Selections for Lexington Poetry Month 2021

Pauletta Hansel has made her choices for the 2021 anthology! Checkout which of your poems will be published in the print anthology and join the ever growing number of poets supporting the publication of this anthology, chapbooks, and a new literary journal called Yearling by becoming a Workhorse Writer on Patreon!

DebbieAdams Cooper,,,
SylviaAhrensThe Spirit We Own and Love
AlbaAlbaGood morning
MaryAllen**** (6/16/21)
JosephAllen Nichols1:30 a.m. Prayer
t.landrythe swing
J. F.AngelDouble Vision
angeljkayangeljkayCamp NaNo: Summer Draft 2021
LindaAngeloSensible Shoes
BodyBaghdada house divided against itself
BeatriceBeatriceIn the Rain
ElizabethBeckSummer Blues
GabyBedettiFirst Day of Summer
MarilynnBellThree Wishes
AllenBlairThrow Down Your Mattock, Blinking
BlazeBlazeThe List; a useless love poem (pt. 2)
RachelBollmanSilly So So
MaggieBrewerSeventh Anniversary Gifts
LindaBryantMother Changes Form
JoseyBryantA Thought
MichaelBurnhamsometimes punctuation helps. sorta.
BeverleyByers-PevittsGeorgia’s Apples
PamCampbellThe Difference of a Letter
CarrieCarlsonThe Wild Hair
carrotmancarrotman50/50 is better than nothing
kellycaseygood grief
dustincecilplace she lain
Coco (Common Objects in COntext)Coco (Common Objects in COntext)Source
Philip R.CorleySecret Affair with Destruction
stevecummingspride goeth
AmyCunninghamHe Settled My Hash
LesDavisIn Which I Explain Proper Hygiene to My Dogs
StefanDelipoglouElegy by Allergy
TabithaDialBluegrass Benediction: Calls for at Least 2 Altar Candles (Though Any Number of Fireflies Will Do)
MeredithDillOnly A Cereal Killer
PaulaDixonYour Mind’s Betrayal
dogtraxdogtraxResting The Writing Self
MartaDortonJune 21, 2021untitled
TeneiceDurrantFour of Pentacles
HBElamFeelings on changes a year makes
EnbyWhoWritesEnbyWhoWritesFrom My Heart to My Brain
CodyEvansRollback Melon
MorganEvansI Came From (In the spirit George Ella Lyon)
MairaFaisalTo the Top, Together
LibbyFalk JonesBears in the North Georgia Woods
NettieFarrisQuaker Ladies
HelenFeibesHealing on a Sunday two weeks after
AmyFiggsA Certain Age
K. BruceFlorenceOrder in the Court VII
KatrinFloresi am pulling cobwebs like these out the grooves of my brain
LaurelFoxWords of Grace
LindaFreudenbergerMy Dad
MorghanFullerWeightless Love
ChanceGardenerLexpomo Benediction
MichaylaGatsosSummer Haiku
KarenGeorgeSoaking in the Light * (For my Uncle Frankie, who passed away June 26th at the age of 93)
GeriGeriBroad Shoulders
Kathryn R.GillespieCrying in the Car
KrisGillisTonight at the Open Mic
DebraGlennroses (number 3)
GoldieGoldie“—”, so as not to perturb old Frankl’s stake
GregGregTwo Moments
KathleenGreggI finally follow the loudest voice
MannyGrimaldiIn the Name of Allah the Generous, a Ghazal
GerryGrubbsI Wanted To Sing
H.A.H.A.We All Can’t Be Superfly Jimmy Snuka
SheldaHaleWhat Would Li Po Say?
HaleyHaleycomparison is the thief of originality
MadeleineHamiltonhopefully the last one i’ll ever post here
JerielleHanlonLife at 523
PaulettaHanselPraise Poem While Weeding
KelliHansel HaywoodThey Sleep in Separate Beds
HavenHavenAt Last
MelissaHeltonThis Naming
Maggie RueHessHunger
AmandaHoltThe Day After the Cutting
TaniaHorneTaking my pettiness to the grave
Leigh AnneHornfeldtAn Endangered Bird Is Forgetting Its Song as the Species Dies Out
