Chella Courington – Ponder Away

Dancing Together

Adele constantly played the twenty-year game. Twenty years ago I was thirty, twenty years from now, I’ll be seventy, counting years like a handful of coins, knowing they would be spent for trinkets, a pair of gold earrings or the mermaid wind chime sculpted from copper wire, its tail outlined in green with amethyst squiggles and silver glitter, a dream no doubt as all mermaids are but a tangible vision with a gold star in one hand and a blue shell in the other, and Adele held it in the breeze to catch the currents before hanging it on the ornamental apple tree outside their glass doors, an ageless woman with golden locks reminding Adele of the ballet dancers who hung in frames on her childhood wall, their forms perfect in pink, toe shoes never scuffed or dirtied, perpetually on point, waiting in this moment, unruffled by the past or future and later when she read “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” she thought of her ballet dancers and how lovely they would look encircling any vase, almost touching hands, the audience on the edge of their seats, waiting for Gelsey Kirkland to reach out from the ceramic, alive and offering Adele a charm, a talisman for longevity, a silver marble almost an inch in diameter, that she placed in her left palm, and suddenly she felt the continuity of it all, how the urn and Gelsey and the mermaid met at the center, life converged, and there were no tears since existence was a sequence of bubbles, fragile and full of color, busting into another and though Adele could see them vanishing into the distant light, she felt they somehow would continually be, not in her sight or that of anyone else standing on earth now, but the bubbles were always somewhere always becoming something new because today, June 23, was the day she felt, for the first time truly felt, those she loved endlessly around her, leaving snatches of notes and crumpled tissues to remind Adele that time was arbitrary and depended on limited eyesight but existence continued forever to wrap her in its threads.

Sharp Edges

That’s what it was, yes, the sun, a trapezoid on her bamboo floor. She wasn’t even sure if she knew what a trapezoid was, those days in geometry long ago, Mrs. Burgoyne in thick beige hose and a floral dress, exuding the mustiness of tobacco, and they stopped in their seats, held their breaths that Burgoyne would not single them out, ask for an answer, rapping the wooden desk with her nails. Yes, a trapezoid of light. Adele had remembered the shape after all those years, two parallel lines with uneven sides, the metal clothes rack on rollers, long shirts and short on plastic hangars waiting for someone to wash or iron or wear defined the side closest to the bed. Trapezoid. The sound, that’s what she remembered most about eleventh grade math, all those delicious words—perpendicular, quadrilateral, rhombus, isosceles, especially isosceles with all the s’s tickling her tongue. She would roll the syllables, listen to their sibilants whistle on ivory, and think of her new skates, the ones her mother bought at Loveman’s Department Store three weeks before Christmas. She handed them to Adele that day, a white box with white skates so Adele could slice parallel lines. Though her marks were often ragged, splinters glistening under Loveman lights at the store’s indoor rink, she dreamed of leaving the ice cut clean. Had she outgrown those skates and skating, giving them up for boys with pimples and their sticky hands, grasping, reaching like the tentacles of some kraken, leaving marks jagged and uneven? All that fumbling and pushing when no meant no or maybe or yes.


Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a Ph.D. in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of six poetry and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry and stories appear or are forthcoming in numerous anthologies and journals including SmokeLong Quaterly, The Collagist, and the Los Angeles Review. Originally from the Appalachian South, Courington lives in California.


Twitter: @chellacouringto
Instagram: @chellacourington
Mother/Father Poems@Califragile
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In Their Own Way

Love Letter to Biology 250

Guna Moran & Bibekanada Choudhury – Ponder Away

Original : Assamese : Guna Moran
Translation : Bibekananda Choudhury

Shall return
To this day
Turned into past

In the past
The mind
In the future
The body would stay

Squatting on the carpet of grass
Playing flute on a full moon night
There in the sky above
the youthfulness of the moon is dancing
behind the thin curtain of cloud
Listening to tinkling sound of tinkles
wafting to the ears

World is silent in the magical tune
I am imbibing moonlight getting oblivious of myself
Rain of moonlight is the favourite taste of lover Earth

Shall sit as past
In the holy place of my favourite memory
Shall repeat the same work
Feeling euphoric thinking about it


-Guna Moran is an Assamese poet & critic. His poems are being translated into Italian and France language and have been published in various national and international magazines, journals, websites, newspapers such as The Tuck magazine, Spillword, The Merak magazine, The Setu magazine, Story Mirror, The Poem Hunter, The Sentinal, The Hills Times, Best Poetry and so on.

