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Poetry Winter 2017    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 2017 issue


Cover Thought-Forms

Laura Apol
On My Fiftieth Birthday I Return
& other poems

Jihyun Yun
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Red Jetta
& other poems

Sarah Blanchard
Carolina Clay
& other poems

lauren a. boisvert
Save a Seat for Me in the Void
& other poems

Faith Shearin
A Pirate at Midlife
& other poems

Helen Yeoman-Shaw
Calling Long Distance
& other poems

Sarah B. Sullivan
& other poems

Timothy Walsh
Metro Messenger
& other poems

Gabriel Spera
& other poems

Zoë Harrison
Pattee Creek
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Alexa Poteet
The Man Who Got off the Train Between Madrid and Valencia
& other poems

Marcie McGuire
Still Birth
& other poems

Kim Drew Wright
Elephants Standing
& other poems

Michael Jenkins
The Garden Next Door
& other poems

Nicky Nicholson-Klingerman
& other poems

Doni Faber
Man Moth
& other poems

M. Underwood
In Other Words
& other poems

Carson Pynes
Diet Coke
& other poems

Bucky Ignatius
Something Old, . . .
& other poems

Violet Mitchell
Deleting Emails the Week After Kevin Died
& other poems

Sam Collier
Nocturne in an Empty Sea
& other poems

Meryl Natchez
Equivocal Activist
& other poems

William Godbey
A Corn Field in Los Angeles
& other poems

Don Hogle
Austin Wallson Confesses
& other poems

Writer's Site

Doni Faber

Man Moth

You call at 4 am

looking for someone,

finding me.

Yet my sleep-thickened skull

doesn’t let in the realization

that I’m the someone you’re looking for.

We forget to exchange names

as though the intimate folds of night

have jettisoned us past our status as strangers.

“Do you know what time it is?” I ask

not upset, just tired.

“No,” you say.

The word splinters into awkward silence,

waiting for contrails

to lead us back

into friendlier skies.

Maybe you need to hear that I hear

the pain edged in your silence,

that I didn’t mean to be

its bearer.

I fumble for an apology,

a key that won’t turn in the door

without another hand

to coax it into relenting

its flat denial of my entry

like the I’m-sorry’s

we say too often to ourselves

and not to the people

who have no idea we need

their forgiveness.

Please forgive the edge of my sword.

I meant only to knight you,

but I see I have drawn blood.

Imagine, we mourn the death of a moth,

even when it is we ourselves

who have crushed its ordinary wings.

No longer capable of flight,

all that remains

is its body-dust imprint

against the glass.

I will brush the dust

into the indentations of my fingerprint

if only this would soothe you into believing

that I will remember you

not as ordinary,

but as a vibrant, trembling being,

one whose like

will never pass this way again,

that I would not relinquish you

to someone else

who slept through your crisis call

and is no more qualified than I

to respond to someone in need,

that it is late

and I know how lonely 4ams can be.

If I inhale long enough,

can I take back those words

that sent us spinning to the precipice

of awkwardness?

“Tell me,”

I would like the opportunity to say,

sending this man moth back to you.

An Attempted Thank You

I ring your doorbell

and hear you yell at your dogs to relax.

I smile as you open the door

and I hand you your gift.

“What is this for?”

“Just because,” I say

not willing to finish with, “you’re great.”

“Where did you find this paper?”

“I made it myself,” not speaking of the long hours

shaking the pulp and leaves onto a frame,

then compressing it between layers of cloth

until it adhered together

and how it turned out all gloopy the first few times.

You carefully slit open the paper to reveal

a framed photo of a clump of dark weeds growing in a field.

And you don’t know what to say.

I speak into the silence.

“I like it because it doesn’t seem

like the sort of thing most people would notice,

let alone take a picture of.”

What I don’t say is

those overlooked weeds remind me of you:

The “I love you’s,” you’ve said plain and simple

without receiving anything in return.

I settle for,

“I hope you like it,”

but even this sounds too demanding,

like I expect to see it hanging in a place of prominence.

