A Culinary Tour of Genova, 1989 by Christian Ward

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A Culinary Tour of Genova, 1989
by Christian Ward

Stepping out of the car, wild pomegranates,
full as pepper grinders, greet me. Tonight,
Spaghetti Con Cozze. Tomorrow, I will help
Nonno carry steaming tin foil pans of

Focaccia Con Formaggio from the trattoria,
their strands of melted stracchino always
making spaghetti jealous. Another day,
I will go with Nonna to the market heaving

with shoppers browsing scepters of
artichokes, baubles of tomatoes, plump
aubergines, lemons, meats, seafood
and even clothes. No time to stop

and watch sea urchins hidden like naval
mines by the shore or visit ornate galleons
in the old docks when there’s tuna
and olive oil needing to be bought

from the co-op. Castelletto’s lavish
villas and churches will have to be put
on hold for another summer as Osso Bucco
is on the menu tonight, the Oxtail

almost as big as my hands. Nonno says
it’s okay to take a day trip to Portofino
tomorrow, so we’ll pile into the car
and walk around houses colourful

like the sorbet we’ll enjoy; Nonna’s
icy glare waiting when we return.

PHOTO:  Mercato Orientale Market, Genoa, Italy. Photo by Yulia Grigoryeva, used by permission.


genoa italy

NOTE: Genoa (Genova) is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In the 2011 census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, had 855,834 residents. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera. On the Gulf of Genoa in the Ligurian Sea, Genoa has historically been one of the most important ports on the Mediterranean: it is currently the busiest in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea. The city’s rich cultural history in art, music and cuisine allowed it to become the 2004 European Capital of Culture. It is the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.

PHOTO: Genoa, Liguria, Italy. Photo by Sergio Cerrato, used by permission. 


Christian Ward is a UK-based writer who can be currently found in Culture Matters and the League of Poets. At present, he is working on a memoir of his school days.

Behind Bull Island by DS Maolalai 

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Behind Bull Island
by DS Maolalai

it’s incredible;
low tides rolling
out behind bull
island. a thick duvet
being pulled off a bed.
and if you don’t look
often, you expect just rocks
and crabs scuttling — instead
of this sloping mess
and gently jagged green,
like somebody’s broken
and thrown away a pool table.

seagulls which swoop
and long necked
wading birds — a whole
ecosystem! on the road
with the wind right
you could be looking at fields in africa
or the wild american plain.
not at the rags of a beach
beside dublin — grass
out the window of an airplane
with no abandoned streetsigns, no
traffic cones, or poisonous,
stinking muck.

PHOTO: Sunny day on the beach of Bull Island, Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Artur Kosmatka, used by permission.

ireland armen sarkissian licensed

bull island map

NOTE: Bull Island, located in Dublin Bay, Ireland, measures about three miles long and a half-mile wide. The island, with a sandy beach running its length, is an inadvertent result of long-standing efforts in the bay to combat silting. The island lies within the jurisdiction of, and is mostly owned by, Dublin City Council. A car-free zone and accessible by several walking bridges, Bull Island has the highest number of designations in Ireland as a National Bird Sanctuary, a biosphere reserve, a National Nature Reserve, a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive, and a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive. The island holds a wide variety of plant and bird species, and a limited range of mammals, as well as one reptile, one amphibian, and a modest range of invertebrates.

PHOTO: Dollymount, Bull Island bridge, Dublin, Ireland. Photo by Armen Sarkissian.

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DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019).

Lariano Sleeping by Frances Roberts

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Lariano Sleeping
by Frances Roberts

Through the metal bars of fencing
green as the plants within
a view of late Autumn harvest:
rosemary in flower, olives and vivid capsicum,
a small bay tree flourishing,
melons, lettuce, parsley, rocket,
whirling spirals of mating insects,
figs and lemons weighing down
the branches of stubborn old trees….
squat speckled lizards move
with surprising speed
in a rattle of dead leaves —
but only the dogs have voices here at siesta.

PHOTO: Rome, Italy. Photo by Maxim Sergeenkov, use by permission.

NOTE: Lariano is a municipality in the Metropolitan City of Rome in the Italian region Lazio, located about 22 miles southeast of Rome on the Alban Hills.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Frances Daggar Roberts is an Australian poet who grew up in a remote area, where she began to write poetry to capture the love she felt for plants, animals, and landscape. She now lives in a bushland setting close to Sydney and works as a psychologist treating significant anxiety and depression.

