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Poetry Winter 2020    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 20


French silk sample book

Paula Reed Nancarrow
Morning Coffee
& other poems

Jill Burkey
& other poems

Oak Morse
Boys Born out of Blues
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Engine Ode
& other poems

Monique Jonath
a mi sheberach
& other poems

Lisa Rachel Apple
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Human Condition
& other poems

Kirsten Hippe-Rychlik
and we are echoes
& other poems

Devon Bohm
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
I Rest My Mother Tongue
& other poems

John Delaney
Poem as Map
& other poems

Elizabeth Bayou-Grace
Fire in Paradise
& other poems

In Utero
& other poems

Michelle Lerner
Ode to Exhaustion
& other poems

William French
I Have Never Been
& other poems

Josiah Patterson Wheatley
Coeur de Fleurs
& other poems

Karo Ska
womb song
& other poems

Robyn Joy
& other poems

Han Raschka
Love Language
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
The Memory in My Pinky
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
Europe, too, Came from Somewhere Else
& other poems

Scott Ruescher
At the Childhood Home of Ozzy Osbourne
& other poems

Emily R. Daniel
Visitation Dreams
& other poems

Lindsay Gioffre
Toxicodendron Radicans [Sonnet 1]
& other poems

Writer's Site

John Delaney

Poem as Map

For Connie Brown

Some make a maze in a cornfield

that you mosey through, past dead ends

and detours, to the finish line.

Others carve a circle round an apple,

so you return where you started,

but having peeled the rich rind off.

I see it as a map you’ve been given—

with thematic key and compass bearings,

bold and shaded colors—arrows pointing

to a destination, with background music.

I want you to feel the topography

of my thinking, its scale and gradients.

Just follow directions and don’t get lost.

I hope your questions will be answered there.

Let Me Tell You What I Think

We’ll never live up to our potential.

It always comes down to greed.

And jealousy. Even lazy yoga.

What life lets you get away with.

Our actions peddle pet philosophies

around the pedestals of statued principles.

Your modus operandi

becomes your raison d’être.

We’ll never be more than apprentices

in Nature’s beauty salons or fabrication shops.

Oglers. Idlers. Hourly help.

You’ll be lucky to get a foot in the door

or out of your mouth. We’ll never learn.

Now, your turn.

Continental Divide

When we divvied up our lifetime

together, you got the furniture;

I took some rare books and vintage maps.

You kept your family’s Indonesian trunk;

I, my mother’s Yankee mantel clock.

All in all, we split it down the middle,

after discarding all the junk

we had collected to outfit the years.

There were plenty of good memories,

handfuls, in fact, to cushion the boxes.

Yesterday, in the Subaru burro,

I crossed the Continental Divide,

where, as you know, water is pulled

either east or west. Even tears.

To the End

It’s good to get to the end of things—

the spit of land that brings

you to the shore.

The rounded cul-de-sac

that turns you back.

To close the book on the last page,

and reach that age

when everything has gone before,

when present tense accents the past.

In the days’ roll call, to listen last

for your name. To have the last word.

No regrets, wondering if there’s more,

when you’ve seen and heard

it all.


Olympic National Park, Washington

It begins where I can’t see

and ends where I don’t know:

I witness its esprit

de corps between beach sand and mountain snow.

I watch the water flee

over rocks in the riverbed,

dragging logs and debris,

flushed from its system like bones of the dead,

and then, once it’s free

to revive both in rage and repose

its former identity

and purpose for the rest of time, it shows

how to bring, in magnificent motion,

the blue of the sky to the ocean.

The river was the subject of the greatest dam-removal project in U.S. history.

John Delaney In 2016, I moved out to Port Townsend, WA, after retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University. I’ve traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings, and am addicted to kayaking and hiking. In 2017, I published Waypoints (Pleasure Boat Studio, Seattle), a collection of place poems. Twenty Questions, a chapbook, appeared in 2019 from Finishing Line Press.

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