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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

Monique Jonath

For the Eulogy

When writing your eulogy

for the desecrated world,

remember the healthy flesh

around the wound.

Record how at the end of the greyest day,

the sun does not go quietly,

bursting against each cloud,

then mention the moon tracing

her arc through darkness,

coming to rest at an easy angle

over the hill’s shoulder.

And yes, cement has flattened grasses

and held its hands over Earth’s mouth,

but you learned to read using street signs

you followed to a peak, then watched

someone turn their light on 6 miles away.

You saw the Bay spread out in front of you

and for a moment, thought

all this, for me?

And though you can see the stacks

rising from the refinery

and there is broken glass embedded in the dirt around you,

do not let this swell in your throat;

so when you drive home through fog so

thick you can barely see,

marvel at how all around you,

it has made light corporeal.

I Don’t Know What to Do
with My Hands

I keep seeing the hummingbird

just beyond my window.

I keep spending long nights

fumbling my way along the wall

in search of the switch that will

restore the color in my cheeks.

I keep protecting myself against

the viscous air, my own breath

hot against my face.

I keep knitting a rectangle

only to unravel it

though I keep knitting it again

and I keep burning my hands

with hot oil splashing from the stove

and I keep placing glasses on the table

and trusting them not to fall or shatter

but somehow

I keep pulling shards out of my feet

and I keep apologizing without meaning it

or meaning it without apologizing

and I keep wondering if I opened my mouth

would I be able to speak?

and I’m getting lost in all of this space

and will someone please

tell me what to do with my hands.

Sleeping in a New Place

For a week now,

I’ve been sleeping in a bed that is not yet mine,

my limbs still arranged

as though you are there beside me.

I am paralyzed,

your absence an icicle

inserted between my ribs

and melting away,

leaving my body opened.


We sat outside, skin blazing with mid-July. I watched my grandfather squeeze sunscreen into his hands. “Do you know what viscosity means?” he asked. I, being about six, did not know. “Viscosity is how thick or thin a liquid is, how easily it flows. If something is very viscous, it is hard to stir.” I pondered this as he set the bottle in the sun. He later picked it up and poured some into my hands, covering them easily with slick white warmth. “Does the sunscreen have more or less viscosity than before?” I paused awhile then answered “yes?” His eyes twinkled and creased in response. For the rest of the week he asked me about viscosity—of juice, of honey, of glue. I’ve learned a lot about thickness; that tears are more viscous than laughter, that the sky grows thicker after nightdrop, the moon a stray eyelash on its bruised cheek. I know that goodbye will always be more viscous than hello, that lonely feels thicker than together. Some things just must be left in the sun to warm a while, though not all things will thaw. This, I know.

For a Little While

after “You Can’t Have it All” by Barbara Ras

You can have many things,

but not all at once and

just for a little while.

You can have movement, the pull of muscles

against bones, against the inward crush of gravity,

you can run until you breathe fire

and drive until the road is marked by your acceleration.

You can have infatuation, desire for oneness

leaping hot into your throat,

eyes wide against night, skin tingling where touched.

You can have heartbreak, each half expanding

in your chest, tears paving roads

away from your eyes.

You can have sunsets, but never the same one twice.

You can peel an orange and imagine for a second

that you are also telling your body “open.”

You can have a child, teach them everything you know

with their chubby hand clutching your finger, but know that

they will likely forget half of it and go away one day.

You can have bluebirds in the garden but seldom on your shoulders,

you can have flowers but I promise each one will wilt.

You can be alive, you can glow, you can strain,

but know that someday you will lessen.

Death, in many ways, is just

reaching equilibrium

between having and losing.

Monique Jonath I’m 18 years old and was born and raised Oakland, California, by my Jewish father and Congolese mother. I started writing poetry my freshman year of high school and this is my second Sixfold publication. I was a finalist for the title of Oakland Youth Poet Laureate in 2018 and 2019. My work was featured in the YouthSpeaks Anthology, “Between My Body and the Air” (2020). I study at Brown University. Contact me!

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