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Poetry Winter 2023    fiction    all issues


Susan Wilkinson

Selena Spier
Red From The West
& other poems

Pamela Wax
Talk Therapy
& other poems

Ana Reisens
Honey Water
& other poems

Mark Yakich
Necessary Hope
& other poems

Bridget Kriner
A Few Lies & a Truth
& other poems

Keegan Shepherd
Silver Queen
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
Sacred Conflagration
& other poems

George Longenecker
Those Who Hunger
& other poems

Hailey Young
Ball Room
& other poems

Sébastien Luc Butler
& other poems

Savannah Grant
Ever Since (v.2)
& other poems

grace (logan)
& other poems

Samantha Imperi
A Poem for the Ghosted
& other poems

Corinne Walsh
& other poems

Kayla Heinze
Stop checking the score
& other poems

Richard Baldo
Chasing Through to Dawn
& other poems

Alex Eve
A moment
& other poems

Robert Michael Oliver
Prison Hounds
& other poems

Bridget Kriner

A Few Lies & a Truth

At my first confession, I said what I said, meaning

I only said things that meant nothing to me, meaning

I lied. I stole skittles & a cherry lipstick from the drugstore, 

kicked my sister under the table, peed on the floor 

& blamed the cat. I denied it, mostly denied 

I liked it—the feel of a lie in my mouth, a triumph

of evasion for all my small evils—how even then,

I knew who I was. So, the priest could not absolve me 

of my real truth & the lie, it was still inside,

blossoming quietly. It’s true I was lurking in the bushes

at my friend’s house down the street & I was scared

of her dad with the beard in the car pulling into her drive

& while it made no sense, it was real for me. 

He was a coroner, arriving home from his day 

of finding out about the dead. I hid, then crossed 

the street alone when no one was watching & ran all the way home.

Later I lied to the priest about the lie because of the shame

seeded in the ground of my body. Years later, when a car hit me

in a crosswalk, I did not see it coming & still I knew right away 

it was the old lie come back around, snaking up like smoke rising

into my lungs until I can no longer properly inhale. See the car 

hit me & I just knew it was my penance for the street-crossing lie

I told when I was seven, a bill come due after 20 years, dormant

virus triggered in my depths until I found it wasn’t that lie

that mattered at all, but the lie I didn’t know was a lie

back then—someone had taken my voice & believed for years 

my silence was saving me, when all along that was the real lie.

On Being Home Alone & Watching Serial Killer Documentaries on Netflix

Supposedly, we are stronger in broken places,

ruptures reinforced, seamless skin obscures

one truth of what happened. For others, the duct tape 

of healing is threadbare, its adhesive degrading.

Still others are frozen, pregnant with fear, a calcified 

fetus lingering invisible inside. Because fear lives

in the body & the night has a thousand eyes, latent 

as a half-buried wick catching a flame just before

the match expires & sulfur swims up your nose.

You switch channels, warm by the fireplace TV station,

roaring as if warmth dwells in the mind, not skin. Your 

unease escalates on the sofa, whistles through the window,

where the empty eyes the night stalker—two embers

smolder through his worn balaclava. You want 

to unknow everything about his hunting. You want 

to rewind the night back to the spark, bury the wick, 

blow out the match, unsee how his face takes shape

in the fake fire, while you just know someone, maybe 

him, is just outside, towering like the century-old 

aspen in the yard, watching.

Birds Aren’t Real

—Once a preventative cause, our initial goal was to stop the genocide of real birds. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful, and the government has since replaced every living bird with robotic replicas. Now our movement’s prerogative is to make everyone aware of this fact, (Peter McIndoe)

On the viewless wings of drones, light as a thing

with feathers you can’t sing this tune

without the birds. It was evening all afternoon,

& the only moving thing the eye of the drone,

always watching, eyes in the sky, perched

in the soul. My mother would be a falconress

aloft with liar pigeons and hummingbird assassins,

spearing targets with their long needle beaks.

Sparrows, swallows, nightingales & peacocks,

while behind all those birdy eyes are cameras.

And I was of four minds, thinking a robot

could only be a metallic machine, thinking my fear

would subside, remembering that I am a human,

wondering how many birds were killed. Then the drone

said nevermore, the lie and the bird are one,

flying in a lucid green light in inescapable rhythms,

soaking up data for an indecipherable cause.

The only way to properly explain is with birds.

I am part of the pantomime. This never

happened. Wake yourself up from the lie.

Bridget Kriner (she/her) is a community college professor in Cleveland Ohio. Her work has appeared in Rattle (Poets Respond), Book of Matches, Shelia-Na-Gig, Thimble Literary Magazine, Whiskey Island and Split this Rock, where she won First Place in the Abortion Rights Poetry Contest in 2012. She has two children, a dog, and a cat.

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