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Poetry Winter 2017    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 2017 issue


Cover Thought-Forms

Laura Apol
On My Fiftieth Birthday I Return
& other poems

Jihyun Yun
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Red Jetta
& other poems

Sarah Blanchard
Carolina Clay
& other poems

lauren a. boisvert
Save a Seat for Me in the Void
& other poems

Faith Shearin
A Pirate at Midlife
& other poems

Helen Yeoman-Shaw
Calling Long Distance
& other poems

Sarah B. Sullivan
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Metro Messenger
& other poems

Gabriel Spera
& other poems

Zoë Harrison
Pattee Creek
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
The Man Who Got off the Train Between Madrid and Valencia
& other poems

Marcie McGuire
Still Birth
& other poems

Kim Drew Wright
Elephants Standing
& other poems

Michael Jenkins
The Garden Next Door
& other poems

Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
& other poems

Doni Faber
Man Moth
& other poems

M. Underwood
In Other Words
& other poems

Carson Pynes
Diet Coke
& other poems

Bucky Ignatius
Something Old, . . .
& other poems

Violet Mitchell
Deleting Emails the Week After Kevin Died
& other poems

Sam Collier
Nocturne in an Empty Sea
& other poems

Meryl Natchez
Equivocal Activist
& other poems

William Godbey
A Corn Field in Los Angeles
& other poems

Don Hogle
Austin Wallson Confesses
& other poems

Jamie Ross

Stationary Front

—Rio Arriba, New Mexico

The men ahead herd cattle

in front of a truck, horse

trailer behind. Rain, early; much

too early, early March; a heat

from California, heat

that feels like anger spreading

in the belly, or a sadness

for the future, for these heifers

huddle-packing one another

in a block of undulating mud, two

hundred legs across the asphalt

pushed against the shoulder.

I’m looking for an intuition.

My hands around a memory—

a wheel that turns the wheels

around this curve, covered

with dung, dogs, cows; men

who need to move, fast, move

large, put parts together; the way

you’d pick up hamburger

and slap it into shape: hand,

heart, man, moon, a cake

of compressed longing

forced across a pan. A dark

hand from Sonora, slick

rope, smeared chaps, saddled

on a roan. A woman

in the pickup, hair pulled-back,

sucking on a cigarette, smoke

against the glass. A fog

that cuts the vision

to shredded lengths of road, meat

pressed into meat, hooves,

barks, brakes, pistons, dirt.

Is this what you prayed for?

All the signs are brown.

Red Jetta

—Rio Arriba, New Mexico

In the breach a man waits, holding,

not sure of the line, not aware

of where or why a water pipe

has broken, under the bathroom

or under the house, he dreams

of rain often, and his ex still

in bed, her freckled forehead glowing,

her closed Irish eyes; it’s July

in two locations, one year

by the river in the house of crossing

willows, rented at the bridge

from the Tewa reservation, just below

a highway to the Hiroshima bomb,

between a proposal and an incompleted

marriage, between two paintings

for a failed exhibition, hardpack road

splitting two directions, hers in retreat

south along the Rio, his into the mesas

north near Tres Piedras, sleeping bag

and easel in a green Dodge Aspen

that would soon lose its drive-shaft,

U-joints, alternator ruptured

in a sluice-rock arroyo, two trucks

to follow, decades of repair, though

now he hardly hears the leaking

fissure, rust-cracked iron; he swears

it’s the whisper in her long red hair,

loose and restless as the day they met

at the Pink Adobe bar, with a pint

of Bushmill’s, her scarlet Jetta;

archeology is history buried

and unearthed, or broken

and scattered, like the Neolithic

birdpoints that surface in the dirt

after monsoon flood—a sudden

heavy deluge that turns each rut

to a sea of sucking muck. You don’t

go far without sinking down. And I don’t

want a guy, Fiona once said, who hasn’t

been run over at least a time or two.

Aluna’s Puzzle

—San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato

When I arrived, Aluna was watching the baby.

