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Majda Gama

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The Raven Girl Iris

 

bulb in my hand, parched

from the mail—unwrapped

it lies rooty,

gleaming. Grasping

for earth

it will soon do its

good work—

promise

of rare black

petals in June.

Some old language

begins between us

as I locate the sun

& prepare its food.

Little plant of not-death,

not now.

I cannot unknow

what I know.

from The Call of Paradise

Photo: Sara T. Gama

Susan Okie

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In the Anatomy Lab

 

That night, I unwrapped

only her right hand and sat, probing

to free the lovely network of cables

in her palm. Some impulse made her give

her body. I didn’t know her name,

 or one thing about her life.

 

When I tugged on the flexor digitorum tendons,

her fingers partly closed and her thumb

crooked in. I seemed to see the two of us

as if from outside, and could no longer

name the tendons.  I felt my fingers

from inside her hand.

 

Soon I would open the gates of her ribs,

would hold even her heart in my palm.

Afterward, always, home, to feel your palms

circling on the small of my back.

from Woman at the Crossing  (Grid Books, 2023)

Photo: Walter Weiss

Ed Madden

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A pooka in Arkansas

 

My dad was dying. He had been dying

for weeks. I went for a walk down

the old road beside the family home,

the sun declining in the distant trees.

“Be careful,” my mother said. “There are wolves

in the fields”—she said she had seen the tracks.

I used the walk to phone my love back home,

the man they didn’t know, refused to know,

a name they never used. The nearest field

was fringed with what the combines left behind

of last year’s harvest, threaded now with insects

and weeds. Tractors would plow it all down

soon enough, and death would be here, too,

soon. On the road ahead, a small dog

trotted just beyond me. The wind picked up,

I tucked my phone away. No one headed

out or home, no one on the road,

just the dog. It paused, looked back as if

to ask, How far do you think we’ll go tonight?

from A pooka in Arkansas (The Word Works, 2023)

x

Debora Kuan

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INTENTIONS

 

Six months pregnant, I go to the eyeglass shop

to tighten the corners of my glasses—

 

but the man who attempts to help me

snaps off one wing by mistake 

 

and cannot reattach the hinge. 

With apology, he returns 

 

my life to me, and I hold it

in my hands, a crippled, sighing sparrow. 

 

Lunchtime faces near and recede—

plates of melted custard,

 

a Pissarro of emphatic chatter—

as I retrace the way I came,

 

fledgling slow, a glass piano 

on the floor of the sea, 

 

my body braced for 

whatever softness I should meet.

 

(first published in ZYZZYVA)

Photo: Jessica M. Kaufman

Katherine E. Young

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PHANTOM LIMB 

 

First the doctors peel my flesh, 

expose the bone, saw it smooth.   

Working in layers, they mold muscle,  

snug up tissue to cushion the stump,  

snip skin in overlapping flaps  

exactly the way you’d wrap a present,  

pleating sudden ridges and angles.   

And then, prosthesis: liner, socket, 

foot. I’ll walk, all right: you’ll notice  

nothing amiss, unless you’re watching  

in the evening hour, when shapes  

branch off in doorways, two by two—   

you’ll see me stumble on the side  

he always took, while in the houses  

doors bang shut, lights flick on. 

from Woman Drinking Absinthe, Alan Squire Publishing, 2021

Photo: Samantha H. Collins

KATHERINE E. YOUNG is the author of the poetry collections Woman Drinking Absinthe and Day of the Border Guards (2014 Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize finalist) and the editor of Written in Arlington. She is the translator of work by numerous Russophone writers from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine; awards include the Granum Foundation Translation Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowship. She served as the inaugural Poet Laureate for Arlington, Virginia. 

Mónica Gomery

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DEATH IN SPRING (excerpted)

 

Death in spring

Mutinous birds. 
The message 
comes first thing 
in the morning. Gall 
of the jaundicing 
sun, rising sky. 
Quiet. Car engines.
Wisecrack 
of your blue 
hair. Lamplight 
of you. …
Death in spring. 
Wind readying 
to collect you 
as you drip 
away. God 
with you some-
where, beyond 
the language 
spring speaks. 
All the questions 
you’ve asked 
about God, ... 
And us, saying 
your name…
and the birds say 
your name. 
And the quiet 
creates a blank 
line. We sign 
your name 
to it. Memories 
of you, wiping 
your eyes 
with the 
stars.

