A Bit of Bad Weather by Oonah Joslin

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Background photo: Boyko Blagoev/Flickr, CC BY 2.0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

There was a bit of bad weather, if that’s what you’d call it. Weather in terms of Cairn-colpagh means relative rainfall—rainfall relative, that is, to the wettest place on the west coast of Ireland. This wasn’t a relative of anyone’s. It was a whole new family of precipitation. It was bucketing down, or rather bucketing sideways with hail that hurt and drops that rivalled a pint at the Harp & Hand. Then Grogan says I’d better get in the lambs.

“Why me?” says I. I was talking to the Almighty, but Grogan thinks he’s on equal terms, so he answered.

“Because you’re the shepherd and I’m needed here for the milking if you not come back.”

“Comforting,” says I. Sure enough I was the shepherd but only part time—only when the lambing was on and then he laid me off ’til spud gathering, stingy auld fart.

So I tuk Pad the sheepdog wi’ me an’ headed for the top lonin, which was the last place I’d seen the flock. Only there was neither scrap nor tail o’ them and the entire hill had been deleted from sight by the downpour. All I could do was follow the sound of bleating and hope I wasn’t swept into a drain or stream, for there were that many gullies. A man could sink to hell without being missed—until it was spud time anyway.

Rain lashed my face and the bleating seemed to be getting farther away and all of a sudden I was standing knee high in water in sparkling sunshine and there, not twelve feet away, was a leprechaun—no, I swear on my mother’s life—it was a real fairy-folk-person-thing dressed all up in green and with a red cap. Luckily I had my blackthorn staff—a genuine shillelagh—and I held it diagonally across me, for the wee folk don’t like the blackthorn, so it’s said.

Now, we’d startled each other, so we had. I don’t think he intended for to be caught out like that with a big salmon in his hand.

“And who might you be?” he pipes up.

Now, I am not stupid. I know the tricks of fairy folk, and I wasn’t telling this wee brat my name.“Well now, let me see,” says I. “I’d be the rightful owner of that fair, big fella of a fish you’ve got in your hand from the Colpagh.”

“And who’s to say it’s your stream?”

“I guess that would be me again. Who’s asking?”

“If I am to have the privilege of introducing myself,” he said, “I’d like to know to whom.”

“We appear to have reached a bit of an impasse, you and me,” I said.

He looked at me blank.

“A stalemate,” says I.

“I’ve an idea. I’ll grant you three wishes for three fishes,” suggested the wee fella, “and then we’ll be free to go our separate ways. What is it you want? Choose careful now, ’cos a man only has three wishes in one lifetime.”

Of course I thought of wealth beyond avarice. I even thought California, but then you see, I’d miss the sheep and the sweeping hills. I’d even miss the rain. It’s all I know. “I only want what I came for—to find my flock, safe and well,” I said.

In an instant I was standing right amongst the sheep and they looked as pleased to see me as I was to see them—if a bit soggy. Pad was wagging his tail. “Pad auld fella,” I said, “I must be mad. I’m sure even as a dog, you think so. But do you know, I wish all this really was mine, you, the sheep, the hill,” and I patted his head. “And I wish this soddin’ rain would stop!”

And it did! It stopped that very moment and the sun came out, and when I got back down to the farmhouse and got the lambs safe, Grogan announced that he was making a few changes and wanted to concentrate on the dairy, and how would I like the high ground and the sheep for my own.

“After all,” he said, “you’ve looked after the flock for years, and you know that hillside better than anyone, and maybe it’s time you settled down and got yourself a wife and a couple of wee lambs of your own.”

So that evening I went back up the cairn. There a spot I love to sit and look at the view out over the ocean, weather coming in from the west. The sunset was magnificent. It had turned the sea to molten gold. “This’ll be a fine spot to build on,” I said to Pad. And up pops the leprechaun.

“Was this your doing?” I asked.

“You had three wishes,” he said, “and you only used one, and it wasn’t gold—so I just kept listening a while.”

I pointed to the view. “Ah, well there’s some things better than gold. The real gold’s out there.”

“Tam,” says he, “you’re a good man, and there’s not many.” And he disappeared.

