One Poem by Anna Schoenbach

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

As One Joined

I hold your hand
I hold your heart
I squeeze it rhythmically
beating, beating
your blood my blood
flowing through our veins

If I am to save you
I must become one
cease to be me
your hand, mine
my heart, yours
your mind my mind your soul my soul

I will not

split apart the two
unclasp the fingers
open heart and mind
let me be me
let you be you

Your heart stops without me
as I let go
of you
at last


Previously published in the poem anthology “Primal Elements”, by OWS Ink, Anna Schoenbach is a writer, editor, and poet who hopes that she can capture even just a little bit of the awesome power of the natural (and spiritual) world in her writing.

Two Poems by Chrissy Banks


I’m stopped
             by your lovely wild face
             looking out from a poster
             fixed to a gate

hey Finn
             there you are

I imagine you dancing
some Festival field
             your whisky-brown hair
             doing its own fling

the poster says
             you wear an ear-stretcher

hey Finn
             I wish I had seen you
             without the word Missing
             printed across your chest

Sea Change

The sea was home as much as our island ground.
We dived with the dolphins and flew into air
with the winged stingray. Were we children or fish?
Our mothers laughed and searched for our fins.

How could there ever be too much water?
Or not enough coral? When we turned in our hands
a spiky, familiar branch, we couldn’t have guessed
how the reef would be ravaged.

Wooden stumps are what’s left of the groyne,
splintered heads just above water. The boardwalk
is lost. We’ve witnessed the ocean hurl itself
against houses and burst through rooms.

Even the stars are on walkabout, constellations
that pointed the way to fishermen, now part
of a ruined map. The sea has become a fickle god.
Licks us clean, spits us out or swallows us down.


Chrissy Banks’ poems have been published widely in magazines, online journals and anthologies, including Agenda, Orbis, the North, the Rialto, the Lake, Antiphon, And Other Poems and Ink, Sweat & Tears. Her first pamphlet was Watching the Home Movies. A full collection, Days of Fire and Flood, was published by Original Plus in 2005. Chrissy won second prize in the inaugural Wordsworth Trust Single Poem Competition in 2017. Her new collection The Uninvited will be published by Indigo Dreams later this year.

One Poem by Judith Steele

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.


My sisters know me too well,
as I know them.
Our knowledge is skewed
by past events and emotions,
kinks of family customs
and memory’s cartoons.

In knowing too much
we don’t know enough.
Our friends have better knowledge
of our wholes, being unentwined
in childhood’s positions and parts.

Yet when I hear my father or mother
in one sister or another, I’m returned
to family characteristics, random
twists of genetic inheritance.

My heart responds
to the past in the present,
for better or for worse.


Judith Steele is Australian. Her poetry or prose has most recently appeared in the print journal Gobshite Quarterly, (U.S.A.), and websites Nine Muses Poetry and New Verse News.

One Poem by Samuel Swauger

Breakfast Poem

Why do you wake up so late in the morning,
only when rush-hour traffic has split the doves’
chatter to industrial screeching, and all I can
turn to is the rhythm of your heart?

I wish we could talk over scrambled eggs and
hazelnut coffee, when the road is tongue-tied,
and the grass out back is awash in orange under
the sunrise.

Just a half-hour meal would feel like days, we’d
talk about your beautiful dreams and what to do
with ourselves on hot Saturday nights when
comforters don’t.

For once the sky wouldn’t be so melancholy,
like when the clouds come low and smother
us, soaking up our aspirations for a pretty day
in pastel fog.

When it’s chilly, my pillows are cold as marble
countertops. The bedside lamp radiates a
mellow glow, but the fog chokes it out and I
move by your siren song.

Your voice is crisp and sweet. When the birds
are gone I think of how you said my surname
that first time. Oh, I don’t remember who I was
before we met.


Samuel Swauger is an author and poet from Baltimore, Maryland. His website is and his Twitter is @samuelswauger.

One Poem by Jim Bennett

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.


when pain comes you smile then grimace
like the way you greet me
lines on your face    deepen and crease
dance as memories of who I was
bubble to your surface
hello you say  though you trail off in confusion
as my name won’t come
I smile in return     but it is a lie
I want to scream at you don’t give up
but that is easy for me   you smile again
then your face contorts  who are you
you ask  who are you


Jim Bennett is a poet who was born in Liverpool in the UK a long time ago and is still alive (we think).

