Bed and Breakfast • BZ Niditch

Away from home
in a far country
our foreign bodies
still carving a turkey
and pumpkin
unsettled by table talk
we wish we understood
drinking elixirs
for the health of all
yet with a cabin fever
with every chocolate bite
on our deserted lips
in this muted pantry
by an alphabet soup kitchen
with herbs, garlic and spice
away from fast food diners
getting acquainted
with a new cuisine
tasting the manna of others
in a dandilion salad
with filament fingers
of delights in our hands
to share with you.


BZ Niditch's new poetry collection is "LORCA AT SEVILLA" March St. Press.

Three Photos • Katrin Talbot





Australian-born photographer Katrin Talbot has a photography book out (University of Wisconsin Press), Schubert’s Winterreise: A Winter Journey in Poetry, Image and Song, which won a Best of the Best from University Presses from the American Library Association. Her portrait work has been used by the Metropolitan Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Boston Symphony, the San Francisco Opera, and many other music organizations and has also recently appeared in the New York Times.

Original Pizza, 9514 Avenue L, Brooklyn • Meri Fleischman

I never eat the pizza folded
like the men in the booths talking loudly.
I keep the pizza flat and take bites;
shiny cheese slides off the crust,
golden bubbles disappear inside my mouth.

Folded pizza is boring—
cheese hidden, grease never reflecting the sun,
only crust shows: brown, slightly burnt;
it never tastes as good that way.

There is no door, just bars that roll up underneath the sign—
I watch the people walk outside,
wonder why they aren’t eating pizza,
how could they pass by
the smell of charcoal and oregano,
and the pictures of Italian ice—
vanilla, chocolate, rainbow.

I walk down avenue L
slurping rainbow snow,
squeezing the paper cup
to reach the bottom
while my mother walks slowly past each shop,
looking at clothing and pocketbooks
through the windows.
I stare at my reflection, smile at myself
eating ices on a summer day,
feel the heat from the sidewalk
rising, touching me,
then flying over my head
into the sky.


Meri Harary Fleischman lives in Connecticut with her husband and four children. She is currently a student in the MFA program at Southern Connecticut State University, where she received the 2012 Leo Connellan Poetry Prize from the Connecticut State University System.

Three poems • Lisa Wiley


claims the cool glass bottle,
pure beads of condensation
running down its neck,

always contemplating
the shade of her lace
in case it peers through,

fizzing every time
he walks by, meets her eye,
shakes her up

never popping the cap
to release all the tangerine bubbles—
trapped and sparkling,

a carbonated volcano.



We sit with others, yet we’re alone at this table
to sample soup in this unnatural state.

Chilled, raw, only relief from the July sun.
No steam veil to hide behind.

Your eyes drift, and I scold without a word;
I don’t know why I meet you here

at this corner café for gazpacho.
Don’t know why you always lure

me back, across from you.
You’re no Harry. I’m no Sally.

We stopped believing in the movies
a long time ago. This soup’s not hot—

we could jump right in, both preferring
to spoon around the edges as if it were fire.

Your eyes ignite as I bring up
Warhol’s soup cans, the art of soup.

Why can’t I just savor the cool, tomato texture?
You tell me Frank’s gone, your mother’s last chance

at love. I will always hear his raspy voice
sing out Stella. I linger long enough for you

to scrape the ceramic bowl, before
I wave my white cloth napkin and run.



Tonight I feel like a store-bought cookie,
cheap imitation of real mother’s love.
Snapping at the children and ushering
them to bed early, I don’t even
remember why. Too short on the patience
I sprinkle students, sifting through their run-on stories,
text-message thinking, Shakespearean doubts.
I must fold time to mix two sticks of butter,
one teaspoon vanilla, a few cups flour,
farm-fresh eggs, three pinches love,
and a bag of genuine chocolate chips,
so I can offer my kids the same compassion
I disperse so freely during the day—
instead of preservatives and saccharin
in a plastic container.


Lisa Wiley is an English professor at Erie Community College in Buffalo, NY. Her poetry has appeared in Beyond Bones, Earth's Daughters, Epiphany Magazine, Seven Circle Press, Teaching English in the Two-Year College and Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine.

