Clementine Unbound Editor: G. F. Boyer This volume collects the poems published on the Clementine Unbound website from July 2016 through December 2016. https://clementineunbound.wordpress.com/ Cover photo, â€œReeds & Sky,â€? by Destiny Dildarian Clementine line drawing by Paul Foxton www.learning-to-see.co.uk
Copyright 2016 by G. F. Boyer All rights revert to individual authors upon publication. Published by Clementine Press Also displayed in book form at Issuu.com
Clementine Unbound Volume Two: July â€“ December 2016
Contents Eliot Wilson Jennifer Rollings Jared Carter Julie L. Moore Sarah Hulyk Maxwell Marian Shapiro Jen Rouse Wayne-Daniel Berard Terry Lucas Lynne Handy Michael G. Smith Rebecca Aronson Dan Alter Robert Nisbet Matthew Ulland Cinthia Ritchie David P. Miller Denise Segal Umans Drew Pisarra Tricia Knoll Jill L. Cooper
Pastoral Prayer for the Millennials Status Report Bricklayer Mule Ice Cooperâ€™s Hawks, Santa Fe National Forest Blessing Received Miller Analogies Test Abandon Smoking with John Lennon Psalm â€™66 Forget-Me-Nots Red Lilies Angosturas Gift Labor Poem #3 Agnostic Pilgrimage Lost House Paperdolls Helpless Ghazal Learning isiZulu Sonnet 12.11.15 Slither Society Your Extra Time
1 3 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 26 27 28 29 31 34 35 37 38 39
Linda Benninghoff Adam King Leah Browning Michael Maul Paul Wiegel Nancy Wheaton Rebecca Lartigue Virginia Konchan Fred LaMotte Antonia Clark Candace Pearson Jennifer Poteet Joel Scarfe Judy Kaber Carly Taylor Sandra Kohler Cathie Sandstrom Bethany Reid Contributor Notes 2016 Pushcart Nominees About the Editor
How I Would Like to Die Lamp Bright Draw Charley Horse Anniversary Poem Road Trip White Heron Black Veil Ode to Across and Down Picnic Hallelujah Time Brunch In the Dell Ascended All-Star Lanes A Bun Dance of Cakes House Catâ€™s Ode Hiding a Line Rituals An Extra Day with My Mother Bloom Everything Moving toward Elegy in This Season of Lost Light The Temperature at Which Paper Burns
42 43 45 48 50 51 52 53 55 56 57 59 61 63 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 73 76 84 85
Eliot Wilson Pastoral Eleven head, the neighborâ€™s cows, pushed through my storm-damaged fence to graze out the fall kitchen garden. I woke to find them couched about the yard like Roman generals at a Lucullan feast. They are chewing my tender hopes for late kale. Feeder cows, these, jigsaw-bodied, a week from the lots of Greeley and oblivion. Here and there a heifer carving a pumpkin with delicate gluttony or standing over my harvest, dumbly intent on the rest of cilantro and mint.
The new tongues of spinach clipped. The last sprigs of sweet dill wave from their mouths then vanish, each tidy row mowed to the ground and below the ground until the frost-broken vase of late summer is empty. From the window of my rented kitchen, I speak to them softly, praise them, innocent criminals, in my own captive way. Afterward, their hoof prints fill with rain and sparrows drink.
Jennifer Rollings Prayer for the Millennials I pray for your strength, that it will bind you to the earth, bring some lessening of the gaping wounds your elders have gashed into it. I pray for your bright, green-shooted minds, that fresh playfulness facing only forward. I pray for your friendships, your fingers laced in digital permanence, that they may grow thick roots, become strong armor against catastrophe. For I see much catastrophe, the megastorms, tsunamis, cities leveled by tectonic shift, the red handle on that ever-raised axe of another mushroom cloud.
I want none of this for you. I want alternatives. Some other possible ending. So, instead, Postmodern God, all mega and byte, O spinning silicon oracle, promise me when torrents come, those great waves of heat and ocean, they escape somehow, by tractor or laser beam, by some means not yet known to us, let them wave goodbye and vanish.
Jennifer Rollings Status Report Your garden has not died, though it has grown wild, the ivy overtaking the trills, conquering the rooftop. Yet we have kept the front lawn tame, the bushes in check. The money plants begin, right on schedule, their indigo expanse unfolding as if on cue in some exotic ballet. They will thin into the expected silver discs in time. What you planted will not forget you, as nothing made can turn from its creator. Even in darkness, the leaves will soldier on.
Jared Carter Bricklayer I have laid them, one at a time, in the bright days Of summer: the dust of slaked lime, the subtle ways The trowel shakes the mortarâ€™s cling and dresses brick After brick, making this one thing emerge, this trick Of patient labor now become anonymous And lasting, not designed for some but all of us.
Jared Carter Mule Pure white, it was the brothersâ€™ pride, and credo, too; They won, each time the abbot sighed it should be glue. Put out to graze, its hooves unshod, it hunkered down Until the farrier, Jean-Claude, came up from town Each spring, and trimmed its thickened nails. It would be young Again, and prance, and switch its tail. Hymns would be sung.
Jared Carter Ice Itâ€™s melting now. Everything else is melting, tooâ€” Red cedar, wolverine, harebells, cinereus shrew, Deep beds of fern. The spirit bear continues on To higher ground, to forage where steelheads still spawn And leap the battered weirs. A herd of elk starts north Beneath the ridge. Up high, dark birds drift back and forth.
Julie L. Moore Cooper’s Hawks Santa Fe National Forest Where Atalaya Trail meets tiny tributaries formed by El Niño’s leaky faucets, two black pines rise, stirring with Cooper’s Hawks, one in each tree, their barrel-breasts heaving as they fan their blue-gray wings and shake their black-banded tail feathers, acting like self-important sentinels on a break, jabbering about the chance of rain or the next meal they aim to hunt, soaring above the sagebrush as they do, searching for birds to snatch and squeeze to death. They seem to think God put them here, long ago, after mountain and desert,
before man and woman, while ants populated their intricate colonies, a wonder these birds have never noticed, sky swimmers and leaf loungers that they are, the soil to them a mystery as deep as a moonless night, the very thing they never mention.
Sarah Hulyk Maxwell Blessing Received A splinter slips from the sun—a gift— diving, pointed end first, into our backyard. I tell everyone the sun’s own heart sent it to us, a bright sinew, pulsing and beating in the blue grass. We watch. We clap. We coo. We panic when the ground around the thin strand boils. My sister grabs the garden hose to quell the heat.
