March into the Future

She left empty handed
No suitcase
No check book
No regrets

She left behind a lifetime of suffering
and opened herself up to a new world
No more bloody altercations
No more bruises that reached down
deeper that their physical pain
Now if she could put the past far
enough behind as well

She feared the memories would haunt her
but she persisted
she needed to persist
despite the old ghosts that clung on so tight

Her first breath of fresh air in more years
than she could recall
Thunder rumbled off in the distance
as she pulled her shoulders back
stood tall and marched into the future

Ann Christine Tabaka


I don't need a hero when you're around
I feel safe when I hear your sound
That smile brightens my eyes
As I see your ability
Better than an unrealistic super power
You're planted in my brain like a sunflower
A happy little cheeky happy
I can’t stop dreaming about you
I know you feel the same too
Your power like no other
I don’t need a hero when you're around

Selin Candan


My Mother is my Superhero.

Dare Devil might be able to navigate without sighting,
Black Panther may have saved Wakanda through the fighting,
DC have got Black Jesus on the streets aka Black Lightening,
But my mother, well I’ve never met anyone with the likening of a super hero but she.
Now I’m not talking about red lycra leggings and cape down to her knees but
She made family everywhere on the streets and overseas. She wore a smile like the sickest cape you’ve ever seen,
Her black curly hair framed her face and kissed her shoulders like the head dressing of a queen.
And wherever she went, a respect followed her that cannot be commanded,
She gave out love and respect and so back to her that was handed and she overflowed with a depth of understanding I’m only starting to grasp,
And she gave me the fullest answers whenever I asked.
She inhaled life and exhaled humility, she sacrificed and built a foundation of stability,
She taught me that it was normal to fear and that sadness should not be refrained,
That tears can be embraced and gladness can be attained,
She showed me that her vulnerabilities could also be her strengths and if channelled through the right way could take her to heights and lengths.

My mother is my superhero; she did not need immortality to make a lasting effect,
She did not need a dramatic ending and then suddenly resurrect like her super hero counterparts,
Her energy flows through me and I feel her beat against my heart,
In my being she lives. Right here is where she stays. She grows within my soul and lives within my DNA,
She’s the words that escape my mouth and the poetry on my page,
Her resilience is in my bones, her strength exceeds Luke Cage.
My Mother is my superhero, her legacy lives on,
In my dreams, words, memories and thoughts she is never gone.

Alice Spencer

To Togo

(Sled Dog Leader - Nome Serum Run, 1925)

Mile on mile, you part this ice-white gale;
with snow-stiff fur and ice-cracked paws, your team
clambers into your lee and broken trail
and struggles toward Nome's distant faltering beam.

Northwest you haul your healing freight to lift
the deadly siege of sick, despairing Nome,
traversing cracked ice floe and gale-swept drift,
you carve your trail on the iced northern dome.

Earth hesitates … its two natures contend:
you are life locked with death to pry the hold
of this dread pestilence, with strength to bend
the fearsome might of this brute deadly cold.

Your knowing spirit of life defies Fate,
as you surge on toward the young lives who wait.

Robert Pelgrift

Still Life

(On Discovering the Life and Work of Georgia O'Keeffe, artist, 1887-1986)

In the beginning was life and death,
Dead Rabbit with Copper Pot:
first limp, then cold, the stiffening
flanks and eyes scarfed frosted white,
blind to what promise, prizes, rosebuds
might yet fall at her feet.
Was it fear rushed in? A howling wind
to echo in the hollows in her head?
Whatever it was she could paint no more,
that blank canvass of her future shrinking small.
The stink of turpentine offended her nose,
prompted her to blanche and heave,
her bowels to growl and curdle
and the yellow bile to rise.

Yet later through a mirror came pale
hollyhocks and greenest spikes of pain;
skulls and seeds and irises
as dark as midnight's eye.
Then, all was fruit and fruitfulness.
Her blossoms pulsed and swelled,
found ripeness and completion
through the power of the lens.
Yet she could not - or would not - say
what all such shapes might mean.

And later still came rocks and bones
from off the desert floor
and then a mile of elephants,
the pale sand curving down,
a life marked out in black and white
and silver, pink and grey.
An aria of silence sung
in praise of most still death.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley

First Hunt

for Bill Sheldon

At the new site in Rice County
I am looking for artifacts
for the very first time. Dad and I
schlep our sharpened sticks, water bottles
across the long and wintering grass
to the sandbar. We stop every few minutes
to pluck bulbous sandburs from our socks.

Two hours in I find a cat skull
submerged in a puddle, sun-bleached,
grinning with scraps of small wickedness
from the gravel. I dust it carefully
and begin the climb to where Dad
bends down, something round
in his hand. He straightens, holds up

a dark, broken stray thought
of flint, a bird point, one ear snapped
by flight or those long centuries in clay.
The tip is gone—a tiny flat plane,
paleolithic plateau, cross-section
all that remains. He grins. Each of us rich,
we walk slowly back through the stickers.

Tyler Robert Sheldon