Anne Whitehouse( New York )Janann Dawkinsfrom Blessings and Curses
X.I am keeping silent, spending the summer day in solitude in the country. Listening to the birds call, I recognize only a few. How have I lived so long without learning to name them? I touch a porch column and am caught in a spider’s web. Last night, in the porch light, I watched one casting such a vivid shadow against the house I thought I was seeing double. I couldn’t spot the web at night, but I watched the dance that made it, the spider flinging itself across space, catching itself on a thread, spinning out more, its forelegs knitting rapidly as it braced itself for the next leap. At the top point of the barn roof, the wasps have built a nest. I watch them fly in and out. ** I am thinking of Eleanor who lived here twenty-eight years, first with Mark, then without him. When she was alive, piano music issued from this house for several hours every day, louder in summer when the windows were flung open, but also in winter, muffled by panes of glass, sinking soft as lamplight on the snow. A house with music is a blessing. For Eleanor, cursed by deafness, music came to live inside her. Through a great effort of will, she listened with her fingers. How she did it I do not know, but I watched her succeed at the end of her long, blessed life. Her love of the art and the instrument, the pleasure she took in its difficulty and mastery kept her at it day after day. She surrounded herself with images of angels. Her abiding wish was to instruct by delight.( Ann Arbor, Michigan )Martin Willitts, Jr.RestsI. It is your breath that rises like eighth notes, in the surrounding silence; like the current of a newborn, untainted by desire; like flaked calligraphy: broad and sweeping, meaning lost to time. II. I watch you as you sleep, your face relaxed, your body limp against the dark of your linen, see your chest rise and fill with the heat of your room. I watch you stir, your eyes aflutter, your skin perspiring, your breathing rushed. A twitch travels your muscles. You turn yourself right, then left, immerging your moans within yourself as dark claims your mind. I watch you as you turn towards me, eyes closed, as I touch the curve of your cheek. III. I keep your black and white photos, snapshots of stills: nudes, children, irregular, naked fruit; I keep your amber cologne, half-full, its cork a six-sided stopper; your crisp Napa pinot, one-fifth our age; your collection of postcards; your clothbound journal. I keep your calligraphy, to guard against time.( Syracuse, New York )Scott OwensThe Midday NapBased on the painting, The Midday Nap by Vincent van Gogh, 1889Not so fast, world. Not so fast. There is time for things both pleasurable and work so tiring, your arms are ropes of pain. Our lives are in constant motion. Each seed knows its own voice like a horse pulling a hay wagon. We need to find that moment when things rest in a field of cut hay, under a triangle shade, far from the fall harvest, far from exhaustion. I have learned to take these short siestas, while the sun plods as a horse never stopping. A few minutes are all I need. I am more with the shadows than not. I squint under a straw hat into what needs to be done. These are seasons of endless roped haystacks. I shrug muscles already feeling the swinging scythe. Already gone to where things are never interrupted. Gone like peaches canned. Or fences mended and breaking. What is held? The sky is yellow felled grains. It always will be planted and harvest again. Always will be this way. Always was. There will always be couples resting in shade. They will work until the day is bundled as the hay, where love is always beginning and ending.( North Carolina )Nanette Rayman RiveraGentryAfter a painting by Caitin PropstYou lie beneath a humanized sun in a yellow sky, mouth agape as if it might be shocked, amazed, longing, your pregnancy the plainest thing to see in a cartoon world of psychedelic exaggeration, your hand as alien as heart-shaped trees leaning against each other and bent at the wrist as if to say kiss this in deference to perfection of days beneath a Southern sun, your hair a lamp shade concealing eyes, mouth, tongue that might say whose absent form creates the wonderland world of your ample left leg, the only thing here with intimations towards reality.( New York )NoI can’t recall my tongue growing long to please you, my man whose tongue is licking for walls I can’t recall, that I dropped on Broadway and Reade and you read me as susceptible desire, a chamber erect of scent, a moment to pick me up followed by a sweeter moment and a fever to return. It would last. blood flowed lavally from my arm and knee wounds in the dark— pinned me to you like a prom corsage orchid Don’t recall, don’t recall where crack heads, pigs and paupers sweated in line for chickens, when on the end of the line, tied to a strong voice you elbowed me—help me please—were hauled, pumped head to penis with colossals of anti-psychotics. Heart and hallucinations parted, length of your sorrow spilling sandpiper fawn I don’t recall, can’t recall what the skyhooves of life do— nixed me like a niagra and he was the branches that stung my face up-to that I rode him like a stallion and his hallucinations and voices arrested my bullwork I knew men’s bodies as meal tickets and my body as hungry and easily lost I knew that women’s livers are tannic fluxes I had to swim around threshing, for any job’s gold is fool’s gold like that I know my life is sundered from barracudas lochnessed and quickly guessed my dreams were assured cauterization, some gash in the air so the spirit can soar from this wicked world wildly I never knew a man who could turn me to feeling something for pearls or swine strung like beads on dank homeless cob hair, even when they were in the same temporary damage. I knew how to forget their unemployment, evictions— saw them as slime spooling round and round once and ever in the dark’s dank moiling. Until I was one. I remember now. I do. Body reborn in hoverfly of homeless man marveled dark exquisite: out-of-body body hoofed.
Veilless Woman by Divya Rajan
( California )Thomas Zimmerman( Ann Arbor Michigan )Ivy AlvarezEternal SurfMarco Island, FloridaThe outdoor pool’s a heated 81 – about the normal mood and age round here – and on the beach, bikini top undone, a spray-tanned coed’s drunk on sun and beer. I walk the sand with eyes cast down for shells, but see just scales and fronds and blobs; a mat- furred quadruped; a flesh-pink hunk that swells then shrinks in sun. I loathe my belly-fat. The blue waves ripple white, a Quaker’s beard; at night, the surf’s a birthing mother’s moan, and all that buried life’s still there, still feared, despite the scotch, the iPod’s soothing drone. At times, the ocean smells of death, so old, so choked. But never dead – no, not that cold.( Cardiff, United Kingdom )Andrea PotosB blenny: the blameless one watching while I tried to swim its gills opening closing to filter water feel the rising tide press against me like a current dull scales a small weight a dark hand against my back blithesome: a tower of cloud remote as spun sugar pieces picked off and eaten by the wind the air was another piece of clothing within running distance my home again blucher: copper-coloured leather laced up and ready kick steps kick kept promise nothing lunchtime flirt bookside rebel scuffed tongues all soles gave out J jessamine: night’s warm cloak sharp perfume piercing as flowers climb the iron trellis jinricksha: only brown wiry men can lift the heaviest weight of other men pulling their burdens across my street jole, jowl: my mother’s will become my own how gravity loves to trick us all jorum: ferment of rice steeps in an oil can she doles out scoopfuls in small glasses while red-eyed men wait with slurred breath jugate: amo amas amat sometimes eyes meet eyes words exchanged years pass one kiss leads to another K kit-cat: is she smiling? who to tell what she thinks knag: in the wood’s eye a weakness that breaks a couch in half knap: snap chicken bones for savoury marrow-suck knobkerrie: perhaps a mace would be kinder to face knout: skin can’t take sheer physics of hard-crack leather kyanise, kyanize: burning off the surface layer preserves the wood keeps it safe( Madison, Wisconsin )On Finding One Long Hair On My ChinI could be the witch, wart-pocked and wizening on the vine, a polished apple stashed against my breast. Mirror mirror you tell me well – I’m on the ebbing side of that girl who shrieked with glee at the first dark sprout of a forest between her legs.
II - Eyes That Cover Us
III - Elegy for the Hidden
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