One Poem by Danielle Hark

Stuffed Animals Held My Secrets

I whispered in their fuzzy ears, bears,
bunnies, dogs, elephants, they simply

stared ahead, wide unblinking plastic
eyes storing secrets in their fluff,

behind colorful buttons and velvet
noses. mouths of string sewn shut.

my still companions never breathed
to anyone what happened, truths

hidden under covers, drowned in tubs,
and buried beneath twisted old maples.


Danielle Hark is a writer/artist who lives with PTSD and bipolar. She’s the founder of the non-profit Broken Light Collective that empowers people with mental illness using photography. Danielle lives and creates in NJ with her husband, two young girls, one Samoyed pup and a Scottish Fold cat.

One Poem by Kate Young

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

Brothers in Art

Conjoined, separate
they leg-toddle on
across Klee’s canvas
bathed in gold,

a pair of eyes
in lineal logic,
a glareframe-staring

a strange geo-monster
wrapped in ‘isms’,
Cubism, Futurism,
Miro-like Surrealism

releasing the key
to peel back the lid
from a rusted tin,
rolling, unfolding

a pulsating heart
shared by pairing
Picasso and Braque,
the brothers in Art,

walking in step
to a balanced beat
of metronome
on constant repeat,

shapes and shades
in light and space,
harmonious lines
of Cubist grace,

bodies blended
minds fragmented
soulmates, rivals,
Cubist survival,

Klee the optimist
soothing palette,
texture round
with static passage.


Kate Young lives in Kent and is passionate about poetry and literature. After retiring, she has returned to writing and has had success with poems published in magazines internationally and in Great Britain. She is presently editing her work and writing new material, particularly in response to ekphrastic challenges.

One Poem by Sheree Mack

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

salt screams in our blood

you say
               hold this mottled memory close
and stretch           your    hand
a     c     r     o     s     s
                                        the dark

a watery mass of unspoken woes
grow between us
I hold on tight                shackled to your story

your eyes touch me


caked in sea-salt
ribboning through
straits of grief

I say
         remember we share the same heart
and think how you always steal it

blood screaming wild in our darkness
I dream of you
                          walking home
a     c     r     o     s     s
                                      the ocean floor

you are dead to me
you’re dead to me


Sheree Mack is a Creatrix living on the North East Coast of England. She facilitates visual journaling workshops, nationally and internationally, supporting women in their exploration of their authentic voices. She is currently writing about traveling and working in Iceland as well as the next instalment of her creative non-fiction memoir.

One Poem by Heather Nolan

night on The Burren

the way the dusk gathers,
a week before the solstice – long
and lean, a moony blue dripping
from limestone.

we trace circles up the hill
in echoing air, close yet
wide open
to the table tomb, Poll namBrón.

older than the pyramids, you say,
shaking your head.
the past here

nearly midnight, dark falls
like a gavel. you still pointing out landmarks,
through windows thick as turf now.
deep black. headlights just enough

to show we still occupy space.


Heather Nolan is a writer and musician from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Her poetry and prose can be found in journals and anthologies across the U.S. and Canada. She was awarded the Gregory J. Power Poetry Award in 2019, and was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2017. She is the author of This Is Agatha Falling (Pedlar Press, 2019).

One Poem by Randal A Burd, Jr.

Written in response to this month’s Special Challenge.

We Siblings Three

Attempt to add the hours we have shared:
One hundred thousand, maybe thousands more?
Our paths conjoined for several years before
We struck out on our own and even dared
Imagine we would chase our dreams beyond
The borders of our joyful, sheltered lives.
But now we live with husband and with wives
In separate towns and rarely correspond,
Or so it seems when measured and compared
To neighborhood crusades we daily swore
Would never end. But we would soon respond
To destiny. What from those days survives?
That we still share a special sibling bond
Though kept apart by long, infrequent drives.


Randal A. Burd, Jr. is a married father of two and an educator who works with the disadvantaged in rural Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri. Randal is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Sparks of Calliope magazine. His latest collection of poems, Memoirs of a Witness Tree, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in Summer 2020.