Issue 35 – Senryu & Kyoka

as the crow flies fentanyl


Aaron Barry, Canada

PhD journey
all the coffee brands
I know

Adjei Agyei-Baah, Ghana/New Zealand

Valentine’s Day
my feelings and I eat
another chocolate

Agnes Eva Savich, USA

bumper to bumper
she proposes

mastectomy scars
all but my husband
swipe left

suicide watch
another hand
of Go Fish

Aidan Castle, USA

secondhand book––
clear as day
what happened
to granda

Alan Peat, United Kingdom

shot glass
another wasted
pickup line

Alvin B. Cruz, Philippines

no seeds left to sow his vasectomy

Amber Winter, USA

citizenship test
dad thumbs the pages
from right to left

ballpark hotdog––
we try out
being American

Antoinette Cheung, Canada

calling mom
on new years. . .
pouring another

B.A. France, USA

the world news
I eat my apple
core and all

Barbara Sabol, USA

southern christmas
the crackling fire

Barbara Strang, New Zealand

re-opening . . .
the server remembers
my standing order

Barrie Levine, USA

all the fiction
in my truth
campfire stories

Ben Gaa, USA

dinner date
not that hungry
for you

Benedict Grant, Canada

resuming chemo
midtown traffic
stop and go

“make a wish . . .”
I pretend
I’m pretending

end of the day
slow dancing
by myself

Bill Kenney, USA

discount roses
the price for being
second best

coworker’s suicide
all her things
in one box

how quickly she latches on
to motherhood

Bryan Rickert, USA

depression . . .
I slip a little further
under the duvet

C.X.Turner, United Kingdom

showing me her art
the razor blade
on her nightstand

broken ribs
more than a carved turkey
at thanksgiving

Claire Vogel Camargo, USA

police car passing
on the left––
my first bag of pot

Curt Pawlisch, USA

fifty-first birthday . . .
I open another

Dave Read, Canada

adding a city
to my weather app

David Grayson, USA

the note we found
when you didn’t die

David J. Kelly, Ireland

another war

Debbie Olson, USA

connecting . . .
the circling sun
of my isolation

Deborah P Kolodji, USA

getting his ego bruised nectarines

birthday alone
this urge to entertain
a wild thought

Elmedin Kadric, Sweden

the screen door ajar open adoption

Erin Castaldi, USA

new love
the brickwork
of a footpath

Frank Dax, South Korea

listening to Lennon
I arrange books as if I’ll live
one last shelf

Frank Higgins, USA

language lessons
my tongue slides
on cerveza

dress rehearsal
my DNA
in a pink tutu

Genevieve Wynand, Canada

corner cubicle
the flies don’t want to be here

Gordon Brown, USA

school uniform
keeping the conception

Hazel Hall, Australia

sunset . . .
the legs
I always wanted

Helene Guojah, United Kingdom

root canal
the dentist digs deeper
into my past

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

red ochre road
the long walk
to the nearest clinic

Ingrid Baluchi, North Macedonia

woodpecker taps . . .
my dad recalls
his Morse code days

Jay Friedenberg, USA

her corkscrew curls
at full bounce

Jo Balistreri, USA

all night diner
a party of one seated
on every stool

google earth
an unsuccessful search
for Brigadoon

car backfire
the schoolyard bully
holsters his finger

Joe McKeon, USA

mint julep
her lips taste
of goodbye

lesbian porn
I wish I had been born
a better man

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

six yuan for lunch––
her head hidden behind
the begging board

John Zheng, USA

Sweetest Day
she shows off
her new vibrator

weekly visitation
the struggle to compete
with YouTube videos

Joshua Gage, USA

frozen pension
the boomer scoffs
at his son’s debt

the air where the hair
used to be

cost of living raise
another year
in the tuna can

Joshua St. Claire, USA

too much of me
to love

application rewritten history my job
rewritten history my job application
history my job application rewritten

my job application rewritten history
job application rewritten history my

Julie Bloss Kelsey, USA

Alexa asks herself
to read a poem

Julie Schwerin, USA

eleventh hour . . .
she asks me to sing
a lullaby

Kat Lehmann, USA

family evening
everyone left
to their own devices

trying to be
impostor syndrome

Keith Evetts, United Kingdom

three sheets the one-man jug band

abandonment issues
waiting for
the sauce to split

Kelly Sauvage, USA

the holy man says
befriend your pain
I suggest
to my sore hip
that we talk over zoom