DonnaIsonLast Request
LucyJamesMorning Honeysuckle
NancyJentschA Little Ghazal
PatrickJohnsonNature of Us
CaroleJohnstoncircle unbroken
ChristinaJoyRakott Krumpli: serves six
EchoJoyBoba on Dixie
K.Ka’imilani Leota SellersLost and Found
AbbyKaneThe Lesson
KimKayne Shaverday drink haiku
KellyKellyIce Music
clkirbya god, reincarnate.
laneylaneythe tile is cold
LaurenLaurenBlue Baby
AndreaLawlerYou Will Know Her Name
SueLeatherssong for a runaway
ErinLeigh MathewsBuried Treasure
AlveraLisabethDown the Drain
vanesam.sJune 14, 2021 11.
ManiMania man owns fine property in the city
marimariCovid Relief
Mary LouMary LouWhen Pondering My Identity
DeannaMascleZero Moment Hinge
JayMcCoyNot Yet
AbraMcCurryBut there was a fire in the distance.
SteveMeadowsWheelbarrow Vaccine
Abigail J.Miller1. Pollinators in the Dark
MadisonMillerThe Taste of She is Sharp
LisaMiller HenryThe Bad Land
A.MillsFive Parts Memory
mtpoetmtpoetI did not go to Nashville
KevinNanceAbecedarian for Adolescence
nelnelgone for now
AnjaliNelsonExcavating the future
RenaNuttC in Country 3
MalindaO’QuinnDear Scout
BronsonO’QuinnReasons: #0001
OdinOdinDay off dream
MichaelOlsonFoster Care
ElaineOlundLiving With It
PatOwenPost Pandemic
RaynyPalmerManuscript I
VirginiaParfittBlackberries are not for keeping
TinaParkerLost Year
SonyaPavonasinging history
S.B.PearceSolid Black Eyes
CatherinePerkinsThis Is What Came Out Of My Brain This Morning
LizPratherAll These Old Girls
Melva SuePriddyEverything Has Memory
JordanQuinnYou Can Sleep
JudithRamsey SouthardA Mouse Takes Me Deeper
AustinRathboneIt Is What It Is
SabneRaznikLiving With or Without
DelmarReffettChildhood Folklore
AmyRichardsonThat Humid Post-storm Need
JasmineRobinsonI Stop at the Beginning
MaggieRuthcity stars
S.US.Ua letter to a wolf that calls itself a boy:
AlyseSammarcoMaybe I promised I’d be Better
RobertaSchultzPoem Begun with a Line from Basho
EricScott SutherlandThe coast of your heart
DouglasSelfA perfect moon
BonitaSkaggs-ParsonsHow Can You Not?
SusieSlusherWe Were a Flash Flood; We Were Never Beautiful Enough to be a Thunderstorm
elizzassullivannCity Mouse (a work in progress)
stefani joistefani joijoy
SusanStephensPuke and pondering
GGStewartPsalm For Summer
SarahStoltzfus AllenObservations from My Office Window
KaterinaStoykovaLimerick (6/2)
LouiseTallenJuly, 1972
j.ltaylorhome inspection – minor concern / maintenance needed
LoriTaylorI Am More
TejaTejathe drive home
the bluegrass warblerthe bluegrass warblersaying goodbye to the broken chair of time
The Whale’s TailThe Whale’s TailGitmo
t.m.thomsonInto Twilight
Tillie the ToilerTillie the ToilerMulberry Tree Blows Over:
ShaunTurnerI Dreamed of Being Last stanza only. I dreamed is new title.
upfromsumdirtupfromsumdirtWelcome To Safe Haibun
BillVerbleNot Quite Haiku
VioletVioletDear Friend
JaminWaiteGastronomic Garden
PeteWallaceI Can
LoganWardSummer Break Free Verse
KatelynWeldonAging in Space
hunter e.westenhoferBanana Bread Recipe
DickWestheimerA Musing of the Barely Self-Aware
TonyWhearyreluctant witness
GinnaWilkersonCat Watching
EricWillisA Bowl of Room Temperature Soup
K. NicoleWilsonTanka for the Fireflies
MikeWilsonSometimes we must
LeslieWorkmanMother’s Love Part 2
DangerfieldYellaFitting or Why I type
Faith DeYoungHowling Baby, Sometimes the World Actually is Crazy

