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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

Nancy Rakoczy

The Exploding Father

The exploding father

silently smolders with

slow wicks buried

beneath light camouflage

hot flares etch eyeballs permanently.

Once a simmering youth

now he explodes with impunity.

Hot spots in his psyche

percolate with vitriol,

pockets full of short fuses,

arteries stashed with nitro.

Why does he flame

in a furious hale of sparks

flashing blue, yellow and white?

Don’t ask. It only sets him off.

What My Mother Saw

What she saw:

a front room that needed dusting,

the kitchen a good scrubbing;

dishes sticky from

breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Toss in a few brats,

and a shadow that pauses and waits,

making the floorboards creak.

She’d stop,


Thirteen and she’d

begged her mother, please, no no,

please no, but in Polish, with all

the soft sounds coming out hard.

The other girls,

her friends,

faces streaked with tears,

all begging and pleading no,

no no no, the Great Depression’s chorus,

its dirge of fear.

This was their youth.

Don’t leave me here to sleep

so close to their bedroom

to him

the shadows, and the tiptoeing—

No, scratch that.

No tiptoeing, he just took her

just like that:

just another utensil,

like the broom or mop.

Her mother works the braid of betrayal

into her hair. Hands button her into a dress.

He clears his throat and waits.

Turn the page: this is another story of

immigrant success.

The Imploding Mother

She was taught that it didn’t happen.

That the money was needed

That whatever happened was for the best

That everything was meant for a reason.

That he didn’t really mean it.

That it’s to be expected a fine looking girl like you

That you probably led him on.

That’s what men do.

That you should have known.

That you’re too attractive, take that bow out of your hair.

That you’re lucky he paid attention to you

That you had it coming dressed like that cover yourself

That there’s no use screaming over spilled milk

That it was meant to happen one day

That if you had nicer clothes it wouldn’t have happened

That when you’re older you’ll understand

That it’s time to get over it

That it’s not like you’re bleeding

That you can’t prove it anyway

That life doesn’t hand you anything you have to take what it gives

             so hand over that money your sister is hungry

That you’ll be back on the job tomorrow bright and early.

We Rise

Like a moth I rise from bed,

join the others, bump heads the ceiling.




safety’s above.

Our bodies below

lie curled, cruelty tossed larvae,

            fear our only blanket.

See how we rise: let’s fly,

            spread arms wide and white.

Return to those poor bodies?

escape is through the window.

Mother stands waiting.

Father bends over our husks.

            They don’t know we’re gone.

            We’ll return tomorrow, when it’s safe.

Her Face

Now that she’s dead,

we began a slow dig.

We examined, sifted, combed through,

held up to the light, raked, rummaged, ransacked

ravaged every corner of every room,

every closet and its shelves

for traces of the girl who had been our mother.

It was our private hunt,

a furtive probe for clues,

our backs to each other

working in tandem as we

brushed away dust looking

for artifacts she surely left behind.

And uncovered—

an entire album—loot.

A photo that showed a 12 year old

with features too big for her face.

It was—how to put this kindly—

a man’s face—on a slender girl’s neck

with the kind of purity

you see on people growing up

on an atoll in the Pacific,

smiling widely at their first camera.

I peered over her shoulder

at the Detroit neighborhood,

of broad shouldered houses

and bashful front yards.

With sidewalks that claimed

would never trip its young.

On her face—nothing was measured;

nothing divided. Nothing held back.

There was nothing coy,

nothing posed, nothing tempered

by the outside world’s censure.

Clearly, she had never glanced at a fashion magazine

with its lessons on how to be a female adolescent.

Nothing had tampered with this man-face.

No apologies for the big nose, big smile, big expression.

I peered closer,

trying to guess how close she was to the abyss.

No scars apparent in her wholeheartedness.

Had it happened?

The man the whispers the secrets the pay-off.

It was—what—a month—two weeks—maybe just a day or two away?

Was it tomorrow when she’d be dragged in so far and deep she’d forget she’d been broken?

Was it that very day of the picture, when the architecture of loss would take over,

and its columns and arches, atriums, buttresses, vaults and spans would cave in, lying shattered beneath the face of her youth?

Her mother would teach her to smooth and rearrange her expressions.

She would learn to cover over a sinkhole of eruptions,

letting the secret niches and dark corners take over.

Age would tame her features into attractiveness.

Close the album—

still the Medusa: one look was enough.

This face was the before we never knew she had.

Her life with us—all pure after.

Nancy Rakoczy was published by Sixfold in the summer of 2017, and received an Honorable Mention in 2013 from New Millennium Writers. In 2009 she participated in the Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco. She’s written art reviews for the, and has contributed a chapter on climate artists, “Working with Artists” for the forthcoming book from T&T Clark/Bloomsbury publishers, T&T Clark Companion on Christian Theology and Climate Change.

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