Sheri Gabbert – 2 poems

What I did last summer


I watch the old woman next door,

her sheets flying kites

tethered to a wire clothes line.


She leans against a rusty pole,

single clothespin in her mouth,

pauses to consider linens hung to dry

on summer afternoons.


Dripping air in dry skies, sweat,

iced watermelon, banjo and fiddles

on a front porch, old men in overalls,

kids with no shoes, the growl of a lawn mower.


I never hang sheets out to dry

they smell like dirt

dirt smells

like a fresh-dug grave.





Pedestrian Dirge


Naked inside cocoon clothing,

she believes the layers impregnable

and strides into traffic, zig, zag,

bounces from one near accident

to another until exhausted

she stops

in the middle of the highway

just to watch

red Mustangs and white

Suburbans and Cadillac limousines —

taffy stretched over turning wheels —

blackened windows holding grief —

boxes of bones, naked beneath handfuls

of dust to dust, ash to ash.

She remains in the middle of the highway

not seeing danger.





Sheri Gabbert 



Geoffrey Heptonstall – fiction



Of course the view from here is nothing. Well, disappointing. Not quite what you’d expect. If you expect a view of the sea. Personally I never minded. But some people would be disappointed, I suppose. Not that anyone ever said anything. Well, they don’t, do they? No-one is going to come here and say they’re disappointed by the view, are they? I mean, people simply don’t say that sort of thing. But, by God, they think it. I tell everyone I’m living by the sea. And so they come expecting to have a glimpse at least of the sea. They’re disappointed. Of course they are. They’re bound to be disappointed. Even if nobody says anything I can sense their disappointment. They think the lesser of me. Of course they do. I’m used to gossip. It’s what I expect, really. It’s the vicious stuff I object to. The rest I can cope with.

No. It’s never my decision. That’s the trouble. It’s never my decision. It’s never my decision. Someone else decides.

Let me assure you at once that I have deeply-held convictions based not only on my extensive reading but on my experience and knowledge of life. I have lived and worked among ordinary people.

I’ll never believe in spiritual power and mystical revelation. I’ll never burn incense and talk about energies. I’ll talk about real things and real people. I’ll talk about the tangible world where I walk. I’ll talk about the people I meet, the people I hope to meet, the people I love and the people I hate….That is what I thought when I was young. And that is what I think now. I’m not going to change, am I? No, of course I’m not. I want to walk through a world I know is there. If it’s not real then it’s not interesting, is it? Not to me, at any rate. And not to you, I hope.

The future? I’m not sure about that. Why not just concentrate on things as they are? I mean, here and now. Here we are. Here and now. It’s no good just leaping into the future. Just feel the presence of what’s happening now….Do I really believe that? And if I don’t believe it why do I say it?  But it’s what I’ve always said, so I suppose I must believe it. Why else would I say it? Have I built my life upon a protective lie? And if I have what vulnerability in me does it mask?

Old friends who weren’t really friends. But they could have been. They could have been my friends. I didn’t understand them. And they didn’t understand me. Is that friendship? I believe that in a way it is.

I thought I knew what I wanted in life. When I was young I did know. That is, I thought I knew. I’m not sure now. But the truth is, as I now see, people are more important than anything. The people you know. The people you care about. I thought I knew. I thought I knew. But I did know. I did know. If only others had listened.

I’m not lucky. I’m not lucky at all. I thought I was but I’m not. Then something happens and the years fall away. Yes, it was a long time ago. Yes, we’ve all moved on. We’ve all changed. Everything’s different. We’re mature and sensible. And we look back on our younger selves with nostalgia. But that’s not really how it is, is it? It’s not really like that, is it? Then something happens. And then you look back and you think how different things might have been. Everyone does that, I suppose, at some time.

To open a door that you never knew was there. Isn’t that what everyone wants to do in their lives?

You don’t think I should speak my mind. People don’t like anyone to say what they mean. We should all lie. That’s why the world is in a mess. It is lies that have made this world such a mess. It’s not enough to try. Can’t you see that? We have to do more than just try. Anyone can try. The world is full of people who try.

This really is going nowhere. It was a mistake. I had my misgivings, but, rashly, I supposed that somehow…. It’s a question of understanding what you experience. It’s no good just leaping into the future. Just feel the presence of what’s happening now.

Of course the view from here is nothing. If you expect a view of the sea. If you expect a view of the sea.


Geoffrey Heptonstall 


Martin Christmas – 1 poem

Natural Selection



Early morning suburban trek.

Two magpies standing still.


I summon up the gods.

Artemis, Actaeon and Pan.


