Poem by Charlie Juno Metcalf


The docile man is most charming
With fragments of bone stuck between his teeth
Hearts and livers thick on his breath
Repentant in his own pleasure

He is prosperous, yet he covets
Consuming the delicate songbird
A veiled concubine
Shrinking from watchful eyes

Charlie Juno Metcalf is a third-year Theatre major. When she’s not scribbling in a notebook or rehearsing a show, Charlie likes to make bracelets, watch old TV shows, and play The Sims. She loves her mean and very grumpy cat named Mokie.

Poem by Quinn Mansperger

Waiting for the Sky to Change

I hate beginning this without knowing where to start
Sitting beneath your canopy, orange
lantern light illuminating my pen. Blue ink
scratching out the words that don’t exist yet
Pausing at the tip of my pen as my brain stumbles
upon that one word. That leaves me hurting me more
than your candles and their dripping wax
when they burn my toes

Sometimes I forget the feeling
of the night sky pressing down upon my shoulders
Pouring stardust into my shoes that keep me trapped
in place. Long enough for those unsaid words
to catch up with me. Reminding me of that internal battle
a game of tug of war, a flip of a coin deciding whether or not
that now is the time to admit that it is
me against I

Elven Tree, I tried to be like you
I tried to carry the weight of everyone else’s toxic thoughts
I tried to hold their lanterns off the ground so that their demons
can’t extinguish their light. But my roots
aren’t strong like yours and my branches
have no room left for my own lantern

I thought I was strong enough to carry their weight
Believed that I was powerful like the skyscrapers
reaching higher and higher into the night sky until
their spires touch the stars. But every time I raise it
just a little higher. Add one more floor to my building
so that when I fall, I fall a little further
and I fall worse than I ever have

Did you also tell the others that you would be there
to help pick them up when they fell? That you would
not allow them to be consumed by the moment
where they take in the fact that they were not good enough
to reach the stars and that is why they left us in darkness

Did you tell them that everything is temporary
That you and I are temporary. That the words I can’t write
are temporary. That the expectations I hold myself to everyday
are temporary. If this is your wisdom
the reason for why perfect doesn’t last
Then I need you to answer me why
Why does it hurt so much to finally say the things I need to tell myself

That I deserve to be alright
That I’m my closest friend and only have to reintroduce myself to him
Treat him a little better cause he is with me till the end
When my lantern finally burns out upon your scared ground
and the stars return to the night sky

Quinn Mansperger is a sophomore majoring in Creative Writing here at New England College. He enjoys reading, writing, playing video games and baseball. He has a Yorkshire terrier named Chewie (yes. just like Chewbacca from Star Wars.) He has an older twin sister and two younger twin sisters.

Poem by Becki Eaton

Cigarette Walks

I watch my heart dissolve
In emotionless pieces
Hovering over my head

Shriveled and curled
Tearless skulls
And intricate, white lines

Heavy feet and heavy steps
Under the river, the streetlights
The abandoned train station

I watch, the last little bit
Burn, on the veins of my wrist
Like a sparrow, in momentary bliss

Becki Eaton is a sophomore majoring in marketing and minoring in creative writing. She plays ice hockey and rugby. She started writing short stories in small journal with crayon drawings when she was little. Now, she has been especially fond of writing poetry.

Three Poems by Eric Miller

At Night

I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
My television has images that are projected back at me.
I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
Morning is on its way is a thought occurring to me.
I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
The sun is rising out my window birds I do see.
I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
Morning comes, I awaken from my slumbering ways.
I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
Putting off the coming day is a ritual you see.
Therefore it occurs to me.
I merely go through the motions most of my days.
I sit alone at night on the sofa.
The sofa sits alone with me.
I have insomnia can’t you see!

