The Odds

by Steve Kronen

— for Ivonne, five years post-cancer The sternum’s gladiolus (L: small sword) bisects the chest cavity coronally where the wan blood’s re-oxygenated just beneath your sweater’s V, the monotonous muscle squeezing out its tattoo, as it must in order to … Continue reading

Eros Is Eros Is Eros

by Steve Kronen

An olive hue, too, says my wife. Close to sleep we’ve sailed, adrift and determined as Bligh himself, from Bounty to Christian to Gauguin’s self-possessed women. Stars and moon and then a comet beyond our window, and I’m off on … Continue reading

From the Orison, River Stones

by Lisa Russ Spaar

White thorn, crimson hips. Pleasures of the without.  Pain of the without. Venus tucks low here, disappearing into the mountains’ stadia. What I can’t say, stepping into foreign tense of river, magnetic sluice, arctic tongs, far-off source without mercy or … Continue reading

Receipt Medieval

by Lisa Russ Spaar

Even in sleep, I can’t sleep but am prone, paralyzed, a plucked & boiled swan crooked in a gelatin of savory cherries, bays—              Tak & undo hym & wash hym & do on a spite & unarme hym fayre— broth … Continue reading

In the Hands of the Builder

by Jennifer Atkinson

A ship wrecked off Hatteras, racked, Swamped, foundered, and pounded under The waves to flotsam, winds up as silver Rubble on Greenland’s graveled shore. Half the keel, once half an oak Felled and dragged downriver from Portland To the Essex, … Continue reading

Summer Afternoon: Thimble, Needle, Notions

by Debra Nystrom

Willy gone with his knife to open birds or clean fish, practice lifting rows of bones out of caught bodies.  Up at the house old china-head Beulah, Aunt Ruby’s doll, watches from her shelf beside the glass pistol that once … Continue reading


by Erika Meitner

Listen to the author reading this poem. And the neighbor’s daughter shows my son the way her father let her hold his gun, with bullets in it.  She was on Adderall, and now Ritalin, and they’re only in Kindergarten but … Continue reading


by Mary Angelino

—for Dad Salvatore learns English from the movies where Charlton Heston holds the writhing Anne Baxter, a white actress made-up to look Egyptian and tragic. When she pulls away it means hold me closer, I don’t care if I’m caught.  … Continue reading

Ankle Deep in Paddy Mud, Following

by Jeanne Larsen

the harrow following the ox who follows along the chilly creek, field’s curve: 1 more farmer with a short-jawed face greets us here at Far-strand. This valley’s patched-in fields unique. Each valley’s fields. At Cold Cliff’s                                                         foot, 2 black-blue butterflies … Continue reading


by Austin Segrest

Dorchester Neck, 1665 Bent over a breeched calf, rain spinning off the placenta, I didn’t see the waves net the millpond to cut me off from shore. The black hound Luther yipped across the chasm. Lightning smote the islands. I … Continue reading

Witness Tree, Culp’s Hill, Gettysburg

by Thomas Reiter

For my grandson “All wars are boyish, and are fought by boys.” — Herman Melville Monument by monument we’ve found the site. You’re wearing an officer’s plumed hat chosen from shelves of replicas, and over one shoulder an enlisted man’s … Continue reading

White Sands

by Kelly Cherry

A turquoise sky, its overflowing light splashing down on buttes, mesas, mountains, ravines, arroyos, canyons, caves, and flats, white sands where scaffolding abuts the sun and engineers are measuring the space between annihilation and the view. Oppie’s porkpie hat shadows … Continue reading

Self-Portrait as Marianne Moore at her Mother’s Funeral

by Laura Kolbe

Gettysburg, July 1947 With my good heels and summer wools,             I am a conic slice among trapezoids             plunged in grass and lapidific ducktails pushed east-northeast by cannon blast.             I am not in tears. Like the wild mint I lap             against … Continue reading

The Window Above Superior

by Sherod Santos

An outdoor bench in the hospital gardens, the terrace bordered by waist-high, vase-shaped bushes. Because it was Sunday, the streets were empty and sounds not audible for the rest of the week were audible now. The opening and closing of … Continue reading

The Federal Road

by Austin Segrest

Say our man is pissed—literally, he’s pissed himself, thrown from the trunks where he and five others clung. Towering pine-light, his top hat smashed— the other passengers yell for the driver. “Yellibama,” he remembers a wagonload of slaves calling it, … Continue reading

Patrick McKommie: I Have Outlived My Chief

by Judith McCombs

M’Comie Mor, 7th Chief of Clan MacThomas, Perthshire, died in 1674, after his heir and next-best son were  killed in a skirmish with Airlie’s Royalist allies.   Say he outlived his earthly rising stars: Ascendant when he rode in Montrose’ … Continue reading

Desdemona Club

by Janet Jennings

In this dismal niche, once waterfront before the dam, transients and those who stay too long, drink to blessed numbness or oblivion. Cold, grey, unchanging. Rooms by the day above the bar. An ill-starred ship lends its name to this neon … Continue reading

London’s Foundling Hospital

by Nancy Schoenberger

“Not Baptize’d.  Pray Let particular Care be Taken’ of this Child as it will be call’d for Again…” Mary Jane Kelley Where are they now — four Ribbons narrow (Purpil, pink, blue & yellow) tyed on yer right wrist and … Continue reading

Daughter, 14, with Scissors

by Ashley Mace Havird

She still can’t use scissors. She sits on the edge of her bed, holds out her wrist, blood-beaded, a bungled bracelet.  I wish I was dead— a whisper.  Like Andersen’s mermaid, she’s bartered away her voice. Outside in the dusk, … Continue reading

The Woman Who Is to be Sawn in Half Reveals the Secret of Her Dying Art

by Sue Burton

contort yourself, my dear, into the container — into your contraption — do a little shape-change — like my mother who at the wake became her coffin (at which I’d stared and stared so as not to think of her … Continue reading

Luther Hoops, Dead at 88

by John Hazard

In Ann Arbor, I’m reading obits in The Weekly from Ohio hills a day’s drive southeast.  I know almost no one now, including Luther Hoops, who loved the Lord and worshipped many years at Fairfield Baptist, which sits halfway up … Continue reading

Catfish Adagio

by Roger Sauls

The mystery of the catfish Is its sweetness, The gorgeous meat of it Fed on the silt And bitterness a loner clings to At the bottom. In its own element It’s close to weightless, A dark self Respecting the sacrament … Continue reading