Dale Champlin

In the Morning There is Hope 

Hope glitters from the sugar bowl,
blooms on the flowered wallpaper

and rises in a cloud of steam from the teakettle.
There’s a puddle of hope in the courtyard

and a bit of hope buzzing in a spider web
in a dusty corner of my window.

A cat on the sidewalk yowls hope,
hope, hope in his manner of speech.

The sky puffs rows of hope like fish scales.
With every breath I smell hope on the breeze.

Squirrels dash about on branches of hope.
An aria of hope cascades from a kinglet.

On the playground children are dazzled
by rays of hope.

In the shipyard seagulls circle over briny vessels
pulled from the harbor by cables of hope.

My streetcar slides along rails of hope.
The entire time hope patters on my umbrella.


Dale Champlin is an Oregon poet with an MFA in fine art. The editor of Verseweavers, she has published poems in Willawaw, The Opiate, Visions International, San Pedro River Review, catheXis, Pif, and elsewhere. In 2019 she published her first collection The Barbie Diaries (Just a Lark Books). Three collections, Isadora, Callie Comes of Age, and Andromina, A Stranger in America are forthcoming.



Nancy Christopherson

Philips Reservoir, Watching the Cranes Come In

I can hear them before I spot them, slow flapping in—
flashing in the distance almost white—the ruckus they make
rubbing ribbed glottides together, not snapping just
rattling, calling
out, trilling coo, purr-cooing. I know they have arrived
and will settle to rest a while before lifting off again, to
circle, higher, higher,
climbing higher to get up over the mountains bearing north.
They will cross the Northern Cascades then the tall
ranges of British Columbia, or the wild northern Rockies
of Alberta, the green-white coastal ranges of southeast Alaska
to push on
past Denali. Such a long route—but these are elemental beings,
which makes me smile as I remember that they
mate for life,
are symbols of fidelity and longevity, even immortality—
in some cultures. These tall beige-gray wading birds
bright red caps and round amber eyes which nest in the marshy
Arctic tundra—and I, who have lost nearly everything
having been
pushed away from the table as it were—the idea of
them migrating gives comfort and a reason to beam—
there are yet constants
in life. Cars and trucks roar past in the background along
the two-lane asphalt to John Day. I realize the natural
survives just fine without me—in fact thrives—without
any human involvement at all, if we’d just
leave it alone.
I should leave immediately and never come back.


Nancy Christopherson, author of The Leaf, lives and writes in eastern Oregon. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Aji Magazine, Common Ground Review, Free State Review, Helen Literary Magazine, Molecule Tiny Lit Mag, Peregrine Journal, Raven Chronicles, Third Wednesday, Verseweavers, and Xanadu among others, as well as various regional, national, and international anthologies. Visit www.nancychristophersonpoetry.com.



Kevin Bell

Zen Bites I – At the Sink

It’s a lie that washing apples is less
important than making money:

…….if when you wash them
…….– you only wash them –
…….you wash your mind.

Funny, how renewal lurks
in nooks and crannies, lucky
…….how it sits in
…….every slipping second

…….thank God
…….it’s here in the sink,
…….where I lift the apples
………………………….wash ….

My body older, not so
…….strong, but in my
…….mind fewer tricks:

My eyes now not so sharp,
…….but less fog.


Kevin Bell has ridden in an old yellow school bus from Boston to Fairbanks when the ALCAN highway in Alaska was a 1,400-mile dirt road, then hitched down the Pacific coast and across the country back to Boston. He studied with Zen Master Seung Sahn and earned a black belt in Korean Zen swordsmanship. He has lived in the worlds of education, business, law, and politics – and now in the world of retirement.



Marjorie Mir

A Brief History of Trees with Epilogue 

Left to themselves, they were not useful
except as anchorage for shifting soil,
shelter for winged and wintering passers-through.
They drank, breathed, grew
and multiplied,
keepers of honey
bestowers of fruit.
Left to themselves, they answered no one’s need.

Discovered, they became houses and ships,
bridges, pencils,
Discovered, they traveled
and were traveled on.
Stillness became motion,
growth was made static,
curving lines were squared.

Always, in every generation,
were the celebrants,
who, believing they took nothing,
inscribed on sheets of fiber
words and images of praise.
And when the last had fallen,
one of those who loved them
brought chair and table near his fire
to write its elegy.

Epilogue: A Fable

Once, in time-to-come, a child,
a girl of seven,
set out secretly from home,
carrying, creased and folded, like a map,
a picture of a tree,
something she had never seen
but determined she would find.
The picture and a memory handed down
through generations,
endlessly touched, imagined,
drew her forward, asking strangers,
“Have you seen a thing like this?”
Met with silence or dismissal,
she traveled for a lifetime,
would have turned back many times
were it not for the ones who told her,
“We are looking, too.”


Marjorie Mir is a retired children’s librarian whose work has appeared most often in Atlanta Review and the online journal, Eclectica. She received two awards from Atlanta Review: first prize in their annual contest and later, a Merit Award. She served as poetry editor for the newsletter, Monhegan Commons, and edited an anthology of poems from that site. She lives in Bronxville, New York, with Mocha, an adopted shelter cat.