Judas Bird


Judas Bird

Deep within a tangle-thorn bush, protected, an albino raven eyes the surging crowd streaming up the deadened hill like a suppurating wound, past the clay citadels of the ancient, walled city. The bird understands little of the excess wailing lamentations of the drab, desert people nor the fanfare of purple and gold-clad guards, other than as another opportunity to feast, later.

Cocking his head to one side, with his midnight eyes he studies the travails of the bloodied man stuttering uphill, stumbling, falling repeatedly, burdened by the cross-timbers he labors under. The weeping of the women increases in volume as the rank, aural tang of iron on iron assaults the ears of the ivory bird, causing him enough anguish to fluff his wings in an act of disgust. One of the uniformed men throws a stone at him, missing even the ring of thorns from which he watches these periodic ceremonies; unruffled, he resettles deeper into the vines patiently waiting his turn.



Rick Hartwell

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) who just moved to northern Illinois with his wife of fifty years, Sally Ann (upon whom he is emotionally, physically, and spiritually dependent), one grown daughter, and ten cats! Like Blake, Thoreau and Merton, he believes that the instant contains eternity.

He has been published in: Active Muse, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, Black Poppy Review, The Piker Press, Birmingham Arts Journal, Phenomenal Literature, VerbalArt, Tipton Poetry Journal, Bindweed Magazine, The Cortland Review, Dual Coast Magazine, The Clayjar Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Every Day Fiction, Foreshadow Magazine, Gaia Lit, Our Day’s Encounter, Agape Review, Blue Lake Review, EgoPHobia, The Galway Review, Fine Lines, Juste Literary,  The Curie Review, Surely As The Sun, 7th Circle Pyrite, Compass Rose Literary Journal, Antler Velvet Arts Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review (nominated Best of the Net, 2016), Poppy Road Review (selected as Best of the Net, 2011), Torrid Literature Journal (inducted into the Hall of Fame, 2013), Synchronized Chaos (nominated as Best of the Net, 2013), The Stray Branch, Steam Ticket, Leaves of Ink, Poetry Magazine (Editor’s Circle choices 2011), One Title Magazine (received The Jeffster Award from Deconstructing Myths, 2015), Autumn Moon Haiku, and others, both print and online, as well as several anthologies,.



  1. a sharp micro fiction piece. These are rare to come by,

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