Bodega Bay Internship by Jeff Burt


Bodega Bay Internship
by Jeff Burt

Scraping out oysters
just to scrape by

waves scraping back
draft daft captain capped

pelican turns and terns on cans
muscular mussels

gulls the grafters grifters
gifts of dry dock

grit in paint peel
pearled on deck

propellers spun
sun-lures in the harbor

car broken down
tow truck for a starter

but once started
never ending repairs

boat tow to drop collectors
of coastal acidification

toe sliced by rock
gaining a foothold

toe-finding oysters
weeping over oysters

killing oysters at the bar
killing time

pain collected
mouth bi-valve

closed to beautify
opened for pearls

full of personal pluck
preening like a snowy plover

stealing like a seagull
spunk of an otter

greased like a goose
like an axle

like a winch to raise a boat
a broken car

a weathering spirit
marine sprit

varnish to seal
drink of the harsh

stuck in the bodega
on the bodega

feet buried in mud
dumb-struck by touch

face free to the wind

PHOTO: Sunset, Bodega Bay, California. Photo by Arthur Cofresi, used by permission.


NOTE: Bodega Bay is a shallow, rocky inlet of the Pacific Ocean on the coast of northern California. Approximately 5 miles across, it is located about 40 miles northwest of San Francisco. The bay is a marine habitat used for navigation, recreation (including swimming and surfing), and commercial and sport fishing (including shellfish harvesting). Marine protected areas near Bodega Bay include: Russian River State Marine Reserve and Russian River State Marine Conservation Area, Bodega Head State Marine Reserve & Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area, Estero Americano State Marine Recreational Management Area, Estero de San Antonio State Marine Recreational Management Area. Like underwater parks, these marine protected areas help conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Bodega Bay north of San Francisco and Point Reyes is an oyster and boat town, and as remarkable the sights of Point Reyes, the flattened shores, the oyster bays, Bodega Bay has a beauty in grit, sea craft, paints, winches, camshafts, seagulls everywhere. It is a transition point of water life and earth life, of the ocean’s wonder and the beauty of the human spirit. My daughter had taken an internship at the UC Davis Coastal and Marine Science Institute in the summer of 2009 at Bodega Bay, studying coastal acidification and its effect on marine life. Her car had broken down, so we traveled to her, and were able to spend time in throes with Point Reyes, the harbor, and grand collision of ocean and earth.

PHOTO: Pelican at Bodega Bay (California) by Joaolrneto, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in mental health. He grew up in the Midwest before making his home in California, though the landscapes of Wisconsin and Nebraska still populate his vision. He has contributed to Heartwood, Williwaw Journal, Sheila-na-Gig, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Poetry Prize.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad, Nightfall at Minnamurra

minnamurra kevin rheese

Nightfall at Minnamurra
by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

At the foot of Minnamurra Falls
the maples heave in the gale,
wind drawing applause
rich with sudden confetti
whirling bushels
of umber, gold, sienna.

The trees arch skyward
upper reaches shorn
as the windstorm shuffles away,
balm of autumn night
settles eggshell, tranquil,
the forests of Illawarra
lit by a smudge of fireflies.

First published in Plum Tree Tavern, November 3, 2019.

PHOTO: Minnamurra Magic by Kevin Rheese, used by permission.


NOTE: The Budderoo National Park is a 17,840-acre national park located in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia, approximately 60 miles south southwest of Sydney. The park is best known for the timber boardwalk through the Minnamurra rainforest. The park features waterfalls, picnic and barbecue areas, and a visitors center. 

PHOTO: Minnamurra Falls, Illawarra region, New South Wales, Australia. Photo by world-of-waterfalls.com, All Rights Reserved.

Nightfall at Minnamurra

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In the days before lockdown, I used to spend a lot of time painting en plein air.  This poem was inspired by one of my painting trips. Above is the painting.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an artist, poet, and pianist of Indian heritage. She was raised in the Middle East. She started writing poetry at the age of seven. In 1990, during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, she was a war refugee in Operation Desert Storm. She holds a Masters in English, and is a member of The North Shore Poetry Project. Her recent works have been published in Neologism Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, Nigerian Voices Anthology, Poetica Review, and several other print and online international literary journals and anthologies. Her poem “Mizpah,” about a mother who hopes for the return of her son who was taken as a prisoner of war, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Glass House Poetry Awards 2020. She is the co-editor of the Australian literary journal Authora Australis. She regularly performs her poetry and exhibits her art at shows in Sydney.

