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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

Amy Swain

In Praise of Trees

after W. H. Auden

What do they form? Bearing in mind clear,

            inconsistent treatment, it may not make

for desirable consideration.

            But there they are, substance and skin of the

pages we read, the oxygen we breathe,

            the forest that makes us homesick and sick for

other simple things, like digging in dirt.

What could be more like Mother than nature?

            On vacation admiring the redwoods,

feeling the faults in the bark and admiring,

            while her son pisses on another tree,

content in the knowledge that he is doing

            what he has been taught; that his own faults

will be appreciated just as tenderly.

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one

            is around to hear it, did ego

mania even happen? If an ant

            does not see you die—would you, understand?

Watch, then, bands of monstrous machines

            make it clear, cut in twos and threes and three

hundred seventy million years before you.

Ant in metaphor, speaking of trees as green

            money and smoke, do you know what you saw

when you sit on that branch and hack away

            at what is behind you? Try to appreciate

the secondary growth allowing arbor

            to grow in as well as up then try it.

The poet, admired for his earnest

            appreciation of the Burren stone,

sees definition in the faulted ground

            that once hosted pine shadows

            and made room for sap.

It’s Not Just the Heart

I am yours, yes—

my hands are yours to hold

And bend and touch

                  my lips

  open to you

                  my legs

are eager to wrap around you and keep you.

You are welcome

                   to spread my hips,

to occupy my fourth finger.

My feet will walk with vibration

and elation

toward you

as the song that plays will play.

But my guts remember him, and when we stopped

on the way to North Carolina, and in that field rivaled the sun with heat.

Igbos Landing and Other Histories

In 1940, a book was published titled “Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes.” It is compiled of accounts of oral folklore, many which include, with hope and confidence, flying Africans.

when drums and shadows came around

asking what happened,

not one eye (nor wing) was batted.

some said “I never saw, but I know people.

some said “of course I’ve seen it, why, you got a net?

you don’t have to believe it, like they didn’t have to

                                       TELL IT—

emancipation isn’t for the captor.

more than twenty-five accounts

of heavenly descent.

the Gullahs and the Timucuan knew it too,

but they always knew magic.

if Orpheus could go back for Eurydice,

they could surely escape hell.

“why did he run?”

He forgot he could fly.


On some writing in a women’s bathroom stall:

Sad and betrayed, glaring. How did you get here?

It is dangerous to remember, it wept.

             Don’t blindfold yourself!

Quiet sanctuary of the space, should have

kept out those who don’t know that memory is

keeping our mothers and grandmothers inside

             our blood, souls, and mind.

Who, in this stall, thinks witches simply burned out?

When I smell smoke, I become hysterical.

Mixed race declarations on plantations say,

             His story’s not hers.

Stop, think—brock turner and yellow wallpaper.

Really think, was your grandma allowed to vote?

I think, how sad a woman sat here and thought,

             I don’t want to know

that it’s easier imagining, laughing

alone, than to scream in a coven outside

for what the tenth muse loved, praised and made form of,

             love for womankind.

Lunar Eclipse

I am the moon.

Dark, quiet, blemished

and howling

You are the sun.

You make me go down,

go to bed.

Make me useless,

and senseless.

You end me and you

make sense of my existence.

When you’re gone I shine.

Amy Swain is a new writer and recent graduate from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, having studied Writing, Literature & Publishing. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her boyfriend Jon, and their cat and dog, Ham & Lucci.

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