The queen’s belated her head

to crown another day.

Her religion did not fit the roses

swaying each in their meticulous way,

in the land where hearts slowly decompose

crushed love petals are crafted by the dead.


Each thorn hoping to show the wonders

of her handpicked world,

all factored from the fractures of the royal

Hand, controlling the written narrative

of all the begotten land.


knights and queens

kings and fiends

flowers in fields


pollen in the wind,

all burnt dragon breath eventually


the golden narrative finds

its way to Alice’s dreaming head.

The queen of hearts painting black roses red.



Inexperienced Truth 

Sheaves of wheat form the densest hearts

of barley consumed men. Defined in labor

punch cards. If the sun rises late, does the grain

still grow upon strands of genetic code meshed

between sorrow and harvest snows. To make a rare fruit

my father dare devoured. The juice dripped along the tree.


The hollow grandfather oak mirrored a reflection of me. In

mourning the chicken still will crow. As men don’t mind the setting

son. And dandelions will shrivel in the wheat dried heat

of days turned from washrags to iron strings.

A guitar solo for the gallows. Of a squirrel’s lament.

this autumn turned to spring. Echoed in a hallowed tree.

Answered by a bird humming the notes of forgotten

melodies. A toothless man’s hopeless soliloquies.


The key of wheat feeds a thousand men.

Jesus fed fish in basket weaves. A storyline

unraveled to a younger me. The power of a church’s

extension to the masses. If Adam were asked.

He’d say Hell is a no-till field. Where no crops

are placed. Only a pasture fit for horned men

shepparding a land of goats. In that world, i’d eat the fish,


if offered I’d drink to wine

at the end of a grapevine of vulgar truth.

No plant makes a honey tree smell sweet.

Yet the taste of burnt leaves cannot replace the drum

of the loss of another heartbeat. But enough seeds

of barley beads dripping from my cup allows me

the nice balance to live with regret of hearts I’ve eaten

and lives never labored on in a proverbial world

where my word is the densest brick of foundational youth.




This house a home,

I live this house alone.

A space formed of trapped misery

Living as a mouse

smiling because when he roamed

his house was home.

Where he found another bite

a sliver if I’d say

of a trapped piece of misery

A simple one of cheese.

One worth dying for, lying on the cold floor

in his house his home.

So, if you please…

Don’t let me know the truth about to be

Of his trapped misery.

Can’t you see?

He is happy to take the cheese,

in his house his home

his everlasting misery.


A Life Conducted

I began life before defeat

I stepped up and missed my beat.

Sweating knees and broken backs like the rest

is an eight-track my father has played on repeat.

For he wanted to be a music teacher, but when

I think of my father, there is no angry melody

that will do. And if dreams were symphonies,

I have heard my father sing and I’d note

the key change poverty can bring.


Because if life is an orchestra, I’ve been playing second

string, still listening to the beat of tired feet trying to get

farm feed.


So I still wonder will my future children actually be

defined by their traits or by eviction signs posted on their


But as my grandmother told my mother

who then told me all we are is dust and death. 

And I think all I want to be— is more.




Snip grey snout tip, whiskers kiss her bit

Of unwashed chin- the piece of hair sticks

With the grit of a man, who cannot forget

What love had been. And how love had felt


In a moment the embrace was nectar made

A head to chest cavity. A heart beat more steadily

If this was goodbye, he’d rather life would end.

Ironic as a knife slit wrist wrapped around his waist


And her look. Was the look that cries not begs

To ask life for more than a hug to forget

And the eyes that pry to say I loved you 

        long before, but never again today. 


In time age greyed his moral alibi, the line of right

In wrong shifted the sand. His mind lied

to who he once was, to keep who he was alive

And a salt stream dropped from her eye.

The sign of a solid goodbye.


Biographical Note: Joseph (Manny) Heilman is a Senior at the Ohio State University, where he studies a double major of Political Science and Creative Writing. He writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. This is his first publication, and he is honored to be a part of this journal.