I want you to know

that all the times you’ve continued to care

for those whom no one else cares for,

each time you sat with a loner at lunch—

that has been a gift to me.

Maybe if I tell you how you give of yourself

each time you play intensely with your daughter,

the way you bring me into your experience of reading with every new book

and always greet passersby with a friendly hello,

you would know

that I see you

as the remarkable being you are.

To you, these habits may just seem

like the weeds of day-to-day living,

but to me, they are memorable.

Memorable enough to photograph.

Keeping Watch

As day slips behind mountains on tiptoe

and the distant blue beacon of the weather tower

blinks its cloudy forecast

through a window too easy to break,

my joey nestles in the pouch of my arm.

She does not notice the blinking light

nor the crack in the glass,

threatening to grow bigger.

She will not be snatched by a fanatic

through a broken window pane and taken to worship in the foothills

nor be threatened by the stillness that seeps

into bodies raised in incubators instead of with human touch.

I serve as her platoon mate,

keeping watch for snipers who wait in the dark

so she doesn’t have to.

She will never hear gun fire,

only the calming break of waves,

as an electronic turtle simulates the sea.

I can still see the slivers of blue

through her gently pressed eyelids.

Her feet prod me to make sure

I am at her side,

knees worn from intrepid exploring,

and toes curled as if clinging

to invisible tree branches.

Just now, she whimpers

and I soothe her with a stroke across her arm.

Her chest rises and falls

and rises again, each breath reinforcing

her arrival as the apex of my life.

Her breath steadies into sleep,

wrapping every jeweled moment between now and her birth

into an unbreakable ligament of peace.

I wait for years to procure words

for her to tell of moondreams washing the day

from the back of her eyelids.

Sleep without fear, little one.

I will keep watch till then.

Holes With a Few Roses Tossed In

If the turtle could break out of its shell,

allow its rib cage to recede back into its chest

to embrace a slumbering heart

would it still be exposed to idly prodding fingers?

If Michaelangelo weren’t a mere painter,

encasing the small but infinite gap

between God’s and Adam’s fingertips

in a static scene,

could they some day touch?

Instead of waiting for an invitation,

the vagabond would break through his self-appointed isolation

and grasp hands in a now-electrified circle

whose circuit would be incomplete without his pulse.

Someone would smile at him across the circle.

And that would be enough.

The widow would no longer kneel by the side of an empty hole,

staring into its unfilled grey.

She would know that God has reached him.

She would cast off her wilting roses

and fill the hole in,

treading softly atop the dirt

so it wouldn’t collapse.

When she thinks about the circles upon circles of pulses she has yet to touch

and recognizes that each pulse she has already reached

is still a part of her heart beat,

she would no longer have need to bury them

for their memory is not yet dead.


Laughter stumbles across my threshold.

I want to know the joke, so I can laugh too.

But he’s too drunk to see my reflection,

though the lights inside are blazing

and he is submerged in darkness.

I switch off the light and peep out the window

as though I’m peeping in, violating someone’s sanctum

when really, I’m looking at my own yard.

A throng of college kids toss beer cans

into my yard, one pissing on my lawn.

The laughter crashes raucous around me,

every racist one-liner leaving me tamping down dynamite.

I explode outside, with phone held high in defense

though any image captured would be uselessly blurred.

If getting drunk, smoking, and having sex

is what it means to belong,

I’ll fail the captcha test.

Belonging is knowing that others

accept the smallness of you,

that you can be fragile

without the fear of breaking.

I want laughter

to hold my hand

in the dimness of a movie theater,

even if he is silent.

I want him to wrap me in his arms

in the midst of a party

where my hearing aid is useless.

But so far, the light inside is too bright.

I’ve tried to find him by switching it off.

But then no one can see me at all.

Doni Faber enjoys libraries, singing in a band, and emergent homeschooling. She is a retired slam poet, boothie, and third grade teacher. She has written a biography of her grandpa who dedicated his life to making people laugh. This is her first publication. You can find her book reviews at foldedpages

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