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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Joe Couillard

Like New Houses Settling

Dressed in our blue trousers and our white polo shirts,

we stood bashfully in two lines while we waited for church,

always two lines.

Had it ever been quiet you probably could have heard our knees and ankles crackle

like new houses settling on their foundations,

but thankfully it was never quiet.

We weren’t Catholic,

but when my dad left we had to move.

Mom said we can pretend to be Catholic or I can go to that school with no windows,

I said I would do my best to pretend.

I don’t think you were Catholic either,

but I knew it wasn’t polite to ask,

so I didn’t.

My uniform was too big.

Mom found it at the school’s summer yard sale.

It hung loosely around my shoulders,

begging me to fill it.

I hated that shirt.

Mrs. Vanderczyk said we weren’t supposed to hate things,

but I hated Mrs. Vanderczyk so it was all very confusing.

One day in gym class I accidentally held your hand.

We were playing capture the flag and I rescued you from jail.

My brother said that it didn’t count,

but to me it did.

My hand was sweaty.

Yours was too so I think it was okay.

I used to believe you were too good for this place,

that the stench somehow couldn’t stick to you.

In fact I was sure of it,

but then your mother overdosed and everything changed.

You cried at the visitation, and your cheap mascara ran like gutter water.

I think it was the first time you ever stood upwind.

My mom and I started bringing dinner to your house on Tuesdays.

Your dad would drink half of a bottle of wine and cry.

We got to eat TV-dinners in your room.

You told me you felt bad for hating your mom for dying.

I told you I hated Mrs. Vanderczyk.

You laughed,

so we sat on opposite sides of your twin-sized bed,

hating things together.

A Hotel Bed

Unable to sleep despite the early hour and your shared evening,

you lie awake in a hotel bed

watching the sunrise undress the virgin snowfall.

You feel guilty.

She wasn’t yours to undress.

She may not be someone else’s,

but she certainly wasn’t yours.

With the anesthetic of whiskey and rebellion long gone,

the absence on your hand burns

like a soldier’s leg forgotten overseas.

Over and over you hear your wedding band ping against hardwood

softened by the denim of a back pocket,

a muted gavel falling.

You want to roll over and look at her,

but you’re terrified of what you may see:

a mother’s nose,

a father’s eyes,

features previously masked by a short skirt a bar lighting.

“I didn’t mean for it to happen.”

It sounds hollow in your head already,

and it will rattle even emptier when she reads it in a text two days from now.

“We can still be friends,”

will be her Abilenian reply,

but after it’s all said and done she won’t sleep for a week,

and you’ll donate 300 dollars to a strip club on Hennepin and 6th.

You’ll see each other again,

on accident of course.

You’ll hug and say hello,

but your Chinese food will be getting cold,

and she’ll be late for a meeting,

so you’ll part ways like you should have from the start.

The Man Outside the Arena

I woke up with a dream of writing a novel,

but by noon I cut it to a short story,

and by dinner I pared it down to a poem,

and then eventually I gave up and just tweeted it.

It could have been my breakthrough,

my masterpiece,

a wonderful idea that instead I distilled into 140 characters,

a vision I traded for vibrations

instant gratification in my front right pocket.

I wish I could blame my luck,

but I was born a healthy white male.

And now I can’t blame my generation

because a Millennial is the 6th richest man in the world.

I can’t even blame my parents.

They didn’t adorn me with trophies nor smack me with a wooden spoon.

I can only blame myself,

my ego,

my crippling fear of not being liked,

so crippling in fact that I’d rather create nothing



than create something that someone might not get.

Marred by dust and sweat and blood,

Roosevelt stares at me from inside the arena.

I cannot meet his gaze.

I look down at my phone,

waiting for it to light up and save me.

Joe Couillard was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He attended college at Iowa State University before serving 5 years in the United States Navy as a Submarine Officer. He currently resides near Seattle, Washington where he enjoys reading, cooking, playing basketball, and spending time with his fiancé.

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