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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

John Wentworth

morning people

Like the twisting, turning path that at last breaks

into a clearing where you can sit among wildflowers,

and the cacophony of noise along the path at last disperses

into calls of birds and leaf rustlings that you can isolate and truly hear,

the hours of another day and sleepy night bring you at last

to another early morning and to the worship of the stillness of the moment.

How is it that the you you most truly are is so concealed?

When along the path so many stop to talk and listen?

When so many truly care to know who you are?

How is it that they never know?

This pencil, this crack in the window glass, this dead flower—

pick any image you like—

is not the same in the stillness of the morning as it is at night

and for anyone who fails to understand this, well, they can

try to understand you as hard as they will,

but they will never get it right.

Watching My Love

Pick something to watch

And there is so much there to see

Almost no matter what you pick—

A mushroom on tree bark in the woods

A cat’s-eye marble under bright light

A leaf floating in a fountain

The night sky

An envelope stained with a lipstick kiss

A fly-covered horse hind-end twitching in the sun—

If you pause at nearly any image for long enough

You discover something about the image

And about yourself.

“I see.”

(“Look closer.”)

“Oh, yes, I see.”

While my lover sleeps, I watch her face

As the streams of breath through her nostrils are in my veins

As the lashes over her eyes are rich, webbed thickets

As the shiny slope of her nose trembles in the scent of dust

As her matted hair curls delicately around the lobe of an ear . . .

And as her plump lips trace faintly just the notion of a smile

I understand that I love her best while she sleeps.

“I see.”

(“Look closer.”)

“Oh, yes, I see.”

But I am so sorry.

I am so, so, terribly sorry, my darling

That through teary eyes I watched my love again this morning,

And it was you that I saw

It was your breath in my veins

Your sweet whisper at my lips

But all in the past, or in my memories, or in my imaginings as you sleep.

For when I bent to move my lips onto your hand,

Your fingers had moved on your nightgown into a fist.

I watched so closely.

I watched so closely I could hear myself watching in the silence of the room.

And what did I understand? What did I believe I knew?

That this fist was your heart toward me, clenching tight, never to open again.

A tear slid down my cheek onto the foot of the bed.

I turned from watching bitterly, my eyes blank and empty,

So that I did not see the fist blossom like a flower, open into fingers

That might have held me yet again if I had looked closer, and longer.

Saying Goodbye

Five times we have said goodbye,

and there will be more between us.

Have we built our love on our goodbyes?

I see you in bed, on the streets of Alexandria,

in airports, and in the brown grass of muddy fields in fall,

saying goodbye.

In dreams, I see us in the places we’ve been together,

and also in places we’ve never been,

and from everywhere, it is the same—

you are waving goodbye.

Learning from both slow, frozen tears shining in glass

and the torrential bursts of heartbreak,

we are becoming fluent in the language of goodbye.

Even now, from a car window, your fingers deftly spell our alphabet:

goodbye, goodbye.

Of course there is only one true goodbye.

And I wonder, will I recognize the day I never see you again?

Will I wake up with that heavy knowledge,

or will I never know, always hoping

for one more hello, yearning for the broken promise

of one more greeting?

If you’ll let me, I will share a thousand more goodbyes with you

before our last one—

and that very last time I see you, ever,

I will say hello,

as we settle in together into our home

of my heart’s memory,

where, even while you live the minutes of another daily life,

you will live forever with me in an eternal goodbye.

1929—for my father

“You’re tracking footprints in the house,” she said.

Was he dreaming? Wasn’t he asleep on the screened porch,

The midsummer breeze touching his toes hanging over the couch,

The fat part of his arm a pillow under his head,

His eyes closed to the golden sun glinting in through the screen,

His belly full from a burger and four bottles of beer,

His day behind him a spent dollar on a lazy Sunday,

His night ahead a warm glow of lamp light on his bed,

His memories mixing with his ideas of how things were &

How they were meant to be?

“Have you even thought about it?” she said, somewhere nearby.

He breathed a breath, felt the breeze on his toes,

Aware of her somewhere near him, sweeping the floor,

Stirring dust, mixing tomorrows with yesterdays.

Half-asleep, he was dreaming, seeing his future

Laid out before him as sure as the radiant days already lived—

But now with his boy, his first child, his son.

It’ll be a boy, all right, he thought. It’ll be a boy.

The sun glinted through the screen onto the porch,

And the breeze was a whisper, a promise, a secret.

John Wentworth received his MFA from the University of Michigan in 1991. That was a long time ago. Look for his upcoming novel in a box in an attic near you.

Dotted Line