Marian Shapiro Miller Analogies Test (to be completed while sleeping. Fill in each blank with a word of one syllable.) She is to water as you are to ______, as glass is to moonlight as she is to ______, as _______ is to wine as you are to sea is to summer as she is to ______, as _______ is to tiger and you are to she is to rose and as _______ is to always as earth is to ever and ever and ever.
Jen Rouse Abandon She is losing a slipperâ€” moon blue in the icy night. How it holds still to the curve of her heel, how it wonâ€™t quite let go. This space of not having lost but of losing. It is like a constant catch in your throat, like being cocooned alive, so many millions of silken threads tightening slowly and only a slight hole for air.
To breathe just shallowly enough. And she is flying into the trees breathless, bareback on a unicorn, some kind of abandon. She wears a green dress with daisies in this halo of madness. Wouldnâ€™t you? Wear your green dress? Close your mouth before all the slippers fell out? If you knew what was coming next?
Wayne-Daniel Berard Smoking with John Lennon we’d meet in the courtyard of the dakota, me on break from helping mom clean toilets him because his wife hated smokes. his, gauloises bleus (because he could) mine, kools (because I wasn’t, yet) we hardly talked. “mexico?” he said to me once. “salvador,” I answered. “same thing,” he laughed through his nose like he sang. “south africa?” I asked. “england,” he said. “same thing,” I said. “Fookin’ right,” he said. and we were friends all summer. before I hardshipped to u maine (“diversity is our university”) I reached in my pocket. out. he snapped the fancy blue seal and took one. stopped. always carried a felt tip. wrote his name on the cig without
denting a grain. handed it to me. looked. waited. I turned 50 yesterday. small fortunes are made on ebay. lit up. Fookinâ€™ right.
Terry Lucas Psalm ’66 O, ’66 Plymouth Valiant! In you will I put my trust. Your chromed, Barracuda hood ornament leads me. Your tuck ’n roll bucket seats comfort me. Your 400-horsepower Hemi engine will save me from being shamed by a Biscayne dragging Main Street. Though I double-clutch down Red Mountain, I will not fear, for your disc brakes and your Hurst shifter are with me. Your tubular suspension protects me. Your roll bar watches over me—a halo of chrome-moly black steel. Your aluminum wheels and positraction rear end will carry me from the Midwest to New Mexico. Even though I cross-country to San Francisco, I have no need for a motor hotel. In truck stop parking lots, your double bass exhaust is hushed,
while a waitress prepares a table before me of pork chops, buttered toast, hash browns, and fried eggs sunny-side up. You anoint my hands with grease. The sweet smell of gasoline will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the pleasures of your back seat forever.
Lynne Handy Forget-Me-Nots Ants ate the dead fly. They orbited its corpse, tore it apart with bear-trap teeth and bore it away. Nothing left on the deckâ€” no wing tip, not even a stain. On my way to Dallas, a dead man passed in a black hearse flying a red flag. A priest drove behind to tie up loose ends, his white collar bright in the sun. Lunching out, I read of a man who overdosed. At his memorial,
close friends mea culpa’d. No circle of closure, only wreaths of thyme and forget-me-nots. I search the café wall for something— reassurance? Knotholes reveal a tulip, an erect penis, a laughing cat, a maiden’s profile with parted lips.
Lynne Handy Red Lilies An elegy for Thomas Poyner Handy
Standing tall on palls of clover, he musters in at Kankakee, sleeves his wings in Union blue, and flaps off to war. Perhaps he hears a mystic chord, the drumsâ€™ aortic beat, a bugle tucket tinning. September: the army camps on columbines and tramps on river bracken, ripped by boots and wheels and mules. Winter gloms in snow and scum. How far away is home? Gunshots hiss a man afire. Did you see that! Pop! Pop pop pop. Cannonball and musket fire, cavalry beats back Company Eâ€” 21
bayonets smear with bloodâ€” slicked poppies grow in willowed cricks. Mind those spikes, last cries, the ghosts that rise in smoke, fair boys to bones minds cracked. Lie low among the spiderwort. Aim at those gray boys, cousins some. Whose blood waters the battlefields? Yet, comes reveille, red lilies trumpet from the clouds. God loves him: young eagle of war, who never got to fight, but died of measles on the Ohio shore: now a photographed sad spirit that a great-great niece will mourn and tell goodnight and tuck into a poem.
Michael G. Smith Angosturas narrow ways, the tightest of squeezes, expect white water â€” Luis Alberto Urrea
1. In the experiment, an electron simultaneously passes through two slits in a gold screen. Repeated and repeated, dunes form, petrify, morph to horizons for the brainâ€™s circuits to visit, mine, arrange, scratch trails through. Squeezed between red rock wall and canyon free fall, I kindle her passing scent in the dawn light; within this strait-of-many-hued-waters, I choose to be open-gate-to-flowered-meadows, each passing thought a silk thread anchored to eroding rock. Passing fossilized crinoids and nautili, we string, poke, balance, rappel, inch our way through layers and layers and layers; posit each prickly pear spine hooks a slightly different angle of light.
2. The doctor incises your right femoral artery and snakes a plastic tube to the vertebral artery in your brain stem. While your fingers practice tying slim beauty knots, you are told to hold your breath as radioactive iodine warms your neck before stopping at the blood clot in your hypothalamus. You hear the X-ray shutter click open, close; hear the doctor and nurse praise A Beautiful Mind. You remain words scribbled on a chart. Within this bosque of medicine, can you become silentwaters-cutting-path-of-no-resistance? Sporadically awake for discrete minutes during the next three days, your mind snaps pictures of your groin streaking yellow and purple towards your knee; you know irises bloom within the cultivated strip of soil flanking the edge of the deck you built the year the summer monsoon thundered into October; you stood on the porch, ricochet balls of hail settling at your feet as a lightning bolt struck the neighborâ€™s home-built shed and left veins of charred plywood alongside tines of magnesium light and crack and ozone scored into rivulets of thought. A nurse gently shakes you awake, then presses her left hand into your groin, retracts the catheter with a flick of her right; mind rejiggers, carves new sensations into your museum of life.
Rebecca Aronson Gift It was never what it should be: missing its batteries or the smallest part, the instructions lost under spilled juice or eaten by strange fire. Once it was rolled into a bottle, a treasure map, then thrown. Little dungeon of desire, how we yearn to peek and always can’t discover the real shadow, the right door. Such irritations might have driven some ancient kingdom into ruin. My lost ring flashed once more before the drain. It went to the Tiber where it was promised. Once a kitten and often a ball, small things untracking. All the birthdays I’ve forgotten. Somewhere they are orbiting. Perfect answers to the question someone didn’t know they’d asked.
