Eric C. Hayward

For you, rare earth

Be only as true as the moss,
as the patterns of light and dark on
tree branches and tree trunks when
the sun finds them despite the leaves
Desire only as much as would a fish in a
tank swimming forever
take only as much as everything
wander in the woods wearing walkmans
lie down and be broken open full of iron, like earth
let seeds blast through your ribs
let mice nest in your eyeholes
and when the great weight presents itself,
pull it around your shoulders and then let it fall away
be like linen snapping in the wind
be organic like bleached broken twig towers
like those hills in the woods you could expect are
full of skulls but are only full of holes
be unlikely
care not
let the moss collect on you
sit forever, i don’t care
be broken open like fruit
possess this mill wheel and ride it to the top and when
it goes down again just laugh/scream
be face first
be dug up and turned over
sleep under ice
melt into mere marks on the flagstones
run with the accident streams of burst open rain guards, rain gutters,
wind through the grates and drain all the way back into the lake and into the sea
bury yourself in the woods
rejoin the snakes
lie back and let the sun take you
as the hot stars resume their music
and the cold ones fall as silver falls
in white needles
becoming blue veins
in the dirt


Eric C. Hayward is a professional health care writer and licensed acupuncturist. In May 2021 his poem “Apocalypse Dreams Day Two” was featured in Global Poemic: Kindred Voices on the Era of COVID-19. Originally from Long Island, NY, he writes fiction and poetry from his adopted home in Minnesota, where he lives with his wife, teenaged children, and a normally out-of-state college student – all of them writing, working, and studying from home.



Jess Parker


Outside it smells as if
a thousand radishes have
been sliced— upturned earth,
and the soil is red too.

They’ve been at it for days.
Thinning. With howling machines—
breakers and shakers. One that eats
whole tree trunks in seconds, spewing
wood chips like a bulimic teenager,
reckless and confused.

What’s left is barren. The trees
in April, still without their leaves,
creak uncomfortably. Remind me
of my grandmother’s rheumatic
hands stretched against a blue
sky in prayer…

We won’t be long here.
………..We won’t be long.
……………………….We won’t.


Jess L Parker is a poet and strategist. Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jess lives in Madison, WI, with her husband, son, and two aging bulldogs. Her work has appeared in Bramble, Poetry Hall, Millwork, Wallop Zine, and elsewhere. Jess holds a B.A. in English and Spanish from Northern Michigan University, an M.A. of Spanish Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from Concordia University.



Paula Rudnick

Nevertheless We Resisted

It isn’t like they didn’t try to tell us
with charts and graphs
and documentary footage
of the ice cap melting
and whales rotting homeless
on receding sand.
We had more than an inkling
of the story arc,
but we were hooked
on one-click shopping
and we didn’t want to share
our fresh tomatoes with the slugs.
Besides, what point the sacrifice
of one-use plastic bottles and our Jumbo-trons
with China burning coal to keep its billions calm
and Brazilians scything down the Amazon forest?
We figured scientists would find new ways
to cool the planet off and suck
destructive gases from our air
before more CEO’s lost beachfront homes,
so we trusted those who told us
everything was fine and we should go
about our business like we always had
for hadn’t we taught cars to drive
and Roombas to remove the crumbs from floors?
Had we not shot men into space
and could we not ping vaycay photos
from our mobile phones?
Impossible to make us ponder
life with less as more,
erasing what we’d earned
through brain power and might,
our kissing cousin kinship with Divine.
Who could dare deny our claim
as masters of the universe –
our progress so evolved
in such short time?

The Universal Master sighed
and dialed up the heat.


Paula Rudnick is a former TV producer whose credits range from late night rock and roll to Emmy nominated movies.  She is a political activist and has served on numerous non-profit boards.  Her poems have been published in Halfway Down the Stairs, LA Jewish Journal as well as in anthologies by Darkhouse Books, Truth Serum Press, and Constellations. Paula has two grown daughters and lives in Los Angeles.



Tricia Knoll

Tree Sentiency in Six Thousand Languages

But deep down, at the molecular heart of life we’re essentially identical to trees
. – Carl Sagan

The six thousand tongues of living languages
lap in the wind with words for trees – stands,
forests, tribes, jungles, grove, thicket,
family, weald, woodland, and still
we haven’t said it all or anything close
to how trees hold fall’s flames,
run spring sap, bloom shoots
in duff, root near shrines,
accept that fungi mediate
between soil and root, cleanse
waste from air, bind the trail,
preserve life and tie fruits to roots.

Their language is not mute, but silent
against hypocrisy, treachery, and

The forest is both ancient and virginal.
Wind exercises its crotches, forks,
arms, and crowns. Water moves
in sapwood. Heartwood fights decay.
The tree endures grafting,
the hugging of a vine,
the boring of insects,
interests of birds, and
smotherings of avalanche.

Forests stand as soldiers do –
with nothing to fight. Snags
salute death. Or find rest fallen.

The young seek crevices
in stone walls or beneath pavement
that decades later will heave up
as roots writhe up eating soil.

A family of old-growth, evergreen
wildness we remember like dreams
from yesterday, forgotten patience
as we move away.


Rock Speak

Suddenly we listen
to hums, moans
like plucked strings,
not with ears
but scientists’ instruments
to know how stone
knows wind, water, rain,
contentment in dirt.

The snakes come out to sun.
I want to know what they know
of rock nurture, fracture falling
to pieces. How rock feels
when our lives are too short
to hear the last hymn.


Tricia Knoll lives in Vermont, a state noted for rocks, including glacial erratics and a rock ledge on her property that encourages the breeding of snakes and a love of rock walls. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies. Checkered Mates, her most recent collection, came out in 2021. To read more of her work, visit