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Poetry Winter 2016    fiction    all issues


Cover Joel Filipe

Alexander McCoy
Questions to Ask a Mountain
& other poems

Alexandra Kamerling
& other poems

Debbie Hall
She Walks Into Starbucks Carrying a 2 x 4
& other poems

Michael Fleming
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
Sheet and Exposed Feet
& other poems

Melissa Cantrell
& other poems

Martin Conte
& other poems

AJ Powell
The Road to Homer
& other poems

Paul W. Child
World Diverted
& other poems

Michael Eaton
& other poems

Lawrence Hayes
Walking the Earth
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
Like a Bit of Harp and a Far Off Twinkle
& other poems

Sam Hersh
Las Trampas
& other poems

Margo Jodyne Dills
Babies and Young Lovers
& other poems

Nicole Anania
To the Dying Man's Daughter
& other poems

Lisa Zou
Under the Parlor
& other poems

Hazel Kight Witham
Hoofbeat Heartbeat
& other poems

Margaret Dawson
& other poems

James Wolf
An Act of Kindness
& other poems

Jane A. Horvat
& other poems

Bill Newby
& other poems

Jennifer Sclafani
Hindsight Twenty Twenty
& other poems

Writer's Site

Jim Pascual Agustin

Sheet and Exposed Feet

My mother thinks little of ironing

clothes. They gather wrinkles

as soon as you put them on,

she says. Even the collar made stiff

with starch will get creased

in no time. She knows we all die

crumpled and naked in God’s

eyes. You don’t get to choose

the surface your skin must finally

press against as it bears the weight

your soul once carried. The softest

cotton, fine grain of wood,

tiny teeth of gravel, the twisting

arms of waves or burst of flames,

will bind to your flesh

until you are no more

than broken links of carbon.

For those waiting to be identified,

heaven is a white sheet too short

to cover their feet.

International Space Station,
23 July 2014

on a photo by Alexander Gerst

Light, invisible unless it strikes

something: a wall, a tree, a sliver

of smoke, your eye. Fireworks makers

know how to make light whirl

and dance, displacing the stars

of midsummer or grip of winter.

Entranced, one can only surrender.

If you didn’t know what the bursts of light

Alexander Gerst had captured in space,

you could be forgiven for thinking

they were beautiful, like filigree

or deep sea creatures. But there,

dark waters bordered

by a scattering of lights, the beach

where four children playing

were blown up.

Crocodiles in Belfast

The morning radio reports

another crocodile attacked a woman

in Belfast. She was washing a bucket

to be filled with river water to carry

back home. Two other women armed

with buckets were around. They screamed

and clattered the hollow plastics,

swung them against the crocodile's sides

until it released the woman's leg.

Annoyed, it withdrew to a quieter

part of the river to wait in silence

for another meal. The news

will soon be forgotten

before the woman's leg heals.

But she will be going back

to the river's edge

while the drought extends its grip

on the land and the men

of the village go in search

for work elsewhere in Mpumalanga.

Women and Children First

A woman, her grip

tight as a fist, is pulling back

the hijab of another woman.

In the same frame, a boy

with rubber sandals is poised

to land a kick on her thawb.

Just look closely.

The soldiers

in the background

aren't doing anything.

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and moved to Cape Town in 1994. He won the Grand Prize at NoiseMedium and the Gabo Prize at Lunch Ticket. His books include Alien to Any Skin, Sound Before Water, and A Thousand Eyes. His eighth book of poetry, Wings of Smoke, is forthcoming from Onslaught Press (UK). He condemns the murderous Duterte administration. He blogs at

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