Dan Alter Labor Poem #3 —Kibbutz Gesher Haziv, Bananas
With real bells and a clapper it rips up sleep. Kibbutz-issue work boots. Bench seats, the men, the cotton. Loose on the feet. In the back of the work truck. Coffee spoon, ripped sleep, mist. The men. The cotton, the back of, the men. Real bells. Nuri from Kurdistan’s hot coffee spoon. Bench seats, the men, the cotton turning from. When you’re not looking, on your hand. The men who live here, and his cackle. The cotton turning from gray to brown. Kibbutz-issue, loose on the feet. Coffee spoon, on your hand. And a clapper. Nuri from Kurdistan, when you’re not. The men. To brown, as the sun, and his cackle. Real bells. The cotton turning, loose on the feet.
Robert Nisbet Agnostic Listening to sermons, pondering wrongdoing, he heard of waywardness, false gods, idolatry, and sin and retribution and the dreaded fornication. He was just fifteen. And a year later, Karen, from the estate, letting her breast nestle against him, and no shame. Her brothers daredevils, biking on Sundays down Carmarthen Road. Years on, the churchâ€™s peal of Sunday bells and a ring of history. But he and his on Sundays go to the coast and to the hedgerow path, blackbirds in spring, blown spray in winter. Creationâ€™s coil is still unwinding, as physicists clamour for attribution. In the hedge, in May, the blackbird sings of brood, of birth, of nestled breast.
Robert Nisbet Pilgrimage In love in the gently respectful way some people have, they’d wake, each holiday, in London (they’d no children of their own, just nephews calling on Christmas Day), and they’d drive on Boxing Day, two hundred miles and more, to the headland they’d known in youth, youth with all there’d been, the cliff top, and the surge, the roar, of the Irish Sea in their faces, their hearts, rushing to the fraught part of them that had known London and routine, had stayed gracious, kind, but now wanted that gulping of Atlantic air each Boxing Day, the hugeness, wildness, the clung-to nonsuburban things, a faith, a reassurance. And then, at dusk, the calm, slow-breathing, long drive home.
Matthew Ulland Lost House Come with me. There’s always a door. See what lingers—busted drum, plastic doll, abandoned childhood trinkets. I’ve come to collect remnants, to watch the light slink across scuffed planks and nose into the corner where wood splits. Scent of grain and gradual rot. Wind sighs through cracks, jambs and sills, like a disappointed dog left alone to lie. Take my hand. Shadows bruise into night.
Iâ€™ve watched them lengthen and lie down next to me. Come with me. By daybreak, weâ€™ll be gone, motes of dust drifting in hazy light.
Cinthia Ritchie Paperdolls I. Pretend you’re living with me. We are both girls. Your penis is gone. I don’t know where you’ve put it—maybe it’s in your back pocket. We’re painting our toenails Cherry Slurpee Red and eating cheese crackers. Orange flecks our fingers. Your toes are small and dainty. I lean down, cover them with my breath. Are they dry yet? I curl beside you like a cat, the salt from your knees tasting of burnt sugar. You reach for your back pocket. Please, stay like this. A girl. II. Imagine your sister comes back from the dead. She hasn’t aged a day. She’s five, eleven, seventeen. Her skin is beautiful—you can’t stop touching. Is she a ghost? She gets out the Monopoly game. You buy all the red and green properties. Just like Christmas, but she’s too busy trying to land on the last railroad. You cheat, maybe she does too. No one buys Boardwalk, the chances of landing on it are slight, and besides, it’s so expensive. You roll, move, it’s so soothing, so familiar. When you look up, your sister is picking her nose. III. Pretend we’re in bed. Can you remember? It wasn’t that long ago, or maybe it never happened, maybe we never met. White sheets, sun across the ceiling. You are wet, I am hard. I wait for the end, pillows propped, skin damp. Our stories 31
will outlast us, but so what. Your cock tastes of almonds. The hangnail by your thumb bleeds and heals, bleeds and heals. Heel, I say to my dog, and she shuffles down close to my ankle—demure, suffering. I no longer believe in afternoons. IV. Imagine your sister moves in with you. She’s dead, but she was always stubborn. She cleans up your messes, cooks dinner, remembers to feed the fish. Maybe you just lost your job or man or best friend. She wipes your face with a lavendersoaked towel, hides your credit card bills, telephone, car keys. You lie naked on the floor while she reads a Nancy Drew mystery. Her voice is young and high. Her vowels warm you. Imagine swallowing a paperclip, that cool metal lodged in your throat. Maybe you’ll die this way, yes, but not today. V. Pretend we’ve been married for years. Our kids are away at school, our bodies bent and ruined. Our sad knees, our yellowing teeth. For years we struggle to understand language, decipher pauses and shoulders. It does us no good. Knowledge isn’t love—we learn that too late. Curled in bed with our pajamas off. We are no longer beautiful but still our hands clutch, our legs tense. Oh fucking Jesus. Stray passion crushes our chests, gasps our breaths. How many years do we have left? Pretend it doesn’t matter. Just try.
VI. Imagine your dead sister is nursing you through a long illness. She feeds you chicken soup, tells you stories, changes the TV channels. You are afraid to sleep, so she sits with you as you struggle against the softness, the temptation of dreams. What if you don’t wake up? Hush, it’s okay. Close your eyes. What is the last thing you wish to see: Your children’s faces? The mountains in the morning? Tell me. Tell me now.
David P. Miller Helpless Ghazal I can’t believe a little snow has fried your shovels. You guys are helpless. I can’t believe the ziggurat of drumsticks. The pumpkin pies are helpless. I can’t believe it’s Hotel California. Check the hell out and leave! Ponytailing party-downers stoked on cheesy fries are helpless. I can’t believe he can’t believe the parking has evaporated. Disgruntled dudes with axles for ankles, this implies, are helpless. I can’t believe this no-neck beef middle fingered that smoothie sucker. Incise this tribute on his stone: “He was much nicer helpless.” I can’t believe a wall and yet a wall and yet another miserable wall. Toss your flaccid lasso, buddy. You’ll ride a geyser, helpless. I can’t believe that salvaged souls are propped by public toilets. Are you snug for certainty of what’s between their thighs? Or helpless? I can’t believe these pinpricks sprinkled left to right across the gut. The gall bladder went necrotic, David. Now are you wiser? Helpless?
