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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

Writer's Site

Hank Hudepohl

Crossed Words

I wonder, looking at the red-headed bird at the feeder,

if it is a woodpecker, or cardinal, or maybe a rare, hot-headed

warbler come to dine with me on my parent’s deck

as I visit with them for a long weekend. I am picking

over the seeds on my plate too, curious about how

I got here, which is to say, living a thousand miles away

and now just a rare visitor to their empty nest,

while my convalescent mom sleeps off her dizziness

in the back bedroom and my dad calls out to me

from the kitchen again to ask if I’d like anything more.

Yes, maybe to understand how migrations, digressions,

even casual addictions can lead to the brink of confusion

where simple questions like “what do you want to eat?”

and “when can you visit again?” can be as complicated to answer

as my dad’s Sunday crossword, locked as I am in my own state

of surprise, my children awaiting my return like Christmas,

my office chair awaiting my shape, my car awaiting my key,

my lips in search of a seven-letter word that rhymes with why.

The Furrier

His years and days and hours are threaded

and wound round the spool into the seam

of the joined hide, pressed there, eyed, sewed up

in a scarf or coat with a fur trim at the neckline.

He says, with a gentleman’s wink,

“This will look so wonderful on you, wear it.”

And his customers oblige him for hats, scarves,

coats of opossum, otter or the shine of mink.

The sewing machine, branded Never Stop.

His one hand over the next stitching

until the bifocaled seams of perfection

are set exquisitely in their proper place.

Anachronistic. Patient. Hopeful.

The spells of time and law are against his ways.

No apprentice now, not even his son

will learn the trade he learned in Istanbul.

“Take a candy,” he says, and feeling more bold,

“I will make you a scarf!” He picks off the floor

scraps of farm-raised mink and bends to his task

revived, unashamed, deliberate, and old.


You know it

when you have it in hand.

The world. And you can become,

without it, so small

as to fit between

the letters of a single word

like if or why.

With it, you can lean casually

upon a capital I. Too much

and you grow so

infinite you believe you can balance

the Milky Way

on the back of your fingernail.

Without any at all,

you will grasp

like a child for an open hand

and fail.


Come, walk with me along the riverbank

with an old man & his stick, a shadow,

and a boy whistling into an empty bottle

that he found stuck in the soft mud.

The river never looks the same way twice.

The rusted barges float past full of coal.

It is late summer rising into fall. The river is life,

is earth, is the ground note of an ancient song

if you listen for it. Heraclitus once said:

You cannot step into the same river twice.

Let it move you by boat, by raft, by canoe,

by whatever means available to your luck.

Let it carry you away, purify you, inebriate you

with the intoxicating notes of frogs & crickets.

No one ever crosses the same river twice.

The river is daughter & sister, life giver

and lover of sky & bird & fish.

The river is the blood of condensation, of fog,

redeemer of lost ways, collector of light, a thief.

You can never cross the same river twice.

Henry, how long since you’ve crossed a river?

Artery of disarray, spare parts, rusted cans,

of sandstone, storm-tossed limbs, driftwood,

marshes and grasses, cache of wildflowers: this river

never says my name the same way twice.

Hank Hudepohl graduated from Harvard, served in the US Navy, and earned an MFA from Hollins University in Virginia, where he also taught creative writing. He has published a book of poetry, The Journey of Hands, and he recently completed the manuscript for his second book, Riverbank. His work has appeared in literary journals and magazines, and has been featured on the NPR show The Writer’s Almanac. He grew up in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, and now lives with his family in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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