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Cover art by Joel Salcido Ruiz








Editor's Note

James R. Adair

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” “A book of verses underneath the bough. A jug of wine, a loaf of bread—and thou.” “When you are with everyone but me, you’re with no one. When you are with no one but me, you’re with everyone.” “I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.” “O my Luve is like a red, red rose.” “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.” “Whatever happens with us, your body will haunt mine.”

These brief excerpts from poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Omar Khayyam, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Robert Burns, William Shakespeare, and Adrienne Rich, respectively, engage a single subject—love—from different angles. Love poetry may focus on tenderness, passion, sexual intimacy, intellectual compatibility, friendship, family ties, and much more. The single word love seems inadequate to contain the various meanings, emotions, and actions that encompass it. Maybe that’s why the ancient Greeks had at least four different words to address the different shades of meaning: one that focused on physical, passionate love (eros, from which we get the word erotic); one for the kind of love that manifests itself in many ways, including friendship (philia, as in the name Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love); one that can mean the love of two spouses for one another but that was appropriated by many early Christian writers—borrowing from their Jewish forebears—to refer to the love between humans and God (agapē); and one that refers especially to familial love (storgē, a cognate of our English word stork, a bird noted for the care of its young).

This issue of Voices de la Luna focuses on love, examining it from a multitude of perspectives. Because the topic of love attracted the attention of so many poets, we had an extraordinary number of submissions to this issue, and we accordingly expanded the number of pages devoted to poetry. Here are a few excerpts from the poems we include. “Like a rhythmic dance our bodies became a delicious delight of magic as I watched your joy meet mine” (Diane Raab). “If love exists, it exists in thickets of grass, in the way you touch my hand, in the way the stream ripples over smooth stones” (Shanan Ballam). “My mother touched hearts with her words, encouraging shared work and sacrifice, criticizing rude behavior, reciting tones in the shape of prayers” (Dianne Bertrand).

That’s not to say that love cannot be expressed in prose, too, and we have four prose contributions that address relationships and show the characters connecting in different ways. And doesn’t love always begin with connection?

Finally, I want to acknowledge two important losses that have affected the Voices family in recent days. First, our co-founder Jim Brandenburg, poet and poetry therapist, as well as a regular contributor to Voices, passed away in January. A tribute to his life and contributions is on pp. 22-23. Second, our first board president, Dr. Harmon Kelley, also died in January, and a brief memorial is on p. 39. Our warmest condolences go out to their families and friends.


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Themes for future issues
May 2023: Writing Pride (LGBTQ+)
August 2023: Quinceañera Issue

Current Voices


To Those Born Later

Ken Fontenot

Like a forgotten love the twenty-dollar bill doesn’t mean what it used to. And the light passes through my hair along with my comb. I have turned myself into the madhouse of March. It has a way of making me feel better. What crime have I committed except to love the light? What essence comes over us just before we sink from life? This path, always for those born later. This being, not even as simple as jumping rope to chants. The children know things we don’t. But then they forget. And relearning requires a true spirit. If we’re up to it. I try to make my days easy to slip into. The sunset burns. The wind fits any body. The seas equal their great reputation. Often the full moon seems to be a TV set left on. At night. When it’s the only light. As the leaves dance.




jupiter bowls

Melina Lozano





Marla Dial Moore

Scientists call it “resilience”— the art of holding one’s shape with integrity, no matter how many times I’ve been crushed underfoot, torn apart, smashed into pieces for the microscope slide. I was there at the world’s beginning— seldom noticed, mostly colorless before the days of alchemy and carbon-dating. I found a way to burrow and hide inside the crust of almost everything. Even after quartz and feldspar metamorphose, breaking down to particles no longer identifiable as quartz or feldspar, my heart of crystal beats on, keeping time, counting days, remarking history— all that changes, and what does not. This constant structure of atoms endures, waits to be joined with like crystals, the way love bonds to love, and raindrop to raindrop— rivers of time still eroding all of that granite, all that is not us.




