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→
ALMOST A Steinway. A red silk dress. The audience still, anticipating the first note of Schubert’s B-Flat Sonata. Anthony Tommasini ten rows back will write the most sensitive Schubert ever in tomorrow’s New York Times. My hands hover over the keys. I begin with lyric phrases followed by the ominous trill. My little brother. Composing contrapuntal music at the age of five, playing flawless Chopin preludes presto con fuoco on his gleaming grand piano. Illustrious teachers line up to listen tweaking their moustaches in disbelief. Downstairs I bang fortissimo chopsticks on the old second hand … Continue reading Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Clair Scott→
You would think that as an artist, I would not struggle to describe the leitmotif of my paintings, yet I find myself searching for identifiable techniques, common hue or echoing tableau. How to connect lost edges of watercolor to hard edge of acrylic? Or should those edges connect to the cosmos? How to lift lines, meld secondary and tertiary hues? Or should the lines lift off from NASA, taking with them my paper, brush, arm? Shall I cut in with angular brush? Better yet, cut in with a knife? Yes, that would lend interest— … Continue reading Leitmotif by Terry Cox-Joseph→
Learning the Names of Flowers Each day, when my wife reaches inside the mailbox, her eyes catch on the bright morning glories, whose vines have twirled up the post with glad faces. Somehow they know, better than she, her hidden will, that it’s for them she settles a foot on every porch step, one arm bearing the bluster of the bushes before she lingers in her strides toward the street, all the while maintaining an eye with irises and white gardenias, so that I’m surprised their spell has not swept her from our cares, drifted … Continue reading Learning the Names of Flowers and As Close as They can Whir to the Porch Light, 2 poems by Rodney Torreson→
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→
On highway 10 – high risk – no space to fall cars come so close at high speeds, their wind moves us in the wrong direction. On interstate 10’s entrance ramp, there’s 8 inches of clearance between the wall and the road to Baton Rouge. The white Dodge Dart pulls over. An old man: ”You want a ride? get in.” He stares ahead, a stone. Sharp and I sit next to him in the front bench seat — the man’s hands! Each finger tattooed letters spelling Hard Luck Lost Love – no questions from me. … Continue reading Lord Crawdaddy by Brian King→
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→
I am like that now, a green stem that will bend, not stay ground. Push my head into the down, blind me dirtily, put a heel on the back, rub the reject in, confound the chances, step on, dance the stomping jig, bite, incise, nibble and tear, do the most with your worst. Would-be destroyers, all the same: Count not the reservoir of recuperation the underdog, underfoot, underlooked powers we flowers have. Born in the wild we wild will be. Wild as wily, wild as wiry, wild as wise. Wait for the tramplers and stampers … Continue reading Wild Iris by Robert Rothman→
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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