The Shine Journal

Exceptional Flash, Poetry, Art and Photography!

Two From Joseph Lombo






Sister Gertrude squints through bifocals

as she stands in the stairwell

overlooking the schoolyard.

Her habit flaps in the breeze

yet she remains grounded,

proving once again

that penguins can’t fly.


I’m huddled like a leper

against a rusty chain link fence,

counting the 600 seconds

until recess is over.

Ken and his followers

surround me like sharks

circling their prey.


Ken’s ears are cold,

he wants your hat

a faceless voice demands.

I pray like Sister Gertrude taught us

but she’s squinting

in the opposite direction

and He’s too busy to intercede.


I tell them I left it in the classroom,

and point to my hatless head.

They form a circle,

assaulting me in waves from all directions,

rubbing my head and plucking my ears

until everything above my neck is on fire.


Tomato ears, one says

and then another

until the whole schoolyard is chanting it.

Tears I’m holding back cloud my vision

except for one smiling face

that is completely in focus.


I wouldn’t be laughing

if I were you, Dead Eye.

Glen, who lost an eye last summer

stops smiling and his face

hardens like it has been set in concrete.


The peal of Sister Gertrude’s bell

calls recess to an end.

We form lines

but nobody wants to stand

next to me.


I watch Glen

secretly wipe his sniffling nose

and the cheek under his glass eye

with his shirtsleeve.

When he turns to see

if anyone is looking

our eyes meet

and I look away.  








Image by:Andrea Kratzenberg





An angry sun

competes with a smoggy sky

while patches of light

seep through grimy windows.


We jump over wash baskets

and crash into sudsy machines

catching touchdown passes

in a sock football game.


A billowing cigar

hiding behind yesterday’s racing forms

counts change behind a counter

and tells us to knock it off.


But the rolled up socks

just left my hand

wobbling like a bullet

fired from a sawed off shotgun.


Squinting into the dirty light

you drop the pass

but catch a rusty coin slot

with your eye.


The window to your soul shatters;

bleached whites

turn blood red

when pressed against your oozing face.


I keep seeing you

in my mind’s eye as I run away,

followed by a scalding sun

that refuses to set.


Bio: I’m an insurance manager with an undergraduate degree in  Insurance and Risk Management from Temple University and Master’s  degree in writing from Rowan University . I live in Turnersville , New  Jersey with my wife and two daughters. My work has appeared in  Philadelphia Stories magazine.It will also appear in BAP  Quartery and Sub-Lit magazines.

Motivation:Personal experience

Click the pics to meet the members!

Margaret OkuboSue 

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