“How’d you know my name, Mr. Leprechaun?” I shouted, “Am I not to have yours?” But he didn’t reply, and I was content with that. Somehow I thought it wouldn’t be the last time I met him.

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Oonah Joslin is poetry editor at The Linnet’s Wings. She writes poetry and micro-fiction. Her book “Three Pounds of Cells” ISBN: 13: 978-1535486491 is available online from Linnet’s Wings Press and you can see and hear Oonah read in this National Trust video. The first part of her novella A Genie in a Jam is serialised at Bewildering Stories.
You can follow Oonah on Facebook or at Parallel Oonahverse https://oovj.wordpress.com/

Abandoned Bees by Ann Hillesland

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Background photo: Polydot/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Ann Hillesland, a California native, writes fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been published in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Bayou, The Laurel Review, Corium, and SmokeLong Quarterly. It has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been presented onstage by Stories On Stage in Davis and Denver. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Queen’s University of Charlotte.  Read her blog and other stories by her at her website annhillesland.com.

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Plastic Bags by R. Gene Turchin

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Background photo: Undisclosed/Torange, CC BY 4.0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

R. Gene Turchin escapes from West Virginia winters to the gulf coast of Florida where he sits by the pool at night with his wife gazing up at the stars hoping something creative will fall on him. He is currently final edits on a science fiction novel. Most recent published works can be found in VerseWrights, 365 Tomorrows, With Painted Words, Aurora Wolf, Literary Hatchet, The Ginger Collect, Eye To The Telescope, The Broadkill Review, Astounding Outpost and Event Horizon.

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Beggar’s Reign by Debbie Theiss

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Background photo: BillyCM/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Debbie Theiss (Lee’s Summit, MO) has poems published in I-70 Review, Skinny Journal, Kansas Time and Place, Interpretations IV & V, Connoisseurs of Suffering: Poetry for the Journey to Meaning from University Professors Press, Weaving the Terrain from Dos Gatos Press, and the anthology Paddle Shots from River Pretty Arts.  She grew up in in the Midwest and has traveled to all 50 states hiking national parks and bicycling.  A former professor, administrator, and educator, she finds inspiration for her poetry in the unfolding art of daily life and nature.

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On Purpose by Lisa Masé

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Background photo: Stafichukanatoly/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Lisa Masé is a homesteader, folk herbalist, food sovereignty activist, culinary medicine educator and writer living in Central Vermont. She spends her days pondering how much time she might have to write if she were not cooking food and chasing after her toddler. She teaches poetry workshops for Montpelier, Vermont’s Poem City events, co-facilitates a writing group, and has translated the poetry of writers from Italy, France, and the Dominican Republic. Her chap book, Heart Breaks Open, was published by the Sacred Poetry Contest. Her foodie musings and odes to food as a poetic inspiration can be found at harmonizedcookery.com

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Where the Valley Widens and Flows Out by Amy Schmitz

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Background photo: Undisclosed/Pxhere, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Originally from Buffalo, New York, and Fairfax, Virginia, Amy Schmitz now lives in San Diego, California. She is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who spent two years in Cape Verde, West Africa and has since traveled to 30 different countries. When she is not writing, she is practicing yoga, knitting, working 9-5 in higher education and thinking about the day when the Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl. Her work has been published in Poetry International, Askew, Highland Plains Review and elsewhere.

 

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Landscape with Salt by Rebecca Macijeski

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Background photo: StarFlames/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Rebecca Macijeski grew up in small town Vermont with a large family who values both the power of books and of staring up at trees. Now she lives in Louisiana with even more books and even bigger trees. She’s obsessed with collecting–poems, cats, travel stories, scars, letters, photographs, manifestos, fiddle tunes, buttons, symphony scores, receipts in other languages, quotes from writers writing about writing, that sort of thing. It’s probably about keeping evidence. Rebecca holds a PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Recent poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Journal, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Feel free to read a few over at Museum of Americana and Atlas and Alice. Rebecca is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern State University. Visit her online at www.rebeccamacijeski.com.

