Poetry Breakfast

Serving a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry book reviews to feed poets' and poetry lovers' souls.


poetry blog

Heartbeat of Hammered Dulcimer – A Poem by Alina Stefanescu

Heartbeat of Hammered Dulcimer
by Alina Stefanescu

We stop for gas along the upper lip of Florida
with Alabama so close we can smell her
chicken biscuits. It is hot and you are my husband.
Those are our wild things bickering in the back. My thighs
unstick from the pleather seat like sudden-woke lovers, needing
to piss. As three kids spill clamor from the car, I follow noise
into the gas station. Pause near the Fritos
for a heart-beat of hammered dulcimer, run a finger
across a wood crate of iced cherry coke.
Win the life you always deserved my daughter reads
aloud from a yellowed lottery poster, her voice curling
the consonants. The cashier coughs, drops peanuts.
Can we win one, mommy? the other daughter asks.
My most fortunate friends believe this state
lottery will fund good schools for all Alabama’s children.
I’ve been momming down south too long to lie prone,
to play dead, to roll over. In this one-stoplight town
I admire the violent pink of pickled pig’s feet, slow music of thumbs
drumming counters. The line for quick dreams grows longest
in when hope is scarce. A wrinkled man leans
against the soda machine, says he’s likelier to hit the jackpot
than score a steady job. He hums luck like a national anthem
and lays quarters on the counter for ice. We wait our turn at the register.
The line for easy platitudes is longer than the lie, stronger than the heart
beating worn hammers. Someone must coin the slot
for justice. I wonder who will pay the price.


About the Poet: 

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Alabama with four incredible mammals. Find her poems and prose in recent issues of Juked, DIAGRAM, New South, Mantis, VOLT, Cloudbank, New Orleans Review Online, and others. Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize and will be available in May 2018. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes and President of the Alabama State Poetry Society. More arcana online at or @aliner.

About the Weather – A Poem by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

About the Weather
by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

An Island guards its residue of damage, sidewalks wet with toys and soggy pants,

alleys colonized by garbage bags and junk, refrigerators lining the sidewalk,

doors jawed wide, stinking in the sun, the broke-in stores, the boarded banks,

the mud and broken slats that sifts through cars and boats, the beached plastic

bags that waver on the verges. This island resembles other islands but is only like itself— 

its memories of Colombus, and the Taìnon, flor de maga and kapok, El Yunke,

its palm and sea breeze, turquoise, lemon and rojo intenso. Wherever water lashed,

people share the vernacular of make-do, and hand-in-hand, a new set of stubbornness

in folk who weathered it out— the tobacco-stained tooth, the stringy bicep,

the wrecked kids, hungry, jacked up, half-wild, running the alleys.

What humans did in other weathers is what they do next—stand in the food line,

stand at the back of a truck full of supplies, pray for clean water,

wait for the FEMA to come to the mountains, call the relatives to say “we’re alive,”

listen for the cries of saws and hammers to lift, too late, over the island.



About the Poet:  Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of three books, Reading Berryman to the Dog, Discount Fireworks, The Mercy of Traffic, (Unlikely Books, 2019) and five chapbooks, most recently They Went Down to the Beach to Play (2017.) Her work appears in Persimmon Tree, pacificREVIEW, 2RiverView, Artemis, barzakh, Right Hand Pointing, Cider Press Review, Unlikely Stories and others and in a dozen anthologies including, Untold Arkansas (etAlia Press, 2018) and 50/50:  (Quill’s Edge Press, 2018). For more information, check her Facebook pages, Wendy Taylor Carlisle and The Mercy of Traffic and her website at

If I was born a boy, I would have been my brother – A Poem by Robin Gow

If I was born a boy, I would have been my brother
by Robin Gow

but we call him “Billy”
because my dad is “Bill”
and my grandfather was also “Bill.”

I would have searched the antique market
for old leather prayer books.

I would enjoy Necco wafers and Smarties and
I would wipe their sugar-chalk on my thighs.

I would be straight.

I would like girls who smell like blackberries
and who might also vaguely believe in God
like me

I think about this all the time
what a name does to a person.

What did my first name do to me?
After all those years.

