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Issue 121, Part One


Poems, 30 words & fewer

painting by Robin Storey

Joel Best, Niamh Boyce, James Quinten Clark, Chet Corey, Michael J. Galko, Anuja Ghimire, Howie Good, Jeanie Greensfelder, Alex Hoffman-Ellis, Quinn Carver Johnson, Fae Kayarian, Michael Kriesel, Bill McCloud, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Jacob Moran, Victoria Nordlund, Chad Norman, Lynn Otto, Penelope Scambly Schott, Silma Pamela Smith, J.R. Solonche, Robin Storey, Teresa Stouffer, Cecilia Tekla

Anchor 1

The Note

Since we started RHP in 2004, eclipsing Facebook's debut that same year, we've periodically offered issues of very short poems. Even shorter than our usual short. We usually have the same length limit as in this issue, poems with no more than 30 words. These issues are always among my favorites. We did a call for submissions for this current issue of very short poems and the Submishmash newsletter mentioned it. We got sub bombed, y'all! Let's create a new word: subbombed!  I mean, tons of submissions. And thank goodness for Laura M Kaminski, who not only works with the whole editorial team reading and voting on subs but manages the Submittable queue. Had it not been for Laura, I would have taken one look at all those subs coming in and just curled up in a fetal position and cried. (Turns out I did anyway because I do that pretty regularly.)


We didn't want the issue to exceed 25 poems. But we couldn't stand having to reject so much excellent work. So, we've accepted about 50 poems and are going to run this issue in 2 parts. Watch for part 2 in about two weeks.


Thanks to the editorial team and for all who submitted, whether their work was accepted or not.


  • In the absence of anything coherent, I offer the following things I've been thinking about.

  • Mathematicians have calculated that by 2020, 78% of Americans will have been fired by the White House.

  • The Blues are disappearing against the background of blues. If everything is the Blues, nothing is. Rallying cry: Don’t let our blues take out our Blues.

  • Doctors recommend that people with concussions rest their brains. They should stay home from school and/or work for periods best measured in weeks and not days. No reading. No television. (Some mischievous doctors add: No church.) Sit in a quiet room and take crayons to coloring books. Get lots and lots of coloring books. Get adult coloring books but be prepared that you may be disappointed by adult coloring books, because you were thinking they might be, you know, “adult.” Treat yourself to a big box of crayons. Go 64. If the waiter brings you a box of 8 crayons send them back to the kitchen. Smell the crayons. You know the smell. That smell will help your brain heal.

  • We are living these days. Our days need background checks. Universal ones. Should we raise the age of buying our days from 18 to 21? Our days must not include the mentally ill. On appointed dates and at specific times, we are walking out of our days. Our days are semi-automatic. They can be modified to be fully automatic. 


Enjoy the issue!



Anchor 2

James Quinten Clark

The Shadow

I’ve noticed that I only

ever know I happen

after I have happened.


My worlds are made

entirely of words, of

nothing more than naming.


Anchor 3

Michael J. Galko

Traveler's Remorse

Where the wake 
becomes ocean again— 

now that is a place 
worth revisiting. 


Anchor 4

Lynn Otto


I stood by her 
Then I stood by 

There is the innocent bystander 
And the guilty bystander 

Or frightened 
And frightened 


Anchor 5

Penelope Scambly Schott

This stone is my dead mother. 
On my dry tongue, the stone 
tastes of rusty nails. 


Anchor 6

Quinn Carver Johnson 

Excerpt from 
Vignettes with Girls and Smoke 

When life gets like this, 
she said, 

I start working out how 
I could start smoking again 
without everyone I love finding out.


Anchor 7

Jacob Moran

Leave It Alone

Don’t let 
a scratch 
a scar.


Anchor 8

J. R. Solonche

A Noise

I thought it was 
a helicopter, 
but it was only an angel, 
his wings breaking 
off, cursing as he fell. 


Anchor 10

Victoria Nordlund


It is negative eleven degrees and I am binge-watching this winter on mute. 
Nothing is warm enough— 
I wonder how long frostbite takes to blister and turn black.


Anchor 11

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco


chase each other up 
and down 

the walls 
like petroglyphs— 

Here we were 
Here we were 
Here we were


Anchor 12

Howie Good

For Barbara

A woman 
walks out 
of the darkness 
and flames, 

and speaks 
in a voice I feel 
in my body 
rather than hear. 

I don't care 
if it scars, 
or anything.


Anchor 13

Michael Kriesel

Years Later

I sit on a stump 
for an hour, 

bury the chip 
on my shoulder 

deep in a hole 
in the air 

where a tree 
used to be. 


Anchor 14

Teresa M. Stouffer

Headline Charges Page 5A

His eyes stare flat, 
hair and beard askew, 
age 30. 
I taught him in 5th grade. 
I see 
the 10 
in him. 


Anchor 9

Bill McCloud


I frequently will 
read out loud 
to a tree 

But not just any 
book and not 
just any tree 


Anchor 15

Bill McCloud

Wind Chime

Surprising sounds 
moving off in 
unexpected and 
chaotic directions 

from this instrument 
seem to always be 
alerting me to danger 
Something coming with the wind 


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