telephones or 

a cellular telephone service plan,

that kind of “No thank you.”?

A dismissive, condescending, agitated, 

“No thank you,”

voiced toward the slamming handset?

Or was it said to a person or persons in mass,

handing out blue and pink flyers downtown

almost blocking pedestrian passage,

thrusting their advertised wares 

as I verbally elbow past

avoiding eye contact?

“No thank you,” 

barely slowing down.

Or to the red headed waitress 

as she asks on the brink of pouring,

if I need a warm-up  just after 

I’ve added the right amounts 

of milk for color and sugar for taste.

“No thank you,”

with a smiling shake of my head 

and a blocking hand over the cup.

Or maybe a singing retort

at the sticky faced toddler 

in the waiting room, ripe diaper,

crawling toward my seat, 

offering gooey green gummy bears 

from his fuzzy little open hands. 

“No thank you,” 

quite loud, backing into my chair 

trying to get the parents’ attention 

to keep their odorous brat at bay.

Perhaps a polite refusal,

though to an offer 

of something I actually desire, 

like another slice of hot blueberry pie

topped with vanilla ice cream, 

the unconvincing sort, 

that if asked again,

may not be that vague, unmeant 

“No thank you,”

that was automatically voiced.

whereas, if offered again, 

“Are you sure?”

just surely might be accepted.

My ponderings now abruptly curtailed

by yet another question

from the other side of my bed. 

“Still wanna get up early?”

“No thank you”.

Now I’m asking myself,

“Who was that?”



Vidya Shankar



I wonder

what your last thoughts were

before you died

I was told you moved on in your sleep

But what if you had been awake 

with eyes merely closed

as the little girl in me remembers

you often would lie?

When age caught up with you

O, how many times you would call me 

to say you thought you were going away!

Those calls — 


Yours? Mine.

And when the time came 

You left

No sleeping with eyes merely closed!

No drama! No calls!

No fear!

Only silence

*Appa: Father (in Tamil)


No Man’s Land

Carolyn Chilton Casas

United States


In the deepest dark before daylight,

in that no man’s land

between there and here,

I find myself behind the wheel,

driving in the right-hand lane,

Highway 101 north,

coming up on the exit to Avila.


Around the corner bend,

cars come speeding toward me.

I careen wildly between them

to prevent getting hit,

like a fish laboring to swim

upstream against the current.


I am late to an appointment,

have forgotten the address,

have no number to call, and

finally understand the place

I am looking for is south, not north,

of the direction the car is headed.

There is no hope of arriving on time.


So, I give in to the pandemonium,

let go of my carefully made plans.

Somehow, I am able to escape

unscathed but wake up with whiplash.

No need for a dream reader to interpret—

the wide-awake nightmares

imprinted on my subconscious soul.



Linda M. Crate

United States


my mother has already

started her day

while i sleep,

i don't sleep in late but 

to some i probably

don't rise early enough;

i am always pushing myself

to keep going and to get up

early enough that i can 

accomplish something—

some days the motivation 

is hard to find,

and other days the words

slip from my fingers

like honey from the comb;

& while i sleep i keep on wishing

for a better tomorrow to wake to.



Mark Hudson

United States


My computer did not work for a week,

I got a helper that I did seek.

I got another party involved,

and the computer problem was solved.

I sit here in the wi-fi room,

in my apartment, just like a womb.

It took a week to get back on-line,

writing just to pass the time.

My head starts nodding, I’m asleep,

this computer is making me count sheep.

Should I shut it off and go to bed?

I think I should finish the poem instead.

As I sit here, with blood-shot eyes,

I know that I am hypnotized.

What you see is what you get,

my best friend, the internet.



Nolo Segundo

United States


I know I am asleep,

I want to awaken

But I don’t know 

How…so I sleep

With eyes open

And brain turning,

Trying to wake,

Myself, you, all

The sleepers as 

They dream an

Endless dream

We call life. 

We sleep and dream

Dream and sleep, but

We never awaken, not

Even if we win medals

Of gold and silver or 

Purple hearts in war—

We sleep and dream,

Dream and sleep all

Between the moment

We are born and the

Time when we die—

Then we awaken…. 



