Category Archives: Poetry

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Old wooden garage in the countryside, black and white photo
 

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966   Steel licenses, galvanized, nailed to the wall, black Virginia plates, rusted and dented, years spanning a life on this farm, his World War, to the second, his sons’, our fathers’. Children, we kneel before sagging cardboard on the oil-soaked dirt, reeking still of machines. Brittle pages crumbling as we rifle Field & Stream, National Wildlife. Silverfish scuttle. Dust rises in dimness. We peer into a fading Popular Science over and over, breathless and startled cousins whispering, sunburned noses turning up and freckled like our fair-haired fathers’. Rapt, as if I … Continue reading My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Promontory by Joan Colby

foggy sunrise through trees
 

Promontory   At the overlook, we could see four states If the fog had not rested its elephantine Rump upon the conifers. We can barely See each other, much less the road Switchbacking down the side of something Extraordinary, that we’d hoped to Experience, in full sun, even though We rose in and out of sudden Precipitation. The entrails of an owl Would predict a dirty soup Like purgatory where hopes are grey Bandages flapping loose over the red wound. A shaman burns the diary. This journey Must be undertaken. The valleys spread tables For … Continue reading Promontory by Joan Colby

Patina by Pamela Sumners

a patinaed six-point star
 

3rd place winner of Streetlight’s 2018 Poetry Contest Patina   The things you forget are the stupid verbal confetti of old love letters, the weight of ancient matters settling the scales of justice around your shoulders like a yoke or a shawl, and it doesn’t matter, because you’re wearing it, for work or for warmth you don’t know. They’ve come to rest there, ploughshares or bodyrags of old words, leaving splinters or growing tattered—it doesn’t much matter. All tales grow old in the telling of them but still are yours, mine, ours, the dazzling, crumbling … Continue reading Patina by Pamela Sumners

An Elegant Variation by Jennifer Sutherland

Large, old compass
 

Jennifer Sutherland is the 1st place winner of Streetlight’s 2018 Poetry Contest   An Elegant Variation One quiet Sunday we drove south on silver-leafed Charles Street, ducked into one of the gingerbread warrens between the university lawns and wondered at the late day’s water-light reflected in the leaded panes, the four-centered arches, the oriels, the pitched slate, and we watched the nannies in their strolling from chimney to chiminea as autumn wound itself toward sleep. As the bricks slid by I catalogued the ghosts of all the lives we might have made but for, and … Continue reading An Elegant Variation by Jennifer Sutherland

mi gemela by Alexandra Mendoza

lit streetlight through the trees
 

2nd place winner of Streetlight’s 2018 Poetry Contest mi gemela i can hear avocado trees in the backyard, the hum of abuela’s sewing machine in the kitchen. the plastic chairs poke the fat of our thighs as we watch telemundo and eat arepas- hours escape us. night ripens and we lie in bed as the street lamps rest on our sabana. both of us not saying: i’m waiting for dad too. Alexandra Mendoza Routt is a native of Miami, Florida who’s taken on the big city to receive her MFA in creative writing at The … Continue reading mi gemela by Alexandra Mendoza

Ferment by Lucy Alford

pruned fruit tree
 

Ferment   Orchard in February. Branches, matted as hair, litter the rows after pruning. Soil, strewn with old fruitfall, soaks in last season’s rancid sun seeped from these gnawed globes: Ambrosias, Auroras, Pink Ladies, now rusted and fleshless. Their skins peel back like those of fallen tomatoes in August,                    left to blister and stink. Small black birds sit motionless against blank and separate sky, below which, earth in hibernatory ferment concocts from sweetest Melus this bitter brandy for weathering out. One wavers a bit in its frieze. Even for them,             a little ivresse eases the … Continue reading Ferment by Lucy Alford

Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

sun rising behind clouds
 

Swimming in Akumal   You could learn to live here without ever measuring time in linear seconds or distance in the miles we journey. Everything here is cyclical and circular like the half moon bay we swim in. Sun and wind are nature’s runes, marking summer solstice, or storms churning in from sea. You could learn to forget here, drifting in emerald water among sea turtles and fish the color of fruit–kiwi, mango, papaya– and all around you, coral reefs rising like sacred temples from the ocean’s floor, their exotic bloom luring you beyond the … Continue reading Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

Sorrow by Whitney Hill

several scarlet macaws squawikng
 

Sorrow   Sometimes I think I own sorrow like the man who parades his macaw up and down the shopping street, shit on his back, smiling. The bird is sweet and talkative, but his wings are clipped. Sorrow kept too long forgets to leave, forgets it belongs to everyone and no one, in a rainforest smashing Brazil nuts with a hundred other wildly colored beasts. Whitney Roberts Hill has been a blog contributor, columnist, book reviewer, and content editor. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in anthologies and online publications, including The American Book … Continue reading Sorrow by Whitney Hill

First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems


 

First Dog: A Love Song   You didn’t even want it. You said it was much too nervous, inappropriate for us who had never owned a dog, and wrong for our cold climate. It would have to wear a sweater, we would become the sort of people who put a sweater on their dog. You said a greyhound was appropriate for racing or for show, not for friendship, not to love. It would try to hunt, I told you, would track small cats and squirrels but obey when we said heel. If we let it … Continue reading First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems

Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

closeup of banjo frets
 

Reno and Smiley in Verona   Walking not far from Juliet’s graffitied house, a window gives its music to the alley below— Appalachian spring tripping on love. I hear I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could.                                   * An unintended plot comes back to me— how fifty years ago we drove south to Stuart’s Draft to hear Reno and Smiley play, a hay wagon above us, haloed by the setting sun, singing their country’s tunes.                        Don’s banjo sowed the seeds of bluegrass with Lee’s March                        and Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die. Have you forgotten the … Continue reading Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur