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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

Winner of $200 for 2nd-place-voted Poems

Peter Nash

Shooting Star

First, a twenty-year run of brilliance,

your yellow-green eyes glittering

beneath the raven wings of your eyebrows,

the lightning retorts of your valentine mouth,

the shimmy of garnet earrings

framing your linnet face—

we still remember the little girls on the stoops

bringing you their broken doll babies to kiss,

how we applauded you madly in Oklahoma!

as you sashayed off the Marshall High School stage

leading the cowboys up the aisle,

and the way you could pick up enough change

for a six pack of Heineken singing Bob Dylan

on the Sunset Pacific Mall with your paint spattered guitar

and a can of dollar bills. We’d never forget

the famous night you filled Café Prégo

with guys who’d fallen in love following you up the outside stairs

of the wooden house on Ocean Avenue,

your legs flickering in the sulfur light of the street lamps.

But somewhere in your thirties people stopped buying

your cardboard collages or the bouquets you scavenged

from the mason jars at Pioneer Cemetery,

your parents stopped paying the rent, the last boyfriend

slashed your painting of him sitting on the toilet,

no one would hire you to walk their dogs after Dotty the Dalmatian

got run over as you read the New York Times at McDonald’s

and your cat Matisse died locked in your room

when you drove your VW Bug with daisy decals

onto the Talmadge Bridge. We still picture you

floating downstream, your face a petal of light,

though the moon was not bright enough to see the water

rippling through the folds of your dress,

or the algae-stained rocks below.

What I Hear

I’ve been watching these trees half my life;

   this hill of pines whose pitchy limbs

      balance their rough trunks,

sprouting needles, dropping needles

   the topmost tier a green undulating mat

      roaring in the wind, changing light into matter.

Is it trees talking with the wind?

   the small animals who shelter in the shadows?

      the squirming rootlets in the basement of the hill?

I hear voices from a hive of mouths,

   but not the words. I hear the brown towhees,

      long-tailed, lurking in the underbrush,

scuffling in leaf-litter for seeds, the finches,

   gold-bellied, sociable, jittering in the sun,

      flung by the wind across a field of dandelions,

darting among the branches of shade trees,

   living a life without naming the world.

      I know that each of you is saying something

but I’ll never get it right. Best to stand here looking

   at that roaring, piney hill, hand covering my mouth,

      the better to hear you with.

Morning Chores

Night ends with a final snap,

clawed feet scrabble linoleum

dragging the Victor trap.

This morning I tote up the damage:

the crushed snouts, the oozing abdomens,

the tiny turds black as poppy seeds

speckling the floor. Now it’s time

to pull on my crusted gloves, walk across the lawn

and flip the bodies over the fence. Turn on the sprinklers.

The truth is I don’t know where to go from here.

As if I were in a maze of electron rings

whizzing around one small house-mouse

rapturously suckling a half dozen babies.

Orbiting her, the weed patch fills with corpses,

flies lay eggs in furry crevices, maggots

scour toothpick ribs. In the outermost ring

my spotted hands bait the trap with a Sun Maid raisin

imbedded in a dollop of crunchy peanut butter.

Beyond that, a space so vast

my mind clamps down, unable to enter,

but gives it a name: VICTOR.

John Brown’s Cows

Leaking milk from swollen udders

the cows have been separated from the calves

who wander dazed in the far pasture

crying for their mothers.

Strings of slobber hang from their mouths.

Bellowing their grief

the sound becomes background

like the rush of rain in the creeks,

while we dig the garden,

pitch hay to the horses, stack firewood.

And then a silence settles upon these meadows,

and just as you learn to live without your children,

the calves begin to suck water,

to graze by themselves.

Rocky’s Place

There is some kiss we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.

Sometimes I think of his thousand Post-its

plastering the lamp shade, creeping

along the base boards, up the metal legs

of the card table and covering the window

overlooking a graveled parking lot.

In the corner, boxes of Zip-lock bags

filled with alfalfa pellets are stacked.

A bare bulb dangles by its wire

over two rabbits, Flopsy and Mopsy

inside a baby’s playpen.

Each day begins seven inches above the sink

when he whispers the first Post-it:

Every seeker is a beggar

before moving on to the next

and the next in their ordained order

as if they were a trail of stone steps winding

seven times around sacred Mecca.

And when he arrives at those who have reached

their arms into emptiness I imagine

him ascending the path to the doorknob of the closet

where the last Post-it reads: This is the place

the soul is most afraid of, on this height,

this ecstatic turret, and climbing

into the playpen he lies down with the rabbits

who nuzzle his face, their eyes half-closed,

their furry, smoky-white heads

moving back and forth

in mysterious jerks.

Peter Nash has been practicing medicine for forty years in Northern California. He writes most mornings, occasionally helps his wife in the garden, boards two old mares, and wanders along the Mattole River with his dog Quigley. He has been published in numerous journals and anthologies; his chapbook Tracks won the 2007 Hot Metal Press chapbook contest and his book, Coyote Bush: Poems From The Lost Coast, was the winner of the 2012 Off the Grid Poetry Prize.

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