Category Archives: Poetry

Farmstead by Mark Belair

Photo of old house on hill
 

Alone, timeworn—but still standing, even if its paint-scuffed radiators give no heat and its window frames leak and its doors don’t shut tight, everything foundering since its elder keepers died, the next generation, though paying the property taxes, too dispersed to steward or even sell it, the farmstead’s absent presence like a stark stare from the back end of old age, from a hardened place that sees our younger, ongoing lives— no matter how well built— as false fronts set for collapse; sees our blossoming memories forming, like the farmstead’s (love in the bedroom, children … Continue reading Farmstead by Mark Belair

Blunt Force by Lisa Low

hazy, summer field
 

  From a distance I saw a frog, standing like a soldier in a field of summer grass. Up close, the creature looked alive. My curious dog sniffed its warty behind. I, too, touched its stiff and tailless end with the blunt unfeeling tip of my white summer sneaker. Later, we found another: the stretched-out skin of its helmeted head, arched above its shoulders round; its fore and hind legs spread, poised like a soldier for action. Closer inspection showed death: a flat black disc of missing eye and fat, red tongue in locked jaw … Continue reading Blunt Force by Lisa Low

Doña Chuy and How I Remember “Inti” is the Kichwa Word for Sun, 2 poems by Eric Odynocki

old abandoned church steeple with bells
 

Doña Chuy For my grandmother, after her favorite song, Solamente una Vez. You were never one for sitting down. And long after it did not work out, you showed who could wear the pants better and built a house. Your hairdresser’s eye arranged an enclosed patio with a lemon tree as its centerpiece. Is this the huerto in which your hope glittered so many years later? A clock of citrus suns by which to measure his ill-timed return. And when the church bells sing in the plaza, you will them to be as faint as … Continue reading Doña Chuy and How I Remember “Inti” is the Kichwa Word for Sun, 2 poems by Eric Odynocki

Locusts and Island, 2 poems by Linda Laino

white feather on sand with small water droplets
 

Locusts One day I’ll hear you are dead. It will come from some benevolent phone tree or on the wings of locusts, an army of ill will. They will deafen my ears so I never hear my name from your crooked mouth again. Only the endless circling and whirr of wings wailing like a heart beating itself to death Island Leafing through the journal I found a forgotten flamingo feather scavenged from an island filled with sienna skin skin like yours, skin I still smell in sleep. Considerable light is absorbed In the soft dark … Continue reading Locusts and Island, 2 poems by Linda Laino

Midnight at the Antiquarian Book Shop by Gary Beaumier

Photo of antique books
 

“I was most grievously undone when I lost my footing on the shelf and swan dived to the floor splayed and back broken”, says the complete works of Shakespeare who now leans against the cash register “We are—so many of us—a musty assemblage of forgotten words. Trees pressed into paper to hold our messages. Conceived by some dreamy word dabbler long gone. Escorting the appreciative few from womb to tomb Yet now shorn of dust jacket now a deterioration of spine dog eared pages and torn scripts Are we soon to be consigned to a … Continue reading Midnight at the Antiquarian Book Shop by Gary Beaumier

All the Things We Do Not See by Megan Atthowe

empty beach, a dog, a few people
 

  I wondered what it could mean that on my first view of the ocean a dog lay dead in the surf. Bloated and caught on the sand, its black body swelled gently in the come here of waves, its hair an aura around it. No one stirred. Sipping drinks, laughing as though it wasn’t right here, catching the breakers, walking the beach. Why don’t they drag it away? Does nobody see it but me? The tall lap swimmer proclaims at dinner: I saw the dead dog float out to sea. Relieved for us all, … Continue reading All the Things We Do Not See by Megan Atthowe

Reading Wallace Stevens at Pen Park by Stuart Gunter

Photo of trees reflecting in lake
 

Building rituals out of nothingness, I’m sitting on a park bench, reading Wallace Stevens on a sunny day when the flashing shadow of a crow darkens my library book. Perfect, I think. Where are the tigers? Where the red weather? I am a drunken old sailor dreaming and asleep. Where are they? In the grudging light that asked for day the mothers look around, covering their startled babies’ ears. We pick and choose our indignations. Stuart Gunter is working toward a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Longwood University and lives in Schuyler, Va. … Continue reading Reading Wallace Stevens at Pen Park by Stuart Gunter

Christmas Eve Parable and Singers, 2 poems by David Huddle

Photo of christmas carolling figurines
 

Christmas Eve Parable Phoebe, my five-year-old granddaughter adores the tiny wax Jesus who lies in the cradle of the creche that came down to us from now dead great grandparents. Wise men, Mary and Joseph, two sheep, a cow and a donkey, it sits atop an antique chest of drawers, at the perfect height for Phoebe to study the scene, occasionally move the humans and the creatures as she likes, whispering softly to them all. Two years ago Phoebe carried the Baby Jesus in her sweaty hand all over the house until he went missing … Continue reading Christmas Eve Parable and Singers, 2 poems by David Huddle

Chopin’s Heart and The History of Our Vagrancies, 2 poems by Jason Irwin

Painting of person hanging from heart
 

CHOPIN’S HEART A brief apocalypse has taken possession of my person. The streets are full of melancholy. Yesterday I fell asleep on the bus. The sound of someone crying woke me. Was it the woman slumped in her seat like a bag of laundry or my mother forty years ago, the night Elvis died and I held her hand as she trembled at the kitchen table? In The Times this morning a story about Chopin’s heart, found, submerged in a brown liquid thought to be cognac. On his deathbed Chopin asked that his heart be … Continue reading Chopin’s Heart and The History of Our Vagrancies, 2 poems by Jason Irwin

Flash Flood by Helga Kidder


 

after Marie Howe It doesn’t matter that the sugar maple is leaning closer to the house, that the cluster of seeds I planted yesterday will wash away. Something doesn’t add up. The dishwasher still leaks after repair, wrens nest in the window box, and the cardinal rules the bird feeder. Another woman gives her unborn to the knife. February is too wet. Each day spiders crochet webs like bridges across the living room windows I have to unravel. The mailbox shuts its mouth to good news. The neighbor’s cat prowls in yews. The flag wraps … Continue reading Flash Flood by Helga Kidder