Denise Segal Umans Learning isiZulu I slog through the bush of Zulu sounds, one ponderous step at a time, like the elephant: word-stem, dlovu, prefix in, to arrive at indlovu, plodding my own uneven path, slow and steady, to the end of a sentence. I trample English phonemes, low brush in my tracks, as I contort my tongue for clicks, and mimic: tsk-tsks of snapping twigs in his trail, the pop and clap of branches cracked by the curl of his trunk, and clip-clops of zebra heading his way. Strange to our small ears, I strain to heed tone shifts, akin to young vervets: beware! a leopard, an eagle, a python. When I stretch syntactic lines, indlovu isihambahamba, the elephant walks slowly, concords connecting parts of the sentence, muddy footprints deepening day by day. Back and forth I follow his rhythm, syllables swinging to right and left like his trunk as he curves with the route and flow of isiZulu. Off the path we spot sweet treats: marula fruit for indlovu.
And for me, ubuntu, a new idea: that we exist only due to others—like words in a language— linked with all people and things and with the elephant playing in the shade of a metaphor. He trumpets, flaps his ears. He’s arrived! And I complete my sentence: Indlovu isezingeni umgodi wamanzi. The elephant is at the waterhole.
Drew Pisarra Sonnet 12.11.15 The day we met, we talked of Fassbinder, The Story of O, the dying of bees… That very night you showed me your Tinder profile as if it would somehow please me to see you seducing the city at large. And it did. It still does. I like your broad appeal, your versatility, your hourly refusal to be typed, and I’m aware I too often limit myself. That winter, polyamorous dalliances were beyond my scope. Shit, sleeping around didn’t feel glamorous that unseasonably warm December. Am I someone you even remember?
Tricia Knoll Slither Society To join the web club of people who promote universal recognition of slithering, you must obey rules. Specific appendages jeopardize acceptance: fins, wings, or flippers. Think earthiness with a watery slip. Thankfully, this community accepts a certain playfulness. Advocates sell t-shirts with pictures of clouds riding a bicycle and wind bending over waterfalls. Cheating to achieve a cheap effect with soap, slime, banana peels, olive oil, detergents, and mud is heresy. Speed is not a constraint. Your slitherer may exist in one blink of an eye or move toward you in fractal dimensions of geologic fault zones. The rules flex when memories are capturedâ€”as long as they are never deprived of water or caged with vermin. What I know of breathing is too jittery for slithering, so I quit halfway through the application. Iâ€™m waiting to see someone slither into a grave.
Jill L. Cooper Your Extra Time My stack of pillows on this wooden floor feels like the cool bottom of a hypnotistâ€™s cave. Elbows on knees, my feet still pulse with the bareness of petals and rabbit shit and the detritus of a catkin storm. My floor is smooth like sand after the ocean has gone out, and I wonder what I did right to deserve this Beloved squirreling me away like a treasure for later, for the sudden sprout of now. And then I know I did nothing for this but turn on some small bare bulb. I am a tin recycled into a second use as a place to store cosmos seeds, and the gnostic rain of purple star garnets, free for any thirsty mystic who comes my way. I will. I do. I throw diamonds like confetti at the violinist who broke my heart, as she ran in all black, in night, late to her performance, her ears curled the color of walnuts and harmony, pitch perfect. My heart shattered at least ten times yesterday. Everyone I met was a slam poet. Everyone I met was a genius ready to explode. Every one I met was a shy lover. Every ONE I met was the Beloved, like a fresh glass of water as clear as the moon, as blue as a ticket. Everyone I met was my waking up in the middle of the hot and hungry promenade. Itâ€™s a purple night rain to begin anything, and everything I will do because I can.
Tag you are it! Oh, my Beloved runs so fast, her skirts flying like pages, her laugh ahead of both of us. I awoke with the swept-out feeling that comes as stealth as a tooth fairy after weeping. And then I wept again when I awoke to the note in the beak of a dove that cried: Your supernova doesn’t need slow. I almost started to say to the morning: No more! Enough, enough of this love! I entertained how close I was to wilting into death, or into the well of my hips under the radiance of no walls, of so much home, so, so much Home, and for how perfection has no right angles. Almost, it was a close one. Like I had gone inside every wrinkled piece of love letter trash and found the map. Like I had spilled out onto the night brick pathway from the empty red plastic party cups drained of their leftover hollers, blisses, cradle cries, magic spells, and 2 a.m. kisses. The quail are yelling at the cats! Then yes tapped the sweet spot and like the scent of viburnum after the sun has hung up her robes, my raving took me underneath my own soft arms, and lassoed my ribs, and turned me upside down like I was a bottle of molasses for the beloved’s tea. She laughed, hard, too. This is what I’m for, I think.
There is this sweetness, and this song, and this mirror, and there is no end. There is no slowing down now. There is no such thing as waiting! There is no more no. There is no death. There was never lack. It’s all now. It’s a backstage pass. It’s the violinist sliding into home base. It’s the mistake of thinking there was such a thing as mistake. It’s the fearlessness of going without bones. It’s a superhero’s cape. There is only this extra time, and this blackness, and these tears, and this hot urgency strutting out into the world like a lightning bug wooing everything in its path. Her kiss was as strict and playful as pollen and serious as a pink moon. There’s no going back, and I surrender to it (as if there is such a thing as surrender!) because we made this expanding stage without an exit plan. We made dimensions out of the indignation of playing human, and the thrill of coming, forever, home, for this extra time, and this…
Linda Benninghoff How I Would Like to Die I would like to die like a photograph with all its pixels pushed to take in the aqua of the grass, the sere woods, sky. And I would like to die like a wheelbarrow I dragged up a road, trudging, its cargo lost, the branches, dirt, that fill it dumped in the mulch pile. I would like to die joyous, healthy, as if the tremulousness of illness would not matter much. And I would like to die before my friends, with them waiting for me, writing me, advising me, visiting me, as if these things could cushion me to a strange ending to everything I have known, captive now in the magnifying glass of the pastâ€” to everything that has come before.
Adam King Lamp Bright Draw Near an airstrip some miles from the dry wash where yucca, catâ€™s claw, and sage survive, I waited for the little plane to take me to meet my sister in the city of our youth: Albuquerque, place of the white oak. In each direction, lightning struck within scattered blue-gray veils. Clouds, paralyzing white with flat charcoal undersides. The pale pink-and-gold glow of the mine at sundown. Otherwise, a wildly indigo sky above the Floritas, distant Organ Mountains, and pyramid-like peaks way south, in Mexico. In the center of these, a poem tried if only to be given its title, overture of an unbending image: a bearded man, his pewter lantern burning low, had dug in the pits until nightfall. They poisoned the water, and he sought a pure source. It could have been he who found and named this one. 43
If I could hear desert mice drawing breath in the dark, if I could accept the miscreant, the upstart, the bastardly in myself, if I could work the molten metal of my mind, Iâ€™d place a finger on the lips of the dead, see this draw running with water, moonlight upon it, and silver on my hair.