Diary of Consumption • Christine Higgins

In the beginning
there’s a genuine fullness.
My grandmother
feeds me shrimp cocktail for lunch
and, after a good visit to the dentist,
ravioli with red wine.
But away from her loving gaze,
I turn ravenous.
There’s a recklessness to my eating:
frozen milky ways from the pharmacy,
chocolate egg creams from the soda fountain,
Slim Jims and barbecue chips from the deli.

I am only twelve when my depressed mother
charges me with going to the laundromat.
Money in hand, I help myself
to the riches of the shopping strip.
It has to be salty, soaked in vinegar,
thick and creamy, cold and sweet,
spicy and oozing.
The other women take pity on me,
fold my brother’s clothes,
match my father’s socks.
I look away, watch the TV on the wall,
sucking on a five cent pickle.
Inside, I am bone thin and tired.


Christine Higgins, was a McDowell Colony Fellow, and graduated from the Writing Seminars, Johns Hopkins University. She is also the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Award. Her poems have appeared in several journals including Pequod, Lullwater Review, Eleventh Muse and America.

Corn, Sweet Corn: A Parallel Poem • Changming Yuan

A whole body of teeth
Nothing but teeth

To chew the passing summer

We bite off from you
All the pearl-like memories
Tinged with sunlight

A hard but juicy kiss


Changming Yuan, 4-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman, grew up in rural China, holds a PhD in English, and currently teaches in Vancouver; his poetry appears in nearly 500 literary publications across 19 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cortland Review, Exquisite Corpse, PRISM Review, RHINO and Sentence.

Poem on the Fridge • Paul Hostovsky

The refrigerator is the highest honor
a poem can aspire to. The ultimate
publication. As close to food as words
can come. And this refrigerator poem
is honored to be here beneath its own
refrigerator magnet, which feels like a medal
pinned to its lapel. Stop here a moment
and listen to the poem humming to itself,
like a refrigerator itself, the song in its head
full of crisp, perishable notes that wither in air,
the words to the song lined up here like
a dispensary full of indispensable details:
a jar of corrugated green pickles, an array
of headless shrimp, fiery maraschino cherries,
a fruit salad, veggie platter, assortments of
cheeses and chilled French wines, a pink
bottle of amoxicillin: the poem is infectious,
it’s having a party. The music, the revelry
is seeping through this white door.


Paul Hostovsky's latest book of poems is A Little in Love a Lot (Main Street Rag, 2011). To read more of his poems, visit him at

Bad Diet • John McKernan

Is your basic cause
Of joy

Of sunrise
Through cloud

Of blue sky
Without a hint
Of moderation

Uncontrollable snacking
On memory
Soft caresses & music
Binges of heavy sleep
Frosted with starlight


John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska – is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives – mostly – in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines

Baker's Dozen • Shahé Mankerian

At sunrise, 13 bakers avoided
the coffee lips of their wives
and stepped out of separate houses.

13 bakers, on separate sidewalks
full of snow, far from being
comrades, kissed the coal-

mining Pittsburgh cloud
on the forehead and walked.
These bankrupt men full of yeast

and yawn in their steps, slowly
wiped their feet at the threshold
of heat. Good morning, Fred.

Good morning fell like dirty
breadcrumbs, like the bicycle boy
with newspaper headlines:

Into the Furnace—Mouth
Wide Open. To burn, to burn,
to burn…13 times, before

releasing each soul like a cough.


Shahé Mankerian is the winner of the Erika Mumford Prize from the New England Poetry Club and the first place winner in poetry of 2012 "Black and White" anthology series from Outrider Press. His recent poems have won Honorable Mentions in both Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and Arts & Letters Rumi Prize for Poetry. Also, he was a Semi-Finalist at the Knightville Poetry Contest in 2012. His poems have been published in Nebo, Spillway, Riverwind, and Ellipsis.

Dogged • Chester Maloney

Where did it come from?
Who made it?
Are the legends real?
What happened to relish?
What if the the bun was toasted?
Is it a penalty?
Will there be juiciness?
Am I allowed to love this dog?


