In Praise of Noise

by James Arthur

          The sound begins with a furnace clicking awake in a two-room house, answered by a few, then more, voices: gauges, and old-fashioned watches ticking out of synch, in growing number, so their tip-tip-tip fattens to … Continue reading

Weak Force

by Michelle Boisseau

What I mean is I’m digging in the garden or just walking dully along, going on with my boggy life, when it snaps me up like a mouse, a snack for the hawk of grief and like a car antennae … Continue reading

Archipelagos of Snow

by Michelle Boisseau

The little house climbs from winter afraid of its own weakness. The door, the cedar shakes. The knot of leaves in the porch corner drowses in the sunlight. The frost sizzles and rises. It’s hard to find a word, a … Continue reading

Baudelaire’s Pillared Temple

by Nancy Naomi Carlson

Perfumes, hues, and sounds echo one another. —C.B. Nature as pillared temple – I’ll go along, even accept that columns speak, though the words are mumbled, muted. Yes to perfumes mellow as oboes – maybe malachite-blue? – or perfumes depraved … Continue reading

Juno’s Garden

by Nancy Naomi Carlson

Jupiter spades the earth and sows the sky while I tend thistle, mountain laurel, sage and a tumbleweed fire – hearthless, undying. Nothing lasts for long above the tree line – not even omens, clouded and shifting shapes. Jupiter spades … Continue reading

Lower East Side Boyfriend

by Denise Duhamel

When I came home from work, I saw a package for him, so I took it up to the sixth floor where he lived. I was puffing a bit since I wasn’t used to the climb. I lived on the … Continue reading

An Unmarried Woman

by Denise Duhamel

An Unmarried Woman (for Jill Clayburgh, 1944-2010) When I first saw it, I was a high school junior. Jill Clayburgh was scandalous ballet dancing in her tee shirt and panties, showing her teenage daughter a wet spot on the bed … Continue reading

Names by a River [with audio]

by Brendan Galvin

Names by a River The keels of the Speedwell and Discoverer four hundred years ago passed over where I am walking among the glasswort and Hudsonia this morning, the river’s estuary here then. Before Bradford and Miles Standish you came … Continue reading


by Brendan Galvin

Thistle, you look like another of evolution’s jokes, impossible as a great blue heron seems impossible, though you both are brilliant survivors. Still, mixed metaphor, it looks like someone hung you all over with shaving brushes nobody soft-handed could wield, … Continue reading

Striped Maple History

by Brendan Galvin

The stump looked like a medical illustration of a heart, and its few wispy sprouts showed me it wanted to live, so I planted it by the door thirty years ago. Each fall before the winds I still cut one … Continue reading

Structuralism: Self Portrait with a Biography of Eugene O’Neill

by Steve Gehrke

“Then a horrible thought came to me. I was dead, of course, and death was nothing but a continuation of life as it had been when one left it. . . . This is what purgatory was–or was it hell … Continue reading

Night: The Mayo Clinic

by Steve Gehrke

When they’ve seen the vision of their own bones corpsed with the creatures whorled into the stone, when they feel their bodies turning hieroglyphic in the cave, each ax-stroke echoing, internally, their own decay, do trapped miners still fidget in … Continue reading

St. Ignatius on the Prison Ship to Rome

by Steve Gehrke

I am God’s wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ — Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans On those nights when the moon … Continue reading

The Beginning

by Jen McClanaghan

And tomorrow there may be tiny eggs      bought from the farmer: yellow and gray and blue and his cheese, a small miracle dispatched           from goats. There may be a llama taking grass between his teeth, whose chewing into jade saliva … Continue reading

[The child’s cry is a light that comes on in the house]

by Wayne Miller

The child’s cry is a light that comes on in the house, when the street is empty and the trees are still. The light in the window gives voice to the cry, so when the windows are closed, we still … Continue reading

After the Fever: A Pastoral

by Wayne Miller

After four months, the fever withdrew into her, past the vanishing point, and now it was impossible to remember how fully it had filled her, like light soaking the tissue of a leaf. Outside, the traffic thinned to a word—so … Continue reading

The Legible Body: or Melancholia

by Nadine Sabra Meyer

It is 1842 and Napoleon has returned to Paris as body-ash grey as the iron Seine, Fuseli and Lavater have worked all winter painting the soul’s character to flesh, each high forehead a cathedral vaulted for the mind, and in … Continue reading

Autumn’s Silent Auction

by Donald Platt

                             It is written in the folios of foliage starting to catch fire, burn, turn to yellow, red,                   … Continue reading

Chartres in the Dark

by Donald Platt

Chartres in the Dark                              It was almost sunset when the cathedral rose out of the rolling December farmland,                 … Continue reading


by Donald Platt

                             “Young and Tender Zephyr Summer Squash Only $1.25 Per Lb.!”                              says the … Continue reading

Green Fields

by David Roderick

David Roderick reads “Green Fields” 1. Descendancy Work: sowing what we could in a bog-seam until the lumper failed us, the horse potato, the patron saint of butter. We couldn’t pay. Without a handle on our hunger, heather lay crudely … Continue reading

from The Lincoln Poems

by Steve Scafidi

Steve Scafidi Jr. reading from The Lincoln Poems THE JUNEBUGS Hey boy come here — quick,   so he dropped his rake and ran to the yard by the housewhere probably five hundred   junebugs like a pile of emeralds … Continue reading

Apple Trees at Petal-Fall with Li Po

by Kevin Stein

That a cardinal’s bright dart alights upon the branch means Non cogito, ergo sum — I don’t think, therefore I am.  But that’s not Mandarin! Still the tree’s petal-fall dusts us angelic, our arms feathered wings. A fool’s errand, this … Continue reading

These Rocks

by Shari Wagner

I want to know these scoured rocks the way a blind woman knows her house, understand their journey, listen to the creak of a glacier in my bones. I want to open the door for a pileated woodpecker, catch splintering … Continue reading

Spilled Milk on Banjo

by Lisa Williams

when the dogwood petals begin to fall a glass of milk knocked over on the grass like the glass I spilled on my mother’s banjo a skin of change across the morning table she’d laid it on when I was … Continue reading

Family Portrait. 1790

by William Wright

Family Portrait, 1790 by William Wright North Carolina Blue Ridge Here earth juts and tumbles in woods where mountain creeks purl, slake through rock, sluice schist coves and sheltered gaps, then push hard through piebald sheer, down to the slant … Continue reading


by William Wright

Dusks a blue smolder of memory: Your grandfather fades behind the creak of the barn door, mouth trembling with sermons lodged forever behind his tongue. You breathe dust and drink the well’s rust-water, then slog in the heat of horses, … Continue reading