A Tiny Drop of Truth — By Jason Ryberg

Sometimes the summer night’s hot whisper

is nothing more than a black snake’s hiss of a word

we cannot always quite discern-


a momentary corridor 

of connectivity between us 

and the outer darkness 

between the stars-


a smooth shiny pebble of a word

barely graspable in its hard



nearly as ethereal on its surface 

as the thought

at its dark heart,


a thought with a tiny drop of truth

in its blood, like a poison,

secretly insinuated into 

the winding stream of things

in an attempt to stimulate some sort of healing

of the tear between the way things appear to be

and the way things really are,


a truth that by fevering up the blood a bit

and disquieting deep dreams

and maybe thereby prying open the inner onion-eye

that sleeps, deeply, at the center of the mind

forces itself 


to at least be disbelieved.

~ Jason Ryberg

Jason Ryberg is the author of twelve books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.  He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collections of poems are A Secret History of the Nighttime World (39 West, 2018) and Lone Wolves, Black Sheep and Red-Headed Stepchildren (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2018). He lives part-time in Kansas City and Salina with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and the Chiron Review. He is the recent recipient of the Rattle Chapbook Award for 2019. Ortolani is the Manuscript Editor for Woodley Press in Topeka, Kansas.

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