Rough Hair

Prosper Aluu




This Morning

James Dennis

This morning I can’t think of anything to write about other than the way the light slowly moves across my bookcases until it comes to rest, just for a little bit, on Borges. To be honest, I cannot blame the light for pausing there for a bit of a respite. I, too, have lingered within the great athenaeum of his thoughts. Wanting to break the ice, I summon my most affable, yet literary, smile and offer up a suggestion to the morning light: “Have you given any thought to Gabriel García Márquez?”




Tierra Espina Agave

Joel Salcido Ruiz




The Arrowhead

Ed Patterson

Thirteen-year-old Raymond O’Riley’s father takes a left turn off the two-lane highway, crossing the bumpy Norfolk Southern rail lines and continuing on past the “POSTED No Trespassing” signs that line the narrow dirt road. Like a hunting dog waiting to spring out of the car, Raymond waits impatiently in the front seat to start his quest on this early November afternoon. “Here ya go,” says his dad. “This is a good spot.”

When the car finally rolls to a stop over half a mile from the highway, Raymond steps out of the brown ’76 Plymouth Volaré into the gray country of late fall. He looks out over the wide, sweeping field to the distant river.

“My first real Indian treasure hunt!” he says. His imagination takes flight as he envisions miles of Native American teepees and rising smoke on the shore down by the lazy brown Susquehanna River.

The whole freshly plowed field is his to explore. Row upon row of leveled waves of dirt before him are open for him to hunt. Nothing will stop him. He has always wanted to touch something from buried history. Something to break himself free from his everyday life.

His dad grabs his shotgun from the back seat and snatches up a handful of red 12-gauge shotgun shells. “I’m going up the hill for a few hours. If you get cold, stay in the car. I’ll be back when it gets dark. Hope you find an arrowhead.”

But the POSTED signs loom, and Raymond feels a strange crawling sensation under his skin. He looks over his shoulder and thinks: Some farmer owns this land, and maybe the railroad had it before they did. Now, no one’ll know I’m here. Who’s to see me anyway?… I can take what I want!

The late-afternoon sun is bright and warm. Raymond sheds his red windbreaker, peels off his sweatshirt, and pushes up his sleeves. He tosses the sweatshirt into the back seat and ties the sleeves of the windbreaker around his waist. He watches his dad walk past the No Trespassing signs, cross the railroad tracks, and head beyond the two-lane highway to the hill.

Raymond laces up his calf-high rubber boots and walks into the field, his bright eyes hungry for treasure. He hunches over to inspect the rich soil, searching for odd shapes edging up from the ground. He pulls up the clod of an old cornstalk and finds a broken white clay pipe.

This is a great spot! If this was gold, I’d be rich! His adrenaline quickens as he searches for the next artifact. An arrowhead! A one-and-a-half-inch, precisely chipped arrowhead of black flint. He rubs off the crumbling dirt and holds it up to the lowering sun like an offering. Raymond breathes in the clean earth from the ancient sharp stone. My first arrowhead!

He is proud of his find and wants to keep hunting, but the darkening sky is stealing his shadow. He’s losing daylight fast. A murder of crows flies over the field, and he feels the crawling under his skin again, as if he is being watched. “Who’s there?” he shouts, turning around. Nobody. Nothing but the long shadows, the wind, and the crows sitting on a broken maple tree watching him from across the field. “Whatever…” he shrugs dismissively.

Soon his cotton-lined windbreaker isn’t enough to ward off the increasingly sharp, cold wind buffeting his face and chest. He zips the jacket and flips the collar up. I should go to the car, unload my pockets, and grab my sweatshirt. As he looks back toward the Volaré, he spots another artifact, forgets about the sweatshirt, and rushes to unearth it.

Suddenly his feet sink into soil still wet from the prior night’s rain and he can’t move. The cementing muddy ooze has trapped his legs.

As the wind howls, the strange crawling returns. Raymond holds onto the treasures in his pockets to keep them safe. He feels nothing but the biting pain of his cold ears, hands, and face. He can’t move his legs without going knee-deep or worse.

“I’m stuck! How can I get back to the car?” he whines out loud. The brown Volaré sits, safe and warm, out of reach.