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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

Kim Drew Wright

Spilt Ice

You said meet me at a motel room by the airport. You said it should be cheap. Carpet worn thin as your hair and my smile, walls stained a pattern like defunct Martha Stewart, crafty intelligence plastered over with decoys. I walked to the ice machine and saw a trucker, belt that should be demoted for jeans too low under a belly awning. He wanted to talk about the motorcycle trip he took from Key West to Miami back when his belt was top-notch job performance. Yawning, I wanted to reach my arm in the ice machine and freeze it off, slap it on his face till it fractured, shattered on the ground, and the maid mistook it for spilt ice. I

said, “That sounds nice,”

then walked back toward our room,

carrying my plastic bucket.

                           A jet cast its line down to me, wanting

                           to reel me up

with speculations of other

possibilities. I shook them off. Slammed

our rented door

shut. We

                           had sex like porn stars, until I hurt

and cried out for you to


Afterwards, you

left before I did,

leaving             my body

as evidence. I held

my face in the hot

shower spray,

splayed             my hand

in your print, convincing


                          of home.

Sitting in the Parking Lot
of Wegmans Crying Over My Imaginary Breast Cancer Diagnosis

that I have been waiting for since I was nine years old. Now,

my youngest that age, and I can barely hold

my breath long enough for the mammogram tech to say

stay still, you can breathe later. I’ve had enough

scares to be nonchalant, but something about how

that letter was phrased, a casual washing

of hands, we recommend an MRI but find out

first, if your insurance covers it. So, I call—punch

numbers until a young man who sounds nice, like he might

live with his grandmother, kiss her cheek before getting

in his dented Camry and heading to work. He gets on

and says this call may be monitored for training purposes

and I’m just satisfied I’ve found a human voice, as I try to explain

my noncondition and he says that what I need to do is find

the procedure code, but he’ll warn me it’s likely not considered

preventative, even though the letter said no reason

for concern, enough dense tissue for radiologists to throw

their hands up, like saying don’t blame us if there’s a landmine

hereyou’re too thick to see clearly. Go back in time,

your aunt’s black hair making silky carpets over heartpine.



a lifetime

ago, Georgetown, S.C.

a boy scrawls on a friend’s

work and I run, tattling

or seeking justice (however

you want to look at it)

end-of-the-day bell clanging,

teacher snapping at me to get in line

confusion of untied

feet and grubby back-

packs, order by bus routes


later mama explains

she wasn’t angry at you, she knew

you didn’t do it

next day Miss I-forget-her-name

leans diplomatically, Empress of First Grade

soothes missed under-



a boy, hair summer corn silk

wrestles between bus aisles,

holds another, yanks

down pants of one who could have

lain in the soil of my granddad’s farm

(camouflage is not only a device for prey

animals) I turn, press my face to smeared glass,

driver oblivious while the air crackles like autumn husks


or maybe it’s not so obvious, only a pale

nightgown given, fringed

neck, served in a white box

that year I learned to snap

she learned privilege has hierarchies

when my mom told me send it back


a mobbed Eritrean man, only

standing at the worst bus stop—

shot, accused, bench-rammed—waiting

for justice that never stops, lured

to sleep by motion—a passenger losing her way

after Haptom Zerhom was killed by Israeli guards and bystanders who mistook him for an assailant in a bus station attack October 18, 2015


With thanks to James Tate’s “The Radish” and Terrance Hayes’ Golden Shovel technique.

AOL tells me 453 pilgrims died, trampled, when I

turn on my Mac. You can’t

believe how many junk emails accumulate even

overnight. I’m a touch ADD so I click on the death link and see

Mecca, or no, Mina, a dusty somewhere—god who

knows where—a middle east street where faceless faithful herd the

past breathlessly to toss pebbles at devils, actually now just 3 columns represent that enemy

and I recall crowds yesterday in DC for Pope Francis and wonder what being crushed is.

Elephants Standing

for Richmond, VA

The moon is a white elephant.

I reach—pinch it between my forefinger

and thumb to pop it on my tongue,

where it dissolves like a melatonin tablet

you purchase at Walgreens—500 for $8.99.

The melting sounds like the sigh of 1,000

babies in their wombs              and tastes

like protest chants at Standing Rock, sliding

down my dry throat, leaving cracks.

                          Lightning bugs think

they can illuminate the entire universe,

5 millimeters at a time. A multitude of insects

roar like we are on the Mother

Continent, remind us to be fearful

                          of clawed predators.

The moonlight tastes protest chants

at Standing Rock          leaves crack.

              Chief Seattle says,

If we do not own the freshness of the air

and the sparkle of the water, how

                          can you buy them?

The moon is an elephant—stranded.

Kim Drew Wright is an author and activist. The Strangeness of Men, her debut collection of short fiction and prose poems won a Silver IPPY and USA Best Book Awards Finalist. Her work appears in literary journals and anthologies. She founded Liberal Women of Chesterfield County & Beyond, a grassroots organization that focuses on connecting and educating citizens to be active in their own government. You can find out more by visiting and

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