Two Poems by Jennifer R. Edwards

Watching Wolverine (Again) with my Second Husband

Only here, I admit I still double-take mildly muscular men in filthy wife-beater tank tops. I’m a sucker for dark, deep sideburns; those coursing creeks into a cool river mouth. Though I love a silver fox or shaved head hiding a historic hairline receding too soon, it’s the random spike that makes me want every angle of light. Cowlicks random & irreverent, the sheen of a day’s exhausting desire. Some consistent curiosity in me, watching, still & oblivious, as if every story loops to some evident ending. Those hands massive & metal glinting so beautifully unbroken. Not every story is chronological, but they’re linked & lovely with loneliness, the entering of an endless forest, a hardened man pushing back the gross overgrowth creeping along a barely visible path. There is something to be said for gravel-voiced men with animal instincts, finding me by impulse alone despite my awkward pains to cover every track. I’m there too, riding shotgun in an old, freezing car on a desolate shit-town road with a man saying you’re finally safe. I’m there asking what I should have, what I still need to know: when the claws come out, does it hurt? I still love him; how he answers like a can coming down, like a phone finding the wall, like the sun punishing the snow, saying every time. Oh, beautiful brawler, I thought there was heroism in desire. I confuse eagerness & appetite. Wanting won’t ever be enough. You don’t know your body is a weapon. Some genetic codes can’t be removed or rewired. Your healing is pure mutation.


The Well-Published Writer Doing My Tarot Reading Says It’s Harvest Time
         For C.J. Hauser and my Colgate crew

What grows best is what lets me baby it. It’s true, I’m not good at pruning or reducing. Lately, I’m deducing it’s OK things leave me. I love what lets me clip & hover & rearrange & putter. I admit, I have favorites but it’s every individual person & plant & animal at some point. How is it something or someone knows you? The proof: three iconic pictures of wheat & judgment & a man with a wand & world on his back. She tells me to be kinder to myself & my work is in fruition though there’s more ahead. The third card is different & it’s true my attention wanes & maybe that’s the whole point. I don’t really get it. She can’t exactly summarize. The bountiful sun is limited but still full for its dwindling time. Lately, I wonder what won’t survive me; clipping plants two nodes up from the end because it helps the roots. Growth is always starting & startling. Anyone who says they don’t have favorites is lying. I was lying when I started this, thinking things grow because of what I give. It might always find its own simple stretch toward light.


Jennifer R. Edwards (Unsymmetrical Body, Finishing Line Press, 2022) won the 2022 New England Poetry Club Amy Lowell Prize. Her poems have received Pushcart nomination, support from Palm Beach Poetry Festival and Colgate Writers Conference, and appear in many anthologies and literary magazines recently including Mom Egg Review, Gyroscope Review, Passengers Journal, Terrain, Literary Mama, and Snapdragon. She’s a speech-language pathologist in Concord, NH, residing with her family and pug. Twitter @Jennife00420145, Instagram Jenedwards8

Two Prose Poems by Howie Good

The Visitation

I heard a massive thump. Alarmed, I went to the sliding glass door and looked out, expecting to see a seagull lying there dead after crashing into the glass. Instead, a juvenile sand shark was flailing on the back deck. I couldn’t have been more astonished if I’d been visited by an angel clothed in light or a neighbor wearing no clothes at all. The shark was just a foot long and battleship gray. As it thrashed about, I called to my wife, “Barbara, quick, bring a bucket!” I half-filled the bucket from the hose. Then Barbara, using a gardening trowel, managed to drop the shark into the bucket. This is the world. Whatever the hour, there’s always a rendezvous going on.


Murderers on Holiday

I was born with holes in me. “These things happen,” the doctor told my mom with a resigned smile. I can’t visualize the love of our fellow man that the Bible preaches with the detail that I can baseball on the radio. If there were actually angels, would they fly in a V-formation like geese, you think? Crows can hold a grudge for a year or more against someone who has mistreated them. No one should feel particularly safe. I love cats, but even a cat, when it’s starving, could eat a person.


Howie Good’s latest poetry collection, THE HORSES WERE BEAUTIFUL, is forthcoming from Grey Book Press.

ESP by Ed Nichols

My friend said, “You need to be a believer in extrasensory
perception. I know things before they happen.” I cried into my
phone. “I don’t want to know the future. Or something that
happens on the other side of the world.”

I dozed off in my lawn chair. Not needing to know things
yet to happen. Blue sky lay over the farm. Cows munched
grass…dogs napped. Life was beautiful. Why question? Worry not
about such happenings…things to be determined tomorrow, or
next week, or next year, or never?

Smell of cornbread drifted over me. Understanding what I
am…what I believe, brought a tear to my one good eye. Always
best to not know when a terrible thing will occur.

Ed Nichols lives on Lake Oconee, Georgia. He is a journalism graduate from the University of Georgia, and is an award-winning writer from Southeastern Writer’s Association. He has had many short stories published, online and in print. In 2020 he started publishing his prose poems. He is currently working on a collection of his southern short stories.