Lakshman Bulusu

United States


To my brother who passed away at age twenty-five in 1996


I still see you through the lens of tears

that wet my eyes as I remember you.

I remember the many rides

you took me on your motorbike without saying ‘no’ even once.

Your whistle rendered a lilt to the breeze as we rode along.

I see you in triumph as you made it

through the interview for a graduate teacher.

You shine in the highlight as I reflect on our past:

the jokes we shared at teatime;

the rules of play you stressed,

no matter who won or lost;

the ideas you put forth as we discussed poetry;

the encouragement you gave

to turn Sundays into leisure days and take it easy.

The last smile of yours

twenty-five years ago, as you waved goodbye,

still floats in my memory.

The flame of your life continues to glow,

its warmth comforting my heart;

reminding me, you are as near to me as you were,

twenty-five years ago—

your image apparent as a metaphor.

My grief of your sudden end no longer stands out.



Dimithri Wijerathna

Sri Lanka


Silently, softly the dew drops 

Falls on the  green leaves 

Humming the cool breeze 

Dancing to and fro the big trees 


Slowly, secretly my soft pillow 


The voices of Keats, Shakespeare 

Echoes me with delight 


Iago in his act with Othello 

Shylock in terror 

My eyes felt as dramatic 

Whole audience with wide mouths open


Soon, my golden scribblings 

All  over the  global platforms 

Audience with cheering  voices 

Me; glistening as a  " poetic  star "


Alas !!  No sooner  I felt  my pillow 

You painted my dream 

While I was in sleeping with inspiration 

You took "wings of poetry"



Mike Ball

United States


Point and laugh, which I deserve.

I depended on my fantasies,

never realizing they could

slip or stride away at will.

Missing misty mistresses

long and frequently visited

at twilight or pre-sleep and

they performed to my script.

I cannot, even in fantasy, 

couple with potentialities.

In self-guided pillow visions,

teasing shadows blow away.

Once, always in sight and touch,

love and lust objects are gone.

When intimacies might be fatal

even thoughts scream, “Peril!”

When tipsy, tired or loose, I

directed tiny thrills to play.

Now I cannot override the real

to command performance.

Love and lust become impossible.

Dreamed-of liaisons fade to sheer.

Could-be flings leap quickly

months, perhaps years, away.

The simple-minded joys

of pretend cannot survive plagues.

Where can the joy be if we never

know the next possible when.



Emily Thomas / Not Much Rhymes with Cancer

United Kingdom


I’m asleep

but you’re awake  

You’re awake  

in my body  

when I’m awake and

when I’m asleep  

Really you should  

be asleep  

when I’m asleep and

when I’m awake  


You’re partying  

pretty hard,  

but the party  

ain’t pretty  

in fact, it’s  

pretty hard  

to understand  

how the party is  

still hankering  

after hard  


You must be  


Tired of the broken record



buzzing around my brain

and my body,  

my body is tired  

of no golden silent  

shut eye  

or serenity  

Are you afraid

of the dark?

Does darkness falling  

make you move

into molasses darkness

or falter your move?


Know there’s lightness  

creeping in behind you  

to show you  

the way out  


Why don’t you  

soak up the stillness  

Why don’t you  

surrender to the night  

Why don’t you  




Judy DeCroce

United States


a change scribbles across

clean pages in a vacuum,

fragments slide by

then recombine with a chill

there is no dependable weather 

in dreams as stories break away

gray wind errs

to a still point

a dreamscape of fugitive passages

forgetting as we go



Jane Fitzgerald

United States


I woke up suddenly
Half conscious with dread
The dream had returned 
Plunging me into
The horrifying abyss
Where you left me 
Stunned and lonely
Feeling like a lost animal
Terrified by emptiness 
Knowing it wasn't true
But shaken by the vision
Afraid to sleep again
Clouded in an eternal
vigil until dawn
The dream is gone
Fear hides inside
Longing to eradicate
The overwhelming
sinking sensation
of loss



Genevieve Ray


The distance,

until tomorrow,

fades gently,

as warm materials.

