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Poetry Summer 2021    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2021


Diana Akhmetianova

Monique Jonath
& other poems

Alix Christofides Lowenthal
Before and After
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
La Persona Que Quiero Ser
& other poems

Oak Morse
Incandescent Light That Peeks Through Secrets
& other poems

George Kramer
The Last Aspen Stand
& other poems

Elizabeth Sutterlin
Meditations on Mars
& other poems

Holly Marie Roland
& other poems

Devon Bohm
A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms
& other poems

Ana Reisens
In praise of an everyday object
& other poems

Maxi Wardcantori
The Understory
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
& other poems

Karen L Kilcup
The Sky Is Just About to Fall
& other poems

Pamela Wax
He dreams of birds
& other poems

Mary Jane Panke
& other poems

a mykl herdklotz
Mouettes et Mastodontes
& other poems

Claudia Maurino
Good Pilgrim
& other poems

Mary Pacifico Curtis
One Mystical Day
& other poems

Tess Cooper
Airport Poem
& other poems

Peter Kent
Congress of Ravens
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
White Women Running
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Creating a Corpse
& other poems

Everett Roberts
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Canada Geese
& other poems

William A. Greenfield

The Apology

I am not like you. I am not the way you were.

I tell myself this as if I am pure,

as if I am immune to your


I am not like you. The way you were weakens

my heart, makes my fingers turn white.

I erased your footprints with thorns

and alcohol.

I am a byproduct, a victim of your lavishing,

getting my shirts pressed and writing

poems about your rubber checks

and old cars.

It is not right that I compare you to what

I have become, a self-seeking centerpiece

that nitpicks about cigarette ashes

and broken windows.

It is not right that I should censure the

tree from which I fell, that I should

compare thee to some perfect


I have none of your favorite coffee mugs,

no faded bowling shirts, no framed nostalgia

propped beside the phone that

never rings.

I am not like you. You were a soldier.

You believed in God and did good deeds

for the needy. You worked double shifts

to cover bad checks.

I am not like you. You raised four children.

You candled chicken eggs to pay for

Christmas presents. You sang to me when

Grandma passed away.

I am not like you. But sometimes I blame you

for what I’ve become. Sometimes I write not

about what you were, but what you weren’t.

For this, I am sorry.


I don’t want sleep or meds to slow down my rapid-fire thoughts.

This is gonna sound weird, but knowing how the world was made

and how it will end is such a high.

It makes me frantic about earth falling out of line so I slam my foot

through the sheetrock because no one understands that there isn’t

a fucking thing we can do about it.

I hear the music of the Sirens wailing in the back of my head at three a.m.

trying to lure me like a shipwrecked sailor, trying to seduce me into

studying auto parts or organ transplants.

But I can block out that drone with my own song of truth.

I have discovered the Truth from within and I put it to music

that caters to my insatiable spirit.

Doctors and so called wise people don’t know how to meditate.

If they did they would know that soon there will be no cars,

soon we will need no hearts or lungs.

Books of learning will crumble like old scrolls. Our brains

will open any doorway, any portal, because all we really need to do

is think at the speed of life.

You could fill me up with Lithium just before I get to The Third Eye.

The world with all of its simple people and these holes in the wall

make me so tired.

You tell me about the brilliant people living in cardboard boxes simply

because they can’t sync the lyrics to the melody.

They can’t tell a priest from a whore.

You tell me my mother will be gone someday. You tell me tales until

the day she dies but none of it calls me back, like the Sirens on a distant shore

who sing and anoint me with a memory of this euphoria.

I will recall the unmistakable thrum of this manic beat

and I’m going to want it back.

The Settling

I exchanged the milk for one with a later date. You asked what

difference a day could make. You should worry about the dust

on the chair legs and I’ll worry about the age of milk.

It’s the way the light shines that gives things away, the floating

of dust in the stillness until it settles on old wine glasses

and window sills.

When you hold souvenirs up to the light, you can see where the

dust settled into the Lake George coffee mug or the crack

in the Orlando shot glass.

Whether it’s soil lifted by the wind or the thinning of tissue,

it just keeps changing form like energy that moves from

the body to the flower.

It is my detritus with a memory of what I once was and

what I will become as it travels from a flake of skin

to the maw of a hungry mite.

In the abandoned railway depot a generation of commuters

and ticket agents settle onto the wide planks and into

the bottle caps.

Gather it up like amber from a fossil. Discard the wings and

skeletons and see who stood in the hot sun before

their last long train ride.


Sometimes when you speak I can’t comprehend

what you’re saying. The words are lost in the noise,

the hum of yesterday’s laughter and the emanations

that clang and clatter.

You could be asking me if the roads are icy or telling

me that Phoebe ate my lottery ticket. All could be

drowned out because an aroma makes noise.

I could hear the beef stew.

Sometimes when I speak I can’t comprehend

what I’m saying. I spew some gibberish because

you’re wearing flip-flops and your feet are still of

interest to me.

You could be wearing chain mail and I could still find

something of interest, your answer to why the squirrels

must be fed, your voice pleading, “oh please, oh please

scratch my back.”

Sometimes the white noise from the Brookstone box

is the distant rumble of the IRT express as we huddle

in the bowels under Lexington. You breathe softly

while I sip the Bali Hai.

You might tell me it’s time to move along, to find

some new underground hideaway. Then I wake to the

morning sun and the bouquet of violins playing in

the folds you left behind.

The First and Last

The first time you saw your father fall it was funny.

He fell off a horse at his brother’s farm.

The last time you saw him fall it was a tragedy.

He didn’t know he was going to fall,

like not knowing if the ice is slippery or if there

are six or seven steps to the basement.

The first time he was a cartoon character

and the last time he was much too proud.

Sometimes fathers are forsaken and sometimes

lovers live in abandoned schoolyards.

They both appear near the bedside at dawn,

fragile and faint with just a hint of understanding.

The first time you saw your mother cry she was

watching Gary Cooper.

The last time you saw her cry she was throwing

dirt on your father’s coffin.

She knew she was going to cry, like knowing the

Syncopated Clock of The Early Show.

The first time she was a soap opera character

and the last time she was a tragedy.

Sometimes mothers are forsaken and sometimes

lovers live in your imagination.

They both appear at bedtime, punching the time

clock for the endless midnight shift.

William A. Greenfield’s poems have appeared in The Westchester Review, Carve Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry, Carve Magazine and other journals. His chapbook, “Momma’s Boy Gone Bad,” was published in 2016 (Finishing Line Press). His chapbook, “I Should have Asked the Blind Girl to Dance,” was published in 2019 (Flutter Press). His full length collection, “The Circadian Fallacy,” was published this year by Kelsay Books. He lives in Liberty, New York with his wife, son, and a dog, always a dog.

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