Photo: Jess Benjamin

MÓNICA GOMERY is author of Might Kindred, winner, Prairie Schooner Raz-Shumaker Book Prize in Poetry (University of Nebraska Press, 2022); Here is the Night and the Night on the Road (Cooper Dillon Books, 2018); and the chapbook Of Darkness and Tumbling (YesYes Books, 2017). She is winner of the Sappho Prize for Women Poets and the Minola Review Poetry Contest. She lives in Philadelphia and serves as Rabbi and Music Director at Kol Tzedek Synagogue.

Brad Richard

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ZINNIAS

 

There is never enough time to see everything

in the museums we visit most often.

 

I planted ten packets of seeds

and only these sprouted,

 

grew five feet high

and blew facedown in last night’s storm.

 

Watching my husband chop an onion,

I think of all the poets no one reads.

 

Rooted in air, rooted in smoke,

washed away in silt-bearing floods—

 

“Don’t worry, it’s firm,” I call out

to my four-year-old godson

 

as my right leg sinks to the knee

in the mound of dirt I’m climbing.

Photo: Mitch Soileau

BRAD RICHARD's most recent full-length collection is Parasite Kingdom (The Word Works, 2019 - Winner of the Tenth Gate Prize), and his most recent chapbook is In Place (Seven Kitchens Press, 2022 - selected for the Robin Becker chapbook series). He lives in New Orleans, where he gardens, occasionally teaches, and is working on a novel. 

Naomi Mulvihill

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ON LANDMARKS

 

According to the book

on my lap, a toot is a hill

suitable for observation. A pap

is a mountain or hill whose shape

is thought to resemble a woman’s

breast. I barely know my brother.

At thirty-six, he knows

many things. If you ask

him about Charlotte’s Web,

which he’s mastered in braille,

he will tell you that Charlotte’s job

is to be a spider and Wilbur’s

is to be a pig. Even E.B. White

did not fully understand this.

My brother’s never seen himself,

and doesn’t read anything

into a landscape.

 

from The Knife Thrower’s Girl

Photo: Jessie Auger

NAOMI MULVIHILL was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Her chapbook, We All Might Be (Factory Hollow Press), won the 2022 Tomaž Šalamun Prize Editor’s Choice Selection. Her first full-length book of poems, The Knife Thrower’s Girl, was awarded the 2022 Washington Prize (The Word Works).

Kevin McLellan

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A STORM

 

Tired of of / tired by by / your here-

fuse shortening / by

no means explosive nor in need of a voice-

condom / meanwhile

elsewhere / you’re not unlike a ballast

 

from in other words you/

x

KEVIN MCLELLAN is the author of: in other words you/ (selected by Timothy Liu for the 2022 Hilary Tham Capital Collection), Hemispheres, Ornitheology (2019 Massachusetts Book Awards recipient); [box], Tributary and Round Trip. He makes videos under the name, Duck Hunting with the Grammarian and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Tara Betts

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Count Eggs

Break an egg, sing its yolk

into this yellow undulation.

The bowl steadies its rocking

until the stirring stills. Avoid

crying into this breakfast

beginning. Count eggs, while

there is no actual count. A clock

nestled beneath your navel

conceals how many are hiding,

who might stop its hands, start

some other timetable within, or

how to carry, no expelled lining

as you turn into oven, or cradle.

 

from Refuse to Disappear

Photo by Glitterguts

Dr. TARA BETTS is author of Refuse to Disappear, Break the Habit, and Arc & Hue. A teaching artist and mentor for young poets, she has taught at Rutgers University, University of Illinois-Chicago, Northwestern University, and at Stateville Prison. She is the Inaugural Poet for the People Practitioner Fellow at University of Chicago. Betts currently teaches at DePaul University and serves as Poetry Editor at The Langston Hughes Review. She is  founder of the nonprofit organization The Whirlwind Learning Center on Chicago's South Side.