Julie A. Dickson, September on Lake Ontario

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September on Lake Ontario
by Julie A. Dickson

Ontario is calm today, sun warm,
waves lap at rocks in quiet rhythm.
I hear the call of a lone goose,
Canadian black markings clear
as it swims lazily — far away from the chattering flock,
as if to say, “I need a few minutes.”
Perhaps he is like me.

I sit on a rough-hewn boulder
that edges the grassy outcropping
where the old public pier once stood.
Looking east to the row of cottages,
the dormered windows like open eyes
trained on a blue expanse. All eyes on the
great lake, watching — past the calm surface.

I remember days when white-capped
thunderous waves crashed against the break walls,
toppling boats, eroding the shore,
but not today.
Today Ontario is calm.

Previously published in The Avocet: Journal of Nature Poetry (2014).

PHOTO: Vacation homes on the shore of Lake Ontario, near Rochester, New York. Photo by Richard McGuirk, used by permission.

New York Debra Millet licensed


NOTE:  Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. It is surrounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Canadian province of Ontario, and on the south and east by the U.S. state of New York, whose water boundaries meet in the middle of the lake. The Canadian cities of Toronto, Kingston, and Hamilton are located on the lake’s northern and western shorelines, while the American city of Rochester is located on the south shore. In the Huron language, the name Ontarí’io means “great lake.” The last in the Great Lakes chain, Lake Ontario serves as the outlet to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence River, comprising the eastern end of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It is the only Great Lake not to border the state of Michigan.

PHOTO: Sailboat and lighthouse on Lake Ontario, Oswego, New York. Photo by Debra Millet, used by permission.

MAP: The Great Lakes, with Lake Ontario indicated in darker blue.

Julie Ontario

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  A favorite location of mine was on the Western shores of Lake Ontario in New York State. The photo above shows the cottage of my poems behind me (light green), where I spent many summers growing up, swimming and canoeing in view of the Great Lake.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Julie A. Dickson is a lakes girl, raised on the shores of Ontario, now living on the New Hampshire Seacoast. Her poetry depicts early times on the water, nature, environment, elephants in sanctuaries, and teen issues. Dickson’s work can be found in journals, including Poetry Quarterly, The Avocet, Ekphrastic Review, and Silver Birch Press. Her full-length works are available on Amazon, and she received a Pushcart nomination for her poem “The Sky Must Remember” in 2018. A board member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, she shares her home with two rescued feral cats, Cam and Claire.

February Evening in New York by Denise Levertov

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February Evening in New York
by Denise Levertov

As the stores close, a winter light
xxopens air to iris blue,
xxglint of frost through the smoke
xxgrains of mica, salt of the sidewalk.
As the buildings close, released autonomous
xxfeet pattern the streets
xxin hurry and stroll; balloon heads
xxdrift and dive above them; the bodies
xxaren’t really there.
As the lights brighten, as the sky darkens,
xxa woman with crooked heels says to another woman
xxwhile they step along at a fair pace,
xx“You know, I’m telling you, what I love best
xxis life. I love life! Even if I ever get
xxto be old and wheezy—or limp! You know?
xxLimping along?—I’d still … ” Out of hearing.
To the multiple disordered tones
xxof gears changing, a dance
xxto the compass points, out, four-way river.
xxProspect of sky
xxwedged into avenues, left at the ends of streets,
xxwest sky, east sky: more life tonight! A range
xxof open time at winter’s outskirts.

SOURCE: ”February Evening in New York” by Denise Levertov, from COLLECTED EARLIER POEMS 1940-1960, copyright ©1960 by Denise Levertov . Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

PHOTO: The blue hour, New York City, New York. Photo by Matthew Omojola, used by permission.


NOTE:The blue hour is the period of twilight (in the morning or evening, around the nautical stage) when the Sun is at a significant depth below the horizon and residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade, which differs from the one visible during most of a clear day, which is caused by Rayleigh scattering. The blue hour occurs when the Sun is far enough below the horizon so that the sunlight’s blue wavelengths dominate due to the Chappuis absorption caused by ozone. Since the term is colloquial, it lacks an official definition similar to dawn, dusk, and the three stages of twilight. Rather, it refers to a state of natural lighting that usually occurs around the nautical stage of the twilight period (at dawn or dusk). The blue hour lasts for about 30-40 minutes each day.

