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→
In truth there was never a snake or an apple; and they knew already about lust, had known forever what creature didn’t It was that they lived long saw the wolf and the tiger grow old and die saw the tree fern and gingko wither and fall saw even the snake become food for vultures It wasn’t sex they discovered it wasn’t the knowledge of good and evil they discovered death and, terrified, they invented God After spending almost twenty years chasing facts for The Boston Globe, Marty Carlock decided it was more fun to … Continue reading Eden by Marty Carlock→
White spotted breast, orange and black on your head—I wouldn’t have seen if you were not warm in my hand, but dead. At the thud of a window strike I ran for the deck, hoping for merely stunned, but no chance in the tilt of your neck. I nestled you in woods-edge laurel, fetched the soap for crosshatch bars to mark south-facing windows. This season at last, brought to ask which fatalities are fated, I regret the mobile hung was to no avail. In this rural calm, so far spared the siren’s wail of despair, … Continue reading To an Ovenbird while Sheltering in Place by Amelia Williams→
“The self without sympathetic attachments is either a fiction or a lunatic.” ………………………………………………………………………-Adam Phillips Duskless days of cloud-smoke and heat lightning. Bitter tincture, citrus and ice, the urge to put the moonstone in my mouth. All this equals the moth in the closet that eats its fill of wool coats and yet is never seen. Soft-winged, tawny, phototaxic— that is, drawn to light—though for reasons unknown. Equals all that was accidentally, and intensely, lost. Collecting at the needle’s tip— needless, wanting you. You, who claimed I only found it cinematic. Well, here it is again: … Continue reading Dream Vaccination by Allison Geller→
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→
Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six,1907 Cheeks stabbed with dark lines. Tender mouth any woman would want. Hair slashed in broad black strokes. His mother said If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. A Spanish Napoleon,don’t you think? Face a bold triangle. Wide nose and brow. His mother said,If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope. Yes, wouldn’t he have been Leo X with mistresses and power? But his eyes, oh, my dear, you can’t turn from those eyes. Large and oval with black centers that absorb the world. Picasso said, Instead … Continue reading Picasso’s Self-Portrait at Twenty-six, 1907 and Picasso’s Woman with Hat, 2 poems by Diana Pinckney→
It’s a long way down— We start on 5th Avenue: all/that/claustrophobic/glitz. You want a pair of $200 kicks— so hey, okay kid we get ‘em. You carry that box the rest of the way. We walk to Grand Central Terminal, and eat our bag lunch beneath the constellations ceiling bluer, stars brighter, marble Earth down under. On the platform, we randomly choose between the 4, 5, and 6 lines. A large black man says “Oh, no-you don’t want the local.” We take it anyway, since it comes first, and they’re all headed in the same … Continue reading Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault→
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→
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