Roger Sedarat

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Haji’s Ekphrastic Mental Mapping

 

Loathing the clichéd striptease,

Haji lays bare

the mapping of his mind,

submitting brain scans

for audience approval,

his frontal white lobe

like negative space

of modernist abstractions

around micro-explosions

of synapses.

Pollock-esque splatters

of orange and red,

primordial topography

of all his desire,

pinball wizard

lighting up the screen

with such a supple wrist,

medium as message,

part and particle

of the machine.

 

from Haji as Puppet

Photo by Megan Colle

ROGER SEDARAT, an Iranian-American poet, scholar and translator, is an associate professor at Queens College, City University of New York’s MFA program. His own work received the Tenth Gate Award for a poet in mid-career from the Word Works for Haji as Puppet: An Orientalist Burlesque.  Other books include Ghazal Games (Ohio UP) and Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic.  His most recent academic book is Emerson in Iran: The American Appropriation of Persian Poetry (SUNY Press). He is co-author and translator of Nature and Nostalgia in the Poetry of Nader Naderpour.   His renderings of classical and contemporary Persian verse have appeared in Poetry, Brooklyn Rail, Michigan Quarterly Review and elsewhere He is a 2015 recipient of the Willis Barnstone Prize for Literary Translation.

Jessica Cuello

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AFTER 

 

No one wanted to clean the blood 

in the shower, so no one did. 

 

Four days went by. My uncle would 

 

not go in; my father was missing; 

police don’t do cleanup. At last, 

 

my uncle’s fiancé went in with a bucket.

 

She was new to our country. The death

was not hers. She was nineteen 

 

and went down on her knees. She wore

 

rubber gloves. A year later she married

my uncle. Her beautiful face glowed 

 

by a candle; her dress was a shiny, deep

 

peach, not white. No one was closer 

to my age when my mother shot herself.

 

Back then, I used to clutch my shoulder 

 

with the opposite hand. One day she

stopped me, and gently lifted my arm.

 

Uncross, she said, Let your chest see.

 

from Liar (Barrow Street, 2021),

first published in Foundry

Photo by Megan Colle

JESSICA CUELLO’s Liar was selected by Dorianne Laux for The Barrow Street Book Prize. Her manuscript Yours, Creature is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in spring of 2023. Cuello is also the author of Hunt (The Word Works, 2017) and Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016). Cuello has been awarded The 2022 Nina Riggs Poetry Prize, two CNY Book Awards, The Washington Prize, The New Letters Poetry Prize, a Saltonstall Fellowship, and The New Ohio Review Poetry Prize. She is poetry editor at Tahoma Literary Review and teaches French in CNY.

Margo Berdeshevsky

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An Hour Chez Delacroix

 

Young, her skies had not

bled or bleached or broken yet,

but dead men sang a cappella

wrestling angels behind walls in 

fierce duets like

Jacob and this seraph, hand to

hand for destiny where the artist’s

hand held his palette of violence— 

 

Now in his garden a summer

 jade— stilled where

August’s petals whisper down

age and she dares to welcome it

in the artist’s  house— 

learn that silence of

struggle for her own where

Jacob and his angel fell.    

 

                       ~           

*  note: there is a small museum in Paris where Delacroix lived and worked on his painting of Jacob wrestling with the angel.

 

 

 from It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat, forthcoming from Salmon Poetry 

x

MARGO BERDESHEVSKY writes in Paris. Her newest book is Kneel Said the Night (a hybrid book in half-notes) / Sundress Publications. Forthcoming is: It Is Still Beautiful To Hear The Heart Beat / Salmon Poetry. Author as well of Before The Drought /Glass-Lyre-Press, Between Soul & Stone and But a Passage in Wilderness / Sheep-Meadow-Press, and Beautiful Soon Enough /FC2. Recent honors include the Grand prize for the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award.

Bill Yarrow

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ARTEFACT

 

The only thing I have left
      of my maternal grandfather
           is a small hand-held mirror
                made of ivory.

It sits in the upstairs
     bedroom dresser drawer
             like an only child.

I have yet to see myself in it.