Roll Call

Society requires us, on a normal day,
to flux between several roles:

driver maid cook
model influencer
reporter journalist publisher and pundit
a comedian and artist reader writer
parent spouse sibling child
historian therapist banker
grocery clerk epidemiologist
archivist teacher student activist thinker
worker doer fixer…

I’m just touching the iceberg’s tip–
grateful for this one space
where we can be almost anything.



Bound fast in love 
parted by ordered heaven
to keep apart two lover’s hearts,
 is another’s undertaking. 

True love iseternal. 
And always.
A fire in you that can not die. 

The Sun is he. 
A strong man 
who captures hope in strings of starlight 
and smiles ever so gently. 
The moon is she 
a fair woman 
who dances with the stars carelessly, breathlessly. 

On the darkest days
with fading rays, 
she beams in his sight, but dies. 
 May the heart contain that little spark of love’s fire. 

We always long for the forbidden things,
 and desire what is denied to us.
 But love knows no barriers. 
No walls.
 No mould. 

And maybe it was meant to be.
 The moment their eyes met it was war.

 A fleeting moment when 
colors erupt into the atmosphere. 
The absolute lightest darkness. 
Like two falling stars, 
an explosion. 

As they kiss
 the world stares in awe 
of their eclipse. 

The moon is she. 
She beams in his sight, but dies. 
The blot of night’s ink from times passed has been removed. 
The light of which may contain the secret of the truth.

 The star crossed lovers are not always star crossed because of the fault in their stars, 
it’s the fault in society. 


johnny at the bonfire

before the pastor ran off with the new blonde congregant
before his wife tried to see him through his ensuing
nervous breakdown
before Michael was dead from a drug overdose and before
we all moved away from the backroads
i threw my johnny cash cd case in the fire during youth group

we were burning away the things of this world
cleansing our hearts and minds, amen,
to make ourselves as pure as gold
i knew johnny would understand
but i took the CD out first and hid it in my bible
i knew the good lord would understand too


ping pong

sun yellow walls
more sad than
Pharrell Williams quick tempo
clashing with the rhythm of the bouncing ball
back and forth
across the net
held by duct tape
the scent of dog piss
and cigarette smoke
still lingers in the carpet
we picked up from the trash bin
down the road

the orange ball slams into
Peter Rabbit’s face
and the gold frame topples
electrical wires beneath
we hide our mess
in this house

this room lives in extreme
broken off from the home
a heater or AC unit
is all that stands in the way of too
he yells “shit”
as he misses for the umpteenth time
we giggle
like the children
we used to be.


Solitary Confinement Ain’t So Bad (aka Some Guys Have All of the Luck)

He used to laugh

about the time he spent locked up


all alone

and he really did mean




is what they called it

but what he called it was


“I mean it’s cushy by comparison”

was exactly the phrase he used.


If you asked him straight up

“Cushy compared with what?”

it’d make him laugh.

Sometimes he’d laugh and just let it go,

and sometimes he’d tell you the story.



they feared him, I guess,

thought he’d jeopardize

their mission.

I mean he’d already publicly declared it


and he’d called it a flat out lie to boot.

Hell, he even sent himself AWOL to say so louder

and then, they said, had –

and this is the actual phrase that they used –

“he had the audacity” –

yep, that’s what they said –

“to try to return on his own”

just so he could keep on talking.


