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Poetry Winter 2013    fiction    all issues


Alysse Kathleen McCanna
& other poems

Peter Nash
Shooting Star
& other poems

Katherine Smith
House of Cards
& other poems

David Sloan
On the Rocks
& other poems

Alexandra Smyth
Exoskeleton Blues
& other poems

John Glowney
The Bus Stop Outside Ajax Bail Bonds
& other poems

Andrea Jurjević O’Rourke
It Was a Large Wardrobe...
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro
Babel Tree
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Michael Berkowitz
As regards the tattoo on your wrist
& other poems

Michael Brokos
Landscape without Rest
& other poems

Michael H. Lythgoe
Orpheus In Asheville
& other poems

John Wentworth
morning people
& other poems

Christopher Jelley
Double Exposure
& other poems

Catherine Dierker
dinner party
& other poems

William Doreski
Hate the Sinner, Not the Sin
& other poems

Robert Barasch
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

Susan Marie Powers
Red Bird
& other poems

Anne Graue
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Tub Restoration
& other poems

Paul R. Davis
& other poems

Philip Jackey
Garage drinking after 1989
& other poems

Karen Hoy
A Naturalist in New York
& other poems

Gary Sokolow
Underworld Goddess
& other poems

Michal Mechlovitz
The Early
& other poems

Henry Graziano
Last Apple
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
& other poems

Roger Desy
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

Frederick L. Shiels
Driving Past the Oliver House
& other poems

Richard Sime
Berry Eater
& other poems

Jennifer Popoli
Generations in a wine dark sea
& other poems

Lisa DeSiro

Babel Tree

You’ve heard of the tower. Well

I tell you, on my street

is an evergreen that speaks

as if in tongues, sounding

like a mob of children

crammed inside a classroom.

Who would think a tree could have

so much to say? St. Francis-


presiding over his fellow

statues—cats and raccoons—

steadfast behind their fence,

provides a captive audience

for the prim trimmed evergreen

whenever it’s infested

with that unseen sounding

like a multitude of tiny chimes

rung inside a church.

Truth is, this tree serves

as a container, a mouthpiece

for common sparrows

who “when interrupted by

suspicious noise”

shut up.

I tell you, they do. And who wouldn’t

be surprised

if a tree fell


the moment he or she

walked by?


The hard-hatted cutter climbs with rope and chainsaw,

lopping off branches like hunks of hair

from the top down, until only a shorn torso remains.

Back on the ground, he circles the trunk,

incising. The engine whines.

Two other men stand at a distance holding cables

tied to the highest stump. A third holds up a camera.

When the saw pauses, they gather

together, leaning back,

pulling, arms taut. Takes all their strength

to make the elm tip, then topple. A colossal thud

shakes the whole house.

Spectators on my neighbor’s porch applaud.

They don’t see me at my window

trying not to cry because this one tree—

that seemed alive while dying, that stayed standing tall as a tower—

has, in less than an hour, been rendered

horizontal and now

lies helpless as a human body.

The black birds never minded

it was leafless every season.

But a petition circulated.

I signed.


That we won’t go this year to Payne’s to buy

Boston ferns (three for the backyard gazebo,

one for the front porch) and a few red geraniums

and a single green spike (for the terra cotta pot

by the driveway); that we won’t open the shed,

pull out the muddied gloves and the wheelbarrow,

weed on our knees as if in prayer; that even though

we will never again share these rituals, spring will

return nonetheless and the earth will continue

undeterred, giving her garden the usual flowers:

daffodils, peonies, roses; that the black-eyed susans

went crazy during summer, as if nourished by her

ashes, my father tells me, months later, still

amazed; that she isn’t here to see.

Greetings from Paradise

Here, breeze-rustled palm trees make a sound almost like the sound

of brown oak leaves clinging to branches tousled by March

back home where winter lingers.

Here, it’s already spring. Grass greening the ground. Full-blown

blossoming, purple roadside weeds, fuchsia, jacaranda,

jasmine scent all over the island.

Here, some flowers look like birds and some birds look like flowers.

Even the plainclothes crows strut their stuff with sunlit flare,

glossy as polished patent leather.

Here, a loon joins me for lunch on the bungalow patio. Seagulls

keep me company at the beach while I stroll by the water’s

edge, my feet sinking in sand.

Here. Read this. Then send me a message if you’re there, if

it’s truly a garden, if they’ve given you petals for wings.

Tell me what it’s like.

Going to Visit the Dead

I know you’re here somewhere, intact.

God has given you back

what you lost—

your breast, your ovaries,

your vision, your weight, your energy—

everything. Almost. Lost

is also what we seem to be:

me in the passenger seat,

my Bulgarian friend in the back seat,

her mother driving.

The landscape expands around us

wide and flat. We pass

an orchard adorned with martenitsa:

red-and-white tassels worn during March

for good fortune, good health;

tied to trees on the first day of April

as a sign of winter ending,

spring beginning. I know

you’re waiting. I’m afraid

we won’t find the way. I can’t speak

their language, yet I understand

when my friend says

Sunlight feathers in your hair

and her mother agrees—yes, wings

Lisa DeSiro was among the featured poets of the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project in 2013. Her poems have appeared in Commonthought Magazine, Mezzo Cammin, and Poetpourri (now The Comstock Review), and have been used as texts for acclaimed musical compositions. In addition to her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, she has degrees in music and is an accomplished classical pianist. She is also Editorial & Production Assistant for C.P.E. Bach: The Complete Works.

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