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Poetry Summer 2021    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2021


Diana Akhmetianova

Monique Jonath
& other poems

Alix Christofides Lowenthal
Before and After
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
La Persona Que Quiero Ser
& other poems

Oak Morse
Incandescent Light That Peeks Through Secrets
& other poems

George Kramer
The Last Aspen Stand
& other poems

Elizabeth Sutterlin
Meditations on Mars
& other poems

Holly Marie Roland
& other poems

Devon Bohm
A Bouquet of Cherry Blossoms
& other poems

Ana Reisens
In praise of an everyday object
& other poems

Maxi Wardcantori
The Understory
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
& other poems

Karen L Kilcup
The Sky Is Just About to Fall
& other poems

Pamela Wax
He dreams of birds
& other poems

Mary Jane Panke
& other poems

a mykl herdklotz
Mouettes et Mastodontes
& other poems

Claudia Maurino
Good Pilgrim
& other poems

Mary Pacifico Curtis
One Mystical Day
& other poems

Tess Cooper
Airport Poem
& other poems

Peter Kent
Congress of Ravens
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
White Women Running
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Creating a Corpse
& other poems

Everett Roberts
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Canada Geese
& other poems

Writer's Site

George Kramer

The Last Aspen Stand

Aspen share a common root system, resulting in stands that are genetically a single tree. One such aspen stand in Utah is 80,000 years old—the largest and oldest living organism.

The best of us

is at the root,

away from light,

probing for good

in dark. We are

a single tree,


above and below,

every part devotion

to a whole.

In each breath

live a hundred generations

of mastadons,

elk and nuthatch.

Out of what heart wood

do we worship the wind

with leaves like shimmering hands?

How many winters

have strengthened our fiber?

How many fires do we bear,

or saplings strangle in our shadow?

We feel our killers’ footsteps

fall among us,

and we weep:

for our alikeness;

our mutual need;

our sense of selves;

our awe

of the other’s strangeness;

your weak grasp on what you saw;

your blind visions and divisions

both within and without.


as we die, you forget

that the core of all of us

is a heart woven of two fibers:

     —     one to heal,

     —     and one to harm.

The Hole in the Poem

        It was termites, I think,

that bored             out the heart

of this                       poem. Yet

the poem                still asks: why

is the hole            in the poem

      its heart? Less is more

          for a poem, but imagine

    if a magician’s sleeve eclipsed the center of

the moon: a lacuna           cratering out the lunar

heart, a coreless                      moon would now climb

the black                                        leaves of trees—

only a                                               peephole to


                           Cat’s Eye

                        Nebula, Lyra

                           and Vega


No memory,                             no feeling, no minding

its leave, just our              sadness watching the heart

of the moon fall in the wordless sea. Less is less

for the moon. More or less.

Or let me put it like this:

When the hole fell

from this poem

I stuffed it lumpy

with words for grief and love

until, luminous

with grief and love,

it sank in that sea

like a moonstone.

Pull it

up by the stuffing

and the hole returns.

In the center

waves the argentine flaglet

of something new.

Honeysuckle and Flaming Creeper

On reading Terrance Hayes

As you said, there never was a black male hysteria.

It is a wonder to ponder the spent lifetimes

Stacked under a lineage of goons

In Money Mississippi. Or lying scattered

Like bone bits in other not much better places

And still not mirror the madness in the faces.

Imagine instead planting your good feet in dirt

And letting the sprouts spread out for miles.

Many may be pulled up, or frisked down,

But still they tendril, lancing hearts,

Doubling back on themselves, entwining,

Alive but speaking for the weary dead.

You should see them, all these strong green ropes,

Wrapping a restless house in fiery hopes.

Different Kinds of Mud

More mud than man,

I am made of spit

and dirt, descended

from a bog,

now dried and cracked.

When the rain departed

I shone for an hour

under a high sun.

My minds are many

heaps of fallen rose petals

in different shades of brown.

My one heart, disguised

coal black,

pumps mud-thick blood

as I read forgotten poets

whose bones degraded

to the grit and gradations of mud,

what it thinks it knows

and how it hides

from itself.

I would settle in lowness

and let the swamp grass root in me.

But there is nowhere

for me to root myself—

even the dying grass

has magnificent chemistries

that lift up and even me.

I’ve become old mud,

so caked like blood on these boots

that mud and boots are one.

I trample in mud,

and the mud cries out.

It has a question for you.

George Kramer grew up in Canada, Kenya and the U.S., the child of refugees from fascism and communism. A lawyer by vocation, he has become increasingly focused on writing poetry in late middle-age, and has published in several dozen literary journals over the past few years. His poetry website is at

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