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Robert Rothman

The Monk's Halo



        I sometimes forget, I have


                been here so long. The days of sweat and freeze 


with herring-filled cheeks like a greedy gull, the silver skinned


                         fish slithering down the pink of my throat arched


in the eating, the shots of fermented potato vodka scorching


        a path along the tufted tissue. I am


                becoming desperate. The brief summer stings like a


salted cut. I stuff my mouth with lingonberries and let the


                         juice pock me red and savage. In my dreams 


I am at the dais. Our king is speaking in the crystalline of the


       native tongue.  Surrounded by the court, he


              instructs me, breathing the words in, like a lover


with a kiss. His face is kindly but severe. “You will carry


                        on as long as needed. You act in my


stead.” Then he lifted the scepter and touched my head.



It’s not as he thought, from goodness

        the faint nimbus grows. His brow is pained


surprise, as if needles were circling the

        tonsured skull, his fingers half-through the


inchoate, flickering, copper-colored halo, and

        palms pushing down on a tattoo of purplish


pinpricks pock-marking his crown.  In

        the open mouth and staring eyes a wonder


and doubt. Beginning in the bottom right of

        the painting, like a series of stained-glass


windows, small rectangular panels that span 

        the four sides of the canvas, the monk is shown


in fourteen separate scenes, his progressive

        Stations of the Cross toward the Calvary of


this discovery. Through his heart a

        metaphorical spear, luminescent with


specks of blood, like tears, falling. He is

        dressed in an undyed gray wool habit, cowl


thrown back so his full face is seen.

                Fleshy, with a scraggly beard, he is


past middle-age, and face lined with deep

        cuts. His head is tilted upward, and all around


him, coming from above, in a fine glaze, like

        rain, over the entire scene, a pointillist flickering


of minute blue and white drops, that

        blurs and intensifies the monk’s stunned face.

About the Writer      


            Robert Rothman lives in Northern California, near extensive trails and open space, with the Pacific Ocean over the hill. His work has appeared in the Atlanta Review, The Alembic, Existere, the Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Westview, Willow Review and over thirty other literary journals. http://


Robert Rothman


-- Ambassador To A Distant Kingdom In The North County

-- The Monk's Halo


Leah MacLean-Evans

-- Blood Days Recipe


Paula Bernett


-- Memory Consumed So It Was Never

-- Quill and Brood

Gordon Massman


-- The Master of Nothing

-- My Appassionato

-- Finnegan's Religion

Naomi Ruth Lewinsky


-- To My Brother's Late Dragon Lady

Marie Andree-Auclaire

-- Closer Than One Thinks

Joelle Barron

-- Total Eclipse

-- House Stuff

Claire Matthews

-- My Underwear Drawer Houses the Book of Mormon

Claire Kelly

-- Poem for a Woman I Made Up

Benjamin Hertwig

-- sunday mornings, after Afghanistan

Eugenie Juliet Theall

-- Other than a Paperweight

Will Harris

-- Imam Ali Shrine

-- Kangaroo Wall


Mallory Tater


-- Heat Dream


Liz Johnston


-- Public Transit

Gardner Landry


-- Mayonaise

Benjamin Dugdale

-- Orlando Two Point O: Hashtag Forever Yung

Artwork and Photography

Gord Marci Jr.

-- Typewriter With Note

Allen Forrest


-- The New World Manbike 12 x 9 2016

-- The New World Workers 2 Ink 15 x 11 2016

Kerry Rawlinson

-- Mistry Trees

David Mutnjakovik

-- Let it Begin

Colette Campbell-Moscrop

-- Untitled-Gouache, Graphite, Ink and Watercolour on Laid-Textured Paper

-- Nope-Gouache, Graphite, Ink and Watercolour on Found Paper

-- Horrible Together, Full Circle-Ink on Cardboard Paper


Margaret Crawford


-- A Review of Kathleen McCraken's Double Self-Portrait with Mirror: New and Selected Poems (1978-2014)

-- A Review of R. Aviars Utskins' The Hoosier Zebra and other "Poims"

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