Ken Slaughter, USA

crowd of candles
my wish for
another birthday

Laurie D. Morrissey, USA

what a jury knows
what a jury doesn’t
cherry blossoms

LeRoy Gorman, Canada

Burial Insurance––
her spam folder
gets personal

#MeToo rally . . .
his wolf-whistle

Maria Bonsanti, USA

New Year’s card
so often the word
health this year

Marie Derley, Belgium

how he skirts
their gender

Marilyn Ashbaugh, USA

pink twitch
of a rabbit’s nose
she sniffs the wine

Marilyn Fleming, USA

writer’s café . . .
unsticking the mug
from the table

Mary Stevens, USA

unable to get through
to her

Matt Olechnowicz, Canada

forgetting you
perhaps . . . but not
when the bell tolls

Meg Arnot, United Kingdom

father’s day:
showing my lover
childhood scars

Michael Battisto, USA

mega church
everyone sticks
to their guns

accounting for the last
of the kittens

Michael Henry Lee, USA

a boy asks about
the people in that church
silent night

granddad’s rabbit’s foot
the littlest one takes
a step back

Mike White, USA

office loop––
my child grows

Milan Rajkumar, India

making a mountain
out of a mole

Nancy Brady, USA

on a rock
turtle on a turtle
nudist beach

Neena Singh, India

recycling day––
my overindulgence
on display

Nick T, United Kingdom

our plans . . .
the straight paths
of a cemetery

Nikolay Grankin, Russia

at peace with my darkness stacking up red red apples
one margarita slowly i become Nostradamus

Orrin PréJean-Champs, USA

a background

P. H. Fischer, Canada

wipers and curses
in sync

the circle widens
for my story

Pat Davis, USA

jumper cables
not a transcendent thought
in my head

Patrick Sweeney, Japan

the last lilacs––
adjusting the purple
of my prose

Pippa Phillips, USA

first-time guest
the lags
in alleluia

retirement day
father introduces me
to his routine

Ramesh Anand, India

visiting Vietnam
I repatriate
my hat and shirt

the applause
of autumn rain
40 years of service

Raymond C Roy, USA

mom’s layer cake
coated with icing
the salty sprinkles
of yesteryears
she bottled up

Richard L. Matta, USA

high school sweetheart
a lab assistant
re-dates a fossil

Robert Witmer, Japan

nowhere to go
the repeated pattern
of mum’s old cardigan

Robyn Cairns, Australia

stoking the coals
I ask Mother
who is her favorite

Ronald Degler, USA

ladies’ room––
stepping on the scale
without her earrings

Ruth Holzer, USA

my face
unlocking the computer
update requests

Sarah E. Metzler, USA

breaking inside of you night’s thin shell

Shloka Shankar, India

his equipment
friday night

his blue eyes
before my fingers
were crooked

Sondra J. Byrnes, USA

maritime museum
the creak and sway
of immigrant ships

Sue Courtney, New Zealand

hot flash
what I’d give
for a cold one

a woman
swallowed whole
by a python
some days
are like that

Susan Burch, USA

I shed some more
wounded skin

Tim Murphy, Spain

unfinished bowl
a potter shapes
the air

Tyler McIntosh, USA

every time I say
I am gay

Vandana Parashar, India

ordinary day––
i pick
an ordinary death

Vijay Prasad, India

sunday morning
the laundry rope
crosses her lifeline

Vladislav Hristov, Bulgaria

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Issue 35 – Haibun


I keep sneaking looks. The antics of the aristocats, the dalmatians escaping Cruella, the stork delivering Dumbo. Watching them react, years telescope. I don’t watch movies anymore: I watch my kids watching movies.

jungle adventures
discovering my inner man

Benedict Grant, Canada


Apparently, my jawbone’s rotting even though I don’t feel it as the nerve of my molar has died years ago. I bite the bullet and sign into the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. To save my wallet, I opt for numbing rather than gas. The nurse inspires great confidence “ Which side hurts dear, I’m lousy at reading these x-ray screens?”

I clutch the arms of the chair, frayed by many a victim before me. Bigger needles drive a hefty puncture unlike the pinpricks of vaccination.

Left alone to freeze up and anticipate my fate, I peek at his tools. This isn’t a fancy surgery, it’s a wrecking yard with hammers, chisels, drills, and pincers. “Am I really frozen?” “Sure, I gave you enough to stun a horse; bite on this block like in the movies when they’re about to amputate a leg!”

A nurse grabs my jaw with a much-practiced grip of steel and the hammering begins. “ Don’t worry about the cracking noises and the acrid burning smell… they’re normal”. Boney bits fly from my head. “Boy, this tooth is rooted really deep in your jaw….did anyone tell that you have a thick head?” “ Yes, but not in this context” I gurgle through blood and rinse. One more pull, with enough pressure to extract a wheel bearing on my truck, and the remains of my molar hit his facemask. “We’re not finished yet” he mutters as he scrapes out rot from my jawbone.

