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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

Jeddie Sophronius

Before Departure

     A night I spend packing

& repacking

     until the dog falls asleep on her tail.

Daylight behind the purple curtains

     licks my eyes. The rooster crows

in response to the dawn call to prayer.

     Mother returns

from the flea market. Brings tulips

     & sets them on a ceramic bowl of water.

I kiss her on the cheeks.

     Half-boiled eggs over rice for breakfast,

a yellow pond in the snow.

     Before the red suitcase drifts

from the front door to the driveway,

     one last look at the dusty framed photos:

Hindu temples on the slopes

     of a sleeping mountain; two men practicing

T’ai chi on a hill—

     knees half-bent,

toes inward,

     hands calm as breeze;

me, a two-year old,

     hair still long, sitting on a boulder,

nibbling an unpeeled orange.

     Take me away

long enough & I will forget all this.

I Rest My Mother Tongue

I rest my mother tongue, let her sleep

in my mouth. Four months have passed without

a childhood word leaving me. Slowly,

I forget street names, my family’s

last meal together, & those who made

me smile. Words depart—my lexicon,

an incomplete jigsaw puzzle, full

of dust. Do I exist only for

one language? Can’t my body contain

a memory without forgetting

another? In my aloneness, I

adjust to silence, not unlike eyes

in the darkness. I’m thinking of you,

mother, & what language it was you

first spoke to me. It doesn’t matter.

I’m here & you are so far away.

I hope I haven’t lost too much of

my childhood when we meet again. Which

is better: to forget or to be forgotten?

On Returning, or
Portrait of the Diabetic Mother

In the morning, I find you

     standing in front of the bedroom

          mirror, staring at the canvas

of your body, like a child

     terrified of the mess they made.

          The scratch marks that were once on

your neck have reached your arms & legs.

     Your skin covered with blood clot

          on top of blood clot—a painting

of hills & a warm river. You

     wipe your tears with both arms. I tell

          you, your painting is just trying

to grow red feathers. You smile

     & I can’t help you. It’s alright,

          just let the paint dry for now.


You turtle from the bedroom

to the dining table each

morning, & it takes all your

strength to do so. Your feet are

swollen twice their size, your arms

red with all the insulin

shots. You spend most days sitting

in the living room, staring

at the door you’re too tired

to exit, feeling the sun

from the window, against your

arms. Crows hide under your eyes.

Remember when you used to

read me stories until I

fell asleep? Just close your eyes,

you said. Let the good night take

you gently.

Jeddie Sophronius was born in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Virginia and the poetry editor at Meridian. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, Prairie Schooner, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

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