-Bibekananda Choudhury, an electrical engineer by profession working with the State Government of Assam has completed his Masters from BITS-Pilani. He has also earned a diploma in French language from Gauhati University. He has got published works (both original and translated) in Assamese, Bengali & English in popular periodicals and newspapers. His translated poems have been published in ‘Indian Literature’, the bi-monthly journal of sahitya akademy. ‘Suryakatha’, the Bengali adaptation done by him of the is being taught in the undergraduate Courses of Banglore University and Post graduate Courses of Gauhati University. A collection of 101 folk tales from the foothills of Patkai translated by him has also been taken up by publication by Gauhati University. He is presently the editor-in-chief of Dimorian Review a multidisciplinary web journal.

Okpeta, Gideon Iching – Ponder Away

Sometimes i hurt.

Sometimes i hurt
Sometime -thank God, not always.
Infact, looking back over my life,
i must acknowledge that He has presented
me with far more joy -filled days
than sad ones.
And yet i find myself deeply grateful
for the difficult, sorrow-drenched days,
perhaps even more than for the
easy happy days.
For difficult days have enriched my
spirit so much that i find myself singing
with the hymn writer, 
Adelaide Anne procter:
” I thank your, Lord that all my joy
is touched with pain.
That shadows fall on brighest hours 
than thorns remain,
so that earth’s bliss may be my guide
and not my chain”.
I have much to learn as a child
the most difficult, perhaps, is to learn
how to regard tragedies that beset in
as capable of enhancing my life.
I desperately need the wisdom of Solomon
the forbearance of Job to accept
the painful happenings with
graciousness, even with joy.
For i know that whatever they may be,
God can transform them from uglyliness
into beauty.My key is genuine faith in a loving God,a faith that frees and strengthens meto ensure whatever may come my way.
Each time i am down, i repeat the
words of shakespeare as comfort to walk with:
“He is the most wretched of people 
who has never felt adversity.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
which, like the toad, ugly and venomous wears,
Yet a precious jewel in his head”
Help me that when odd events of life
knock at the door of my heart,
i would respond to them.
I would take the events of my life as 
good and perfect gifts from you
I would receive even the sorrows of
life as disguised gifts from you. 


Okpeta, Gideon Iching is an emerging poet, essayist and a
technologist. He lives in Nigeria.
He’s currently a student at Akanu ibiam Federal Polytechnic,
Unwana Ebonyi State Nigeria,Where he is pursuing his
undergraduate diploma (hnd) in Electrical/Electronics engr. Tech. He
possesses great writing prowess on contemporary issues affecting the
culture of christian society, ethics and morality; which he learned by intuition and research. Most of his poem appear at poem hunter online publishing website.

Meg Smith – Ponder Away

Forest of Exiles

A bonfire snaps,

and laughter leaps

amid the sparks.

Far from the clearing,

I lean into the dark,

trees in their bark

pressing me.

I could run

but I don’t run.

My belly carries

all the stolen

of night.

I could sing,

but I don’t sing,

I leave the truth

in my tracks.


I remove the green —

fine, cutting.

I’m standing amid rows;

summer fruit, heavy;

bees swoon,

as if the air

has intoxicated them.

What do I cut, bleed,


What is my deserted sun.

The earth yields,

still, whole.

Caves of Myrrh 

The first, stone, moved,

a fine powder — 

a last, ‘amen,’

a last feast,

of two, sitting


at the entrance.

What next, 

in the curl of

sweet scent?

One must rise,

one must burn.

My words

will keep my fire,

and so too,

our breath.


Meg Smith is a writer, journalist, dancer and events producer living in Lowell, Mass. Her poems have recently appeared in PoLarity, The Cafe Review, The Horror Zine, Raven Cage eZine, and more. Her most recent poetry books, Dear Deepest Ghost and This Scarlet Dancing, are available on Amazon.