Leah Browning Charley Horse Just before he was supposed to leave Italy, he woke in the night with a charley horse. All the next day, he was in pain, limping. After breakfast, he brought down his suitcase and lingered in the lobby of the hotel, talking to the man from Moldova whoâ€™d drunk too much cognac the night before and was nursing a hangover. They were still talking when the car arrived to take him to the airport; he said good-bye to the man from Moldova and waved from the car window; he was already at the airport when he realized that heâ€™d left his brown bag in the hotel lobby. The laptop, all the notes for his next talkâ€” everything is a math problem now. (If a driver travels at x kilometers per hour,
and the distance between the hotel and the airport is y kilometers, how many minutes do you have to get through security and limp all the way down to the appropriate gate before ticketed passengers must be on board the flight leaving for Germany?) A very young woman with a stroller returns to the service counter and elbows her way in front of him, screaming at the desk clerks in ragged Italian. She is wearing overalls, her blond hair cut short, and the boy in the stroller doesnâ€™t look up. The Italian women with their sleek black hair and painted nails are accustomed to this sort of thing; they go on typing even as they snap back at her. Later, on a sort of bus out to the tarmac, the young woman will have to relinquish
the stroller and hold the little boy on her lap. You can see: the fight has gone out of her. They have all been herded onto this shuttle, exhausted, drained, submissive as lambs. The party is only half over, but the champagne tastes flat and the hors dâ€™oeuvres have gone cold. Two weeks later, a shipping service will return the brown bag to his home for 150 euros. Someday he will hold his own sons on his lap. Now, he stares out the window and waits.
Michael Maul Anniversary Poem I stood on the sidewalk by my parents when my brother set off on his first bike ride solo around the block and never came back. For fifty years some of me has waited there midway through his lap, but his journey continues as he learns firsthand lessons in how the universe expands. We had no way to know where he would go: no pins in a map to show a block of ice in someoneâ€™s garage, or a hit and run by a car, or a cargo hold on a ship to Mars. What I know now (but then did not) is many moments come and go, but really bad ones stay.
They have made me live with the remains of a child heart in an aging manâ€™s frame, trying still to negotiate with something a slightly better version of forever, scaled down so not to ask too much, hoping less enough could be approved. Like meeting in a halfway place, he in a soft knit shirt I outgrew, and I, promising not to talk, just remain side by side with him in front of a house, kickstands down and sidewalk safe.
Paul Wiegel Road Trip You and I are not planted and still, we do not measure our worlds against stillness, as stones do. We move. We are carried as infants and we never lose the taste for that dip and rock of going forward. Your roads and mine are just other corridors, they draw a wider gap between where we were and where weâ€™ve come to be, which is where a mind can finally be rid of being static and stationary. We move to drop away from that easy trap of things that are at rest, until we feel the thrilling release of motion and its soft roll that carries us away.
Nancy Wheaton White Heron We stopped to see burrowing owls. Instead, she crept soundlessly toward the nonchalant frog, sunning himself on a cement block. The new house was being painted a sage color. A truck radio blaring, Latino workers laughing. A worker dropped a tool, startling the egret, but not the frog. She turned her head. Waited. The marsh lay behind the sprawling abode. Another round of laughter from the workers, this time louder. Too late: the bill pierced the frog just as he turned. Then, the business of the midday meal. We have laws preventing torture, suffering. Yet the heron, feathers red, stood her ground, waiting for limpness. One painter, Rafael, watched. We did too, from the other side of the road. Pobre, he whispered. The whiteness of the heron, the stealth, the clearly won victory did not erase an aura of defenseless defeat. The frog, now almost ready to be swallowed, legs sprawled, gazed toward the marsh. The bulging eyes, dilated pupils, with taupe flecks, disregarding. No sun reflected.
Nancy Wheaton Black Veil Saturday afternoon, raw. Dripping clouds, exuding a vaporous lingering drizzle, matching her mood. Tears, her voice an octave lower than usual. An eerie stillness. We waited. Maybe this will be a lesson for us all. The party days are over. Heroin kills. There is no recreational, just having fun use. She insists on the black veil. He loved expressing the moment. Rummaging through a chest once, he found a cravat. High, he started on Duolingo, blazing through five lessons. Shot up. Said je vous aime. Sitting on the front porch, watching each other, we wished we had matching veils. Just admit it, I offer: his death, the gargantuan end, is our catalyst for survival, for change. Still, as the birds in the weeping rain chirp, the urge to shoot up persuading, sweat beading up, thoughts of just this one last time loom as the edge of the full moon appears. 52
Rebecca Lartigue Ode to Across and Down Ari and Ira, Ali and Uma, Iman and Enya and Ava and Ono; Ivan and Igor, Isak and Ibsen, Alec and Alda and Arlo and Yoko. Canonize, immortalize Urey, hydrogen’s discov’rer; Orr of hockey and Ott of baseball; and Otis, too, of elevators. Melville’s Oloo and Oklahoma’s Ada, Thin Man’s Nora and its Asta, Shakespeare’s Iago, sherpa’s yeti, shade-loving hosta, and late-blooming aster. Ural and Alps, dear mountain ranges, Romans’ Nero and Brontë’s Eyre; Scarlett’s Tara and Shakespeare’s Avon, poets’ morn and e’en and e’er and ne’er.
Obi and olla, olio, ogee, saki, soir, and tsar; eerie and eyrie, ulna and être, ogre, oater, and gooey agar. Pro bono, pro rata, or quid pro quo; eel and ego, yin and yam, abbé, agua, and amie; euro and peso and lira and rand. Epée and ague, and of course jai alai; île and iter, oreos and ryes. Été and está, ebon, ecrú: erat and amo— ciao, adieu.
Virginia Konchan Picnic How the pedestrian becomes you. How you become the pedestrian. The premise gives way to myth, then the whole molecular structure of logic comes crashing down. The years begin to careen past us, a souped-up sports car with rims. Remember the lake, I say. Remember that summer we were in love with love, and gin. We char the dogs. We eat watermelon and collect the rinds. At the pinnacle of event you flex your beauty: a late-night talk-show host, on speed. And your better half in a hammock, milking the distance between impulse and cognition. Praise idleness, fire ants, failed marriages. Praise the gingham cloth on which we feed.
