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.

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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.

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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.

Loneliness Kills

Big blue skies.

Bloodshot eyes.

You drove me to a sandy beach.

 

Pumping hot.

We ran out of road.

We made love in the front seat of your daddy's sedan.

 

Fenders flaring.

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.

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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.

hollow

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

moonlight

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

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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.