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I am raising my voice to shout back to the censors.
I am raising my voice which has been a whisper too long.

I am raising my voice to be a bridgespan across darkness.
I am raising my voice as a homing signal for the lost.

I am raising my voice to untangle craven confusion.
I am raising my voice like a snowdrop in the spring.

I am raising my voice to honor bleeding bodies, battered heads.
I am raising my voice to find a way to walk on alligators.

I am raising my voice to draw a line in the sand – not here. Not again.
I am raising my voice to sing ancestral songs.

I am raising my voice as a note in a long symphony of sisterhood.
I am raising my voice to dance like a moth seeking light.

I am raising my voice to pierce the toxic bubbles of the greedy.
I am raising my voice to pillory the soulless gluttony of the few.

I am raising my voice to pillow the agony of the homeless.
I am raising my voice to recognize the gods in the street.

I am raising my voice.
I am raising my voice.

I am raising my voice for wrens who locate crumbs in trash and teach me persistence.
I am raising my voice to warn the children it is their turn to fight.

I am raising my voice with voices unseen and unexpected.
I am offering my voice as a pyre and a beacon
and a dream.

– Catherine McGuire has 3 decades of poetry in publications such as New Verse News, FutureCycle, Portland Lights, Fireweed, and on a bus for Poetry In Motion. She has four chapbooks: Palimpsests (Uttered Chaos) and three self-published, a full-length book of poetry, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press), and the upcoming deindustrial science fiction novel Lifeline (Founders House Publishing, 2017).


Camp Good-Wishes

Bald children, hollow-eyed —
catheters sprout from sunken chests —
fashion boats of driftwood,
frigates, freighters, tugboats, yachts,
to launch ablaze with candlelight,
hopes of health and wishes,
safe return to camp.

When I was ten, I, too, launched
Dreamboats here,
a shining fleet all sailing on the tide.

Perhaps, my own boat
reached some distant port
candles burning bravely still
for I watch these Dreamboats
heavy with their fragile loads
sail gently into summer’s night
with prayers for answered hope.

On the Welsh Coast

Near Llanelli, just off a little road,
on the slim path down to the cove,
dawn arrives lonely in this wilderness
and the mist settles here

in a thin valley of long grass.
A herd of wild ponies huddles together,
tans, browns, whites and spotted grays,
they watch as I pass under the moon.

Above them on the hill a ruined castle,
its crenellated walls crumbling with age.
A stone falls while I pause to wonder
at the lives of ancestors living here.

The waves lash the cliffs below,
and the sky begins to lighten.
The birds have not begun to sing.
Only the horses and I here at sunrise,

I and the ghosts of defenders,
sentries on the ramparts
eyeing the sea for Viking ships,
marauders who would sack their home

leaving behind the dead and wounded
in the rubble of the dream of safety.
Yet, this day, I remember the longbows,
their arrows and deadly vision,

strong hands and heavy grip, their spirit
unquenchable. They breathe in me,
as I stride toward the cove
unvanquished, unconquered.

I will gather up the light of morning.
and hold it in my arms.

– Francine E. Walls lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has also enjoyed living in Wales and Botswana. Her poems appear in the book, Writing Across Cultures: A Handbook on Writing Poetry and Lyrical Prose, and magazines such as Pontoon, Arnazella, PoetsWest Literary Journal, and others.


Because I Had To

She wanted me to know her profoundly. Wade in the water.

A sea of open and buried treasure, my mother
stood in herself like waves. Composed herself.

Wrote index cards full of feelings.
Hundreds from one year during her divorce.
Grouped by theme. Anger. Inadequacy. Depression. Acceptance.
Regret. Happiness. Love. God. Roaming like zebras through an endless savanna.

I had someone else tear them to pieces. Shred them like a predator.
My inheritance so craggy, a series of mountains. I heard them howl.

– Nina Bannett’s poetry has appeared in Open Minds Quarterly, The Bellevue Literary Review, and CALYX. She has published a chapbook, Lithium Witness, and a full-length collection, These Acts of Water. She is Professor of English and department chairperson at New York City College of Technology, CUNY.