My friend looks like he stands tall and straight. But for fifty years, he’s lived in his brain. He can’t bear you to know he can’t bear his body. Hidden inside, a fiddlehead, curled to protect a tender secret it’s not in vogue to keep. After the death of one parent’s wits and another parent’s heart, he tries on the latest fashion. But bravery carries a price his sister makes him pay. And with half a century of silence, his fetal back is broken. Unfurling is nothing but pain. Sara Dovre Wudali is a writer … Continue reading Tender by Sara Dovre Wudali→
Bullfrogs Always in discord, they are summer’s yellow-throated singers, so deep in distress, I cannot tell if the voice is mine or theirs cannot even tell if it is fright or sorrow, the pained thrum which gives to a humid night echoes in the eardrum, a reverb as haunting as an owl or one’s racing heart, which lingers when they sleep during the panting heat of day while the moon seeps silent under the bright horizon what remains is close to sweat and skin, a dizzy reminder of hidden pasts, sounds of the South and … Continue reading Bullfrogs and San Juan Island, 2 poems by Brooke Dwojak Lehmann→
It’s never what they weigh; it’s not the depth of silence they have known; it’s not the round- or hardness of their edges, certain color or uncertain age that proffer worth. Metals, crystals, precious on their own, may dwell within the body of a rock, but never mind those false alarms of wealth. The treasure of each stone lives in its skill: the subtle art of timing, moving even still, invisible for eons—until now, when heavy, sad, I sought a place to put my head, first walk without the old dog; not wanting to … Continue reading The Value of Stones by Michael Quattrone→
Turn at the sign–Galilee Cemetery– a flat, packed-down dirt road the weary color of clay not a person in sight just fields, blowing dirt fields dry bones under hard sun. Turn again where, on the right there’s a dark puddle big as a pond The crows standing round it will startle and scatter in flight cawing while you keep going. Ahead there is shade at last pines, cedars, oaks with moss shadows over graves in safe family clusters. They pass the day that way. Leave on the same pale road you came in on. … Continue reading Cemetery Road by Ann Webster→
Solvitur Ambulando—a Latin phrase meaning “it is solved by walking”—is credited to the philosopher Diogenes in the fourth century BCE. He uttered this phrase when presented with a difficult metaphysical question, though judging from the masses of people I’ve seen out walking over the past year, some of us are rediscovering the truth of that observation. Of course there are many different kinds of walking; fitness walking, pilgrimages, walks with mapped out ends and destinations. But the walking Diogenes refers to is aimless walking, purposeless walking and it is this type of walking that has … Continue reading The Habit of Walking by Sharon Ackerman→
By the river a sign warns
of sudden flooding
because of the nearby
nuclear power plant which looms
over tree farms and poppy fields.
Years back the utility company
built a new road and park,
giving out enticement like soldiers
do with candy bars
in occupied zones.
Now most town folks work there
and pray nothing bad happens.
We are in the next village,
one as pretty
as the guidebook says.
We sleep easily in a house
scented by a lush garden.
We too pray but sometimes
a squadron of black smoke escapes
into our dream and stays.
Pui Ying Wong is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chapbooks. She has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume, New Letters, Zone 3, among others. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.
Cosseting daylight tousles her hair, chucks her under the chin, pinches her cheek. Won’t let her cross the road without a firm hold—even at the corner when she looks both ways. Once night rises, shadows from headlights overlap shadows from moonlight overlap shadows from kitchen incandescence. Overlap flashlight’s narrow way. Only in light are there shadows. With the yard light’s firm hold on the drive, shadows tousle her eye, chuck foreboding. Dark waits out the routine just around the corner of the shed, behind the tree, the other side of the truck. So much distraction … Continue reading Poised by Barbara Saunier→
No IOU’s where were we when the planet became death remember the small dark seed that shaped a new way remember when small and weak became large and capable and that when we tell the dead we see them the tragedy and the vengeance that fells a heart falls away and yes we fear change and fall apart when death arrives and yes we want the hands that feel the feet that walk the eyes that see even here at the edge where death wakes and strange events taste the mystery here we meet pray … Continue reading No IOU’s and The Path Ahead, 2 poems by Evalyn Lee→
At times I almost convinced myself the Whitman photograph, signed, would be mine, instead of the Longfellow which hangs in the big room in airs chilly and wintry, night falling, as I listen for nonchalant Walt to appear. How the thought cheers me, singing still, for I called Nin’s father, “Dad,” seeing him rise up singing arumph arumph in his bass-o-roar-re-o: Whitman? Sure, he said. He was parceling things in a manner to appear partial to his son-in-law, yours truly, whose mine I learned not to shout, begetting such failures falling, even though another … Continue reading Shub’s Sestina for his Father-in-Law by Shelby Stephenson→
What’s Worthy “A man is only as good as his word,” my father used to say and I’ve tried to live up to that—even now I hate telling the smallest, inconsequential lie. In a scene from How Green Was My Valley one of the coalminer’s sons says to his coalminer father “If manners prevent us from speaking the truth, then we will be without manners” and I like to think my days of being without has been bountiful, despite some missteps my father must have committed too. On the whole, my father would have been … Continue reading What’s Worthy and Hue, 2 poems by Tim Suermondt→
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