Photo Credit: Derek Savoia

Ikechukwu Obiorah – Ponder Away


Do not dwindle away in a motion of sway

The world needs that your green thumb in bay

To save situations at hand and  make a way

Where there is no fish in sea to help live in ray

Whether you are the bearded vulture of the day

All kinds of specialist are needed in isle of cay

To render some shoulders in building a railway

That will enable souls reach their nautical day

Time is the red sea flowing to every pathway

Spaying the crinkle of living souls that slay

Yet in crossing the divide you need to pray

To spray the anointing of heaven on the way

Don’t strike dumb when things are not okay

Though you are nothing but an earth clay

You have the animus to shift tale of the day

Just tell your tale to the faculty of the clay.


Ikechukwu Obiorah is a Nigerian Writer, a Prolific Poet and Novelist. He studies B.A (Hons) English at the Benue State University, Makurdi; 400 Level.  He is a Student Ambassador of POETS IN NIGERIA (PIN). The Editor in Chief of Writers’ League (BSUM) and also a member of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA Benue Chapter). His poem “The Oracle Bard” has been published in “POETICA 2019” by Clarendon House Publications, England, UK. His poem “The Throne of Truth” published in Ponders Series by Ponder Savant Publications. His poem “Bat of the Underworld” published in Samhain Issue 2019, by Sage Cigarette Magazine, Florida USA. His poem “Skeletal Romance” has also been published in Nigerian Ero Gospel Magazine. He has been published in several reputable International Journals and Magazines. For a decade Poetry has been his sweet heart.

Carl Scharwath – Ponder Away


Carl Scharwath, has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography (His photography was featured on the cover of 6 literary journals.) Two poetry books ‘Journey To Become Forgotten’ (Kind of a Hurricane Press).and ‘Abandoned’ (ScarsTv) have been published. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a dedicated runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo.

Kaci Skiles Laws – Ponder Away


Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, at Bewildering Stories, 50 Haikus, Former People, and is upcoming in The American Journal of Poetry and a few others. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC’s English Department and is currently working on a children’s book called The Boogerman. Some of her and her husband’s visual artwork can be viewed on their YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant.

CL Bledsoe – Ponder Away

Probably Named Jim

Whoever came up with life

insurance was a genius or

a sucker. The value of dissolute

minerals, the odd carved shell

weighed against the shareholders’

faith. I am at my best when

I’m recycled, a worm’s timeshare

he dreams of retiring to someday.

Everything you die for is

a long-established lie, except

Chocodiles, which exist

as part of a publicly traded

entity. Find me an ounce of love,

justice, quiet. There is a kind

of machinery, oiled with the sweat

and blood of somebody else. It grinds

ever onward while we all try

to pretend we’re not screaming.

Remember, as a child, how you

thought nothing? And then,

the first time you realized what

they’d made for you, you raged?

This is how I heal.

I wash enough things

to make me forget

my hands. I count

dogwood blossoms

until I’ve forgotten

how many times

I’ve started over.

I make a video in

the stairwell I just

cried in trying to

sell it to the French.

Offer the squirrels

outside the window

nuts until they pancake

on the glass. Then feel

strangely ashamed. Some

people who don’t

understand time think

it exists all at once.

The past is now.

The present is the past.

And the future is

something that happens

to other people, who

were better at planning

or just had more luck

than I ever did.

To Know Thyself

Start with the proper accoutrements:

a bowtie with soft colors. A hawk’s

wing draped across your clavicle.

Look at what the pretty people do

and then don’t do that. If you don’t

know what to wear, I know a guy

who knows a guy. What I’m saying

is it’s good to have friends, even

if you have to pay for them. Who

do you think isn’t collecting a check

from you? When the villagers come,

slip a mustache onto your upper

lip and tell them the bastard ran out

the back not five minutes ago. Grab

a pitchfork and a torch. Hope

to God that mustache glue holds.

They make it from the neediest horses,

so. The thing is, you weren’t meant

for any of this. No one was. You

were supposed to be a dancer or

lay on the couch for three weeks

straight or find someone who sees

the you you forgot to make yourself

The one that’s clever and cool. Someone

who somehow isn’t disappointed

in the you you became instead because

of traffic and poor time management.

Good luck. There’s not a one of us who

wouldn’t settle for a nice dessert and

something to talk about that isn’t ourselves. 


Raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas, CL Bledsoe is the author of more than twenty books, including the poetry collections RicelandTrashcans in Love, and his newest, Grief Bacon, as well as the Necro-Files novel series and the flash fiction collection Ray’s Sea World. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael  Gushue located here: Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.