A Mother and Her Son by Indunil Madhusankha  

We have an āchchi in the neighbourhood 

 She has a son

 fitting to be called 

 a highly dedicated son

 She sweats out

 from morning till night

 cooking, washing, sweeping and cleaning

 She performs all the daily chores

 Her eldest son,

 the most affectionate of her children

 displays a great solicitude to see his mother

 Not once in a blue moon like the others

 but monthly he makes a visit,

 empty handed,

 to have a meeting with his distraught mother

 A typical loving conversation breaks out

 It is with showy hesitation and sluggishness

 that he accepts his mother’s sum

 which she earned with exertion

 And then he spends it

 to buy arrack

 Her son, 

 Her devoted son….

 

(Previously published in the Literary Yard e-Journal on 29th December 2015)

Holding On by Ann Christine Tabaka

A single leaf

Survived the winter

Tenaciously hanging

Onto the bare branch

 

The heavy snows

And howling winds

Could not budge it

It remained resilient

 

It stood the test of time

Through many months

Trials and tribulations

Of the fierce season

 

Now spring is here

And the old must yield

To the green buds

Pushing from within

 

It could withstand

The harshest weather

But not the gentle

Nudging of new growth

 

Life goes in cycles

It cannot be stopped

The old must eventually

Make way for the new

 

 

 

The King’s Covenant by Ken Allan Dronsfield

A rumbling hum 
from a conveyance

paths grows narrow 
to less stable minds

ambivalent posers 
and closers scheme

flocks of starlings 
roost in leafless oaks

stone Prince stands 
proud on a muddy hill

dead rose petals 
blow across my crypt

wrought iron gates 
disintegrate into rhyme

lichen and moss coat
forgotten headstones

in a soft whisper 
old souls just rust away.

dead leaf and fodder feed
new spring grasses.

I rule in faded memories,
for I was Once the King.

 

 

The Love Song of a Pagan Priest by Sudeep Adhikari

Sapphire silence of that blue empty velvet

mirrors the space of my mind.

I watched myself watching you

through your eyes, burning in desirous flames.

 

And I became the tree of the morn

soaked in passion; drips, drops

caressing every inches of your fractal curves

kinks and pricks, tulips and thrones.

 

I am the world you see,

through the eyes of your dreams.

 

Subject and object are entwined,

in a liquid field of sexed-up whole

an error of misplaced duality, is forgiven

by the pure naught.

 

There is no “me”, there is no “you”

only a field of relations

we make out, we make each other.

 

Silence speaks the grammar of Nothing

a closure in the  plane of time

translates to a feastly inauguration,

Impersonal-spiritual.

 

 

 

The Elephant who Loves Books by Daginne Aignend

I know, I always have been

a beast of burden

Because of my strength

and my patience

A friendly character with

a stubborn perseverance

I’m a vegetarian,

no nourishment by cadavers for me

Still, I’m muscular,

perhaps a tiny little over-weighted

My only weakness is

my hunger for knowledge

An unquenchable desire

to fill my brain cells

with every shred,

every snippet of information

My intelligence exceeds most IQ standards

and that’s why I have decided

to carry exclusively

the written word on my back

My burden shall exist out of parchment,

ink and the wisdom and figments of

those who contribute to the

world of aesthetic writing

 

 

Hailing Cabs Instead of Caesar by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

I am glad I do not live in the Midwest.

To be stuck in the middle of anything sounds bad.

Like a bellybutton mid-drift that everyone

pokes at.

 

Sure there are antibiotics,

but you have to get infected

first.

 

I prefer to be far away from everything.

Like an oil tanker that could spill its guts

into the tangy writhing ocean

and no one would know.

 

Removed

like a disruptive child

from the rest of

the class.

 

Far away as space.

That kind of distance.

Unsure of everything

and somehow comforted

by that.

 

People meet

in a way expectations

seldom do.

 

The reality of anything

is a little less.

 

And living at one extreme

it takes some serious imagination to

envision the other.

 

Gallivanting over the limber

technocrats of sweaty squash court

MS-DOS.

 

Hailing cabs

instead of Caesar.

 

Fingering the grease

of questionable all-night pizzerias

in small circular motions

that remind you of the

sink drain.

Petrichor by Pranati Sankar Banik

And the petrichor of monsoon
Comes from little corpses
Fossilized in the dark gaps
Amid the green grassy pasture.
when they die, the grass flowers,
The unknown tiny worms & ants
Never worry of heaven or hell.
Such self reliant selves worth so much
As their fragrance out of their dead shell.

Rain baptizes them, redeems them too,
Death, a mere occasion, beneath a shoe.

 

Having Mercy on Injustice by Ndaba Sibanda

Mhlophe heard the relative of the murdered victim
ask the peace-preaching relative of the murderer

“What qualifies you to pardon the murderer besides
your relationship to him and the associated benefits?”
Indeed the peace advocate had decided to unilaterally
forgive the murderer, to absolve him of the heinous crime
But how did you forgive someone who was unrepentant and unconcerned?
Did that action of forgiving honestly tie up with the tenets of justice and empathy?