Category Archives: Poetry

Husk by Ellis Elliot

Photo of pumpkins in front of corn stalks

She was a day past presence, riding the jagged breath below the surface of consciousness, and I was running to make the next plane to Arkansas. My footsteps parted the ear-splitting everyday announcements on the static speaker of gate changes and baggage claim. I was running, gunning the rental car through the curved roads of the Ozarks, frantic for her to hear the familiar cadence of my voice. She was inside her last flickering, the holding place just beneath the skin papered over bone. Her skull was a half-empty wasp nest, a grave tempo of … Continue reading Husk by Ellis Elliot

How to Weigh Loss by Charlotte Matthews

two side by side broken see-saws

  Even though see saws are a thing of the past. I’ll return to a warm June evening when my brother and I have walked to the local elementary school. We seat ourselves on opposite ends, hold onto the metal handles and rise and descend, one in the air, the other on the ground, small craters where children before us have done the same with their feet. We pull out tangerines we’ve stashed in our windbreakers, peel them in unison, one of us suspending the other, trusting a smooth descent. Years later, on an interstate, … Continue reading How to Weigh Loss by Charlotte Matthews

Tennessee, 2004 by Eric Forsbergh

old bone set atop small stone tower

…..I’m as independent as a hog on ice, and if they don’t let me alone they will be sorry for it. ………………..Journal of Private Sarah Wakeman A Spring plowing incident when something gleams. Oblivion unearthed, a brass buckle bears US. The tractor falls quiet. Only insects hiss. A shovel scrapes a bone. Then two. The coroner assembles all the requisites. From the shallow grave, dirt is troweled away. A small man, maybe a drummer boy. A skeleton, alone, hands composed. Forensics is surprised to find a woman, pelvis telling much. No birth but death. No … Continue reading Tennessee, 2004 by Eric Forsbergh

Peeling Squash by Mark Belair

field of squash with mountains

We had the whole summer afternoon to peel squash in the cool of the barn, me and Mike and Old Ed, the tenant farmer before Mike who still dropped by from time to time in clean overalls to check on the progress of the crops. Mike asked Ed, as I rose to drink freezing water from a dusty black hose, about an old stooped woman he might remember, but Ed couldn’t remember; well, anyway, Mike said, she came back and without even asking set herself to picking fudge just like she used to. Fudge grew … Continue reading Peeling Squash by Mark Belair

Taxonomic Confessions by Nate Braeuer

Silhouette of man against dusky sky

  I mix up the names of common furniture pieces like cupboards and cabinets, closets and shelves And bureaus. And Ursas, both major and minor Armoires. To know only of somethingness— I can’t name one star and I’ve waited so long for these cupped hands to dip they’ve grown stoic I lie down in night frost            the twin clotheslines above cross like high wires                         for timid constellations I feel space like I’ve reached              the cold region of a cabinet— I watch keyholes flicker starlight                         from a closet If I could rise … Continue reading Taxonomic Confessions by Nate Braeuer

Hunting Gems and Pamplona, Virginia, 2 poems by James Swansbrough

Photo of man and child climbing mountain

Hunting Gems I don’t comprehend the chemistry of how geodes form but their creation makes enough sense for my layman mind to teach an abridged version to my daughter: Some rocks may look dull, but many have secret hollows inside. If water and minerals can creep in and dry, over time they can grow into the beautiful crystals they are now. There’s a lesson in that for her, I’ll think. Something about humility and patience or about finding unexpected splendor on the inside. But I won’t share the metaphor with her no matter how inspiring … Continue reading Hunting Gems and Pamplona, Virginia, 2 poems by James Swansbrough

Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Clair Scott

Photo of old man walking with girl

Little Betrayals I was six I knew he had a quarter in his pocket I knew it was mine if when he roared who is the greatest grandpapa of all and the silver and Wedgewood china on table shook and the Irish maids ghosted by in starched uniforms and the chauffeur polished the silver Lincoln Continental and my grandmother tended to the terra cotta pots of pink and white orchids in the gazebo and my face flamed and I yelled Grandpapa looking down at my poodle skirt its rhinestone eye staring   Not Exactly Genesis … Continue reading Little Betrayals and Not Exactly Genesis, 2 poems by Clair Scott

Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

Photo of stone gateway

Fate is read in the routes of the snails that methodically spell their own names in the park. Leaves shrivel and shiver off of white birch trees. Alongside an old church, pigeons storm a sliver of stale bread that once was communion, and the sounds of taxis and Ubers buzz by the parks as the partitioned paths of bees. Nervously, an academic and the pipes of the chemistry department share a smoke, while the pipes’ rusty stubble snags the cool evening’s light. The goldfinch warbles choirlike before it swoops in to cull a butterfly stuck … Continue reading Russel Square by Andrew Hanson

The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

man and woman kissing in sunbeam

If you were mine, I could do such wonderful things. Oh, the stupid idea of being a human being and having to do all that sucking to stay alive—and then he learns to talk! Howl into the fierce grizzly innards of interpersonal relations. The dumb have the advantage. Nothing but silence won’t hurt. I wished, oh how it could have been, stepping into a gentle night when even leaving was a sociable act with the band playing in the background. I can’t tell you how happy I am in a land of tapping fingers and … Continue reading The Dumb Have the Advantage by Jim Klein

Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell

blue and purple light swirl at carnival

My brother and I played war in a ditch near the Ferris Wheel while the carnival barker shouted. Our games didn’t take precedence over my wanting to live like a civilized person, but my father couldn’t afford violin lessons for me. Most of my teachers sucked, and we had only cookbooks and a ragged dictionary at home. My father killed so many deer we had plenty to eat, but I still wore a thick jacket in the cold. I can’t say it called me to the world, but I loved snapping the bra strap of … Continue reading Carnival to Miss Greenstein by Charles Cantrell