Chronogram September 2019

Page 108


EDITED BY Phillip X Levine


all i ever do are chores without an allowance

When the rose garlands wilt it means autumn is near The kitten smiles The squirrel shakes in fear The bees become silent The rabbit goes to its hole and All is quiet All but the wind rushing through the sighing trees -Alyx Twining-Nelson (8 years old)

Eggs Everything was chipped Mugs, mannequins, door paint, Christmas lights. I’d watch your feet rocking, that stutter in my heart. In North Carolina, I came to move mountains, learned to hear silence, Carried groceries, the weight of you. Those sidewalks, that bench, those street lamps, they were filthy. When you knocked the air out of me, there, You never knew how hard you hit me. In Asheville, I tucked you up into doorways Bleached you with the bathtub Held you under my tongue, between teeth Spit you into rivers Traded you for eggs Pulled your hair while I braided my own I get caught up in your fingertips trying to walk home. Short stutter, your eyelashes, both thumbnails, unbelievable. Last night I made you breakfast, Smoked four cigarettes trying to scatter your ashes, Smashed down some dandelions, heel toe. I know I didn’t mean to make a monster You know I never mean to hunt you down. Block print, penmanship knife All I have to do is let it go. -Audrey Lodato On the Road to Rosendale Made mist by the heat, the old Widow Jane Mine’s cool exhalation washed over the road like an unexpected draft from a shop’s open door, just at the moment I saw them (my bike wobbling wildly, a driver passing wide: you crazy?)— a pair of high-flying albino red tails like in-spirited snow carvings, defying the sun. Weeks before, on Overlook, I’d seen only one, vanishingly. Now, here on the winding road to Rosendale in heat I cursed, their fleet fierce grace—wholly unsought— so reviving my spirits I set my sights on New Paltz (a few miles more than planned) where, over a cold beer in a semi-dark pub, I bent the ear of the bartender: Two! as if he cared. -Anne Richey



The Woman of the House cut the grass & plunge the toilet & fling the chipmunk the cat drug in over the fence & bring home the bacon & pay the bills & tighten that p-trap nut so the sink stops leaking & grill the steak & shovel the snow & cull the chicken & cock the shotgun under the bed & pressure wash the deck & replace the lightbulbs & frame the shed & change the goddamn alternator with a flashlight in my mouth when it’s 17 degrees and 11pm & I cut my cold finger on the fan shroud & goddammit! this is why I need a man ! but i shoot a whiskey & i try again & the bolts slide in & the ratchet tightens & the truck turns over & I wonder maybe this is why a man needs me -Paula Dutcher Andalusian June (In memoriam Pauline Uchmanowicz) Bare feet flat on earthen tiles, cool soles pat arabesques. It’s solstice. Out tall window-doors, spires to remind us of what we’ll never be, reach… The sound of distant river’s unmistakable, smacks of wine spilled for you, water, friend, close by, a windswept fountain heard as laughing patios of praise. So like solace in this year of loss, the missed rising to the longest sun. Evanescent minds are minarets of grief, break silence nebulous as clouds, literal as belief, when we ignore the call to prayer trilling against that tendered sky, roseate twilight of pursed lips— this is how I remember losing… -Thomas Festa

The Beach One crow lands. A second Follows. They walk the Sand, Drink from the Lake. I sit quietly Nearby. -Daniel Brown