PHOTO: Midtown, Manhattan, New York City, during the blue hour. Photo by Dschwen, used by permission.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Denise Levertov was born during 1923 in London, England, and educated at home by her mother. Her formal education ended at age 12, though she studied ballet for a time and was a lifelong autodidact and student of the arts, literature, and languages. Her first book of poems, The Double Image, was published by Cresset Press, London in 1946, and in 1948 she came to the U.S. as the wife of Mitchell Goodman, who had been studying in Europe on the G.I. Bill.  Levertov was introduced to the American reading public through The New British Poets, an anthology edited by Kenneth Rexroth. From the early 1950s, she and her husband were political and antiwar activists. Levertov taught at University of Massachusetts, Boston, Tufts University, Brandeis, and Stanford University. Along with the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award in poetry and the Lannan Prize, she won the 1996 Governor’s Writers Award from the Washington State Commission for the Humanities. She died in Seattle, Washington, on December 20, 1997. Levertov published more than 30 books with New Directions.

Carolyn Chilton Casas, The Beating of Drums


The Beating of Drums
by Carolyn Chilton Casas

At the pousada pequena in a tropic beach town,
fatigued from too many hours of travel,
we were concerned when asked to leave
our key hanging on the reception wall.

We had read State Department warnings
for tourists traveling to this area,
heard rumors to be careful, cautionary tales
about things being stolen.

A teacher at the school told me
her husband, an international pilot,
never left his hotel room in Rio
for safety reasons. She hinted
Brazil was not the best choice for children,
hence, I was on high alert,
and somewhat alarmed about the key idea.

In the São Paulo airport, we had just met a family;
their son, fifteen, an exchange student who
stayed with us earlier in the year, and now
we were here to see the place he called home.

Our son had just turned eleven.
Having been given only a double bed
and a small cot for our daughter,
the family offered to let him stay,
the boys happy with this plan
having shared a bunk bed months ago
and become friends.

Leaving our sons to catch up, we walked to dinner.
Like in many places with warmer climates,
the evening meal is eaten late;
at midnight, we strolled slowly back,
amazed to be suddenly in a place so foreign to us,
enjoying the fragrance of angel’s trumpet,
a night-blooming flower.

Upon reaching their beach house,
we bid boa noite to our new friends
and continued down the dirt path to the inn.
The dad came running after us to say
their son had fallen asleep and ours was gone.
In his hand, a handwritten note, which read—

I couldn’t sleep because of the drums.
Outside, I yelled at them to stop.
They didn’t, so I am going to our hotel.

We ran toward the Pousada Canto do Camburi
many dark streets away;
where we found no key on the wall,
took the steps two at a time
to the second story, and hurriedly
pushed open the door to find
our boy sound asleep on the tiny bed.

The next morning the Brazilian family
explained to our son—
the loud noises he had heard weren’t drums
but the ba, boom, ba, boom of big frogs,
living in the jungle growth behind their home.

PHOTO: Camburi, São Sebastião, Brazil. Photo by Amanda Ferreira on Unsplash.


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NOTE: São Sebastião is a municipality, located on the southeast coast of Brazil, in the state of São Paulo with a population in 2020 of 90,328. The Tropic of Capricorn lies about 15 miles north. The city is famous for its beaches, including Camburi, making it a popular tourist destination. The Alcatrazes Archipelago is formed by five main islands and some smaller unnamed islands. The largest island of the archipelago is also called São Sebastião. Birds, whales and other sea animals stop here seasonally to reproduce. The islands are within the Tupinambás Ecological Station. Several species of frogs are only found on the Alcatrazes.

PHOTO: Young Alcatrazes frog (Scinaz alcatraz), a native species of the island of Alcatrazes, off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil. Photo © Norberto Hulle. For more information, visit the World Wildlife Fund at wwf.org.br.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “The Beating of Drums” recounts an experience in Camburi, Brazil.

PHOTO: The author with her family in Brazil.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Chilton Casas is a Reiki Master and teacher, a student of metaphysics and philosophy. Her favorite themes for writing are healing, wellness, awareness, and the spiritual journey. Carolyn’s stories and poems have appeared in Energy, Journey of the Heart, Odyssey, Reiki News Magazine, Snapdragon, The Art of Healing, as well as other publications. You can read more of Carolyn’s work on Instagram at mindfulpoet. On February 16, 2021, her first collection of poetry, Our Shared Breath, was released.