Two Lads

Two lads sit in highchairs.
One silent
One exploring, quite vocal.
Adults look at the young ins.
Out of control.
Out of chairs.
A waitress smiles, takes lunch orders.
Patrons enter, exit the restaurant at will.
The young infants attempt to rustle around.
The children test the adults nerves crawling.
The ground they crawl around on making a mess.
The day progresses.
The children are back home.
The unknown is what each of the boys is encountering.
The unknown countering the vast experiences of the adults.
Naiveness of the child.
These extremes.
And so it would seem people need both.
Folks dine out and dine in spending time together.
Air conditioning and comfort are what’s best in hot weather.

A Man

A man sits alone in a cavern , while another man sits alone in a tavern.
A man lays on a beach, while down the road is a man trying to use his power saw.
A man has trouble because his extension cord will not reach.
A town comprises many houses all seemingly similar from the distance.
A struggle of everyday living the pinnacle of human existence.
A gas station has run fresh out of gasoline.
A windshield wiper hasn’t a drop of water to clean.
A church brings hope to the masses, a bowl of chili brings noxious gases.
A waiter waits for a cab to bring him to work.
A cabbie wonders what his job is worth.
A paint brush creates new worlds.
A teacher educates boys and girls.
A renaissance man does all things for all people.
A coloring book contains images of everyday people needing to be colored in.
A feeble feeling like a mouse caught in a blizzard.
A Christmas goose is deprived of its gizzard.
A toast, cheers to all the delights as they say.
A merry Christmas, a good night, and day.
A blizzard with mountains of snow.
Shovel, my back will face a frightful feeling I will not be able to let go.

Eric Miller is the 2016 recipient of the dedicated contributor award for the NHT Eye Literary Journal at NHTI Community College. His literary journey at New England College and as a member of the class of 2022 was featured in the New Englander.

Three Poems by Russell Rowland

Lessons on Snow

We learned in class that white is all colors,
yet no rainbow today. We learned at weddings,
it is virgin pure (though they’d slept together);

in due ambivalence, yielded ourselves
to the advent condescending out of heaven,
its myriad doves, pentecostal,

no two the same—we heard that from parents,
who rest now where a snow quilt
tucks them in, along with other shrewd elders.

The little boy in me, and the little girl in you,
knew without being told that play
is the first joy, as well as the first joy to go.

The snow was our playmate—even school
was canceled for it. We went outside
booted, gloved, the only knowledge needed.

But here is no Eden. Our Town plows snow
out of the path of commuters. We
were advised of our duty, and handed shovels.

Stepping Carefully

Snow melted to water, water froze.
Some folk are bags of brittle bones, but all
who sortie watch their step. A fall
is quick, the landing hard: one might well
not get up again. Should I remain

upright, it is on the strength of years
spent stepping gingerly into certain homes:
dark parlors, mirrors turned
to the wall, family assembled in silence,
waiting—a misstep ruined everything.

If I stay on my feet all winter,
it can also be from scaling the high places
where ancestral spirits still dwell
with the Great Spirit, although those
who once brought offerings don’t return.

(I knew to remove my boots.)
With care I’ve trodden tractionless ice—
into old houses of many rooms,
locked doors, long hallways, grim faces
at the end. I sat where they told me.

By the Road

When air is cool as crystal to the touch,
and trees abandon chlorophyl for other hues,
tour busses come. Engines idle outside
restaurants before heading north, diesel-odorous.

Think about this, when you see all traffic bound
in one direction, entire carloads enroute:
what seduction do such hillsides have to offer;
what Siren song are these woods singing?

Indeed, what lures any prodigal from the routine
of dutiful service, fattening calves
for slaughter? It could be helpful to understand
the attraction—so wait by the roadside,

assess the excursion. But also, keep your eye
on the uncrowded return lane. Perhaps
somebody in a car that climbed Mt Washington
said simply, “I want to go home.”

Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions.  His work appears in “Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall” (Encircle Publications), and “Covid Spring, Vol. 2” (Hobblebush Books). His latest poetry book, “Wooden Nutmegs,” is available from Encircle Publications.

No pets, just pet peeves.