 

from Accelerant

x

BILL YARROW, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College, is the author of twelve books of poetry including Blasphemer and The Vig of Love. His poems have been published in Poetry International, Mantis, FRiGG, Gargoyle, PANK, Confrontation, Contrary, Diagram, Levure littéraireThrush, Staxtes, Chiron Review, RHINO, Libretto, and many other journals.

JoAnne McFarland

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SLEEPER (excerpt)

 

I’m writing this for all that I’ve lost.

Honoring my life this way is inexpensive.

It’s refusing to grieve that has cost me.

My refusal to grieve broke a man I loved.

He wept for me, even as I refused to weep.

I thought I could get away with it—

my lustrous, grief-less life.

I had a lot of support.

Now, grief fills my pages. 

from Pullman

Photo by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

JOANNE MCFARLAND is an artist, poet, and curator. Her poetry collections include: Acid Rain, Identifying the Body, and Tracks of My Tears published online by The Word Works in 2020. JoAnne's artworks are part of the permanent collections of The Library of Congress, The Columbus Museum of Art, and The Department of State, among others. JoAnne is the Artistic Director of Artpoetica Project Space in Brooklyn which exhibits work that explores the intersection of language and visual representation. JoAnne's collection Pullman will be published by Grid Books in the spring of 2023

Roberto Christiano

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three haiku

 

bitter melon—

the worst thing I’ve ever tasted

 

the raspberry bush

so hard to grow

moves to the neighbor’s yard

 

spring bouquet

a box of good chocolates

I have to forgive you

Photo by Mary Bley

ROBERTO CHRISTIANO’s  poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner (Pushcart Nominated), Beltway Quarterly, Silk Road, The Sow’s Ear, New Verse News, and The Washington Post. His latest book is Port of Leaving (Expanded Edition) published by Finishing Line Press.  He has won two consecutive prizes from writer.org for seasonal poetry. His poetry has been anthologized in The Gávea-Brown Book of Portuguese-American Poetry

Joseph Zaccardi

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A Group of Rats Is Referred to as a Mischief

         ––Jeff Andrews LCpl   

 

Male rats are called bucks while unmated females are referred to as does and pregnant or parent females are called dams while the infants are

called kittens or pups and there’s a species of rodents indigenous to Vietnam about the size of a full-grown Boston Terrier that runs in packs and

we heard their menacing rumble under our

Quonset hut bumping the tongue and groove floorboards and when I say we I mean a squad of nine soldiers sometimes called grunts or draftees

or sometimes referred to as enlisted or as cannon fodder or comrades-in-arms or cited as departed heroes so we lowered our voices sensing that these oversized rats could hear us and attack and for

once our mouths were dry in this country of

humidity and beauty and pleading and in a while

this passel of rodents was gone but we stayed put whispering softly to each other and made a

promise not to mention our fear if we got back to

the states but of course in hindsight after all these years scattered across American towns and cities

like pack rats bushy-tailed woodrats field and

marsh rats I think we miss not being unified in our unease I think we miss being back together.

Photo by Margaretta K. Mitchell

JOSEPH ZACCARDI served as Marin County, California’s poet laureate from 2013-2015. His fifth collection of poetry, The Weight of Bodily Touches, was published by Kelsay Books. His poems have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Rattle, Salamander, and elsewhere.

Meg Kearney

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OWL

 

She birthed you, but she is so

             unknowable.

Is that the word? Try,

             nocturnal. Each night

she glides on wings silent

             as a vole quivering

under snow. Perched on your

             bedroom sill she watches

you dream-twitch, then spins

             her head to spy the snow-

mound ripple—sugary in moonlight—

             as the vole tunnels past pines.

She lifts off, silent still, and you—

             daughter of hurt and squeal—

are awake. When you sigh,

             your heart-shaped face

aches. Is that the word? Try,

              breaks, knowing when she dies

you’ll inherit all she’s swallowed

              whole yet had to leave behind.

Photo by Gabriel Parker

MEG KEARNEY’s All Morning the Crows, winner of the Washington Prize, was published by The Word Works in 2021. Meg is also author of An Unkindness of Ravens, and Home By Now, winner of the PEN New England L.L. Winship Award; a heroic crown/chapbook, The Ice Storm; three verse novels for teens; and award-winning picture book, Trouper, illustrated by E.B. Lewis. She directs the Solstice MFA Program at Lasell University in Massachusetts.