Hold the vessel,

will hold the vehicle,

that flies away in dreams.

As I lay sleeping

Other mortals,

other creatures,

continue their daily activities.

Engagements that,

bustle and bolster,

ever onward.

While my body is distant.

As I lay sleeping

The hours will march,

as silent soldiers,

monitoring the whirl,

of a planet on its axis.

A steady spin,

forever forward.

Without much need of participation.

As I lay sleeping

The refreshment,

of internal organs,

resetting of systems.

A day's worth of debris,

emotional detritus,

will float away.

Leaving peace in its place.



John Muro

United States


Near wakefulness beneath a grove of milk- 

Blue pines, needle-dripping boughs cuffed 

By wind, the scent of balsam settling deep 

Within my lungs, while a crescent moon 

Severs the horizon, parting stars that are not 

Stars, their light’s origin coming from somewhere 

Beyond these meandering valleys where 

Colors burn aloud and dusky foot-hills bend

Back from the horizon, weighing the tiny 

Pieces of ore or solder gleam I culled from 

Pools of quiet water and placed them deep 

Inside my pockets where they will stay, like 

Tokens, to buy-back this day and whatever else 

Is left of a season that’s slowly moving away from us.



Sarfraz Ahmed

United Kingdom


Her fingers caressed his body,

As he lay entangled,

Half awake,

Half asleep,

Spilled emotions run so deep,

Masculinity put on hold,

As his muscles tensed and released,

As he began to let go,

As he responded to each touch,

Each touch that brought him much pleasure,

Fragmented each emotion,

Brought it back to life,

With each touch her fingers,

Untied the tangles and knots,

That were buried deep inside,

Propelled him to let go,

To breathe in and breathe out,

Gently as he lay half awake, 

Half asleep,

He finally began to let go,

Of spilled emotions that ran so deep. 



Julie A. Dickson

United States


Bruise is a memory, 

imprint, injustice, 

an indentation - 

not quite a puncturing 

of hope but a punctuation 

complacent resignation.

Quiet clothing cover

the past, blanketed over

where recollections fade,

actions add to uncertainty,

dreams masquerade 

as monsters, pressuring

realities into the perhaps.



Neal Whitman

United States


  on a feather pillow

I rise through layers of clouds

floating past baby goblins

who blow kisses as I pass by

surges of bliss arise in me

  ahead the Sun

sphere of essence

source of all Life

touches the tip of a mountain

slowly melting a frozen lake

  under its sheet of ice

muffled voices could be heard

gurgling as it goes

a stream descends

in search of its ocean-home

  in the distance

a fire-breathing dragon

scorches the skies

and thunders a great voice

threatening hail, but I loop


  around the mountain 

and return to bed

where outside my window

morning mist had crept in unseen

to find me awake and ready to rise

  in lush forests

mango trees are in full bloom

their ripe fruit ready to drop

What joys there are in this world!

May the glorious sun  of omniscience shine!



Kathy Jo Bryant

United States


Dreams of treasures

Fill their heads

As they're sweetly sleeping

Treats abounding

Taste divine

Gifts are hard, at keeping!

Spending time 

With family, friends

Tops the art of sharing!

Acts of kindness

For those in need

Spread the joy of caring!



Pratibha Savani

United Kingdom


Drifting in and out of dreams
Like I am in some place else
My vision is blurred
As my conscious mind
But my subconscious mind
Lying in state
As I fall into that place
That some place else
Only my mind can reach
And switch off
For me to sleep
And I stop drifting in and out
I stay in one place
And remember
What I have seen
Seemed so real
My mind is rested
I start a new
Catching my thoughts
My dream
Whilst drifting in and out
Of sleep



Antoni Ooto

United States


On waking,

long after the death of my mother,

I realized I had never

dreamed of her…

of her generous laugh,

of her precise pinpointing of a bargain.

Or of how she told, us, her children,

on that small porch in a farming town,

she would not repeat the chemo.

There she sat smoking her last pack of cigarettes,

head down, twisting her ring

around and around

never needing more than what she always had.

And without so much as a goodbye.

~for Aley Neoma Finley DeCroce ~