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Poetry Winter 2014    fiction    all issues


Debbra Palmer
Bake Sale
& other poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss
Far Away, Like a Mirror
& other poems

Michael Fleming
On the Bus
& other poems

Harold Schumacher
Dying To Say It
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert
Georgia’s Advent
& other poems

Sharron Singleton
Sonnet for Small Rip-Rap
& other poems

Bryce Emley
College Beer
& other poems

Harry Bauld
On a Napkin
& other poems

George Mathon
Do You See Me Waving?
& other poems

Mariana Weisler
Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking
& other poems

Michael Kramer
Nighthawks, Kaua’i
& other poems

Jill Murphy
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Kendall Grant
Winter Love Note
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
White Blossoms at Night
& other poems

Tom Freeman
On Foot, Joliet, Illinois
& other poems

George Longenecker
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
The Bitter Daughter
& other poems

Rebecca Irene
& other poems

Savannah Grant
And Not As Shame
& other poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Titian Left No Paper Trail
& other poems

Martin Conte
We’re Not There
& other poems

A. Sgroi
Sore Soles
& other poems

Miguel Coronado
& other poems

Franklin Zawacki
Experience Before Memory
& other poems

Tracy Pitts
& other poems

Rachel A. Girty
& other poems

Ryan Flores
Language Without Lies
& other poems

Margie Curcio
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
Painted Chickens
& other poems

Nicholas Petrone
Running Out of Space
& other poems

Danielle C. Robinson
A Taste of Family Business
& other poems

Meghan Kemp-Gee
A Rhyme Scheme
& other poems

Tania Brown
On Weeknights
& other poems

James Ph. Kotsybar
& other poems

Matthew Scampoli
Paddle Ball
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Not Exactly
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert

Georgia’s Advent

We laughed about it two years back

when I first saw cotton, white hot in the field.

Cicadas were sizzling in August heat

as my heart jumped up at blankets of snow.

I drove my car off the backwoods road

to find my thrill melted in heatstroke air.

You thumped the table with your hand, Philly-boy,

when I told you what I thought I’d seen,

belched over your Coke can, winking and teasing:

How’d you get mixed up between snow and cotton?

Such a Northern-girl, you know you’re in Georgia?

We need to get you out for a change.

In fall, I drive us out past the fields.

We sing together, you’re tuneless but joyful.

It’s four o’clock, florid, last sky-blues, gold.

We talk about hometowns, how down south is different,

share coffee and stories,

the pink sun in my mirrors.

My nails turn wood-smoke grey on the wheel,

I pull my sleeves down at the end of our songs.

You point at cotton through shadows of pecans,

then smile at me, saying: It looks just like our snow.

Looks almost like Christmas.

It looks almost like home.

That Old Spark

That first time, lightning hit the tallest pine tree,

the one I could see from school

and say, “That one is mine.”

The charge ran from branch to roof to wire.

A long blue spark shot out at my feet,

leaving a dark scar on the hardwood.

My mother threw us in the car, and

begged us not to touch its metal sides.

We watched firemen come

to cut smoldering plaster from the walls.

The second time, we woke, the four of us,

and watched the night scud over with clouds

from the opening in our platform tent.

We rubbed our arms, asking each other,

“Are you cold? I have goose bumps.”

As fine hairs stood on our cheeks

the world exploded over us, steaming,

flying, hot shards of wood,

the least of our problems, really,

as half the tree landed across our canvas.

The third time, days later, we ran for cover

down the side of a New York mountain.

Over tree roots, over rock bridges,

through curved dirt sluiceways,

shortly to be filled with water.

The last gasp dash across the open field.

We ran, one at a time. Young, fast, lithe,

my turn came, and the jolt gave me wings,

throwing me from the charred circle that

washed from the grass as I shook myself.

The fourth time, that same field, a week later.

They say that lightning doesn’t strike

the same place twice. They’re wrong.

The fifth time, watching flashing night from the kitchen,

my two eldest children eating dinner beside me.

I counted the space between lightning and thunder,

adrenaline and safety,

until there wasn’t time between them to count.

The oven screamed that its circuits were cooked,

well done, while the house suddenly heaved

back to purring life, and light. My youngest slept on,

still sprawled across the oak floor

where Sesame Street had left her.

The sixth time I said it wasn’t that bad,

and slipped my sandals into my fist

so I could run through the rain in bare feet.

As I stood outside the store I twisted my bags

closed, pulled my bra in place, took my glasses off,

and raised one foot,

as lightning shattered the sign above my head.

And I dove inside, the dark shop loud with voices,

apologizing to the clerk next to me. “My bad,”

I said, “that was probably my fault.”

The seventh time happens on nights I sleep

without the covers, and in the nude.

I maintain it’s the goose bumps on my back

that start my old dream reel flickering.

Hairs stand up, and my body knows

that my bright friend has come to visit.

I’ve died so many times in bed.

My husband thinks I’m always cold,

blankets to my chin, even in summer,

but it’s because in my dreams, I want to live.


For years

I’ve said I could give my heart

to a man who gave me a box of crayons.

There’s something precious

about ninety-six

clean blooms of color,

in bouquets of violet

and leaf green.

And for years I waited.

He gave a gold ring

that I paid for, a little,

which broke in our fifth year.

He gave cups of umber tea.

Gave me five children,

three of whom lived, beautiful,

with deep cornflower eyes

and carnation cheeks.

He gave a brick red house to hold me still,

and palettes of laundry

in a never-ending landscape

of sky blues and pinks.

But with all these things,

I wanted crayons, the waxy,

sour scent of a new fall,

a new page, a new start,

fresh and bright as the first day of school.

Burnt sienna and mahogany,

orange and scarlet,

a blaze of potential

rolling in my palm.

And this year,

my eldest daughter,

with a new woman-smile

gave me a brown paper bag

and said not to look, but

just smell it.

I inhaled,

and the colors poured back in me.

A native of Rochester, New York, Heather Erin Herbert lives in Atlanta with her children and husband, where they spend the summer trying to avoid bursting into flame. Currently working on her MA English at Valdosta State University, Heather works in a college writing center and likes to spend her few free seconds per semester reading, knitting, and consuming improbable amounts of coffee. She has no idea where she found time to write these poems.

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