Callanish Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis by William Doreski


Callanish Stone Circle, Isle of Lewis
by William Doreski

The avenues and circle form
a rough Celtic cross about
four hundred by a hundred
and forty feet. Standing centered
in the central circle of thirteen

standing stones bathed in sea breeze
I feel the sky pour over me
in marbled gray sympathies
as if I’ve finally accepted
the planet’s full embrace. The stones,

eight to twelve feet tall, look staid
as the Methodist churchgoers
of my childhood: formal, serious,
but secretly atheist. Traces
of cremation sour the ground

of the cairn underfoot. Science
isn’t certain this structure
provided astronomical
or solar function but the dense
clouds above the Outer Hebrides

suggest that cosmic observations
most often eluded the builders
of this outlook. From inside
the circle I can see the waters
of East Loch Roag and the mountains

of Harris. I think I’ll stay here
until history withers away
and the ancient rites refresh themselves
possibly by cremating
whatever remains of me after

five thousand years of patience—
the stones unimpressed, the mountains
plain and stoic, but the waters
of the loch roiling as creatures
step ashore and learn to evolve.

PHOTO: Callanish Stones, Isle of Lewis, Scotland (August 2012). Photo by Petr Brož , used by permission.


map scotland

NOTE: The Callanish Stones are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. Located near the village of Callanish on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, the Callanish Stones consist of a circle of 13 stones with a monolith near the middle. Five rows of standing stones connect to this circle. Two long rows of stones running almost parallel to each other from the stone circle to the north-northeast form a kind of avenue. There are also shorter rows of stones to the west-southwest, south and east-northeast. The stones are all of the same rock type, the local Lewisian gneiss. Within the stone circle is a chambered tomb to the east of the central stone.

PHOTO:  Chambered tomb, east of the central Callandish Stone, Isle of Lewis, Scotland. Photo by Nachosan, used by permission.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities and retired after three decades at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is Stirring the Soup (2020).  He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Author photo by Keene State College

Volcano Park by Ed Meek

hawaii MN Studio licensed

Volcano Park
by Ed Meek

In case you forgot
what burns beneath
the surface of the earth,
pay a visit to Pele,
goddess of the volcano,
on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi
where a fire river of lava
tunnels through molten rock.
You can catch Kīlauea flow—
luminous at night—
from black pahoehoe cliffs
that overlook Kaʻū Loa Point;
locals call it the witch’s nose.
Gleaming lava cascades from her mouth
into the Pacific Ocean
where it clashes with crashing waves,
crackles and spits steam and gas
into a vast sky and solidifies
into vase, or volcanic glass. Just in case
you forgot what simmers
at 2000 degrees
two miles beneath
the surface of the earth…

Previously published in Cosmopsis Quarterly (Fall 2009). 

PHOTO:  Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaiʻi. Photo by MN Studios, used by permission.

hawaii marlon trottmann

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NOTE: Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park features two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s most massive shield volcano. The park provides scientists with insight into the development of the Hawaiʻian Islands and access for studies of volcanism. For visitors, the park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes, glimpses of rare flora and fauna, and a view into the traditional Hawaiʻian culture connected to these landscapes. The park was established on August 1, 1916 as Hawaiʻi National Park, which was divided into this park and Haleakalā National Park. In recognition of its outstanding natural values, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and a World Heritage Site in 1987. In the Hawaiʻian religionPele is the goddess of volcanoes and fire and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.

PHOTO: Mural of the goddess Pele, Big Island, Hawaiʻi. Photo by Marlon Trottmann, used by permission.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, we went to see the active volcano at night and watched the lava flow into the ocean. It was spectacular.

NOTE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER: Seeing lava flow with your own eyes is a rare sight. We drove our car as far as we could until the road ended and then switched to bikes to get to the lookout point. The glasslike rock scratched our skin as we sat and waited for nightfall with our camera equipment. At dusk, we captured this moment where the glowing fire blossomed into clouds of steam as it collided with the lapping waves that crashed against the cliff. We were witnessing the birth of new land and saw the raw power of brute violence of natural creation. There is no clearer evidence that the earth is alive. Photo of Kīlauea lava flow by Mandy Beerley on Unsplash.

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Ed Meek has been published in The North American Review, The Sun, and The Paris Review. His new book of poems, High Tide, came out in 2020.