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Poetry Summer 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Hannah Lansburgh

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
For Your Own Good
& other poems

Marianne S. Johnson
& other poems

Kate Magill
Nest Study #1
& other poems

Karen Kraco
& other poems

Matt Daly
Beneath Your Bark
& other poems

Paulette Guerin
& other poems

Hank Hudepohl
Crossed Words
& other poems

Alma Eppchez
At the Back of the Road Atlas
& other poems

Jim Burrows
At the Megachurch
& other poems

Rachel Stolzman Gullo
& other poems

Yana Lyandres
New York Transplant
& other poems

Heather Katzoff
& other poems

Tom Yori
& other poems

Barth Landor
What Is Left
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Never So Still
& other poems

George Longenecker
Polar Bears Drowning
& other poems

Ben Cromwell
Sometimes a Flock of Birds
& other poems

Robert Mammano
the way the ground shakes
& other poems

Janet Smith
Rocket Ship
& other poems

Gina Loring
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Minoan Elegy
& other poems

Toni Hanner
Catching the Baby
& other poems

Toni Hanner

Catching the Baby

My father’s birthday, the gypsy approaches,

gold ring poised on her palm, almost impossible

not to look, not to catch the baby, she knows you cannot

let it fall, allow its soft brown head to smack the cobbles,

you cannot stop your hand. Here is a cat dead in a bag,

you glance and pass by, you aren’t the kind of person

to touch, to look inside, to bury the bag in the dirt outside

your front door. You are just one of the people who glances,

remembers later to write the orange feet sticking up

out of the plastic bag as dead as anything and you’ll return to this cat

again and again, this cat serving as home if you can get there before

the patrol boat pa-pows its slow way up the canal

to your beach. If Jimmy’s on board he’ll catch the baby

and steal the gold ring. The cat was a runt and the gypsy

sighs back into the doorway of the cathedral, folding

a leg up under her skirt, putting on her hungriest face.

I stumble through cities the way I hug the wall for support

when I’m drunk, I need a description of that, how one flings oneself

at the bannister, then the next solid thing, the window ledge

at the stair landing, then the next, a lover’s shoulder, a mother’s

shadow. The cat is one of those things in a black week.

In between there are voids the ground solid enough for your feet

but the rest of your body is on its own. You are always reaching for the next

hold-fast, a wall, a bureau, a table. The softness of a lover’s hand

is comforting but only the dead are solid enough.

You keep them in jars bolted to the floor moving with you,

just far enough ahead so that you have always a destination.


This is only a single page, Copernicus,

I do not have what you would call a flexible

life I revolve around the sun like you said

my house does not pulse open for any passing

cousin, does not fold itself around the bereaved

no, my house holds us, the few, Copernicus.

We do not know which of us is the sun

we move into and around each other

anemones opening and closing and holding,

digesting what we need which is always.

Copernicus there is starch in my bones

I do not have what you would call a flexible

life there is city in me, boxes piled high

leaning against one another small boats ply

rivers of blood. Copernicus

I long to sunflower turning and turning heliotrope

but I creak in my body I must bring down the heat,

the light. This is only a single page, Copernicus

because we are far from the sun in January

of this murderous year we are spinning

back into the dark when all we can do

is reach and turn. I do not have what you

would call a flexible life, Copernicus.

I revolve around the sun bereaved and holding.

Splendid Angel

I’ve always wanted to see my mother with bees

in her hair, lifting her, turning her gold, the grammar

of lightness. My mother with ice blue, riding,

a banshee of knees and serpents, my mother

as galaxy, as interplanetary dust, comet-clicking,

deep black empty howling, rain falling through sunlight

in a grove of olive trees. My mother as ocher, as mustard,

as new as the stars, as boat and wind, her flesh to fruit,

bruised pear, secret hidden in an apple,

a splendid angel, a criminal. I would take her into the parlor,

let her see her father, know him in his coffin, shake the dead

from her fingers, from her feet, from her wings.

August Poem

realizing in my chest

i have no words    my throat closes

over the beaks of all the birds

i have swallowed in the night

my hummingbirds stand on a column

of air looking at me

i am the most important display

in their museum of oddities

dusky august comes

cartwheeling down through the ninebark

our orbit quickens around whatever sun

or moon finds our gravity

i can spend sunshine

like coins in the machines of flowers

Toni Hanner’s books include The Ravelling Braid (Tebot Bach, 2012), Gertrude, poems and other objects (Traprock, 2012), and The Book of Orange Dave (Chandelier Galaxy Books, 2015). Gertrude was a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award. Hanner is a member of Red Sofa Poets and the Madrona Writers. She is a confirmed francophile who also loves Argentine tango. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, with poet Michael Hanner.

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