The baby’s name was Aldo. Perched on a cushion

in his pillowed port-a-seat, Aldo was so recent

he barely reached the table with the top of his head.

Aluna had to stand on her wooden chair, crane

her neck over the back, just to see his face.

Since she now was grown, Aldo was a puzzle,

as she remembered once being to herself. For sure,

she still was a puzzle, but a different one. Almost

six, and even more, three months now in Mexico:

that was something to really think about.

As she looked at Aldo, strapped in that strange bag,

all he did, without a blink or move of his head, was

stare—directly at her eyes. Once in a while

he wiggled his hands. So that’s how it was, she thought,

how she was, when she was just like Aldo. She just

observed. It wasn’t a puzzle that asked you to think.

She just looked around. And now that she remembered,

she couldn’t remember thinking at all.

Burri-Carmina, Family Style Buffet

—San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato

When you walk in

         to this open concrete room

with its white tiled walls, steel beam girders

                                          a line of press-block windows

with industrial glass, you will not

feel nostalgia. You’ll feel the rumble

        of traffic, gravel trucks and tankers, a Flecha Amarilla

with sixty all-night seats

                                            screeching-in, packed,

    to the depot next door. Feel squeal-shot

Suzukis, spitting cracked rock, the spew

                     of smoking Harleys—catcalls, whistles,

                        the shouts of passing bloods

as they hawk their chicks. You’ll hear sizzling

         Cuban Salsa, Pop Latino Rap, whooping Janis

Joplin, bootleg Leonard Cohen and Bad Moon Rising

           from the max-amp corner speakers

next to Jesus on a cross. Jesus with his hands out

                     above you as you sit

at a red formica table,

              on a candy red molded plywood chair,

                        with a half-wilted corn-palm in a pastel

       plastic pot, a lone salt shaker, a quart

squeeze bottle of orange hot sauce

                                from a plant in Mazatlán,

           across from a steam line, register and counter;

across from two young women

                           in pink sequined polos

                  serving the entrees—two señoritas

        with hot-pink winks and watermelon grins

asking your pleasure, stirring guisados,

                 spooning your selection, passing dish to dish,

                      lifting each lid, putting it back.

A simple play, a light one: Which rice or beans,

          stew or meat, which garnish

                                                        do you choose?

In a Samuel Beckett play, the props are just two chairs.

This isn’t Samuel Beckett. It’s an old warehouse

                          one door from a depot.

                                And it’s Valentine’s Day—

        with giant, inflated, spinning

                               rose-red hearts; dozens

                         of flame-glass spheres

               strung like Christmas from the girders

                                   in a shimmer of nylon strings;

It’s New Year’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, it’s 4th of July—

                       It’s any day you want

            when you’re just off a bus

                                           in this other country,

    with a song in your head, a story

                                 to write, a painting on your mind;

                         and these two sparkling girls

      smiling, wide-eyed, staring, for the moment

                                  just at you.

He Has Not Picked Up a Magazine

—Rio Arriba, New Mexico

There are dozens on the table. He’s spent

all spring in Mexico. Now he lifts up one.

Most have riveting photos, moving stories—the

dwarf elk of Maui, steaming Reykjavik, the newly

published diaries of Khalil Gibran. Not one

carries one of his poems. There is nothing here

in Spanish. He will not taste pollo en adobada

or cochinita con pasilla for another nine months.

Or be with Araceli—her laughter in the kitchen,

her hair swept in a bun, as she hugs his chest and

shoulders with her yellow rubber gloves. The bells

won’t chime each morning over the hillside city,

every rooftop garden bursting into color. Nine

Months. Nine Months. Gorgeous Araceli. He

lets the magazine drop. He hasn’t opened a page.

Jamie Ross lives west of Taos, New Mexico, spends months each year in Mexico. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Poetry East, Nimrod, and the Warwick, Northwest, and Paris reviews; also in Best New Poets 2007. His 2010 collection, Vinland, received the Intro Poetry Prize from Four Way Books.

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