The Druid within channels.

‘Yaa-er, Yaa-er’ in fluent magpie.


They look at each other.

‘Dick-head, dick-head’ is all I hear.


They fly off  impressively.





Martin Christmas lives in Adelaide, South Australia, and has been published in several Australian poetry anthologies, and overseas in Red River Review (USA) (Featured Poet), and StepAway Magazine (UK). His chapbooks are Immediate Reflections and The Deeper Inner. He has co-written a conversation poetry book, D&M Between 2 Men. His first full-length poetry and photography book, Random Adventures will be published in late 2019.


DJ Tyrer – fiction

Impossible Love

“I will not – I shall not – have a single thing to do with you!” He pushed her away. “You are unwholesome and unholy; evil and enfer-bound. No, and, again, no, I say.”

The hag looked up at the knight from where his shove had sent her, her filthy rags a contrast to his brightly-shining breastplate and gilded spurs.

“But, I love you.”

He laughed. “Love? What can such an ill-formed creature such as you know of love?”

She thrust a calloused and withered hand across her eyes and said, “I may seem too lowly and of no consequence for one such as you to apprehend when so many more important things command your attention, but such invisibility has afforded me ample opportunity to observe you and get to know you and fall in love.”

“Bah.” He spat. “Such a suggestion is vile; vile, I say. That you should imagine yourself equal to me that our flesh could ever meld… You repulse me.”

“You are a gentle and parfait knight,” she said, fighting to keep her tone even. “I have watched in the lists and in war and in the castle hall. I thought you noble, brave and handsome.”

“That as may be, hag, but these are the very reasons you can never have me. The Lord has exalted me high above you. You are everything I am not. Now, go, before I draw my sword.”

“I thought you kind, once…”

Scoffing, he placed his hand upon the hilt of his sword. “Kindness does not extend to vermin.”

Slowly, awkwardly, she stood and blinked her eyes: There were no tears in them, now. She fixed him with a steady gaze and, from within her ragged shawl, drew forth a supple hazel wand.

The knight laughed. “What is this? You think to strike me with a blade of your own?”

“No.” Her voice was firm like steel and he felt a shiver tickle his spine. “No,” she repeated. “This is the source of my power. I had hoped to win you with an appeal to your decency – to connect my soul with yours. That you would see me for whom I truly am and love me for it.”

He took a step backwards, but she kept talking: “Now, perhaps, I can win your love with the promise of my power. Be mine and I can make you ever-victorious in battle.”

“I already am.”

“I can give you power and wealth and fame.”

“No, not even an imperial crown could induce me to lie with you… but…”


“Could you make yourself beautiful; a gorgeous maiden worthy of my embrace?”

With a sigh, she shook her head. “Therein lies the limit of my mystical craft – I can change others, but not myself…”

“Then, it is impossible for me to love you.”


“Impossible! Now, off with you, hag.”

Her eyes narrowed and she waved her wand about her three times and spoke strange and terrible words and the knight felt fear such as he never had.

And, then, he felt quite different.

The witch reached down and picked him up and stroked his chin. The kitten in her arms meowed with pleasure.

With a sad smile, she turned and began the lengthy walk back to her cottage where a dozen cats awaited their new companion. She was never lonely, but never fulfilled.

Blinking back tears, she clutched the kitten to her breast.





DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines around the world, such as Winter’s Grasp (Fantasia Divinity), andMisunderstood (Wolfsinger), and issues of Broadswords and Blasters, and BFS Horizons, and in addition, has a novella available in paperback and on the Kindle, The Yellow House (Dunhams Manor) and a comic horror e-novelette, A Trip to the Middle of the World, available from Alban Lake through Infinite Realms Bookstore.

DJ Tyrer’s website is at

The Atlantean Publishing website is at


Ann Christine Tabaka – flash fiction


Jim went outside to sit in his yard and enjoy the night. The full moon was bright that night, unusually bright.  Jim sat and watched it with curiosity, as it appeared to grow larger with each passing minute, until it felt as if it enveloped him in its glow.   He fell asleep on the ground.

The next morning Jim awoke in his room, walked over to the window and looked out at a distant blue planet, Earth.  It looked so beautiful and different from the sterile environment that he inhabited. He wondered what it would be like to live there.




Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. She is the author of 9 poetry books.  Christine lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and three cats. Her most recent credits are: Burningword Literary Journal; Muddy River Poetry Review; The Write Connection; Ethos Literary Journal, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Foliate Oak Review, Better Than Starbucks!, The Write Launch, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.
*(a complete list of publications is available upon request)