Mervyn Taylor

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THE DAY AFTER THE SCHOOL SHOOTING

In the park, Papa Swan leads

the way down to the water's edge,
gliding out onto the glittery surface,

the babies behind in a straight line,

Mama Swan bringing up the rear.
We waited all evening to see this,

the brood safe, protected, however
many pictures we take, how much the

radio squawks the sad news of our own.

x

MERVYN TAYLOR, a Trinidad-born poet, has taught at Bronx Community College, The New School and in the New York City public school system. He is author of seven books of poetry, including The Waving Gallery (2014), and most recently, Country of Warm Snow (2020), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation that was listed for the Bocas Lit Prize. A new full-length collection, A Common Place, is due Spring 2023. He serves as co-editor on the advisory board of Slapering Hol Press.

Nathalie Anderson

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+1.

 

Betsy Garrett signs the papers not with an X

but with a +. Interest compounding.

Signifying:

Cross hairs. Short hairs. Short Straw.

Candles lit both ends. Irons in the fire.

Overstock. Over-run. Overboard. Eclipse.

Pay up, fool. You'll always owe me more.

An extra chair set fair to the table.

A coat that'll fit you, chit, once you grow out.

Beneath still waters, ice running dark.

Skin-deep? You don't know the half.

More than you bargained for, or you deserve.

Baker's dozen. Lagniappe. Sugar on top.

Shake on it. Shake with it. Can't shake it off.

Fist against hand. Hand to glove.

Saddled with. Hitched. Held. Bound.

   from Held and Firmly Bound

x

NATHALIE F. ANDERSON is an American poet and librettist. She is a 1993 Pew Fellow, and author of numerous books of poetry: Following Fred Astaire, Crawlers, Quiver, Held and Firmly Bound (a chapbook), and Stain.

Margo Stever

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OCEAN BIRDS

 

Jealous is the night,

the feckless night,

coming over us

as water into sea,

the forceful day's

geography turned black.

Your body is the sea

I float upon, your skin

becomes the waves.

Nothing will ever bring

you here to me, nothing

will ever call you back.

   from The End of Horses

Photo by Margaret Fox

MARGO STEVER's latest full-length book is The End of Horses (Broadstone Books, 2022). Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including Plant-Human QuarterlyPlume, Verse Daily, Poem-A-Day on poets.org, Prairie Schooner, Connecticut Review, Poet Lore, Cincinnati Reviewupstreet, and Salamander. She is founder of the Hudson Valley Writers Center and founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York. (www.margotaftstever.com )

Susana H. Case

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THE PSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE 

 

The Institute doctors won’t talk
to the local police about Janey’s file, 

but they have an arrangement 

 

with the FBI. 

For security reasons

How language gets twisted: 

 

security, as in freedom from danger. 

How her death leads to violation 

of facts, strips a person down.

 

Stacks of documents,
life’s scaffolding. The irony 

of a diagnosis of paranoia. 

 

Janey thought the Feds were after her. 

She was right. The cops
all agree she was wacko

   from The Damage Done

Photo by Eric Hoffmann

SUSANA H. CASE has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022. Dead Shark on the N Train, Broadstone Books, 2020 won a Pinnacle Book Award for Best Poetry Book and a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite. She co-edited, with Margo Taft Stever, the anthology I Wanna Be Loved by You: Poems on Marilyn Monroe, Milk and Cake Press, 2022. http://www.susanahcase.com/

Carolyne Wright

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ONE AFTERNOON ON ROYAL STREET

                                    After Kelly Cherry

 

You are reading Les Nègres. I am writing

To César. The sun gleams like a gold doubloon

Over the levee and the early winter bloom

Of camellias, the blue flame trembling

 

In the wall heater. Sun is blooming

With a cool flame, and you are talking

Over César and the early news. I am writing

And camellias are listening past you

 

To the voice of César blooming like a dark sun.

Your voice is a blue flame gleaming

On the pages of Les Nègres. The levees are trembling 

Winter's darkest gold. Listen: I am talking to you.