Two Poems by M.Z. Hopkins

A History of Wonder

I am seven
My first aware of this spring
almost-summer dream
Short, and standing in my big blue house’s shadow
I French kiss the dirt
I taste every mineral,
every root
My gums are tight, my teeth rough
I lick the iron in my molars
and those roots flourish within me
They entangle in my aorta
I find it hard to breathe
Yet I, myself, feel free
Feeling flowers bloom from every bronchiole
There is a trunk growing from me
I catch every fresh-born petal falling in spring
A twig of twinkle,
a sprig of a lovelace wind deity
And I lift my face from the grass–
stains of green on my cheek
There are chloroplasts in my corneas
I can finally see
I take a step back
the rake sinks into my heel
Achilles begs for mercy
But I focus solely on the backyard twinkle tree
standing high above me
It weaves and bobs in the wind
The sky begins to rain
A puddle forms at my boots
and in the little crater created by me

Ten years later I am seventeen
I have since gone through many more seasons
Taller now, but still standing in my blue house’s shadow,
stare down at an abrupt stump
of what was once the backyard twinkle tree
I lay on my back
I feel every root that has grown outward through me
My heart pounds, every beat a rustle of that tree
The bronchiole blossoms have since peeled off from winter
There are still its flowers, leaves, babies, littered on the grass–
babies born to the current cold freeze
I rub my hand across the bump
and in the distance hear the breeze deity’s wind song
I look at the scar at the back of my heel
It is grayed out like clouds
and phloem spirals in the dead woods
The hot spike of the rusted rake
warms me, my Achilles, and my memory
of the tall what-once-was
Its words hum within me,
echoing through every blade of dead, brown grass
The winter cries snowflake tears
and I wonder what could have become of the twinkle tree

The history of Wonder is
“A feeling of surprise
mingled with admiration,
caused by something beautiful,
unexpected, unfamiliar, inexplicable”
“Desire or be curious
to know something”
Ponder, think about,
meditate, reflect, ask
“Feel doubt”
That dead, brown grass
Old English wundor,
Wundrian of Germanic origin;
related to Dutch wonder
and German Wunder,
of unknown ultimate origin
The what-once-was twinkle tree

Goodbye Mother

My feet are walking
I’m wandering
if I’m the one moving them,
I’m wondering
The soy strands lean toward me

I don’t know what I’ll do when my mother is gone
I’ll want to ask her
I want to ask her
how can I get through this
how will I get through this

And I can’t.
Because my mother will be gone.

I was here,
waiting for you
I am sticky with sweat
My limbs float up
I am filled with summer air

Go home
Take a rest
Don’t be scared
She is there
waiting for me

You’re not dead yet
I won’t let you be dead yet

I wonder if
I’m just talking to myself

It’s all earth and dust
There is no grass around this house
We stir our tea
We are silent for awhile

M.Z. Hopkins is a Creative Writing major and currently a junior at New England College. Fun fact: He is actually an omnipotent being on the Henniker Review. He has multiple pets whom he refers to as “his rats,” but really they are two Yorkshire Terriers named Lexi and Piper, one Ragdoll cat named Junie, a dinosaur-aged rabbit named Chip, and two algae eater fish named Penelope and Patricia.

Two Poems by L.S. Woods

Wayward Transitions

I kept my rosary in a little plastic jar,
pearls and sterling silver

It stayed cold by the window.


White walls paint me blue.
How-to manuals
on decluttering.
Bathe in breathe in bleach,
scrub the skin off feet
with photocopied
washcloths. He will break
every scratched CD,
impure sound cannot
be allowed to mar
pure ears. She’s counting
calories in her
cold reeking kitchen. 
Drum machines and synth
too simple for old
radio. Money
making schemes rotting.
Soft childhood dreams. 

