At my Grandson’s Baseball Tournament in Myrtle Beach by Steven Luria Ablon

At my Grandson’s Baseball Tournament in Myrtle Beach

We have come here before the first game
for breakfast to the famous Waffle House
teeming with families patiently waiting
with small children as the grills heat up,

and workers whir around tables.
My pleasure this morning is breakfast
with my daughter during her divorce.
She says these are the thinnest

best waffles she’s ever had.
I agree. We go every morning.
She thought her marriage would
never collapse, He wouldn’t beat

their son, have an affair, say he hated her,
complain that her work as a novelist
brought in little money. She wasn’t
slim enough. She blames herself.

Her life is sorrowful. She is as lonely
as a dog left by highway.
I wish I could take her back to her childhood.
I wish I could take her for waffles every day.


Steven Luria Ablon, poet and adult and child psychoanalyst, teaches child psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and publishes widely in academic journals. His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines such as The Brooklyn Review, Ploughshares, and The Princeton Arts Review. He has published five full collections of poetry including Tornado Weather (Mellen Poetry Press, 1993), Flying Over Tasmania (The Fithian Press, 1997), Blue Damsels (Peter E Randall Publisher, 2005), Night Call (Plain View Press, 2011), and, most recently, Dinner in the Garden (Columbia, South Carolina, 2018).

Two Poems by Joseph Chelius

The Franklin Institute

All the wonders of science and invention
stood before us in the distance: if only
we could decode the pattern of the Parkway lights—
our grandmother in her green coat and hat,
the scent of Jean Nate,
leading the three of us with our blond crew cuts
on the day’s expedition: the trolley ride
into town; soft pretzels from a vendor.
And then, as amused Ben Franklin looked on,
peering through his tiny spectacles,
our stepping into the crosswalk—
the talk so many years later
not of the Planetarium, nor even the Giant Heart,
but our awe of tall buildings, the bewildering
phenomenon of commerce and traffic;
our linking hands as if entering
a panorama—sun glinting off metal and chrome.


Stopping Between Errands to Watch Little League Baseball

Forget the hardware store,
the broken clapper
on the running toilet.
And the wilting asparagus,
the half-gallon of mint chocolate
sweating it out
in the sauna of the trunk.
Unlike my fellow spectators in the stands,
I have nothing invested here:
no regard for the score
or, as I’d had years before,
no son to cheer as he stands at bat
or maintains his poise on the pitcher’s mound.
But like some roving ambassador,
a retired neighbor filling his days,
I have taken these moments
to play anonymous fan
for both the reds and the yellows
as they compete on the field.
To feel the sun on my arms,
on the back of my neck,
to be a man interrupted—
kindly, avuncular,
without a list or an agenda,
who if only just briefly
on a Saturday afternoon
can put out of mind
the unpacking of groceries
and querulous fixtures.
Can resist even the call
of the pent-up mower—
shrill and exacting,
that disciplines grass.


Joseph Chelius works as a principal editor for a health care communications company. His poetry has appeared in journals and magazines such as Commonweal, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Rattle, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and THINK. He has published two full-length collections with WordTech editions in Cincinnati: The Art of Acquiescence (2014) and Crossing State Lines (2020).

Three Poems by Richard Bloom

Dear Larry Levis

Every forty minutes, the baby birds cry out for food.
Their beaks wide open,
Their throats, pink and red, like the throats of flowers.

If a berry drops from their beak, they can’t pick it up.
They’re just like the old people at the Hamilton Senior Center.
They can’t feed themselves, either.

And when the baby birds are satisfied, they no longer cry.
The flower of their desert colored throats close.
They puff out their scanty feathers.

What happened to their parents? They’re always better off with their parents.
Now I guess, I’m their mother.
Dear Larry Levis, my spine remembers wings.


Ballet in the trees

The sky is a washed-out blue.
The grass, a sickly brown.
The un-raked leaves crumple
like first drafts tossed in a waste basket.
I sit on the porch steps and watch a spider
pull one long strand of silk from
gutter to rainspout.
The soil in the field sleeps,
wanting warmth for the coming winter.

The trees are but half bare. Beside
the golden sycamore in my neighbor’s yard
stands a red maple. Its’ scarlet leaves
diminish the frail gold.
The sycamore is Diaghilev.
The maple is Nijinsky.
One says to the other: “Astonish me.”


Dust and baseball

I am eating a chicken burrito in Sonora when two
outfielders from the Mexican Baseball League stop
in for a beer.

I ask them to autograph the glove I’ve carried with me
since childhood. It’s a Rawlings,
soiled, oiled, and blackened
by the plays of a thousand games.

The fields of Sonora are dry as a prisoner’s throat.
The buses from West Texas
roll past the supermercado
and the dinner plate of the moon.

The bus depot/luncheonette is open
all night for passengers, police, and traffickers.
It is the only place I ever saw a man kick a dog.

The two great institutions of Sonora are dust and baseball.

Paul, my best friend growing up, came to Mexico to play ball.
The Diablos Rojos signed him.
They called him Kid. He played catcher.
One day, in mirage inducing heat, a girl named Rosa came to see him play.
They had met at a bar somewhere in town.
He didn’t play well that day. He never played well again.

He and Rosa got married.
She took him to Guadalajara to work for her father.
He was a businessman.
He ran one brothel and seven funeral parlors.

A year later, his head was found in a ditch.
In his catcher’s mitt.


Richard Bloom has published in various magazines, including Seneca Review, New York Quarterly, Barnwood International, and Eunoia Review. He has attended Breadloaf, and studied poetry writing with several accomplished poets at the 92nd Street Y. He worked in advertising for many years. Currently, he is a substitute teacher in the NYC public schools.

Across the Street by Jason Fisk

Across the Street

We live in the suburbs
and we have a Ring Doorbell
and we have a tiny dog
and there are coyotes
that live in the woods
across the street

I let the dog out
every night before bed
and watch her sniff
the air for dangerous news
blowing from
our coyote neighbors
across the street

I keep an aluminum baseball bat
by the front door
just in case the coyotes
decide to attack her
or try to lure her
back across the street

My imagination has
played out a scenario
where they surround her
and I come thundering
out of the house swinging
the bat left and right
taking out one coyote after another
knocking them here and there
sending them yelping back
to the woods
across the street

I think about the rush
I would get from
posting the Ring-Doorbell video
on Facebook

Every like a micro dose
of adrenaline


Jason Fisk lives and writes in the suburbs of Chicago. He has worked in a psychiatric unit, labored in a cabinet factory, and mixed cement for a bricklayer. He was born in Ohio, raised in Minnesota, and has spent the last 25 years in the Chicago area.