Well, that wasn’t so bad; I pity those folk in earlier centuries whose only freezing was rum or unreliable ether, if at all. Back in the Middle Ages, you died from a tooth abscess sending rot to your heart. But my reflection is short-lived… a week of swelling, icepacks, gauze wads, excruciating pain, sleepless nights, liquid food, and codeine fog. The saving grace is that I write some haibun with an unusual economy of words. I’ll reread them later to see if they make any sense.

dental bill
purr of the surgeon’s

Bryan Cook, Canada

Frost Bite

On the news, I recently heard one of our American senators refer to the LGBTQ community as “snowflakes.” A term used by many to define things delicate and sensitive. Setting aside the fact that snowflakes compound themselves into city crippling blizzards, I assume the good senator has never witnessed the ferocity of a drag queen breaking a fingernail.

strangling its kill
the feather boa constrictor

Bryan Rickert, USA


At 6:00 pm, when all the other school kids are at home, she’s hanging around the schoolyard. It is quiet then and the school’s pet rabbits boldly emerge from their holes to romp and nuzzle in their enclosure. The groundskeeper allows her to feed the rabbits their supper: a handful of herbs, a lock of brush, a sprig of ginkgo. Every day on my way out of the schoolyard I see her, crouching with the creatures around her. Sometimes she calls out to me. Other times she appears busy. Either way, there’s a sanctity at that hour, between her and the rabbits around her, that I try not to intrude on.

Over the years this girl will grow up. Someday she’ll fall in love, her world enlarged by another. But it occurred to me—as if with a sense of loss—that this other, however fond and devoted, could never plumb every depth and discover every element that shaped and defined her. No matter how intimately they would come to know one another, no other would ever see this image of her, in second grade, tending rabbits as the sun descends behind the schoolyard.

Saturday night streets
the moon

Frank Dax, South Korea

Sleepless Night

Forty years ago, I waited all night long outside the delivery room while my wife experienced birth pangs alone inside. I was told I must stay outside the double door. I felt my heart was like a wet towel wrung constantly until the sunrise got up smiling in the window. The midwife came out to deliver me the birth news. I jumped from the bench and followed her into the room, eager to hold my girl and wife in my arms.

flight to Incheon
a baby’s whimper
off and on

John Zheng, USA

Safe Return

It’s been a year since that first report. Afterward, several people wrote in with sightings, some claiming they’d seen him in the woods at night. But it was only when a postcard arrived that interest picked up, a photo of him beneath the Eiffel Tower. Weeks went by before the next card. This time, he was on a beach, with palm trees in the background.

I can only imagine how our neighbors must have felt. Surely, some sadness initially, even anger. But did they occasionally crack a smile? Like with him stuck beneath a limbo bar, or with a banana, being mobbed by baboons. My favorite, which reached the front page, was of him waterskiing, his face flushed and dripping with spray.

But today, he’s back, in his usual spot between two toadstools. Has he changed? A few rough edges perhaps, the hat more pink than red. But the soft-serve beard is still as white as snow, the belt as stretched as ever.

welcomed home
to a pinboard map––
gap year

Lew Watts, USA

Holograms, figments, & whatnot

“….. nothing is real, & nothing to get hung about…..”
The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields”

There’s a growing consensus among many deep theoretical thinkers that objective reality cannot really exist or is, at best, formless. That this universe (& all the others out there, parallel or perpendicular) are virtual projections, representations created in the “mind” (whatever “mind” is/isn’t) of……….the whole enchilada. Get the picture? So, what’s new, pussycat? Isaac Newton’s reality wasn’t Albert Einstein’s reality, and his wasn’t Niels Bohr’s. And you should be thankful my reality ain’t yours.

that familiar face
in the bathroom mirror––
I might not be me

Mark Meyer, USA

The Coolest Place On Earth

Early 1970s. Uncle Dom’s house. Swing set in the backyard & train tracks just beyond the fence. Cuckoo clock in the living room, Coca-Cola bottle opener on the kitchen wall. 7-11 down the street where he’d take me and my siblings to get balsa-wood airplanes and cherry Slurpees.

What wasn’t cool was the ride home after Dad knocked back half a dozen 16 ouncers of Schlitz and my brother had to tell him when the stop lights changed. When you’re a kid you think everything you experience is normal. Doesn’t everyone’s Dad do this?

revisiting secrets
through the wormhole

Michael Morell, USA

Cutting the Cord

Pregnancy came easily, labor too, but not so the reality of a newborn in my arms. They shouldn’t trust inexperienced people with infants, I thought. I could not connect his name, and so instead called him Snuffly Bear Kid.

off-key lullabies
the labor pains
of every deployment

Nancy Brady, USA


The red rabbit belongs to the white tree, which grows below as it does above, or so they say. There’s no way to verify it. Even the red rabbit, who burrows, can’t see all of it at once. After all, it’s underground.

pet cemetery––
she unearths
her childhood


All-day and all night by the water. We swim further and further out and every time we make it back to shore we collapse onto each other, let the sun lick the water off our bodies, sand-dappled skin stretched and water-strained muscle, air bright with salt. Looking right at the sun makes me sneeze and you ask why, you say the sun has no scent, but you’re wrong. The sun smells like your hair, three shades lighter, like your clothes, pin-dried on the line, like your freckles, a constellation on each shoulder. So many stars back then, even where they don’t belong, stars that fall in the water, in the footprints we leave behind, stars that shine green at night, the sky an amphibian, and




every so often
the scent
of Coppertone

Pippa Phillips, USA

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