Virginia Konchan Hallelujah Time It’s hallelujah time, and I’ve come to be healed from narcolepsy. We wave palm fronds while waiting to be claimed, like airport baggage circling, indefinitely, a terminal. It’s hallelujah time! Our faces are creased with worry and our knapsacks carry weeks of provisions, should the journey prove arduous. Who is in charge? The de facto pastor mops his sweaty brow. He has grown old on hallelujah time, is unsure he belongs at the prow. Our pedigrees are irreproachable, but that won’t get us into heaven. I can’t even stencil a blueprint of home. It’s like a pop vocalist’s key change. It’s like being consumed by desire. It’s like dedicating yourself to a life of works, to be saved by grace alone.
Fred LaMotte Brunch Earth, our waitress, comes to the table in her rumpled apron stained with a hundred juices. “What will it be this morning?” “Let’s start with some mist in one of those green valleys, and a cup of black loam with a single tree frog. “Then fallen apples over easy with extra worms, a side of scattered leaves in a caramelized sunbeam.” “That comes with summer’s last abandoned bird’s nest salad,” she says. Or soup of the day, fern bog with skunk cabbage and blue chanterelles.” “I’ll take the soup, a half carafe of autumn rain and a cruller the shape of a groundhog’s hole.” She remembers your order by heart. She knows what you love. Old ones come back to this place.
Then they bring grandchildren. Thereâ€™s a line to get in. Sometimes it seems we have to wait a year, but itâ€™s worth it.
Antonia Clark In the Dell The farmer takes a wife. She’ll grow into a woman with an acid tongue. Now, though, young enough to be his daughter, she’s grateful and contrite. She’ll slaughter his pigs and chickens, tend his small fire, put up with sweat and swearing, acquire the habit of servitude. It suits her, clings like thin cotton or flannel. When she sings, it’s songs she doesn’t really know the meaning of, words of women who have tasted love along with heartache. For her, though, no call for such notions. What she has now is all she can look forward to. Wait, you want to say. Take your time. There must be a way, another life, an option. Even the new hired man, with his gentle manner and sure hand.
But what can you do? You want to say look out. But itâ€™s no use. You sigh, close the book. Leave her to her chores. Let her retreat. The farmerâ€™s wanting his supper, demanding meat.
Candace Pearson Ascended Two centuries ago, French neurosurgeon Paul Broca dug inside people’s heads to find the center of speech. When you no longer speak the lexicon of consonants and vowels, I touch you there, on your left temple—Broca’s Area— to summon the strangled words, release them, rising to the ceiling of our old kitchen the way some say the soul ascends in the final moment when nothing spoken or unspoken can save us. Ancient Egyptians considered the brain a minor organ, discarded it during mummification. What is it I want to hear? Certainly not worthless, worthless or stupid, so very stupid, the language of mother to daughter,
soaked in vinegar and bitters, edges turned danky-green. Not praise or comfort come too late as we wait for faint syllables to emerge. Brocaâ€™s broken. Itâ€™s compost. My fingertips on your temporal bone, that shallow cup. Greek philosophers declared the heart the center of thought, the brain merely a machine to cool it. How odd to touch at all. The skin burns. All that returns: not sound but sweet silence.
Candace Pearson All-Star Lanes Inside the Payola Lounge, past the Wall of Balls glowing and spinning out dreams in Acid Lime, Galaxy Blue, Slingshot Red, our parents drink perpetual vodka tonics and chain-smoke the cowboy cigarette. My brother and I patrol the lanes, he looking for what? A girl, an open beer. Me, the intention, the aim, the follow-through. Between these ordered lines, more than a sense of direction: a clear, undisputed path, tiny inlaid arrows eager to guide your way. Who wouldnâ€™t welcome certainty, its faith so hypnotic? The destruction, crash, and groan
only manufactured thunder. Then suddenlyâ€” rolling back into your open handsâ€”a spare, a second chance. In this world everything that gets knocked down will get picked up again.
Jennifer Poteet A Bun Dance of Cakes Inspired by Brian C. McCabe’s photograph of tables in Bryant Park, New York City, after a heavy snowfall*
Whose sovereign will eat our snow-capped, indulgent offering, elevated on this silver salver? Stuffed into a sugar-stiff floured crown, we raise and hail around this, the imperial batter. Delighted with enticement, the king flashes gold from his encased back teeth. Oblivious to the unseemly dance of people’s feet, he laughs from his gut and gulps and burps, and throws the half he doesn’t want into the street.
*To see the photograph, go to http://tinyurl.com/hqckxoo
Jennifer Poteet House Cat’s Ode There’s a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. —William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Brown-speckled sparrow: I think highly of your flight. I am emerald-eyed and hungry. Alight my bowl tonight. If you were up to me, we would be together. I would spit out your feathers but lick, with awe, your pulsing heart. With glee I’d gnaw both fluttery wings. How exquisite, how noble you art! Taunt me, tail me as you will. Make me dance against the pane. Spent, for now, I’ll settle on the sill, sleep until we sport again. I want your jaunt, your jocular tease. I dream how I would take you in the trees.
Joel Scarfe Hiding a Line I’m hiding a line in a poem, a line about the hour’s careful benediction, the rain’s soft benevolent voice bouncing between the houses. The beef is taking care of itself slowly on the stove while I hide a line about the garlic stigma of my fingers, the way it announces itself each time I lift the wine. And I know the night that wants my death is falling through the universe, brimming with its grief, engorged with the ordinariness of grief, but I’m hiding a line in a poem, hiding, like some simple animal about to leap effortlessly out of reach.
Judy Kaber Rituals On Thanksgiving, over the gravy, the conversation turns to animals— turkeys, pigs, goats, the hostile mean-spirited boar who attacked his owner, the lack of value in billies, the croak of the auctioneer selling kids for ten, fifteen bucks, small white baas bouncing around the stage. I drift off to that morning ritual so long ago, my head against Mrs. Goat’s side, fingers steady on her teats, the rhythmic zzzt zzzt into the pail. Both of us held in the white breath of morning, chewing our grain of contentment, our lives the color of hay, the gray between the floorboards of the shed. No thought yet of a packed motorcycle, a room hot with fetid air from Miami International and Pan Am’s belching jets, the loss of a kid, the aching sorrow of Johne’s disease, a divorce, a house fallen in slatecovered shadows, empty except for crayoned drawings on the walls, boys who took so long to grow into the exuberance of manhood, this table with salt, pepper, turkey, in-laws, everything crowded into one room, only the warmth of that four-legged body against my cheek, the white milk building in the pail, finally her rear leg stamping, the signal that milking is done.
Carly Taylor An Extra Day with My Mother i. We take the dog for a walk. I keep my hands in my pockets. There is nothing empty here. ii. In the airport bathroom the panic seems a year ago. iii. We keep rituals: smooth glass on a sill, blooming crocuses in the yard. iv. Maybe itâ€™s one of those things you grow into like hips.
