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.



River Fable – A Poem by Daniel Pravda

River Fable
by Daniel Pravda

Along the shoreline strewn with the ruins of a school:
cement blocks, bergs of mortar and brick, and rusty pipe daggers,
the human heron pecks for pieces of seaglass.

No Trespassing, it says along the edge of the road broken
by the tide and falling stone by stone into the invisibility of time.
The human heron pours water down its beak.

The scene seems bleak to the mice of the moment,
a school bulldozed and a beach buried by trash and debris.
Turkey vultures circling high above see

the value of vampires and the price of the inevitable.
The human heron fishes a perfect jewel from a crack in the galaxy.
Discrete and incomplete, the human heron rests, takes a breath.

An owl teaches a dragonfly a final lesson in the air. The heron
resumes working west, as high tide climbs toward the road again.


About the Poet: Daniel Pravda is a teacher, explorer and wannabe rockstar whose work has recently appeared in Aji, Apricity, Cedar Creek Review, Dead Mule, Hamilton Stone Review, Jazz Cigarette, Light, The Meadow, Oyster River Pages, and Poetry Quarterly. He teaches English at Tidewater Community College in Chesapeake, VA and, when possible, searches for humanless beaches.

An Old Song – A Poem by Mara Buck

An Old Song
by Mara Buck

First they came for the scorpions and we said, fine,
Dangerous creepy bastards, squirt em, better off without em,
But the birds that ate the carcasses didn’t agree as they died.
Then they came for the clothes moths, vermin, destructive bitches
Ate my cashmere sweater, but the child who played
Dressup in the closet and ended her life in ICU was
Unsure of the relative importance of her years to cashmere.
Then they came for the wasps, stinging hateful enemies of
Unprotected skin in the summer. Nuked em with everything
In the arsenal and our barbeques were safer.
Then they came for the honeybees (well we do like honey) but
Hey there are so many dandy substitutes, we can certainly do without.
Still, we noticed the produce and the flowers in our Valentine bouquets
Looked less and less vibrant, the oranges smaller and less juicy
And most importantly, cost more—and we frowned.
But now, they’re coming for the butterflies, beautiful flying gems
Glinting storybook splendor, poetry on the wing, and we say,
Wait just a damn minute, but that minute is ticking away, and
So are we.



About the Poet:  Mara Buck writes and paints in a self-constructed hideaway in the Maine woods. Winner of the 2019 Raven Prize, Scottish Arts Club Prize, F. Scott Fitzgerald Poetry Prize, Binnacle International Prize. Awarded/short-listed by the Faulkner/Wisdom Society, Hackney Awards, Balticon, Confluence, and others, with work in numerous literary magazines and print anthologies.

The Sandwich – A Poem by Maggie Rosen

The Sandwich
by Maggie Rosen

I ask my daughter if she likes
her peanut butter sandwich.
She says, “kindof,”
which, it turns out,
means “my throat is swelling
and hives are marching across my chest.”

I remember a copperhead grazing my shin in a stream.
One time I leaned on grass
to reach a tennis ball
and the yellow jackets inflamed my hand.
A black widow spider lived
quietly, alone
under a stool at the nursery playground.

Now I carry antidote
for my daughter’s venom, poised at all times
to stab her to save her.
This river will bathe her
in breaths, or send her down.
The eye of this needle
zooms in on the point of my life and hers,
cinched between antibody and antigen,
I do not like this sandwich.



About the Poet:  Maggie Rosen lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her poems have been published in Little Patuxent Review, Waccamaw, Cider Press Review, RiverLit, Blood Lotus, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Barely South, and Conclave, among other publications. Her chapbook, The Deliberate Speed of Ghosts, was published in 2016 by Red Bird Chapbooks. See more at

What’s Still Remembered Somewhere Lying Around as Shades of April Finds Broken Bones – A Poem by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

What’s Still Remembered Somewhere Lying Around
as Shades of April Finds Broken Bones

by Ariana D. Den Bleyker

We set out naked on the street,
jumped fences into a pair of outstretched arms—

two to embrace; two to push away—
& fell halfway through, guided

by a sky stuffed wet with pitch,
the rain small tears needling

against a mysterious, endless tune
of winds discovering faith, shivering,

groping conflict, history collecting dirt, fear—
silence the only answer. We, all red inside,

move in uncomfortable skin,
poking it to reach bone, biting

into a sky already bitten by God
in times of famine. The rain spreads mirrors

across the road, & we make faces
as to not recognize ourselves.



About the Poet: Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, eighteen chapbooks, three crime novellas, a novelette, and an experimental memoir. She hopes you’ll fall in love with her words.

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.

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

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