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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 119 — Norma Alonzo, Patrick Theron Erickson, Bette Ridgeway, Rebecca Rose, Margarita Serafimov

Norma Alonzo

Below and Above

Copyright © 2019 by Norma Alonzo.

About the Artist

Norma Alonzo has always taken her painting life seriously, albeit privately. An extraordinarily accomplished artist, she has been painting for over 25 years. Beginning as a landscape painter, she quickly transitioned to an immersion in all genres to experiment and learn. Visit:

Patrick Theron Erickson


Each bird

its branch

its backlash

whether leafy

or bare

each squirrel also

bestowed with fur

With fur

it meets its mate

its match

and fends off rivals

and snuggles its young

as birds do, alas

with feathers intact!

And I

in my bungalow

with due respect

meet mine headlong

in just plain skin.

Copyright © 2019 by Patrick Theron Erickson.

You Too

The feet of fields

the footloose foothills

And at the head

heedless, headstrong

headwaters rush

Head or feet first

the gleam of winter wheat


the breadbasket full

You know this

because you notice

The reapers

outstrip the sowers

And soon

too soon

you too

are gathered in.

Copyright © 2019 by Patrick Theron Erickson.

About the Author

Patrick Theron Erickson, a resident of Garland, Texas, a Tree City, just south of Duck Creek, is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself. His work has appeared in Arlington Literary Journal (ArLiJo), Grey Sparrow Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, and The Main Street Rag, among other publications, and more recently in The Oddville Press, Vox Poetica, Adelaide Literary Magazine and Futures Trading.

Bette Ridgeway

Anasazi Sunrise

Copyright © 2019 by Bette Ridgeway.

About the Artist

In her four decade career, Bette Ridgeway has exhibited her work globally with over 80 museums, universities and galleries, including: Palais Royale, Paris and the Embassy of Madagascar. Multiple prestigious awards include: Top 60 Contemporary Masters, Leonardo DaVinci Prize, and Oxford University Alumni Prize at Chicanciano Art Museum, Tuscany, Italy. Mayo Clinic and Federal Reserve Bank are amongst Ridgewa’s permanent public placements, in addition to countless important private collections. Many books and publications have featured her work, among them: International Contemporary Masters and 100 Famous Contemporary Artists. Ridgeway has also penned several books about her art and process.

Rebecca Rose

untitled for a man or a son

they tell me to eat calcium

for the sake of our baby

so his nails will grow


my own nails are brittle


they never grow

fastened to the quick

my mother starved when I was in her womb

She smoked Merits

and drank Blue Nun

yet her nails were smooth and shined

long enough to seduce each drag of her cigarettes

I am a quick study

I read the instructions

and the ten thousands ways my body will betray him

without these pills

and others

and potions

and exercises

and more pills

I read and I bite down on my nail

dragging a frayed corner across the tip

until the pain pierces my skin

It splits down the middle

I bite to correct it and it tears again

peeled like a dry clementine,

wrapping paper torn apart

in the frenzied quest for your gift

my gift to you is blood

spilling into the cuticle

a curved cup

holding on to all of my mistakes

until it overflows

I try to grow my nails

wax them with oils and promises

but they are coffin-setters

already I feel a clawing at my heart

spiteful bitter bearchild bitter to be born,

born with all my cracks and peels and ridges

He kicks me again.

I remember to take my pill.

Copyright © 2019 by Rebecca Rose.


My father’s ghost hungry inside me

drunk on my blood

Smashing bottles against the cages of my ribs

I know his crimes and I am a perfect mimic

We burned him like a Viking but he was a devil


Set adrift in the sea and born again into my womb

I can feel him

Bobbing for air in my lungs

Lunging to the surface

Proofed against all of my waves.

I am my father’s scar

I am the cinder of his fleshy carcass

Clawing its way out from the pyre back into the salt.

Copyright © 2019 by Rebecca Rose.

Drown Proof

I’m done with all these other women he tells me,

as I watch him put a boot in her face.

He pushes the last of his women down into the drink and swears allegiance to my skin as

she drowns under his bones.

He says I am the only one he loves.

He embraces me

and pulls me down to the sand

where the waves crack our feet

he tastes the blood on my lips and calls me honey

he buries his face into my neck and murmurs for another god.

He whimpers and withers inside me.

Over his shoulder

I watch the bloated corpses of my sisters float in his dark waters,

like jellyfish in so much moonlight;

sea salt-slung sirens,


he hisses.

I am a lucky woman, they tell me

For he has chosen me.

Copyright © 2019 by Rebecca Rose.

About the Author

Rebecca Rose is the Arts and Theatre Writer for the Sun, an alt-weekly based in Santa Barbara County. She was formerly an editor for the website Jezebel and has also written for Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Seventeen, Esquire, and more. She holds a degree in Film and Video from Columbia College and was the co-producer of the documentary film Stones From the Soil for PBS.

Margarita Serafimova


In Europe

Shoulder to shoulder,

we take the passage of incorporeal time head on.

November leaves disperse.

Copyright © 2019 by Margarita Serafimova.

Down a grassy slope, we fly,

first my father, then I,

smooth as sleighs, we roll away,

and then we leave the Earth.

Copyright © 2019 by Margarita Serafimova.

About the Author

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip New Poetry, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, The Journal, A-Minor, Waxwing, Nixes Mate Review, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, The Writing Disorder, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Noble/ Gas Quarterly, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, TAYO, Shot Glass Journal, Poetic Diversity, Pure Slush, Harbinger Asylum, Punch, Tuck, Futures Trading, Ginosko, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Liquid Imagination, and many other places.

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