WARD'S RULE 5 by Ryan Vine

if at a Christmas party

you should walk into a room

and see the woman you love

sharing a bench with another man

leaning over her crossed legs

and into her laugh

to avoid detection

for god's sake don't shuffle

just crawl into your pants

hands first through your pockets

PUMPKIN by Connie Wanek

"None is so poor that he need sit on a pumpkin."


To write as a field grows pumpkins,

to scribble page after page with an orange crayon,

to lose teeth and still smile,

to survive a frost that blackened acres,

to wake after surgery.

To live without rotting from within,

to ignore imperfections of the skin,

to be heavy, and still be chosen,

to please a strict vegetarian,

to end the day full of light.

THE TRUTH by Todd Boss

is a chewy

treat, like

toffee, only

less sweet,

and slightly

nutty, like

birch bark,

with a salty

aftertaste as

steely as a


best doused

with straight

whiskey or

dark coffee.