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Quieting by Cynthia Anderson

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Background photo: Tookapic/Pexels, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. She attended the University of Pennsylvania as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and studied literature at the College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara. Her research on George Oppen’s archive was published in CONJUNCTIONS and Ironwood. In the 1980s and 1990s, she organized poetry events and festivals in Santa Barbara, California. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Askew, Dark Matter, Crab Creek Review, Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Split Rock Review, Origami Poems Project, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems (Dos Gatos Press, 2016) and Nature and Regeneration (Contemporary Poetry Series, Corbel Stone Press, 2017). Cynthia is the author of seven collections, the most recent being Waking Life (Cholla Needles, 2017). She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com

Cynthia Anderson at Wonderland Wash, Joshua Tree National Park

Cynthia Anderson at Wonderland Wash, Joshua Tree National Park.

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Cynthia Anderson reading at Space Cowboy Books, Joshua Tree, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seasonal Affective Disorder by Pamela Ahlen

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Background photo: Montxodonostia/Pixabay and Thomas Barnes/Pixnio, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Pamela Ahlen early “retired” as a music specialist in South Florida and relocated with her husband to the North Country to experience a sense of community and enjoy the Vermont outdoors in all its seasons. She collects nests and stones and old Valentine’s and is a woods skier and hiker. One of her most memorable trips was hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Pamela is program coordinator for Bookstock, a Vermont Literary Festival held each July in Woodstock, Vermont. She organizes literary events for Osher (Lifelong Education at Dartmouth) and has compiled and edited the Anthology of Poets and Writers: Celebrating Twenty-Five Years at Dartmouth. She relishes another sort of adventure—poetry–a more cerebral challenge: daring to write, rooting through the understory. She is the author of the chapbook Gather Every Little Thing (Finishing Line Press).

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Photo credit: Kate Reeves

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Photo credit: Kate Reeves

Good Vibrations by F.J. Bergmann

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Background photo: Undisclosed/Corbis
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. She recently stepped down from 5 years as editor of Star*Line, the quarterly journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and continues as managing editor of MadHat Press. She has no academic literary qualifications, but is kind to those thus encumbered. In a past life she was a centaur. Her poetry appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s, and elsewhere in the alphabet, and her genre fiction mostly in Pulp Literature, so far. Her poetry has won the SFPA Rhysling Award for both the Short and Long Poem, and was a runner-up for the 2018 Missouri Review Smith Prize. A Catalogue of the Further Suns, a collection of dystopian first-contact reports, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest. Get it and more at fibitz.com.

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Chorus Girls by Joan Moritz

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Background photo: Undisclosed/Pxhere, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Joan Moritz was born in New York City but long ago chose Seattle and the beautiful Pacific Northwest as the home of her heart. Retired from a career crunching numbers, she now crunches words, transcribes books into braille, and sings out loud as often as possible. Her work has been published in Blue Lyra, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, Poetica, Tilt-a-Whirl; most recently in The Fourth River, Panoplyzine; and is forthcoming in Vitamin Zzz.
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Posthumous by Jennifer London

Background photo: Undisclosed/Deposit Photos
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Jennifer London is a writer and editor filled with wanderlust and a love for puppies. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Postcard Poems and Prose101 WordsFlash Fiction MagazineSpeckLitBroad! Magazine, and Every Day Fiction. Links to her work can be found online at www.jenniferlondon.net; she often retweets funny or political things on Twitter (@jlevine3) and posts pictures on Instagram of her dogs and of her adventures in cake decorating.

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Surreal by Ingrid Bruck

Background photo: Jean Beaufort/PDP, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Ingrid Bruck has been married 41 years to the boy she sat behind in a sophomore English class in high school though she didn’t marry him until she was thirty. They raised two sons in Texas. She worked in libraries, told children stories and wrote in the closet until five years ago. Retired, she transplanted to Pennsylvania to spend time with grandkids. She grows wildflowers, cooks and writes about whatever is in season. Current work appears in Unbroken Journal, The Song Is, W.I.S.H., Eunoia, Nature Writing, and Entropy. Poetry site:  www.ingridbruck.com
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Counter by Bernadette McBride

Background photo: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Bernadette McBride, author of three poetry collections—most recently, Whatever Measure of Light (Kelsay Books, 2016), taught creative writing and literature at Temple University for many years and is poetry editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a Pennsylvania county Poet Laureate, a poetry winner, second place, for the International Ray Bradbury Writing Award, and an award-winning artist. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Cider Press Review, Philadelphia Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, and Ragged Sky Press as well as in the UK, Canada, and on PRI’s The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She lives in a 19th-century farm house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where Mother Nature’s resilience—her births, deaths, and resurrections never cease to produce yet another “Oh, wow!” …She welcomes your visit at bernadettemcbrideblog.wordpress.com.   