Chester Maloney works in annuities in Hartford, Connecticut. He's currently pitching his "Everything I Ate In a Year" project to publishers. He's previously published his photos in Albuquerque Alamosa Review, Trinidad Quarterly Journal of Arts, and the defunct Nashville Register.

At Wing Sing • Rachel Younghash


Rachel lives in rural Oregon.

Two Poems • Carol Smallwood

The Side Salad

Two grape tomatoes symmetrically nestling with dark
and light lettuce, curls of carrot and Newman's Italian dressing:
a smiling Paul in gondolier hat on the packet waiting to embark.
Two grape tomatoes symmetrically nestling with dark
dishes ready to be tossed with low-fat dressing: a mark
of good eating, profits going to charity--an all around blessing.
Two grape tomatoes symmetrically nestling with dark
and light lettuce, curls of carrot and Newman's Italian dressing.


McDonald’s Lime

Southwest Salad slices of lime convey clinks of ice,
women in white linen, men in black ties sharing jokes.
The juice spills on hands seeking unforgettable spice--
Southwest Salad slices of lime convey clinks of ice.
The salad is sold in plastic at a moderate price
and one leaves as from a private club slipping on a coat.
Southwest Salad slices of lime convey clinks of ice,
women in white linen, men in black ties sharing jokes.


Carol Smallwood co-edited Women on Poetry: Tips on Writing, Teaching and Publishing by Successful Women Poets (McFarland, 2012). Some magazine credits include: The Writer’s Chronicle, English Journal, and Michigan Feminist Studies.

Two Poems • Patricia George

Fountain Drinks

You had to be cool
if you knew how to order
a suicide coke.


No Veggies

Given a choice
he would rather drag
a table full of vegetables
behind him for life
rather than have to
ever eat them


Patricia is a piano accompanist for the high school choirs. She has taught public school in California and in Colorado. She likes the piano, loves to write and cannot live without peanut butter.

The Egg Man • Cynthia Gallaher

Two over easy
are easy for the egg man,
his fingertips buttered,
his steel pans flashing,
between the four blue jets
that cruise with him
through early morning hours.

“You’ve got nice huevos,” says his wife.
“And potent ones, too,” he adds,
counting his eight children.
He holds four eggs in each hand,
cracks one after another
into a hot pan,
without dropping any shells.

The restaurant wants to put
the egg man in the dining room,
moving with a burner and a pan
and his nimble fingers
from table to table,
entertaining customers.
“You might even consider
juggling them before cooking,’
says his boss,
‘You drop one or two, so what?
Eggs are cheap!”

“But I’m not,” says the egg man.
His scrambled eggs and poached eggs
and sunnyside-up eggs
always perfect and ready to
slide on the plate,
after the toast man
hands it to the meat man
who hands it to the egg man
who puts it up for the waitress
to carry away hot and tasty.

It’s Saturday, high noon and
breakfast is over,
the egg man goes home
to his wife,
half the kids are napping
after a noisy morning of cartoons,
half the kids are at the park,
sliding into home,
the egg man crawls
into bed with his wife.
He holds two huevos in his hand,
“These baby,’ he says,
‘are all for you.”


Cynthia Gallaher, a Chicago-based poet and writer, is author of three books and a creative writing workshop leader in libraries, schools and arts centers. She is on the Chicago Public Library’s list of “Top Ten Requested Chicago Poets” and tweets about food and poetry at

Bill of Fare • Lucille Gang Shulklapper

Mother brought me
buttered toast with thorn apple jelly,
tea with milk; one teaspoon of honey
on a wooden tray once when I ran
a fever of 106.

Daddy bought me
double dip scoops of mint chocolate chip,
rainbow sprinkles and marshmallow sauce
on sundae dishes and sugar cones
until he died; I was thirteen.

Friends served me
birthday cakes, bon bons, stuffed dates,
griddle cakes dripping maple syrup,
butterflied lamb on the grill,
rinktum-dity in chafing dishes.

