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Other notable works by Christina Marie Speed and Kay Middleton.

Rae Spencer-

In the Suburbs, Night Rises

Dew trickles out of grassy lawns
Pours from iris shadows and sighs
In the splash of water spilled
Across a hot driveway

So night begins as a swirl on the ground
As song exhaled from green ponds
Drummed from a deep, wide throat
Of amphibian lust

Which thickens into musk and dusk
To muffle the robin’s bright cheer
And damp the cardinal’s red aria
Into grey sparrow refrain

While crickets strike sparks in their legs
Raucous wicks in the neighborhood dark
Which might be confused with stars
Or lovesick lightning bugs

This is strange, ember music
Its raspy chorus wild
And its thick, humid rhythm
Calls wild into my past

Where frogs sing down the sun
And insects warn of changes coming
And birds’ wings beat
And blood passes to breath passes to bone

Throbs into sleep
Where night rises
Between memory and dream
Like silence


Winter Burial

Wilderness knows winter
Passes like a poet’s words
Capable of bringing
Only the smallest of deaths

More suited to miracle
Bears giving birth
In laborless slumber
And frozen grasses
Enfolding summer

Trees in deep repose
Steadily recording
In circular cipher

Stark landscapes
Of skeletal beauty
A long inward breath
As prophets might say
The promise of life

And the promise of death
Which should be proof enough
Of miracles
For even a doubter’s soul

Wilderness knows death
As something other than ending
Such lives do not stop
With the last trembling gasp
And the heart’s final beat

A circle has no endings
Only metaphor written in pulp
Wilderness knows
Some things without question

Bears will wake hungry
Grasses grow lush
And trees will remember
They will write your death
Into their hidden hearts

And you will not die
Any more than winter
Despite all your poets
And their beautiful words



Consider the flashing weight of salmon
Bearing their bulk upstream
Silver to white to red
Sliding slippery into a fall
Then leaping

With no other way to see salmon
Except through the eyes of a man
They are frantic
Flush with the substance of lust

Rushing past salmon-fed bears
Heedless of hunger
Saving no strength for fatigue
Sliding slippery into a fall
Then leaping

This yearly migration of mass
Fin-scale tides of pink
Salmon muscle, ends
On stony banks where it began
In oily vaults of roe


Spell Out a Robin, for Cheer

The robin red-breast
Of my Virginia phase
Has none of England’s robin-red

More like a red-headed youth
Like two sisters and a brother
My mother and husband
All of them orange

And none of them urging
Cheer up! Cheer up! Cheer up?

Neither these Virginia birds
The herds of bachelor robins
Who all winter long
Hold their summer tongues

And I call my Tennessee mother
To tell her how robins
Have followed me here

We always worried where they went
When the valley rimed with ice
Streams grayed to slush
And the lawn fell silent

Deserted by robins
Until their return heralded May
Here, only their voices migrate

Wintering in some riotous place
Before thawing in bright demand
To squabble on the fence
Breasts flushed with temper

Provoking mates to sing
Cheer up! Cheer up! Cheer up?
They’re cheerily fat, shiny with rain

And stalk a blindly buried prey
In alert, comedic dance
Dashing across the weeds
To wrestle out a feast of worms

Busy with the business
Of spring’s arrival
While I, like my ginger kin

Simply settle in
Mature into a tedium
Into the cheerless task
Of everyday survival


Salp Bloom

Suspended chain, linked clone
To clone, coiled seine for the paradox
Of cold seas in splendid bloom

Antarctic carbon sieve, straining
Pelagic balance shifted by season
And sun into transparent wonder

Gelatinous sac of muscle and gut
Scrolled colony adrift in waves
Of plenty, equipped with bundled

Nerve enough to call brain, eye
Enough to see, ravenous enough
To scour oceans empty

Until swallowed by dense death
Rapid wealth sinking to starved depths
Still awash in hunger, still hollow


Rae Spencer writes poetry and fiction. For her, writing is a way to merge the fixed world of science and math with malleable inner realms of dream, memory, and imagination. Raised in Tennessee, she now makes her home in Virginia, where she is a member of the Albright Poets. Her poetry has been published in online and print journals, receiving Pushcart Prize nominations in 2009 and 2010.

