Featured Poets

Pris Campbell & Scott Owens

( Florida & North Carolina )


Sara Discovers Norman

Sara is flash lightning,
a loose wire,
her current not quite
touching ground.
She got a tattoo once,
pierced her belly button,
sewed roses all over her
size six baggy jeans.
She wishes she'd known
Janis Joplin, Martin Luther King,
and The Chicago Seven; she admires
people who walk outside circling wagons.
She’s attracted to Norman.
In his Lands' End pressed slacks
and tailored shirts, he almost
blends in, but his shoes 
are as scuffed as hers.

The Nature of Attraction

It wasn’t just the way
Sara deviled her eggs,
heart-shaped pimientos
sacrificed on top.
It wasn’t just her willow legs
that clearly went all the way up.
Norman moaned over both
of these in private fantasies
after just one date.

It was more than the way
her barely there breasts
rose like inverted teacups
beneath her thin cotton shirt,
more than caramelized onions
and fried bacon in her potato salad,
more even than how she groped
his leg while he drove
slowly, milking time
between destinations.

He liked her laugh,
her smile, the way
she sympathized with childhood
pains, the way she saw
to the serious heart of everything
but never let it get her down.
He liked the way she opened
herself to anything that came,
sound of birds, splash of water,
lying back in sand.

He loved most the way
she rubbed the back of his neck
when he bent over the sudden poem.
He thought all this
must mean love or something deeper,
though as for that,
he thought sex and cooking
might have been enough too.

Adoring Norman

Sara said she had poem envy
as she opened the fly-
leaf at the front of Norman’s
latest book of poems.

Each image she felt
was harder than anything
she could manage
on her own. Every line

as well-hung as any
she’d ever seen. 
His sackful of words
carefully metered

and plump with possibility.
She loved the way he
penetrated deeply 
into any matter

that attracted him, varied
his pointed thrusts 
for climactic effect,
remained always headstrong,

perfectly erect.  She loved
the music of moan 
and sway he pulled 
from inside her, the way

he left her overflowing 
with powerful feelings, spent 
inside but never tired 
of stroking his iambic ego.

Sara Goes to a Psychic

Sometimes Sara thinks
the dead speak to her.
She’s sure her father
tells her Norman won’t last.
Grandfather says she’s no good.
An angel sits on the foot
of their bed some nights.
When Sara tries on her halo
everyone fades into the distance.
Sara loves Norman,
or thinks she does.
He still pleases her sexually,
often 2 or 3 times a night,
makes breakfast, painted
their bedroom, has started
doing her laundry. Her clothes
have never been neater.
Norman answers all of her questions
but holds some part of himself back.
A Black Hole, she teeters
on his precipice.
He rarely laughs, won’t dance,
says it makes him look silly.
He’s a good man...I’m lucky,
she tells herself and anybody
else who will listen.
She decides to go to a psychic,
holds out her palm,
covers the other’s with silver.
She sees a cross. 
She sees Norman hanging from it.
He’s laughing.

Editor’s note: “Sara Discovers Norman” and “Sara Goes to a Psychic” are by Pris Campbell; “The Nature of Attraction” and “Adoring Norman” are by Scott Owens.

Next - Martin Willitts, Jr.


Current Issue - Spring 2009