Sandra Kohler Bloom There are fat buds on the green-striped orchid here in my bedroom, two on the white one in the foyer, a spray of buds tightly clenched on the oldest one in the study. All of them need feeding. I need feeding. What feeds me is a momentâ€™s glimpse of a different mind, a consciousness of which I am aware briefly, tentatively. In this city, where I have come to live and die, an old woman, I find the surprise of roses thriving: a bush with crimson blossoms in a filthy yard, another with brave pink blooms in a wire-fenced square, prolific white roses climbing the wall of the derelict house next door, with its garden of lilac, rhododendron, laurel among abandoned cars, weeds, fallen branches. Whatâ€™s familiar here is the chaos, things being out of hand: orchids, moments, houses. Whether I may, aging, bloom this heedlessly.
Cathie Sandstrom Everything Moving toward Elegy in This Season of Lost Light with a line from Ciaran Berry
Time to call out the skirling ghosts, to count like beads on an abacus, your disappointments. This day began with my order Do Not Resuscitate accepted crisply over the phone. Now I also move toward elegy, ask your forgiveness for trying to interrupt your dying. Here at your bedside I will build a longboat. Lay as keel, your birth. Sculpt the ribs, fit the strakes from what came later. Caulk with imagesâ€”the child you were, the boy. Then lay the man you are
on folded sails; loose the mooring and release you to your fathers. Polaris bright above to steer you home.
Bethany Reid The Temperature at Which Paper Burns In the dream heaven was like “Fahrenheit 451” that short story by Ray Bradbury a place where someone has decided the past was a mistake a minority of us choosing to keep it anyway so one woman’s job was to remember Dwight D. Eisenhower and another Lyndon Baines Johnson one assignment was to memorize the Emancipation Proclamation another the story of Marian Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt plus every note of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” in the dream ours was the American History cell or so it seemed a whole contingent of us assigned Jefferson and the Declaration and Sally Hemings one group committing to memory the native peoples before Columbus on waking I almost lost heart seeing how we are already living in an afterlife where memory has ceased and children wander the earth hard-wired to God shouting hallelujah into their cellphones my job waking to scrape up the scraps
into a single colorful pile keeping together the whole kaleidoscope of the past not forgetting but remembering that we must remember
Contributor Notes Dan Alter has poems published recently in The Burnside Review, Compose Journal, Field, and Zyzzyva, among others. He is a member of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. He lives in Berkeley, CA, with his wife and daughter, where he makes his living as an electrician while pursuing an MFA in poetry at Saint Mary’s College. Rebecca Aronson’s books are Creature, Creature (2007) and Ghost Child of the Atalanta Bloom, which won the 2016 Orison Book Prize and will be released in early 2017. She lives in New Mexico, where she teaches writing, facilitates a student and community writing group, and coordinates a visiting-writers series. Linda Benninghoff first became interested in poetry in her twenties when she was introduced to contemporary poetry, Galway Kinnell, W. S. Merwin, and so on. She was recently introduced to international contemporary poetry and says poetry has made a big difference in her life. Wayne-Daniel Berard teaches English and Humanities at Nichols College, Dudley, MA. He has published widely in poetry and prose, and is a co-founding editor of Soul-Lit, an online journal of spiritual poetry. He lives in Mansfield, MA, with his wife, The Lovely Christine. Leah Browning is the author of three short nonfiction books for teens and preteens. Her fifth chapbook, Out of Body, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. Browning’s fiction and poetry have recently appeared in Santa Ana River Review, Coldnoon, Bellows American Review, Chagrin River Review, and the anthologies Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence, from White Pine Press, and The 76
Doll Collection, from Terrapin Books. A handful of her poems have also appeared with audio and video recordings in The Poetry Storehouse. In addition to writing, Browning serves as editor of the Apple Valley Review. Jared Carter’s Darkened Rooms of Summer was the first book selected for the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series and was published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. Carter lives in Indiana. Antonia Clark works as a medical writer and editor. She has also taught poetry and fiction writing and is co-administrator of an online poetry forum, The Waters. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and a full-length poetry collection, Chameleon Moon (David Robert Books, 2014). Her poems and short stories have appeared in numerous print and electronic journals, including The Cortland Review, The Pedestal Magazine, and Rattle. Toni lives in Vermont, loves French picnics, and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion. Jill L. Cooper’s poetry has appeared in various print literary journals, and has been anthologized or is forthcoming in Pontoon (Floating Bridge, 2015), Delirious (Night Ballet Press, 2016), I Only Wanted to See You Laughing (Yellow Chair Review, 2016), and others. She was also the managing editor of an anthology, The Yes Book (Exult Road, 2014). Lynne Handy, a retired library director, lives near the Fox River in northern Illinois. Her first book of poems, Spy Car, was published in 2016. Her work has also appeared in several journals and anthologies, and she has authored two novels, In the Time of Peacocks and The Untold Story of Edwina.
Judy Kaber is a retired elementary school teacher. Her poems have been published in a number of journals, both print and electronic, including The Guardian, Off the Coast, Eclectica, and The Café Review. Her contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest in 2009, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest in 2011, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest judged by Marge Piercy. Judy lives in Maine, heats with wood, and likes to kayak on the stream behind her house. Adam King lives in Silver City, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of H. D. Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose new book, Ocean’s Laughter, combines lyric and eco-poetry to examine change over time in a small town on Oregon’s north coast. Website: triciaknoll.com Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music (Word Press), appeared in May 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, Notre Dame Review, Damfino, and Mantis. Virginia Konchan is the author of Vox Populi (Finishing Line Press, 2015) and Anatomical Gift (Noctuary Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Best New Poets, The Believer, and elsewhere. Cofounder of Matter, a journal of poetry and political commentary, she is an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly.
