Ed Ahern: Seasoning

Over the years
Several women drew close,
Differing in marvelous ways.
But all, early on or later in the time together,
Were pushed away or saw enough to leave.
Remembered in swirls of abiding fondness.
Piquant almosts sprinkled on a bland existence.

(Previously appeared in New Pop Lit)

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Craig W. Steele: Pauses of Speech

One time um was a habit and so
too was uh, till replaced by the well
we all used Then ya know came to dwell
on our lips, but was dropped long ago
for the like that’s now prized by the young,
although some want to burnish their tongue
by expanding with um . . . uh, well, ya know.

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Brian Garrison: Breakfast in Hell

Unlucky Charms
Scorn Flakes
Doughnut Coals
Scrambled Legs
Smote Meal
Scream of Wheat

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Susanna Clayson: What's In A Name

Susanna’s sibilant staccato sounds serious
Used to scold sternly for some sin aged seven
Screamed at for splashing siblings at the sea-side
A single syllable, Sue is simple and straightforward
Normal, sensible Susan is soft, safe and secure
Not like Suzanne’s salsa and sangria or Suzi’s saucy slapper
A shy snuggly Suze suits snoozing, spooned on the sofa

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Jerome Betts: Warning For Walkers

This reservoir is no clean sheet −
Its water, tests prove, are replete
With nitrates, lead, and stuff less sweet
Such as the sheep and birds excrete
Washed in when rainfall follows heat
And filters sometimes fail to treat −
So kindly do not add your feet.

Stony area on edge of reservoir