L.S. Woods is a first-year student at New England College majoring in Creative Writing and Education. He spends most of his time with headphones on or his nose-deep in a book when not in class or at work. L.S. plans to become an English teacher, and eventually a professor at NEC- he is a life-long learner. He has a pet cat, Ashton, whom he devotes many cuddles to each day.

Two Poems by Patrick T. Meighan

Broken Echoes

A child may manage
To sing
A small birdsong
On a small branch
Above a grave
With bone and ash
Within a flock of

We’ll Make Fine Corpses

An old man’s skin blossoms
with faded tattoos, his wrinkles chisel into dust.
His flesh full of prayers sloughs
To join the dead
as ghosts steal the moon’s lies,
Tracing askance geometries of light.
How lovely the dead must be.

Patrick Meighan lives the life of a nomadic adjunct, teaching poetry, journalism, and composition courses at New England College, Saint Anselm College, and Manchester Community College. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in online and print journals, and his second chapbook “Poems for a Winter Afternoon” was published in 2018. He is the co-editor of “Images from Ruin,” an anthology of 9/11 poems and art, and his first chapbook “Jurisprudence” was published in 2014. He earned his MFA in creative writing from the low-residency program at New England College in 2013.

Three Poems by Carlene M. Gadapee

“Yet, If I Picture the Face of Jesus, I Can’t Shake the European Blue Eyes”
after Shane McCrae

I know it to be false              this image Godhead
with flowing blond locks     sad blue eyes, searching

the face should be of a man whom I know is Semitic     I look around
no one else seems troubled

it’s not at all like the wan, somber, bearded face
of someone who is deeply disappointed        or
pained by a loss I didn’t cause      this face makes little sense
in the sense that it’s not historic, but
it’s the one I grew up with, framed, burning heart
looking like it might burst             that open heart
surrounded by flames scared me

when I first heard the phrase heart burn all I could think of
was this picture on the wall            electric blood glowing

I wonder aloud: what do you see in me?   There’s a silence
a long pause             

my own burning heart          is it sacred


Nana Cleans Out Her Desk

Old, scarred, and scraped, chipped veneer flaking
from corners rimmed with dust and broken, beaded
edging. There was treasure: pens and pencils,
paperclips, old metal curlers, red elastic bands. Tiny
pearl buttons rattled in the center drawer alongside
dark wheat pennies and brass fasteners. The only drawer
off limits was the bottom one, stuffed with old bills,
punched time cards, a few letters, and flimsy
air mail envelopes, the ones used for overseas.

Nana sorted papers, sitting on the worn rug, making piles.
She checked razored-open envelopes, one by one,
each as empty as the last. What she was looking for:
Support money.
Just in case.
She might have missed some. I didn’t know
what abandoned meant, I didn’t know about divorce.
When I think of loss, it looks like empty envelopes.


I didn’t tumble down the stairs, my wrist caught in the grasp
of a boy-man I’d just met. Get to know you a little, let’s get out
of this crowd seemed reasonable. Inexperienced, a little more
than a little drunk, too easily led. I remember a muddy parking lot,
sheets of rain, oily grit in my hair. Blurry streetlamps weakly
illuminated the bumpers of the cars, rusty rocker panels,
my friends’ reaching hands. Are you okay? Here, eat this.
Give you something to throw up. I didn’t throw up.
Self-disgust doesn’t come up that easily.
(My fault?)
Did I know how I got there? Yes, a car load of us went.
Did I know where I was? No, I didn’t drive and
It was dark. Do I remember the date? The guy’s name? No.
Did I ever see him again, anywhere? Everywhere, nowhere.
No. I don’t remember, sorry, I don’t remember. I remember
the gravel, and which was rain and which was tears.

Carlene M. Gadapee is a high school English teacher and community college adjunct instructor in northern New Hampshire. She shares her small New England home with her husband, a bossy Chi-pin dog, and a few beehives. Carlene is a devoutly sports-addicted bibliophile and her work has been published in the Aurorean, Postcard Poems and Prose, the Northern New England Review, and Sojourn (UT-Dallas).