Mina Bazaar In Late October
By Ronnie K. Stephens

In the shower this morning
I thought of the slow entrance
the pulse of shared space
the explosion of bodies

(a Mosque on its knees)

the delicate hand on my thigh
the child calling for father
the child calling for mother

(eyes thick with mortar and soot)

the hot sweat of no answer
the telephone ringing in Texas
the telephone ringing in Indiana

(the ears ringing in Peshawar)

The Last Time I Held You
After a photo taken in a Syrian market, February 8th
By Ronnie K. Stephens

Your chest is a spent shell
heart rioted from bone
like an abandoned bouquet.

The shroud covers the parts of you
we will bury when the news anchor
goes home, a deflated memory.

They would call you martyr
if martyr did not carry such connotation
in the market. Six thousand bullet casings

hollowed. Soot rising like soldiers
charging daybreak. One held breath
and the battle cry erupts


Ronnie K. Stephens writes poems on his refrigerator every morning. He wrangles teenagers for a living, and sometimes convinces them to turn their poems into new pennies after school. The word victim is constantly challenged in his writing. The only math he knows is balance. If it’s not equal, it’s not finished. His poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, The Licking River Review, Weave Magazine, DASH and PANK, among others.