Two more links:

www.philadelphiastories.org/article/444/

https://ciderpressreview.com/cpr-volume-16-1/apple-mcbride/

(Also, once on her website, one can click on “Sample Poems” and on “Links” for links to other journal websites if desired.)

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In All Things by F.J. Bergmann

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F.J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. She recently stepped down from 5 years as editor of Star*Line, the quarterly journal of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, and continues as managing editor of MadHat Press. She has no academic literary qualifications, but is kind to those thus encumbered. In a past life she was a centaur. Her poetry appears irregularly in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s, and elsewhere in the alphabet, and her genre fiction mostly in Pulp Literature, so far. Her poetry has won the SFPA Rhysling Award for both the Short and Long Poem, and was a runner-up for the 2018 Missouri Review Smith Prize. A Catalogue of the Further Suns, a collection of dystopian first-contact reports, won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest. Get it and more at fibitz.com.

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Heaven by M.J. Iuppa

Background photo: Tookapic/Pexels, CC0 and Qimono/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

M.J. Iuppa  is the Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College; and since 2000 to present, is a part time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with students, K-12, in Rochester, NY, and surrounding area. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full length poetry collections, This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017), Small Worlds Floating (2016) as well as Within Reach (2010) both from Cherry Grove Collections; Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and 5 chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin, NY.

Photo credit – P. Tonery

Photo credit – P. Tonery

Photo credit – P. Tonery

Caffeine Addiction by Joan Moritz

Background photo: dgazdik/Pixabay, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Joan Moritz was born in New York City but long ago chose Seattle and the beautiful Pacific Northwest as the home of her heart. Retired from a career crunching numbers, she now crunches words, transcribes books into braille, and sings out loud as often as possible. Her work has been published in Blue Lyra, Drash: Northwest Mosaic, Poetica, Tilt-a-Whirl; most recently in The Fourth River (http://www.thefourthriver.com/index.php/2017/03/tributaries-mindfulness ), Panoplyzine (https://panoplyzine.com/northwest-winter-day-joan-moritz/ ); and is forthcoming in Vitamin Zzz.

 

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Titan by Tom England

Background photo: NASA/Wikimedia, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Tom England teaches high school English in Manchester, England, and lives with his two cats.  His poetry has appeared in a number of literary publications in England and America.  Find links to his work at https://twitter.com/England_TJ

Smith Rock State Park, Oregon by Derek Mong

Background photo: Joe Boje/Wikimedia, CC BY 2.0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

Derek Mong is the author of two poetry collections from Saturnalia Books—Other Romes (2011) and The Identity Thief (2018)—and a chapbook, The Ego and the Empiricist (2017), which was a finalist for the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook PrizeHe and his wife, Anne O. Fisher, won the 2018 Cliff Becker Translation Prize for The Joyous Science: Selected Poems of Maxim Amelinforthcoming this year from White Pine Press. The Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor of English at Wabash College, he has poems, translations, and prose new or forthcoming in PleiadesMantisAlways Crashing, South Carolina ReviewCider Press Reviewand the anthology Writers Resist: Hoosier Writers Unite. His long poem, “Colloquy with St. Mary of Egypt”—a 300+ line seduction of a desert saint—is available at Blackbird. He blogs at the Kenyon Review Online and reviews new poetry for the Gettysburg Review. He lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana with his family and can be reached at www.derekmong.com.

 

Standing in the Path of Totality by Eileen Mattmann

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Background photo: Undisclosed/Deposit Photos
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

 

Eileen Mattmann is a member of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and Triggering Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in The Wild Word, Red Cedar Review, Kindness Anthology II, An Ariel Anthology, 2016, Zoetic Press, Blue Heron Review, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Museletter and calendar, BoomerLitMag and Portage Magazine. After a long career in education, she relishes opening her notebook and filling it with her own words! She travels with her husband all over the country and is a quilter.

 

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