by Gabriella M. Belfiglio

We ride the train up the alphabet

to the edge of Brooklyn. She tells me

life and death stories. The pastel shirt

she’s wearing is soft between my fingers.

I picture her dropping a daisy

on her father’s grave, shift my body

across the orange seats into her.

Jellyfish are strewn along the shoreline,

hiding amongst the discarded round

bottoms of glass bottles. If you look

closely, you can see a ring of electric blue,

thinner than a spider web, encircling

their gelatinous bodies. I am shocked

with childhood fears, as my bare feet tiptoe

through the squishy landmines. Behind us,

the Cyclone towers above signs hawking

cold beer and hotdogs, above the crooked

brown of the boardwalk, above her and me

tangled into each other, our bodies

pressing down the faded leopard-skin-

patterned sheet, into the supple sand.

A tribe of Hasidic children in matching shirts

and skirts, invades our otherwise naked

beach. The girls scatter away from their mother

and the baby she is holding to search

for shells and other treasures. Three boys

play catch, each throw bringing them closer

to our embrace, pretend not to look.

In the morning, I am salty

from her kisses. The ocean and sand

switched places overnight

land became liquid

dripping into my shower drain

and the sea

a scratchy solid on my skin.

(Chiron Review, Issue 99, Spring 2015)


by Phyllis Capello

The silver moon talking
That was my curse

The summer night
skipping over dark sand,

she spoke above the drone of waves:
Embrace him, she commanded;

but the seabirds started squawking,
I couldn’t hear the rest.

Selfish crone, how could you
doom my innocence?

exile a heart from radiance,

to wretched winter’s cold abyss?

(Packs Small Plays Big, Bordighera Press, 2018)


by Paola Corso

in memory of Xu Chaoqing and Liu Guojiang

Jiangjin, Chongqing, China

Ask yourself
what you would do for love.

For over 50 years
a man chiseled 6000 steps

out of rock
from the village Gaotan

to the mountaintop
where he and a shunned woman

ten years older
fled to live in seclusion.

Grass and roots for food,
walnuts and dates,

fish caught, leaves
ground into flour.

A kerosene lamp for light,
two wooden stools,

and their embrace
to warm the chill of night.

It was rare for her to climb
down and face village gossip.

Some say the times she did
were for her husband,

so the soles of her feet
would touch

every slab he carved
with loving hands.

(Vertical Bridges: Poems and Photographs in City Steps, Six Gallery Press, 2020)