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Poetry Summer 2022    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Summer 2022


Joanne Monte
& other poems

Holly York
Still When I Reach for the Leash
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Catholicism Still Lingers in a Concrete Poem
& other poems

D.T. Christensen
Coded Language
& other poems

Laura Faith
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Winter in Choctaw
& other poems

Natalie LaFrance-Slack
& other poems

Nicole Sellino
iii. moving, an interruption
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
In Memoriam / Day of the Dead
& other poems

Sheri Flowers Anderson
On Being A Widow
& other poems

RJ Gryder
& other poems

William S. Barnes
to hatch
& other poems

Suzannah Van Gelder
& other poems

Sam Bible-Sullivan
The Dying Worker’s Soliloquy
& other poems

Hills Snyder
Eclipse (July 4, 2020)
& other poems

Lauren Fulton
Birth Marks
& other poems

David Sloan
& other poems

Nancy Kangas
Dry Dock Cranes of Brooklyn Navy Yard
& other poems

Noreen Graf
In Attendance
& other poems

Jim Bohen
Nothing Tea
& other poems

Thomas Baranski
Let us name him dread and look forward
& other poems

RJ Gryder

The Quarry

glassy vision

of puff clouds and sky

the reddish brown

of copper rust     clay

streaked through the taupe

walls     accordion of mud

to be grabbed     the handles

of mirrored lake and pine

tree toppers     the way

dynamite and industry

carve out their space,

the way earth reclaimed



after Marge Piercy

Don’t look at me like that.

You make me lonely with love, blink

and I might miss me; I’ve already

                          grieved for when you leave.

                          I’ve already tasted the reflux

                          of missing you ten years

                          from now. A mistake of trying to swallow

                          you whole. You’re just too

                          big for the tip of my tongue, to

                          be poised under top teeth

                          with mouth in perfect O

                          ready to spit you out where

                          you’re fated to land, where

                          you already live when I don’t

                          bite down hard enough.

Already the corner of the pillowcase gets in the way

of looking at you. I’m jealous of the way

she holds your rest.

Try as I might to thwart the reflex, of grab clutch hold

I end up dragging my nails down your spine,

blood already welling as I gather you in my fingertips.


Hateful chicken for breakfast. Forgot lunch.

Dinner is a veggie dog and three margs

with three straws. I forgot to bring my tooth

brush and brain pills but I remembered the

cuffs. The moon falls asleep first. I clock in

before the sun, unless breakfast fills my

bathroom. Bile hits tiles, stays there. Back to bed.

I haven’t cleaned my ears in ages. I

can’t hear anything you’re saying. Lunch is

chocolate milk. Dinner is nailbeds. On days

I sleep I make no money. If you sleep

naked you don’t have to wash pajama

pants. Breakfast doesn’t matter, I can’t hear

anything you’re saying. Slouching over

someone else’s grocery cart filled with

only Organic, please. Lunch is Dr.

Pepper, large, one-o-seven. I forget

not to lean on everything. I straighten

and my back is microwave popcorn. Well,

so’s dinner. Breakfast doesn’t matter. Lunch

doesn’t matter. Lunch is an entire

rotisserie bird. Lunch is preceded

by the miracle plant that roots in my

alveoli. My mom always said if

I stood like that I’d grow up to be a

question mark. The way I’m bent, you’d think I’d

have more answers. But I don’t remember

lunch. And I still couldn’t finish dinner.


She’s been vomiting

up sawdust every morning

and I have been taking

an ax to the telephone

pole. It’s better than

trying to drown the TV,

but not by that much. Rubber

black snakes spray their venom sparks. She manages a

glare over the toilet bowl,

and I don’t care. I

reject her light pollution.

I’m going top down.

Hacking my way to the


              She will leave when

I’m done. But I’m not sure

that she will. My fingers

are dark crispy I confused

them for the reptiles

a while back. But don’t leave

quite yet, I don’t think she should. It’s hard to whittle

down with just my palms

left     a wanted poster

for a blind cat. on the run,

answers to Leopold, I’m 

almost grounded. There are 

splinters in my tongue the wires hiss, lick. 

She spits, flushes,

stands     don’t leave yet.

Cold comfort

When the wind bares its knife

         sharpened on carmine corners

and five hundred plastic coats

the slip on the sidewalk

         is as numb to me as your pinky

in the glove with the hole—

as the thick corners

         of a love you’ve already

folded up and tossed.

Wet breath catches

         before it can cloud milky

& strange, shaping unspoken words

that gather in my gut.

         Acid to cut through

frosted eyelashes and icing tongues.

How it turns the warmth

         into everything. An exhale

into the pith of your neck,

your arms around my shoulders

         smaller than the cold,

hot enough to thaw.

RJ Gryder is a multidisciplinary writer who works in a school library in Orlando, FL. They are a graduate of UNC, Chapel Hill where they wrote their Creative Writing undergraduate thesis in poetry. RJ has been previously published in 30 North Literary Review and The Charles Carter anthology.

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