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Poetry Summer 2020    fiction    all issues

Poetry Summer 2020 cover


Cover Vecteezy

Rodrigo Dela Peña
If a Wound is an Entrance for Light
& other poems

Shellie Harwood
Early Evening, Late September
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
The Deacon’s Lament
& other poems

J. H. Hall
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
Two Aphids
& other poems

Sugar le Fae
& other poems

Lauren Sartor
Shopping Cart Woman
& other poems

Nathaniel Cairney
Mushroom Hunting, Jackson County, Kansas
& other poems

Elisa Carlsen
& other poems

Daniel Gorman
The Boy Achilles
& other poems

Samara Hill
I Look for Her Mostly Everywhere
& other poems

Nicole Justine Reid
Returning to Sensual
& other poems

David Ginsberg
Butterfly Wings
& other poems

Katherine B. Arthaud
Café Sant Ambroeus
& other poems

George R. Kramer
Young Odysseus
& other poems

Amy Swain
In Praise of Trees
& other poems

Frederick Shiels
Bad October: 2016
& other poems

Matthew A. Hamilton
Summer of '89
& other poems

Chris Kleinfelter
Getting from There to Here
& other poems

Martin Conte
Ghazal for the Shipwrecked
& other poems

Natalie LaFrance-Slack
I Do Not Owe You My Beauty
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Dark Water
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers

Dark Water

My mother dog-paddles through words

searches for the end of a sentence.

She sinks in muddy waters,

she drops to the bottom of this gray pond—

hair streams like Ophelia’s,

hands grasp seaweed,

her curved feet touch soft muck:

fish fly every which way.

I stand on shore and call out,

but I know she does not hear.

She reaches for words in the dark water,

but they float away.

Names bounce off her fingers, memories

fall onto empty shells.

She stops moving and waits, waits

at the bottom of the pond.

I want to give my mother pearls, water lilies,

daylight, bird song.

I want to hear my mother

speak my name.

I want to see my mother walk and smile.

I tell myself she is not lost, that I carry her

in my cells, the shape of my mouth,

but I do not have the words

to summon her back to me.

Wild Hearts

A young beaver coasts underwater,

skims silt and water plants.

Sleek fur undulates as he pushes

one webbed foot back, and then the other

bicycling through this dreamy waterscape.

I think about his rotund mass, freed from gravity,

the effortless glide beneath lonely waters

where minnows dart, and herons fish.

Above water, he digs, constructs his pond,

works through the night while a female floats

down the river, following his scent,

finding her home and her mate for life.

Tunnels worm through hidden depths.

Moonlight illuminates dark silhouettes

piling branches against stones.

Beavers fortify their lodge, deepen the pool,

create a world beckoning all wild hearts

to enter these black waters.

City of Widows—Vrindavan, India

After my husband died, his family spat at me.

“What do we want with you? Another mouth to feed?

Get out!” My bones could not support me,

and I fell in the gutter, begged for food.

My Lord Krishna guided me here, to my sisters,

where I am wanted, loved, where we celebrate Holi,

the festival of colors, spring, new beginnings.

We toss iridescent powder, coat ourselves in paint,

and whirl in kaleidoscope colors, swaddled in love.

All is gone—my husband, my parents, my children,

yet Lord Krishna showers me with rose petals.

I dance until I fall to the floor.

Thank you, bones, for 80 years of dancing.

Thank you, skin, drenched in colors,

Thank you, hips that sway to music.

Thank you, voice, for laughter and love.

My husband’s mother said I killed him.

How careless of me to let him die!

I was worse than a stray dog,

Twenty years old—a disgrace.

Now, sisters pull me to my feet,

embrace me, entice me—we dance,

link arms, and my voice is unleashed:

I sing to life that surprises us.

I sing to warm arms enfolding me

and the heart I feel as I lay

my head on my sister’s chest.

Petals tickle my toes, pungent

marigolds mingle with

rose. My sari and skin

stained in purple hues, purple

as the heart beating beneath my ear,

purple as the pounding rhythm of joy.

Susan Marie Powers I live in the beautiful Connecticut woods with my family, dogs, chickens, and cat. My life’s work has been teaching, and I cherish memories of my many students. Reading and writing are also essential to me, and I published a chapbook, Break the Spell, plus my work has appeared in a few online venues including the Tiferet Journal (2011) and Sixfold (Winter 2013).

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