Fred LaMotte is an interfaith college chaplain and an instructor in philosophy. He lives near Seattle, where he loves to hike, play tenor sax, and gather circles for poetry and meditation. He has published two books of poetry with Saint Julian Press, Wounded Bud and Savor Eternity One Moment at a Time. He also coauthored Shimmering Birthless: A Confluence of Verse and Image with Hawaiian artist Rashani RĂŠa. Rebecca Lartigue surprises herself with how many things she can get done when avoiding more unpleasant tasks on her to-do list. She teaches literature and lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and dog. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in First-Class Lit, Storylandia, and The Massachusetts Review. Terry Lucas is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Altar Call (one of four prize-winning chapbooks anthologized in Diesel, 2013), and If They Have Ears to Hear (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2013). His two full-length poetry collections are In This Room (CW Books, 2016), and Dharma Rain, forthcoming from Saint Julian Press. He was the winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Review Special Issue Feature Award in poetry. Terry is the co-executive editor of Trio House Press and a freelance poetry consultant at terrylucas.com. Michael Maul is currently living on Floridaâ€™s Gulf Coast. His poems have appeared in literary publications in and outside the United States, and in anthologies that include The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2015 and The Best of Boston Literary Magazine 2005-2015. He is also a past winner of the Mercantile Library Prize for Fiction. Sarah Hulyk Maxwell lives in Pittsburgh and works at a downtown law firm. She has two cats, a husband, and an MFA from Louisiana State University. Her 79
most recent work can be found in Bluestem Magazine and NANO Fiction, and at Petite Hound Press. David P. Miller’s chapbook, The Afterimages, was published in 2014 by Cervená Barva Press. His poems have appeared in Meat for Tea, Painters and Poets, Fox Chase Review, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, among other publications. His poem “Kneeling Woman and Dog” was selected for the 2015 edition of Best Indie Lit New England. He is a librarian at Curry College in Milton, MA, and was a member of the interdisciplinary Mobius Artists Group for twenty-five years. Julie L. Moore is the author of Particular Scandals, by Cascade Books. Her other books include Slipping Out of Bloom and Election Day. A Best of the Net and twotime Pushcart Prize nominee, Moore has had her poetry published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, Nimrod, Poetry Daily, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. Her work also has appeared in several anthologies, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman, published by University of Nebraska Gender Programs, and Every River On Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio, published by Ohio University Press. You can learn more about her work at julielmoore.com. Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has over two hundred publications in Britain and around forty in the United States. His one chapbook is Merlin’s Lane (Prolebooks, 2011). Candace Pearson’s poems have appeared in leading journals and anthologies nationwide. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, she won the Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry for her collection, Hour of Unfolding. She scratches out her work in an old hiker’s cabin in the San Gabriel foothills, north of Los Angeles.
Drew Pisarra was a magician’s assistant for a weekend, a restaurant critic for a few years, and a digital VP for two cable networks over the span of eight years. But none of that’s true now. You can check out his reviews on Korean movies at koreangrindhouse.blogspot.com or his photos of public art at mistermysterio on Instagram. Jennifer Poteet lives in Montclair, NJ, and works in Manhattan as a fundraiser for public television. She has had work published in several online and print journals. Bethany Reid’s poems have recently appeared in Calyx, Stringtown, Santa Clara Review, and the anthology What We Can Hold. Her most recent book is Sparrow, which won the 2012 Kenneth and Geraldine Gell Poetry Prize. She blogs at awritersalchemy.wordpress.com and live in Edmonds, Washington, with her husband and their three daughters. Cinthia Ritchie writes and runs mountain trails in Anchorage, AK, with her dog, Seriously. She’s a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of a Best American Essay 2013 Notable Mention. Find her work at Evening Street Review, Under the Sun, Water-Stone Review, Damfino Press, The Boiler Journal, and Panoplyzine. She also has upcoming work in Barking Sycamores, Postcard Poems and Prose, and Poetic Medicine. Her first novel, Dolls Behaving Badly, released from Hachette Book Group. She blogs about writing and Alaska life at cinthiaritchie.com. Jennifer Rollings is a writer living and working in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry has appeared in UnLost, Clementine Unbound, Every Writers Resource, WordWrights!, and Ardentia.
Jen Rouse works as a consulting librarian at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, IA. Her poems have appeared in Hot Tin Roof, Poetry, Poet Lore, MadHatLit, and elsewhere. Her play, For the Care and Control of the Insane, was performed in the Underground New Play Festival at Theatre Cedar Rapids this past winter. She was recently named a finalist in the Split Lip Livershot Memoir Contest. Cathie Sandstrom’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Lyric, The Comstock Review, and Cider Press Review, among others, and are forthcoming in The Southern Review. She was a finalist in the Poets & Writers’ California Writers Exchange, and her poem “You, Again” is in the artists’ book collection at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. A military brat who’s lived in four countries and ten states, she finally stopped wandering when she arrived in Sierra Madre, California. Joel Scarfe’s poems have been featured in Ambit, Rialto, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, and many other UK-based publications. He lives with the artist Rebecca Edelmann and their two children. Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). A Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often embeds the topics of peace and violence by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she is a five-time senior poet laureate of Massachusetts. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. Michael G. Smith is a chemist. His poetry has been published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cider Press Review, Nimrod, Sin Fronteras, and other journals.
Carly Taylor is a Boulder, Colorado native educated in Creative Writing and Dance at Knox College in Illinois and now thoroughly enjoying the constant rain of the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not writing, she’s doing something else. Matthew Ulland’s poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, LIT, and Clementine Poetry Journal, among others. He is the author of a novel, The Broken World, and a poetry chapbook, The Sound in the Corn. Find more of his work at matthewulland.com. Denise Segal Umans grew up in South Africa and now lives in the Boston area. As a speech-language therapist and linguist, she has worked for over thirty years in language and literacy development and as a teacher of English as a second language. Her poems have been published in Clementine Poetry Journal, Clementine Unbound, Poetry Quarterly, The Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry, and Indiana Voice Journal. Nancy Wheaton is a teacher on the New England seacoast. She writes poetry, reads widely, and enjoys the natural world. Paul Wiegel is a Green Bay native and now writes from his home near the upper Fox River in Wisconsin. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The English Journal, Riverbabble, Hermeneutic Chaos Journal, and Hummingbird. He is the 2015 winner of the John Gahagan Poetry Prize. You can find him at www.foxriverpoetry.com Eliot Wilson has published two books of poems and won two NEA Fellowships, and he has two chickens—Opal and Iris. He lives in Golden, Colorado. 83
2016 Pushcart Nominees Congratulations and best of luck to our 2016 Pushcart nominees! Grant Quackenbush, “Rid” Linda Benninghoff, “There” Eliot Wilson, “Carrying Suki” Jared Carter, “Ice” Virginia Konchan, “Picnic” Bethany Reid, “The Temperature at Which Paper Burns”
About the Editor G. F. Boyer is an editor, poet, and writer who lives in the cornfields of southcentral Pennsylvania. Her poems have appeared in a number of publications, including The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, and Heron Tree. She holds a vintage MFA from the University of Washington. Through her website, Creative You Editing, she offers comprehensive editing and consulting services for creative writers (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry). For more information, visit creativeyouediting.com. To read current or archived poems, or to submit your work to Clementine Unbound, visit clementineunbound.wordpress.com.