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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

Writer's Site

Kimberly Sailor

I Asked for a Hooker for Mother’s Day

to liven things up:

a flexible tartlet, STD scares

thrifty, considering

the purchase will never charge.

My six-year-old daughter:

old times make me sad

while buttered crumbs fall

from the raspberry cake tin.

I start thinking

about writhing, historical depression

panting, generational trauma that beats anew:

did my veins infuse her with platelet grief?

Does determined DNA override

pastel egg hunts, whirring bubble guns, bursting

Easter snow in April

with a rented, real bunny from a cabbage farm?

To our wise Hypothetical Hooker,

held to the highest of hygiene

and intellectual standards,

whose well-earned rates command

more much than borrowed livestock:

Did my daughter watch

her mother’s kindergarten abuse?

Ovum-swallowed those old, morose memories

before she met me?

You Never Saw the Harvest Moon

Scorning August’s departure was overkill

proper pleasures: your aunt’s speedboat, flaxseed striped, bees

over-pollinating our spiritual philosophizing,

messianic and vexed at the state campground;

fussily selected dried wood and a few Playboys

for kindling of course, of course.

A waning solstice

between a cancelled graduation and college,

or the military, or your dad’s carpentry business

or your uncle’s unlicensed roof hustle

au fait

with keen, teen urgency:

a September goodbye.

Your swim trunks

in my Santa Fe

when the sheriff documented your death

my nephew

an only son

never a daughter;

a press conference

on my crabgrass yard

and here we mused

overdose news

was manufactured from homeless vets.

High school friends, covid-ly regathered again

ceremoniously paraded by your sacred Silverado

rubbed your peeling parking pass through the glass

grabbed the current issue’s cover model from your bed

when the reporter, with honey-colored hive hair, went live.

Local Paranoia

home alone? / peek behind the fabric blinds / pointy indentations from pulling / a sharp horse hoe galloped over the top /my beautiful vintage window, framed on both sides, all mine. //

scan the roads, roofs / wonder: has everyone gone to town without me? / the weekly park music /

the half-priced wine / the whimsical and serious events / now with spray-painted grass circles, six feet apart / they don’t think to / or wish to / invite me / even with calculated distance / I am

too much. //

you, too? / excluded by outsiders / untrusting of insiders / running the new-age domestic farm: two-story tudors / kids have saddle sores / the long ride of mom versus dad. //

the fabric blinds return / to the spot they remember / an offseason ladybug lands on my ear /

loose from the window pane / where the blinds pinned her down / by the dots / museum-grade archival paper / freedom for her, a tastefully appointed penitentiary for me. //

my friends, I think / suggest: I am tormented. // slather the lavender /

massage the mint / chop the whole anxiety crop / perform a controlled burn

with or without a permit / take back your brain / hold it firm /

until you are well, again.

But I / live next to others, alone. But I /

simply lock the front door.

Reaching for Andromeda

were you in front of me

          at the custard stand?

          do you know the cookie dough

          is fresh on tuesdays? that the peach cobbler,

          is baked behind the counter?

The fourth, a damned fine holiday:

no one stresses about fireworks,

wrong gifts, meat assignments, or in-law estrangement.

Just watch: boom-boom-boom. Just sip: craft beer, enchanting sparkler children.

          or maybe you like merlot?

          perhaps, you are not from here at all,

          and live somewhere decidedly more exotic.

          maybe you are from new zealand

          practicing your cello in grape vineyards, cuddling heirloom

          milking sheep

          and, not knowing any better,

          endearingly think my midwest accent

          sounds like hollywood

          even though

          nasal noises are grating to national ears

          and if you’re usually at the bottom of the earth

          then my celebration means nothing to you:

          i remain a forever-stranger

          now wondering about a billion other

          un-mets, perhaps friends of yours

          who also buy dairy while overthinking the limits of space

          one or two paces ahead of me

          while we all walk

          curiously lonely

          down our shared milky streets.

White Women Running

We meet where we do.

Corner of 8th and Change Street,

with beet juice, Bluetooth, and filibuster-pink sneaks.

Our music, important for rhythm and force,

synced to the smack of our feet:

The Arches of The Angry.

tension-building tempo

message-driven anthem::

click, Play Radiohead. Worn, but blindingly artistic. Ardent. Essential.

your skin makes me cry

Her mouth moves, but hush, I am thinking in the past now.

My black foreign exchange student cherishes my slips,

studies my lips when I say African-American. Why, that’s halfway

to erasing Nigerian poverty.

He’d barter his cinder block hovel for any American cop

’cept the kneelers,

’cause they ain’t prayerful and Christian like he bows to be.

We meet where we do. A sign-bearing protest

electrifies our route,

arc-resists down High Street;

even a town of a few thousand

has something to say. But I ain’t hearin’ nothin’ today::

click, Play AM news, listen to gun violence stats and a flower shop ad.

My partner nods us north. We cross

streets and chests

running feet in cadence: hit, hit, hit.

Here, a county tax-man

spent his budget on a retired Black Hawk and tank,

lest we forget

something that never ends.

Someone’s son swings a leg over the iron barrel,

blowing up bad guys in the park

like the youth in Iraq,

riding that black metal without a saddle.

An awfully expensive playground

for a perturbed hinterland::

click, Play shopping app. The boy reminds me of my own,

and we ain’t havin’ summer squirt guns that look like real glocks;

let’s make those permanently out of stock.

Add to cart: squirty dolphin counterpart.

So what if he’s ten? What happened to forever young?::

click, Play safety of nerdy public radio, dull it all down.

Here, a monthly donation buys you a reusable tote bag

in arresting beige

assurance that you’re doing something,

even if I don’t hear nothin’, or feel it, neither:

lachrymator agents can’t seep through my speakers.

At room temperature, tear gas is solid,

and crystalline white.

Are war relics the next statues to lasso and drag?

Two-toned insects

running without a hive

outrunning the day’s pesticide.

My friend, with chipped nail polish in the shape of fire-busted Australia,

pulls out her ear buds

proclaims: We have to do better. Yes, I hear it this time.

Maybe she’s got a sudden case of cultural empathy,

dosed in a sonic syringe

from the voltage march a few roads back,

or, she heard the news

of a gutted rainbow teen in a gentrification grove.

Whatever she’s pushing out, I’m buying in.

We meet where we do.

We stop, too. Pull down my face mask

of neutral leaf-beetle stripes;

hers, a not-so-passive black and white

sure is hard to breathe when running

sure is hard to breathe when you just can’t.

Three miles, every day, every season.

Not sure when

running women was normalized

but the extraordinary miles logged between us

and our sisters who couldn’t

and those who still can’t

because they don’t live in sleepy hamlets

but are writhing, moaning, riot-shaking oppidans,

get counted, too::

click, Play goodbye.

At home, goosebumps in a hot shower

for running past centuries of grief

that history condensed into just one sentence:

Black Lives Matter.

No Justice, No Peace.

Defund the Police.

Make Love, Not War, you

Nasty Woman.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

even when her family tree

infested with insects

even when her shrinking galaxy

spun on without her

And so will I.

And so will I.

Kimberly Sailor, from Mount Horeb, WI, is a 2020 poetry fellowship recipient from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Sailor, a 2019 Hal Prize poetry finalist, is also the editor-in-chief of the Recorded A Cappella Review Board. Her poetry has appeared in the Peninsula Pulse, Silver Birch Press, and the Eunoia Review. She is the author of the novel The Clarinet Whale, and serves on her local Board of Education.

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