Art: "Cheerios" by Eloise Koltun

Poetry: "The Day my Father Died" by Cathy Gilbert

The petroleum fly is nature’s optimist.

It makes the most of a bad situation,

feeding on tiny flecks of bacteria and debris

mired in oily muck, even bearing young.

Halaemiyia Petrolei brings life

into the tar pools’ black death.


Such hope: there, in the darkest of places,

something lives, thrives.  As now, the hand I hold

grows cold, stagnant, the room is heavy with quiet,

and there is the parting of his lips, mouth dry,

and the glistening of my eyes welling, vision blurred,

but still I breathe.  Still I breathe.


Published April 26th 2024

Cathy Gilbert is a professor of English at community college in Central IL. She writes poems and essays inspired by science and motherhood. Her first chapbook _My Limbs a Cradle, my Whisper a Song_ is forthcoming in 2024 with Finishing Line Press.

Eloise Koltun is an illustrator currently working in Minneapolis, where she is currently a student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Cheerios is a landscape that reflects the feelings of an old loss and current grief.