When people say “Sarah”
I still look up

as if she’ll be there.



About the Poet:
Robin Gow’s poetry has recently been published in POETRY, the Gateway Review and the Roanoke Review. He is pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Adelphi University and currently serves as the editor-at-large for Village of Crickets and the social media coordinator for Oyster River Pages. He is an out and proud bisexual transgender man passionate about LGBT issues. His first full-length collection is forthcoming with Tolsun Books.

Tucson Morning, 6 a.m. – A Poem by Geraldine Connolly

Tucson Morning, 6 a.m.
by Geraldine Connolly

I walk through the neighborhood
past the ends of driveways,
doors locked tight to guard sleepers.

The day opens like a new recipe.
I want to follow its neat
measurements, solve its problems.
Each breeze stirs a blossom.

I smell something, sweet, dusty, earthy—
sage and creosote, a whiff of mesquite.

I find a quail’s nest, its small eggs close

to my shoe like bones about to break.

I often walk, away from the thought
of border crossings, away from breaking
news toward the patient saguaros,
a babble of doves surging up
from the saltbush.



About the Poet: 

Geraldine Connolly is a native of western Pennsylvania and the author of four poetry collections: Food for the Winter (Purdue), Province of Fire (Iris Press) and Hand of the Wind (Iris Press), Aileron (Terrapin Books.)  She is the recipient of two N.E.A. creative writing fellowships in poetry, a Maryland Arts Council fellowship, and the W.B. Yeats Society of New York Poetry Prize. She was the Margaret Bridgman Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and has had residencies at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Chautauqua Institute. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Cortland Review and Shenandoah. It has been featured on The Writers Almanac and anthologized in Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High School Students, Sweeping Beauty: Poems About Housework and The Sonoran Desert:A Literary Field Guide. She lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her website is http:  and Facebook author’s page:

Caught – A Poem by Nynke Salverda Passi

by Nynke Salverda Passi

A moth’s tetrapterous body is impaled—
++++++as if by the pins of its eyes—

on the green screen door of my kitchen.
++++++The powdered edges of its wings

pulsate with the calm of death
++++++upon the faint extinction of its breath.

It is early fall, the air paper-thin
++++++as if it could tear. I can’t tell apart

the squares of mesh from the moth’s
++++++nacreous skin. My mind tries

to capture this scene in luminous words
++++++and turn this ordinary door

that needs a coat of paint and a new knob
++++++into relic or shrine.

Then the barest flutter of pensive,
++++++passive rage trembles through the moth’s

caviling frame. It dies so young, so
++++++surely, and it has no name.

Now I’m awake it dies, and as I slept
++++++last night, its life had just begun.



About the Poet:
Nynke Salverda Passi was born and raised in the Netherlands. Her work has been published in CALYX, Gulf Coast, Red River Review, Illya’s Honey, and The Anthology of New England Writers, among other places. Her poetry has been anthologized in Carrying the Branch (Glass Lyre Press) and River of Earth and Sky (Blue Light Press). Together with Rustin Larson and Christine Schrum, she edited the poetry anthology Leaves by Night, Flowers by Day. Her story “The Kiss” was nominated for a Pushcart, and her essay “Oom Ealse and the Swan” was one of the finalists in the 2014 Editor’s Prize of The Missouri Review. Nynke has 20 years of college teaching experience in creative writing and is director of The Soul Ajar, a writing center offering workshops and collaborations exploring the relationship between writing, creativity, and healing.

Find her website here:

Tides of Change – A Poem by Michelle Gregory

Tides of Change
by Michelle Gregory

Like magic you arrive and disappear.
Salt water stings my open wounds.
Broken pieces of the unfortunate—nature’s reminder.
Waves pound down.

The moment has arrived.
The power underneath pulls and crashes back down.
Washing away all signs of life and death.
Seeping back in to make everything whole.
I await your next arrival.



About the Poet:
Michelle Gregory is a Canadian writer who enjoys reading and writing poetry. She loves to travel and enjoys spending time in nature with her two dogs. She is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and is currently writing her first novel.
Instagram: @iam_michelle_gregory
Twitter: @michellemgreg

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