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Bird, by Saumya Arya Haas, 2015. Ink and paper.


I remember my regular bangle-seller,
Rotund and genial,
Telling me (I was 14) that if a man ever grabs me

And I cannot get away,

To slam my wrist against his eyes.

This surprises me:

They are glass, these bangles, decorative and fragile-seeming
Pretty, useless.
But he tells me that adornment never only serves one purpose.

PIER AT CANNES seen at a film (fish) marketacross the bay, a string of lights never thought she’d find herself in an Antonioni film yet here she is and so is he— mere witnesses to an abstraction the dark sea and dark sky meet somewhere _________________she thinks, _____directing herself to find a gesture as apt as this moment he stares back in irreflection The sea and sky may kiss at the horizon Why not we? _____________She turns a cartwheel instead _____________to approach him and yet remain distant absurdity strikes at the very heart of the proposition What a child, an American! He is of course a French polygamist with several children by several wives in farmhouses scattered about the French countryside so fated to act out two wholly different scripts, [...]

School of the Blind. Daniel Simpson. Poets Wear Prada, 2014. 31 pages, ISBN: 978-0692284575 Homer and Milton were blind poets but one doesn’t think of them as blind poets, only as poets. And that is what Daniel Simpson is: simply a good poet. He also happens to be blind. School for the Blind is his first collection, and, yes, it centers on his life growing up blind. The reality is that we are all blind in some way and that is what surfaces in these poems, not simply physical blindness but a failure to see, to notice the reality of others, even to notice what we reveal about ourselves. . . . in conversation, I try to act undivided while, in fact, I’m on alert for any glitch in composure, [...]

Faux King in the Parking Lot   It was in the parking lot at the Samba Club between sets at the Huxley wedding and he was an Elvis impersonator. We’d eyed each other during “Love Me Tender” through his heavy lashes he nodded me over. Ah, to be taken without being adored. Though to be adored without being taken is also a wonder. Those silver studs on his white suit. The Brylcreem (I didn’t know they still made it) left oil stains, dammit, on my nice linen skirt. Techno boinked from a passing car and we pumped to it. He said his wife didn’t understand him. “I never sleep with happily married men,” I told him. Curling his lip, the faux king shot “Then you ought to sleep with your [...]

Datura suaveolens If there were flowers on the moon they’d look like this, droopy and luminous, butter-colored, fading down to white, I’m thinking, swinging my bare feet, sipping at some moon-hued wine from the lunar landscape of Sardegna, just as he asks me if I know they’re often called “moon- flowers.” I did not know that, but I’m not surprised that he does, nor that he’s read my poem-thoughts again. I do know, though, that this blowsy flower’s parts are hallucinogenic as all get out, something that Rappaccini would have been proud to bring into existence were he in that business rather than that of breeding a toxic daughter, beautiful but unlovable. And just then I remember how we went for a walk through the park behind Domus Aurea one [...]

For a poet who confesses to having more subscriptions to science magazines than literary ones, it’s not surprising to find something like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle couched in the closing of a poem such as “Your Way,” you get just one thing or the other— where the water came from, or the water. What is surprising and gratifying is that James Richardson’s poetry is not merely clever. It is also tender. Not necessarily in the way that Bishop’s “The Shampoo” is tender. It is not so much intimacy but a glimpse into the grander scale of things that puts our smallness into perspective, that kind of perspective science usually gives through its comprehension of vast spaces and terribly long intervals of time. It’s a perspective that permits a compassion for the [...]

The Downside of Superpowers Invisibility makes you aloof, brute super strength makes you an easy mark for anyone with trucks to haul, no spark of gratitude from them. The truth? Your gift is only special if there's proof and ordinary mortals want your work to entertain them day and night, til dark, your life a kind of superpower spoof where all you do is turn them on with speed or x-ray sight or teleported flesh, the way you walk through walls or dash through time. Does anybody care about your needs, grant you vacation days, an empty beach? No wonder apathy's become your crime. _________________________________________________________________________ Allison Joseph lives, writes and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where's she's part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University.  Her latest books are [...]

Natasha close up Two Sylvias

We bed down in a room/named Poppy/the sound of something alarming/across the hall

tom blood

a man carrying a dirigible defense/the one we hand around is full/final and stifling, like a love or re-entry


In 2021, we’ll have jetpacks. FREE JETPACKS.

carabella sands

I found a new boyfriend. He approached me while I watched birds pluck worms out of a rainy field. I asked him why the birds were able to find worms as soon as they landed. He said worms float on water. Then he kissed me. I felt like a worm.

bobby parker

He stares at her chest, the line of cleavage that may as well be a crack in his bedroom wall, thinking maybe the sun will explode if he reaches out and touches it, that she might hold his haunted hand tight against her heart until it gets dark, and tell him their marriage was a message that failed to send, and tell him their daughter is a dream

cob, like bone—no rain on the horizon—
rows of kernels puckering,
until the corn prays
for even earworms and flea beetles to come

As both a nursing student and a patient, I have encountered repeated instances of clinicians and other health professionals using strikingly inappropriate language to talk to and about the people they are caring for. This is especially true in women’s health, a field that is positively rife with, for lack of a fancier term, bad language. Let’s begin with a seemingly benign example. When a baby is born, we often describe him or her as having been “delivered.” Delivered from what? Evil? The postal service?

Lasky’s poetics channel something of Johnston’s powerful lack of pretense—the difference is that we know Lasky can sing. Johnston’s brilliance was his art’s power over and against the lack of traditional “talent” of its artist—Lasky, though, is unbearably talented.