The Blog

Genuflection

Meghan Maguire Dahn 

I am always trying to have polite conversation
with my own guilt: rose tea with juniper berry.

Bitterness abrades a delicate thing. Blundering
old bully.  Marmoreal hypocrite.  I am unrelenting

even in the presence of my strong little girls. Oh,
you skinned knees of the world, I promise you—

who climb any tree at all, delighted by capability—
I want to be kind when exposed.  I knock back

my potential for invisibility.  Any day now
I will be bridled in a stampede, pressed close

by the bison as they abandon the valley.  I will go along:
I am always looking to be deconsecrated by nature.

Nobody wishes for boredom, debt.  I begin to suspect
there is no appropriate ointment.  To taste

a little of a poison thing is to reflect.  Put down
the Tiger Balm. I will give up my perfect height.

 

At the Desk

R. E. Danielson

Long days at work and my back gives
so that my hands and feet
don’t care for much                 but sitting.
So I write
when the words surface.

I have the same things on my desk
I’ve had for years:          same books,          same lamp,
cigar boxes filled with things,
same pens.            I have a watch
my wife gave me when I started doing concrete.
It has a fabric band and a simple face.
It sits near a small statue of a bird dog staring down
at my hands
and that jaw bone I found along the Mississippi
years ago. 

I don’t often check the time when I write, but still the watch
has earned its place                  on the desk.

 

Air Signs

Tim Taranto

The hot water was out

with the dark of a new

moon when you dreamed 

of drawing a hot

bath; I got pots going

on all burners, watched 

broths fill with fish

eyes; I carried each 

boiling sacrament 

to you with dish rags

swaddled around

the handles, careful 

not to scald

a wrist, tops 

of my feet, or trip

on the stairs, 

but composed,

also, hurrying

slowly as an acolyte 

at altar; I poured in

one and then another,

the steam rose

blooming condensation 

on my lenses; you stood

on your clothes — they

looked conquered

as a molted skin,

black crescent 

under your feet; Our Lady

of flowers pressed

on the apron of a beggar;

downstairs, I

didn't hear you

enter the kitchen 

over the seething

Once I Was a Thimble but Now I Am a Bell

Erin Adair-Hodges

What are the words for how I feel today?
Beer can in the drainage ditch,
a litter of smittens, sunburned slash
where no arms could reach.
The morning wears last night’s mascara,
and I can be anything I want—
happy. Guilty. A certain kind of free,
as if the day is a car to which I have
keys. As if there is a road.
But I am February’s bone,
its marbled mate, de-leafed and
trembling. I was made in the image
of an image, grown hazy in translation
and a little bit of a lie. The good news
is that someday I may learn my lesson, but
the blood I make isn’t a reminder
nor is it the sin. It is the clanging—
not the hunger
but the promise of hunger to come. 

 

From RED BOOTS: AMOUR ET COEURS ET FLEURS

Dylan Carpenter

That year, spring travelled at six miles per hour, sweeping up Cape Horn through Ecuador,

Cuba through the U.S., a blush, reaching us faster than it ever had before.

When it came, we were in bed, and I imagined hearing hooves pounding in the downpour

 

Of rain; and after, I went out and gathered the seed balls of the sycamore

The storm had stripped, for you. Now what I want to do is impossible. Whatever place you’re

The anonymous goddess of, I’d like to send an extinct grackle there to tell you what I long for.

 

I don’t know. Maybe you were meant to hear my love without returning it, to walk the seashore

In a floral pinafore—I’ll sing anyway. I want to say: My heart’s still lit up like a ctenophore

Beached by high tide. Remember when you made me wait with my mouth open for an hour or

 

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