Love fed me
mixed green salads, vinegar and oil,
rigatoni, in puddled clam sauce,
whole- grained bread with low fat cream cheese,
courses of food married to wine.

I gorged myself
on ginger snaps, deviled eggs, pickled
herring, steamed lobster, drawn butter
sauce, quartered chicken, smoked salmon,
Bing! cherries in July,

And sugar cones every day of my life.


Lucille is an RBR veteran, and one of our favorite writers on the planet. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, as well as in four poetry chapbooks, the most recent titled In the Tunnel. Her first picture book, Stuck in Bed, Fred, has been accepted for publication.

The Last Time She Saw Him • Sylvia Merrill Beaupre

he was throwing bread at the counter,
fishing peanut butter out of the cupboard,
slamming down a jam jar from the fridge.

The bread’s the wrong kind,
the jam the wrong flavor,
the peanut butter a painful reminder
of childhood; nothing left
in the cupboard for Old Father Hubbard.

Obviously, he’s forgotten
he has money in his pocket, how to drive;
he’s forgotten his way to the store
a mile down the road, or up, if he pleases.

She hopes the bread gives him dietary fiber
one can only dream of, the peanut butter
protein galore, the jam a sugar high
so he can get away from TV
and go mow the lawn.


Sylvia's poems have appeared in Yankee, ad hoc Monadnock Online, Fearless Poetry Series’ The Light in Ordinary Things, November 3rd Club Journal, South Boston Literary Gazette,
and American University’s Journal of Gender and the Law, among others. I am the author of a chapbook of poems about a New England village and a recent nonfiction book, Tavern Village Tales.

Consequences of Desire • Sandra Becker

No more gluten, dairy. No sugar, caffeine,
salt. No meat, fish or fowl

For years I fought to restrain my appetites.
Nothing like the threat of pain

to tame the multitudes of flavors,
a certain texture on the tongue: smooth

or chunky, crisp or soggy, the body cries out for.
Even on Zen retreat after glimpsing

a bowl of fresh blueberries, no doubt
grown there on the farm, due justice I thought,

for all I have withstood all week long. I could barely
keep my mind on my breath, my mantra:

blueberries, breath, blueberries, breath,
blueberries, blueberries, breath, blueberries,

blueberries, blueberries, until surprise—
at dusk my coveted blueberries turn

out to be mere black beans…the consequence of desire.
Back to the breath. Breath, breath, breath.

Then back home the lure of just one
chocolate-covered raisin, ginger, almond

and the flood gates are opened: Hershey bars,
Nestles melted over a flame, oh god, strawberry

truffles, chocolate syrup over vanilla ice cream,
god save me, chocolate cheese cake,

fudge chocolate fondue with banana,
chocolate caramels. No turning back now:

Chocolate chip cookies, mousse. It’s too late, I’m lost,
Milky Way, triple fudge brownies, Devil’s food.


 Sandra Becker's book At the Well of Flowers was published by Virtual Artists Collective in Winter of 2011. Her chapbook titled Foreign Bodies was published Spring 2004 by Carolina Wren Press. She has had poems published in Bucks County Writer, Comstock Review, Concrete Wolf, Flesh & Bone, Mad Poets Review, Main Street Rag, Raving Dove, Poetic Matrix Press/PM Books; Rexdale Publishing, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Out of Line, Wild River Review.

The First Year • Barbara Crooker

It’s Thanksgiving, and the family gets together;
the smell of turkey laces through the house.
Her absence such a presence in November.

Perhaps it’s only something in the weather,
the shortened days, wind turning from the south,
sumac leaves, red as cardinals’ feathers—

Or is it past Thanksgivings I remember?
Both leaves and birds know when it’s time to go,
the fiery trees now burning down to embers.

If I mailed a card, it’d be returned to sender.
The pies sit on the counter, in a row.
Cranberries and oranges mingle in the blender.
I miss her more than ever in November.


Barbara Crooker's poems have appeared in magazines such as Green Mountains Review, Hollins Critic, Christian Science Monitor, Smartish Pace, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod, Denver Quarterly, and Tampa Review.