August 22-28, 2022: Poetry from Rati Pednekar and Jennifer M Phillips

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Rati Pednekar

Rati Pednekar is a writer based in Mumbai, India, who enjoys writing stories about ordinary people and is currently working as a freelance content writer. She has completed an MA in Creative Writing from University of Birmingham and her work has appeared in magazines like Kitaab, The Bombay Review, Aloka and The Auroras & Blossoms PoArtMo Anthology (Vol 2). More about her writing can be found on her website:

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Rati Pednekar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Pasta in Puttanesca Sauce

Pasta in puttanesca sauce
has never looked more appealing
than on this 5 by 2 screen
under your name.

Spaghetti tangles with penne
and makes me smile,
I can’t explain why
it feels so like you.

I’d have a bite
if the chair across from you
wasn’t an ocean away.
If only it wasn’t,

I’d set the table
and twirl a fork,
our conversations stirring up
the tang of tomato.

The sizzle of garlic
would linger in the air
and in the space between
our dancing fingertips.

I’d count out olives
like careful promises
and slowly push them
onto your plate.

Jennifer M Phillips

Phillips is an immigrant, a gardener, grower of Bonsai, priest, and painter, and has been writing poetry and prose since the age of seven. Phillips  grew up in upstate New York and has lived in New England, New Mexico, St. Louis, Rhode island, and now is back in Massachusetts having graduated from Wellesley College and Andover Newton Theological School. Phillips’ spiritual/metaphysical  sense and writing life have always been rooted in landscapes and their infinite changeability. Phillips has published poetry in over fifty little poetry journals, including Poetry Pacific, Evening Street, Poem, Onionhead, Penine Platform, DASH Literary Review, America, Pensive, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Buffalo Bones, Blueline, Pittsburgh Quarterly, and Orchard Press’s journal Quiet Diamonds;had poems selected recently as a first prize winner in the Westmoreland (PA) Arts & Heritage Festival Poetry Contest 2022, was a winner in the Princemere Poetry Contest, and in the Oprelle Magazine Poetry Contest, won Second Prize and an Honorable Mention for two poems in The Regional WOMR/WFMR Annual Joe Goveia Outermost Poetry Contest 2022, was a  finalist in the White Mice Contest of the International Lawrence Durrell Society, and in the Orchard Street Press Poetry Contest. Phillips has published a chapbook, Sitting Safe In the Theatre of Electricity. Her forthcoming chapbook A Song of Ascents will be published Fall 2022 by Orchard Street Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Jennifer M Phillips and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

From the Cavern of the Winds

In the planetarium when I was ten,
as constellations cartwheeled over
the soft caves of our seats,
a soothing voice guided us through the widening
expansion of space, discussed specifics
of our location, zooming out from here
to the motley blue globe over our shoulder,
shrinking, planets dangling like plums, receding.
Swooping out toward other stars, galaxies,
our spiral, the red laser-point
at its outskirts: We are here, the voice said.
On the edge of vacancy
nevertheless it seemed we were held safe
in the artifice of that darkness-spangled room.

There was a fairy tale I still remember. Paradise closed
at its end with a crash like thunder. I awoke
in a dark corridor in a grim ship of passage
with the night world hurtling
toward apocalypse, or like a comet,
its decaying orbit around some senseless sun,
its storied pines become incendiary;
seas coiled back on themselves to strike;
hammers of the brash and grandiose citizens smashing nations;
counselors feebly fiddling behind obscured doors;
mobbed shores where the desperate dip themselves;
muffled breath in stifling rooms where the old
give up the ghost, anonymous;
no end the end in sight.

What pen is catheter enough to suck the poison?
What speech can swim in rescue under such weight?
Here, where we are, air thickens into taffy
that the sky pulls into a pelt of spoiled grey suede,
the great heat is pressing over us,
a warning hand;
and the prohibition of the plague-angel
is still stinging in our ears.
Blackbirds pant in the straw,
small paws are clawing the frazzled grass after seed,
and milkweeds raise, minatory over the mown and wingless field,
their ashen bloom. Tell me.
Is it too late to speak? Are the words too small?

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