And that’s when they sent him to solitary

in the best way they knew how.


he was in the Army

on a Naval base

and the Army didn’t have a brig there.

Turned out

the Navy didn’t want him in their brig

because guys in the Navy,

except for the SEALs,

tend to be pretty damn liberal

and this was a time

in the war

and the world

when he might make his brig-mates his converts.


So the brig-less Army

emptied a whole wing of a barracks

and locked him in there alone.

And that’s where he got the word “cushy”.

I mean, he was on the top floor

with a view of the water

and all of his meals

were delivered.


they confiscated the book he was reading

in case

The Letters of James Agee to Father Flye

turned out to be seditious.

But other than that they left him alone

“And it doesn’t get,” he liked to say,

“a whole lot more cushy than that.”

But then, in a weird way, it did.



even when you’re in solitary

you still have to do forced labor

and the job they gave him was dandy.

He never knew why

but twice a week

all of the base’s dirty sheets

were hauled across 92,848 feet

of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

to wherever they did the laundry.


His job,

his solitary forced labor,

was to lie spread-eagle

across the tarp

that covered the laundry

to keep it from blowing away.


other guys who weren’t being punished

would load up the truck

and then spread the tarp

and he’d climb up and lie down.

The view was great –


endless miles of sky and surf

and sometimes

just closeup tile and electric lights

maybe five feet overhead.

The breeze was cool on the days with no rain

and the only hard part

was at the northern end

where he’d climb down and sit under a tree

while other unpunished guys

did the unloading and loading.


“Like I said,” he’d say, “it was cushy,

provided, of course,

you learned not to mind

the weapons the MPs pointed at you

to keep you from running away.”



It Wouldn’t Go Down

The cabinet in the kitchen is where I keep various pills
Heartache Relief says one.
I opened the lid, shook one out, put it to my lips, onto my tongue, but it wouldn’t go down,
it wouldn’t go down.  I take another, and another, drink water, glass after glass,  but they wouldn’t go down. The bottle falls out, the label so clearly marked Headache Relief.
Praise God, I spit them out.


And with it
the storm brings
hints of watermelon,
glimpses of cracked garage-door afternoons
daydreaming below cumulonimbus sheets,
of crackling voices 
carried through tinny speakers,
the pounding of rain
against gutters
against blacktop
against well-worn umbrellas
that never quite manage
to keep our feet dry,
peals of thunder 
that rattle every glass
we’ve ever purchased,
and for a perfectly preserved moment
in this sawdust-coated reverie
all the world’s a symphony.



You smell like childhood wrapped in my arms
sunscreen summers with faded beer breath
and remnants of chlorine
still stinging tired eyes

The men in my life have a way of fading
like the days marked by sun kissed skin
And I’ve exhausted myself on half drank coffees,
iced bits left melting in the car

But this heat wave is different and it’s high tide
when your breath turns into mine and time travel has become
something more real than murmured words
and lost messages found hiding in the past 


In the Rain

Our last morning there 
among the red rocks and soil, 
we made a final stop 
at Crescent Moon State Park. 
We sat in the car, we four, 
waiting for the rain to pass. 
Finally, one of my aunts
tied a grocery bag over her head
and stepped into the fading drizzle. 

The fog hung picture perfect over the rocks overhead
as we made our way down the path,
deserted other than us, 
everyone else chased away by the rain. 
Feeling our time grow short, 
we hurried toward the gush of water
I could hear in the distance. 

One by one, they appeared along the trail;
smooth stones stacked in piles, 
some pyramid-shaped, some inverted. 
I wondered who would take the time
to find such perfect rocks and balance them so.

Then we came upon our destination,
Buddha Beach,
where you could barely walk, 
the stacks of stones
so thick on the ground. 

Standing there, the rain speckling my glasses, 
I could understand wanting
to be a part, make a mark, 
create such aching beauty. 

And I smiled.