 

Carolyne Wright

from Masquerade

Photo by Scott Martin

Carolyne Wright's latest books are Masquerade, a memoir in poetry (Lost Horse Press, 2021) and This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems (Lost Horse, 2017), whose title poem received a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Best American Poetry 2009. A Seattle native who has lived and taught all over the country, and on fellowships in Chile, Brazil, India and Bangladesh, she has 16 earlier books, chapbooks, and anthologies of poetry, essays, and translation. A Contributing Editor for the Pushcart Prizes, Carolyne has received NEA and 4Culture grants. A Fulbright Scholar Award will take her back to Bahia, Brazil, post-Covid-19.

E. Ethelbert Miller

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DO YOU STILL SING IN THE SHOWER?

Sometimes the craziest thing you

can do is love someone. I find my arms

are always outgrowing my sleeves. Once

I stood in the shower watching my lover

slip down the drain. When I reached

for the soap she was gone. I’m always

waiting for a woman to come around

a corner from somewhere and love me

maybe forever. This is what happens when

you live alone or don’t own a car.

You find yourself in the middle

of the street wondering why the shower

at home doesn’t work. Love is like water

you can only hold for so long.

E. Ethelbert Miller

Photo by Richard Harteis

E. Ethelbert Miller is a literary activist and author of two memoirs and several poetry collections. He hosts On the Margin with E. Ethelbert Miller (WPFW) and hosts and produces The Scholars (UDC-TV) which received a 2020 Telly Award. Miller’s latest book is When Your Wife Has Tommy John Surgery and Other Baseball Stories (City Point Press).

Barbara Goldberg

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CAUTIONARY TALES

In the woods

are these things:

fingers of madmen

nimble and quick

playing cat's cradle

with ropes meant for strangling

a great horned owl

in the treetop

the soul of a Chippewa

caught in its throat

a sidewinding snake

rubbing its scales

jaws unhinged

hungry for neckbones

quicksand, though no one

knows where exactly

These are stories our children tell us

to keep us from wandering.

...

Barbara Goldberg has authored six prize-winning poetry books, including Breaking & Entering: New and Selected Poems. Recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, she translated and edited contemporary Israel poetry. Goldberg, Series Editor of Word Works International Editions, has selected poets translated from Kurdish, Croatian, and Ancient Greek for publication.

John Bradley

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And so this guy says to his friend

who happens to be a wheelbarrow,

Tell me, amigo, Don't you get tired

of being a wheelbarrow?

And his friend says: Hey, I'm lucky

I got to be a wheelbarrow!

                           *

Something to make you laugh,

César. Or maybe groan.

Yours,

Jeanette

from Hotel Montparnasse: Letters to César Vallejo

Photo by Jana Brubaker

John Bradley is the author of Love-In-Idleness: The Poetry of Roberto Zingarello, which won the Washington Prize, awarded by The Word Works.  He first encountered César Vallejo in the Southeast Minneapolis Public Library, while reading Thomas Merton's Emblems of a Season of Fury.  Vallejo has been a close friend ever since. His latest book is Hotel Montparnasse: Letters to César Vallejo. Bradley is presently a poetry editor for Cider Press Review.

Andrea Carter Brown

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ARS POETICA

 

Let’s not romanticize bodies

falling. Others may use float

or dance; I refuse to pretend.

 

They were not graceful, quiet.

They fell unbelievably fast.

Straight down. Head first.

 

Some screamed. The sound

they made landing? Forget

thud. Louder than the wind.

Photo by Thomas Drescher

Andrea Carter Brown's most recent poetry collection is September 12. Previously, she is the author of Domestic Karma, The Disheveled Bed, and Brook & Rainbow. An avid birder and backyard citrus farmer, she lives in Los Angeles, where she is Series Editor of The Word Works Washington Prize.

Rae Armantrout

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LIONS

 

Lion taming

exists to make us think

that the ferocity of lions

is fake.

 

Or lion taming exists

to parody our sense

of human mastery

over the earth.

 

Of course,

any thought

is a shot in the dark.

 

But a poem exists

to contain it.

 

Now a thought

is a watched pot.  

