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 journal

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

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

the dreamer – A Poem by Ekta Somera

the dreamer
by Ekta Somera

the wind carried a rhyme
quite out of tune
and the butterflies followed
like wildflowers
draped from the clouds
the dreamer watched from afar
trapped in a jar of caterpillars

mocked for the way she dared
to fly before earning her wings
the caterpillars refused to believe
they could ever be as free
as petals surfing on the wind
trapped in a jar
the dreamer taught the others
how to conceive passionate credence
for who we are is far more important
than what we appear to be



About the Poet: Ekta Somera is a 19 year old writer with an incomparable imagination. Currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts via the University of South Africa. She aspires to change the world by inspiring the youth through poetry and prose. Ekta Somera is involved in the upliftment of her local community through voluntary service at the library and involvement with the senior citizens.

College – A Poem by Max Reif

by Max Reif

When I think of how ignorant my parents and I were
about what college was for, I shake my head.

That was after the war
between “The-State-U-Was-Good-Enough-
For-Me-And-It’s-Good-Enough-For-You” (Dad)
and “Ivy-League-Bound-Or-If-Not-
Somewhere-Just-As-Expensive” (Mom & me)
(won by the latter)

& paid for by Dad




About the Poet Max Reif:
Somewhere after my breakdown from psychedelics as I turned 21, and my first book, I had a spiritual experience, which turned a key to Poetry! My insides, my formerly Verboten insides, had opened up, opened to the sky, and there seemed no limit to joy, both in expressing my own heart’s perceptions and longings, and in taking in the miracles of what others hearts had penned. In the nearly 1/2 century since then, the “limit” seems to be reached at times, the motherlode dry. But as a friend of mine, a great singer-songwriter named Jim Meyer, has written, “Life has its ups and downs./ Love sinks, and sometimes drowns./ But though the heart feels out of bounds/ within it love is flowing.” The infinite depths of the human heart, it seems, can never be exhausted. Nor can Poetry.

A Thank You to June’s Supporters of Poetry Breakfast and Other News

A special thank you goes out to the following patrons for helping support and fund Poetry Breakfast:

  • Judith Carroll
  • Rose Amato

Poetry Breakfast is now ad free which means our web costs have significantly increased. Since the beginning of Poetry Breakfast, the editor and found, Ann Kestner, has covered all costs associated with running the journal.

You can help offset those costs by becoming a Poetry Breakfast Patron at

It’s simple. Basically, you voluntarily “subscribe” to Poetry Breakfast. These voluntary subscriptions start at just $2 a month.

Poetry Breakfast does NOT charge reading fees and is FREE  to read. So, there is no source of revenue other than the kindness of Poetry Breakfast Patrons.

Find out more about being a Poetry Breakfast Patron at


A comment section will appear under all poems published from here out. The hope is that poets will have a chance to see how their poems are being received via actual words and not just number of likes.

Plus, it will give readers a way to reach out and let poets know how much they like a poem.

We have five new poems coming this week from: Faye Nunez, Max Reif, Mark J. Mitchell, Ingrid Bruck, and Gabriel Muoio.

That’s all for now. Here’s wishing everyone has a wonderful week.

Best Wishes,
Ann Kestner, Editor

has it ever touched you? – A Poem by Linda M. Crate

has it ever touched you?
by Linda M. Crate

even daffodils
with their yellow yawn
cannot subdue this beast
of sadness in me,
and i wish i could say
your neglect doesn’t bother me—
but it is the white elephant
in my heart,
the empty tea cup sitting
in the corner gathering dust;
the face of a saint’s cupped hands
reaching for heaven—
yet i wonder if you notice all this aching
in my soul, has it ever touched you?



About the Poet:  Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has six published chapbooks: A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017),  splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and one micro-chapbook Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018).

Phrases on Fire – A Poem by Ali Grimshaw

Phrases on Fire
by Ali Grimshaw

Now I sit inside heated regret
what I wish I would have said
rapid words that flew off my tongue
like butterflies leaving my mouth
beautiful at first sight, fluttering
toward you. With closer inspection
upon landing, were really illegal
firecrackers of burnt red destruction
flames that left you singed speechless
while I coughed on my smoking impulsivity.



About the Poet:  Ali Grimshaw blogs at

Adding Something Heartier to the Menu

Amidst the angry political debates and petty trolling social media feeds, I set out to make Poetry Breakfast remind us of our common humanity.  Touchy topics were avoided.  Social statements rejected.  The goal was to connect us through the emotional and life experiences we all share.

This approach has been a respite to many.  I’ve heard often from our readers that they look forward to the morning poems as a break from the turmoil and bitterness we are bombarded with daily.

But this past week, I realized, we are in a way putting our heads in the sand instead of standing up during such a crucial moment in history.  For the first time I broke my rule of not publishing my work in Poetry Breakfast.  I have never wanted to promote my poetry here.  However, my conscience forced me to publish “Because of the Clinic, I am Alive to Tell You This,” a poem about my personal experience with abortion.  It appeared in Poetry Breakfast the same day that the marches for women’s reproductive rights took place throughout the United States.

As a result of that, I’ve come to realize that Poetry Breakfast needs to have the courage to speak up on issues personal, political, and social.  We cannot afford to avoid these realities anymore.  We have a responsibility to face today’s challenges.  Yes, we.  Not just myself as the editor, but we, the Poetry Breakfast community, both poets and readers.

With that in mind, our menu is expanding to welcome poetry on important issues.  What will not change is the gentleness and compassion that is the soul of Poetry Breakfast.  We will tackle social and political issue with strength from the heart, not from the ideological fist.  Take a look back at one of the few social issue poems that did make the menu, “Gray River” by Patricia Biela. 

This is not a complete change of the menu.  Just an addition.  Most days you will find the poems you have come to expect, but now, on some mornings, you will wake to a social issue worded with compassion and sincerity.  The heart of Poetry Breakfast will always remain the same.

Ann Kestner, Editor


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