Step back, the sin-eater arrives
But hush, I’ll take the ale, the crust, and with them the sins
of your beloved. It feels so brief, this together time,
I know. I’ve seen it before, the aching cataclysm of death,
The rash, untidy moments which stagger without
a hand to grasp. It’s almost too simple, this last meal,
this covenant between lips and soul, death and happenstance.
It’s not my place to ask. I come, I sit, I take my meal
and with it the horror and cruelty and shame he wants
to flee from. He’s free now, you see, I’ve chewed my last
and swallowed these cloying dregs. It is done.
Betsie Flynn is a Kentish transplant to the Brecon Beacons where she lives with her husband, children, and cats. She doesn't do well in direct sunlight, but loves garlic (so all signs don't point to vampire). Her words are forthcoming or appearing in Ample Remains, CP Quarterly, and Anser Journal.
Come as you are
Tonight we’ll cross the river and enter the darkened city. We’ll go to the slums, where bikers wait for us in the basements of high-rise flats, welding flick-knives, broken bottles and unwashed hair. They’ll stand grouped in the shadows, in silence, as we shuffle past them like embarrassed nuns.
Gary Cummiskey is the author of several poetry chapbooks. In 2009 he published Who was Sinclair Beiles?, a collection of writings about the South African Beat poet, co-edited with Eva Kowalska. He is also the author of a collection of short stories, Off-ramp. He lives in Johannesburg.
Big blue skies.
You drove me to a sandy beach.
We ran out of road.
We made love in the front seat of your daddy's sedan.
I tasted the sea.
I felt the spray inside of me.
You climbed back over and revved the engine.
I slid silently out the passenger door.
I waded deep into dirty black water.
My pockets filled with stones from another distant shore.
Kevin M. Hibshman has had his poetry, prose, reviews and collages published around the world, most recently in Punk Noir Magazine, Rye Whiskey Review, Piker Press, The Crossroads, Drinkers Only, 1870, Synchronized Chaos, Yellow Mama, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Literary Yard, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and Medusa's Kitchen. He has edited his own poetry journal, FEARLESS for the past thirty years. He has authored sixteen chapbooks, most recently Incessant Shining (2011, Alternating Current Press).He received a BA in Liberal Arts from Union University/Vermont College in 2016.
half of you breaks into spots
& the other half sends its greetings
this sorrowful day is not divinity
to all humans
yet, some of us, league of broken people, have found a way
to remain forever unshattered
i see things beyond the ordinary
everything has dimmed in the dark
and moved by the charm of moans
i see qualified things beyond lips
dine and wine with small gods
in midst of gathering, mighty men
the townsmen at the pub see things like ordinary
they look when you tell them,
the moon plays a song today
Nosakhare Collins is a Nigerian poet. His poetry has appeared in Openwork Magazine, Libero America Poetry, Rejection Letter Journal, Ebedi Review, Poetry Festival, Indian Periodical Journal, Writers Space Africa, Alabama’s Best Emerging Poet Anthology 2019, InnerChild Press Anthology 2020, and several others. He can be found on Twitter @nosa_collins, and Facebook at Nosakhare Collins.