Photo by Andrea Auge

Rae Armantrout is the author of fifteen books of poems, including Conjure, a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker award,  (Wesleyan, 2020), Wobble (2018), a finalist for the National Book Award, and Versed (2009) which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010.  She is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poet award.

Henry Crawford

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Years Later, Frank O’Hara

 

I was only five

years old

and fifteen

miles away

when you

leaned against

that john door

at the

5 SPOT

 

so I came

to this poem

a little

too young

and a moment

too late

 

to do much

for her except

to listen

eyes closed

saying to myself

it’s only

a song.

***

Henry Crawford is author of two poetry collections, American Software (CW Books 2017) and The Binary Planet (The Word Works 2020). His poems have appeared in several journals and online publications. His poem The Fruits of Famine, won first prize in the 2019 World Food Poetry Competition. His poem Blackout was selected by  Southern Humanities Review as a finalist in the 2018 Jake Adam York Witness Poetry Contest. His poem Making an Auto Insurance Claim was selected as an honorable mention in Winning Writer’s 2019 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. His multi-media work, Gettysburg Auto Tour, was selected as a finalist for the 2019 Deanna Tulley Multimedia Prize. He has produced numerous online poetry events and is the host and developer of the online poetry series, Poets vs The Pandemic.

Grace Cavalieri

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RELEASE

 

Forget what I said before—

It’s evening in Tuscany.

 

Someone is making bread that will not grow stale,

others are picking carciofi.

 

The moon won’t speak one word

so covered with the moss of clouds.

 

I know someone who died, but stays.

I would live it all again.

 

Nothing is divested but the

crêpe myrtle that screams pink.

 

Nothing is enough but the

empty wastebasket where letters once were.

  from The Man Who Got Away

(New Academia)

.

Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s Tenth Poet Laureate. She’s author of 26 collections of poetry. She has had several plays produced, most recently “Quilting The Sun,” NYC 2019. She founded, produces and hosts “The Poet and the Poem,” for public radio, 44 years on-air, now from The Library of Congress. For ten years, Cavalieri was poetry columnist/reviewer for The Washington Independent Review of Books. She has taught poetry workshops in colleges throughout the country. Her latest book is Grace Art-Poems and Paintings (Poets’ Choice Press,2021). She is the recipient of many honors and awards, including the 2013 Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ George Garrett Award, The American Association of University Women, Phi Beta Kappa,  and The Corporation for Public Broadcasting Silver Medal.

David Keplinger

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PREMISE

That your shoes are two fish, a school that moves by the singular will. That the body is here, but elsewhere, too. That there exists a body of wind, one for you, one for the city, the country, the planet. That there’s one wind moving all of this just so. Even the bride in the white wedding gown. And the groom in the charcoal suit. The beautiful car that’s waiting for them. The vast night.

Photo by Czarina Divinagracia

David Keplinger is the author of eight books of poetry, including The World to Come (Conduit, April 2021) and Another City (Milkweed Editions, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 UNT Rilke Prize for a mid-career poet. His other books of prose poetry include The Prayers of Others (New Issues Press, 2006), winner of the Colorado Book Award, and The Most Natural Thing (New Issues Press, 2013). In 2020 he was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America. His books of translations include Forty-One Objects, his 2019 collaboration with Danish poet Carsten René Nielsen, which was a finalist for the 2020 National Translation Award.

Lorna Goodison

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I AM BECOMING MY MOTHER

My mother raises rare blooms
and waters them with tea
her birth waters sang like rivers
my mother is now me

My mother had a linen dress
the colour of the sky
and stored lace and damask
tablecloths
to pull shame out of her eye.

I am becoming my mother
brown/yellow woman
fingers smelling always of onions.

Photo by Scottish Poetry Library

Lorna Goodison, born in Kingston, Jamaica, is author of nine poetry collections, including her latest Collected Poems (UK: Carcanet, 2017). Forthcoming in 2021 is Mother Muse. A painter before she became a working poet, Goodison was educated at the Jamaica School of Art and the School of the Art Students League of New York. She was appointed poet laureate of Jamaica in 2017. In 2018, she received a Windham–Campbell Literature Prize, and in 2019, she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

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