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 the creative talents of poets, writers, 
artists, and photographers all over the world.

Currently Featuring the 2018 Special Edition
The Immigrants 

Review Submission/Guidelines 
for year round submissions

WELCOME TO

Lilly Press
River Poets Journal
in its 12th Year 
of Publication

A Journal of Poetry/Prose/
Fiction/Memoir/Flash
Art & Photography

Below - Sampling of  Poetry and Art from

The 2018 Special Edition - The Immigrants

To view the entire Journal - Select "Special Editions/Anthologies " from the menu above.

On that page click on  The Immigrants River Poets Journal Special Edition 2018.pdf"

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Poems by River Poets Journal Contributors
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 by the individual Authors and Artists/Photographers

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"Half Sleep"

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This page was last updated: July 9, 2018
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zappatore *

my father was a zappatore
his garden was his glory
precision in his planting
meticulous in tending
joyous in his harvest
to see him sweat salted,
smiling in his greening
l'orto siciliano **
was to know the truth
of Demeter and Persephone.
my mother took his mantle
when he died.
her tending a caress
her harvest their embrace
each planted seed
a kiss upon his cheek.

  * agriculturer labourer/digger
  **Sicilian garden

                                        j a farina

1905: Accoutrements of Absolution 

Forgive me my grandmother Amelia’s 
voluminous Edwardian hat of black felt,
its copious white plumes,
its matching fan studded with seed pearls.

One night she nestled that lush chapeau
on her head, swept her arm to test
the play of billowing feathers of her fan
the accessory to her crime, 
as a thousand miles away, Guy Bradley,
bird savior of the Everglades, was crucified.
She indulged in the plunder of egrets, 
ignored reports of the hunters’ rifle shots, 
shut her eyes to photographs
of his riddled body left to rot
like another bird carcass plucked clean.

I inherited her decorous finery and
a quill’s worth of Grossmutter’s vanity.
A hundred years later, I admit I am keeper 
of my grandmother’s bequests,
but grateful to my patron saint
they, mercifully, remain out of fashion.

  ©Karla Linn Merrifield

Visit the Reading Room for a new Flash Fiction story

"The Immigrants," by Marina Celeste (De Mirza) Little

The Illegals 

Moon and clouds conspire 
on this darkest night 
we hide and wait for the boat
wait for our cousin Louisa 
who needs her mother 
Through the quiet river 
the slow boat flounders 
We hide behind a border fence that 
is a pile of blocks to keep her out
At this place near the water 
at a break in the stone 
here we wait for Louisa 
As the boat comes closer 
Louisa jumps out and swims 
towards the brush through eel grass
Her legs pumping, she slows 
the grass entangles her legs
she struggles until by the bushes
we pull her up and through the pile of blocks
Louisa was warm in her mother’s arms 
but not safe 

                                ©Eileen Hugo


Exhilaration

The days of late May linger; it was late.
I calculated—still some leagues to go—
then thought to pick my pace up to a gait.
My great-great-great-grandparents used to know

this road! They might have walked it, with a cart,
or on a Sunday, long before it crossed
their minds to leave the townland farm and start
anew, leaving behind two babes as lost.

I’d seen the records in the church and knew
all of the children’s names and godparents’.
The books went back to 1782
and listed all my great uncles and aunts.

Exhilaration, though, trumped the fatigue
with giddiness which made me see the rains
that drenched me suddenly on the last league
as a refreshment. Giddiness explains

much, but not the equally sudden light that pierced through the cloud wreaths around Blackstair
and Mt. Leinster beneath which, till the blight,
my family had tilled the soil, somewhere.

When you go to Ireland, to your homeland—
for want of any better place to go,
because your cousins want to understand
their roots (and you would also like to know,

because it’s interesting, because it’s there)—
you’re greeted by the makings of your soul,
the dead, which seem to pop up everywhere
to help you home. They’re almost visible.

                                                ©James B. Nicola 

Whitechapel

Mary Jane rang an Irish refrain,
drunk on Ten Bells whiskey.
Her unpolluted apron ablaze,
she surrendered a scarlet shawl
and her weary wildgrass heart 
to the rogue incubus cloaked 
in the serrated fog, haunting
every step of squalid streets,
preying on its darkest shadows.

She placed the native beauty berries
upon her wooden churchyard grave,
marked with the Unfortunate’s brand
she seared upon her own scars
when she abandoned everywhere 
that could tie her to anyone.

In the end, there was nothing
she would not do 
for a fire.

             ©Megan Denese Mealor