Christina Marie Speed-


I blew the letters
into the universe
last night.
Fire razed my palm, and

all two-hundred-sixty-four of them
thrust bright on riddled breath
into the hollow black-blue,
ripe with stamina.

Riding scorched wind
energetic shapes
tumble designs geometric —
eager for shape.

I, in ribbons,
thread rough meaning
from the recesses
of my cosmos

while the alphabet I created
spark first words,
burn epoch,
feeding the heat.


Assist, Cancel, Strip, Force

doctor mixes him with her
petri dish and agar make zygote
plus turkey baster makes baby

silver aircraft stand as
snowflakes drop swirling kisses
plumes of de-icing fluid rush

hugging ancient fuel
trapped miners
scrub walls, breathe in black

orchid, paperwhite
hothouse blinded creep
spreading bright blooms



Energy claims the road where
I leave solutions,

Foraging for a detail, a wisp – something
To grasp even if breath claims

The potential
Folds among minnows furious and

Ascertaining in the yaw
Bones crunch under the weight

Of disengagement —
The salt in the wet street, a spark, a cry


Christina Marie Speed writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including Caper Journal, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune Online, and The View From Here. She is also a co-editor for the Literary Reflections department at She lives with her husband and two sons in a sunny fourth-floor walkup in Brooklyn, New York.

Kay Middleton-


You live in that city smoggy and gray
rise superior and early, except on the days
when you don’t, when you
shrug on the cloak of haughtiness
examine audacity
like an old muckraker who
measures degrees of opacity.

You are a member of the cathedral,
robed and singing in the choir
voice tenebrous; tones
churlish and coarse as ground glass
an apex in the reforest of ideals
more map than atlas
less veracity unabashedly.

You live in that town of gossip and graft
shutter windows, pull drapes against the draft
and legitimacy of day
flicker in florescence depress
pretend, tend your preferences
count little copper coins and
measure degrees of opacity.


Because I want to be Lucille Fay LeSueur

That’s why.

I want to look distraught or disinterested
a cigarette angled from the corner
of my red mouth like a soldier relaxing his rifle.
I want to remember the chill I feel as I drop
my shawl and turn shoulder to your camera,
again. My body does not quiver with exposure
nor the distrustful glare in other women’s eyes.
Survivor you see beyond that lens, I will do
what I need. I will change my name to Joan
and you will judge forever. These are the roles cast.

I want to feel the trains vibrate my body enroute
to Chicago, Detroit, New York and Culver City.
Cold cheese sandwiches on mid-western white
bread travels well. When sound comes to the pictures
my sultry voice seduces you to the box office
and I pretend I am a prostitute giving myself
away on the silver screen. I triangle and dance
with daring, dashing men of the day
and pretend to love them all but never stay.

I want to wear the silvery silk turban, crown
for the “Queen of the Movies”, bowed shoes,
pencil-arched brows and Adrian-designed gowns,
a dress that flows and folds like the theater
curtain over the stage of my body. A glittering
luminary, the name Joan Crawford lights the night
for nearly half a century from the marquees in every city.
That was before Mommy Dearest changed the angle
of camera and light—shattered Joan forever.

I want to be Lucille Fay LeSeuer.


Kay Middleton writes, reads and bakes her own bread in Norfolk, Virginia. She often sits at the table of the Albright poets, having become a member after writing an acceptable limerick. A 2010 Pushcart Prize nominee, she has been rejected by some of the finest publications on the planet and published in a few.


Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley
June - Ruth Kessler
July - Chanel Brenner
August - Darren Demaree
September - George Moore
October - Joshua Medsker
November - Ralph Monday
December - Howie Good

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2018

January – Simon Perchik
February – Julia Travers
March-June – Journal on hiatus
July – Simon Perchik
August – Hiram Larew
September – Kevin Casey
October – Ditta Baron Hoeber
November – EG Ted Davis


Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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