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Poetry Summer 2018    fiction    all issues

Poetry Cover Summer 2018


Cover Michael Lønfeldt

Carol Lischau
& other poems

Noreen Ellis
Jesus Measured
& other poems

Amanda Moore
Learning to Surf
& other poems

Adin Zeviel Leavitt
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Stay a Minute, the Light is Beautiful
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
The Wellfleet Oyster
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French
Watermelon Love
& other poems

J. L. Grothe
Six Pregnancies
& other poems

Sue Fagalde Lick
Beauty Confesses
& other poems

Abby Johnson
Finding Yourself on Google Maps
& other poems

Marisa Silva-Dunbar
& other poems

Merre Larkin
Sensing June
& other poems

Savannah Grant
& other poems

Andrew Kuhn
Plains Weather
& other poems

Catherine Wald
Against Aubade
& other poems

Joe Couillard
Like New Houses Settling
& other poems

Faleeha Hassan
In Nights of War
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
Thelma: ii
& other poems

Sarah Louise
& other poems

Kimberly Russo
Inherent Injustice
& other poems

Frannie Deckas
Child for Sale
& other poems

Jacqueline Schaalje
& other poems

Nancy Rakoczy
Her Face
& other poems

Ashton Vaughn
& other poems

Anna Hernandez-French


Crouched before a spider’s web

a girlchild holds between

her thumb

and forefinger a

sky-bellied beetle, six


unheeded, she

has caught her eye along the whisper

of the light that plays

its fine vibrations

over eight-legged appetite, her


works on

a half-hope hum

in anticipation of empyrean

admonishment, she looks

up, but


is a vacuum


with a flick of that divine

wrist made of rib

and ribbon

she throws her captive to the carnivorous


San Bernardino lullaby

laid out in the garden a funereal

star stuck hand

in hand we breathe burnt

orange blossoms and the smoke

folds into valleys.

the mountains are burning, and

in school they say the very pines that burn are born

of flame, itself wombed within the sky, sewn

seed by seed through thunderstorms, white iron


run hissing through the rain;

a miracle, and

they say

flames flicked off the quick

click of a cigarette

lighter, leap leaf to leaf to cleave

the sweet dry grass into ashes and

if pines be birthed in such a fashion they are silver

lines on tragedy. so

we watch the coalish

clouds build black

across the sky, till ashes fall like tea leaves


the death-defying dying of the trees, or


the molten mouth of our own

nicotine need. we chant

until our voices buzz like bees

that rise onebody

in their killer yellow

jackets, lift

one another up like soft white nothing

clouds, till each has had her turn in flying



To this day my mother is unfazed

by the sisyphean nature of a garden.

But in nurture she feared nothing more than our entropic tendency

toward anarchy, the graftlessness of being.

And we,

                her most precious seedlings,

                                how she watched us

when the wind picked up, lest we be carried off

                                                                                and scattered

far across the mountains, dropped into the sea and drowned,

or simply freed to wing across the sky.

                                                                As guard against

such leavening she hedged us in and rooted

us among her flowers, buried us

beneath the daisies, amid irises and bleeding hearts.

Our nursery was Sherwood, where the green was close

and clung

                to sleeves or caught along

                                incorrigible hair. And

                when summer overripened and our time grew

                too abundant

she would prune the sweetest torpor

with her order:

                pull the weeds that wrap their wastrel hands around the feet

of finer stalks;

                snap the necks off roses, toothy hydras that will counter

their beheading

from the hip;

                dig ditches till the daylight

pitches slowly into darkness,

hour after sodding

hour . . .

while behind us life made laughlines

of our borders.

Hooked Up

I wasn’t angling for anything

particular, grown cold

to shoals of flesh

and uniform

light bone. You

were out of season, something


or so I thought


you soft moon-mouthed I love you

as you pulled

in too much oxygen,

and slept. I watched

the sun

cut edges to the sky,

watched a premature


suck the sand

beneath my feet like soup

from a spoon. And

in your wake I wondered

if that rufescent line

led back

to your unfettered


or mine.

Watermelon Love

I’ve never liked watermelon


                the way the ripe ones ring hollow

as an unsound

foundation, how they gape

open, gum-colored on their delicate

white rinds and silently endure


                each time

the flesh gives sweet and dull beneath

my teeth I cringe as those raw gutters


                I was told from babyhood

to swallow any

seed was invitation

to invasion.

                and believed

that carelessness

could rise my belly

melon-round and inside

vines would coil,

                thread between my bones

and build up such insatiable sunlonging

they’d push out

                through ears and eyes, and press

                                upon my tongue to leave me speaking

                                                only in

                                                prodigious green.


                the other day

                I missed one,

                or, better said,

                I gave in.

and when I felt

a greening in my gut,

                a fruitful ache

down in the pit of me,

                I found

that perverse joy we take

in our own


A California native, Anna Hernandez-French cut her baby teeth on the rhymes of Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. As childhood progressed she began to write her own verse, weaving into it her deep love of the Pacific Northwest. Expanding her landscape eastward, she made Brooklyn her home, where her work received an honorable mention in the Women’s National Book Association’s 2017 contest, and was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Writers at Work Competition.

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