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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

Alexa Poteet

Have You Seen Me?

At once, I am everywhere

and nowhere.

You think you glimpse me

admiring candies like gems

in the halogen glow

of the gas station.

I am an apparition,

selling magazines or gum,

school supplies.

The eyes could be mine

anywhere. At the end

of the jet bridge, clutching

the cuff of a stranger. Flyers

are my paper tombstones,

pinned like corsages to telephone

poles. A leaf, I

float through holes

in the jungle gym, in you.

Time is my plaything. Age progressed,

I am taffy. Stretch forward,

pull back.

Look at me,

and I disappear.

Skywriter on the Radio

Like locksmiths, skywriters

absorb their fair share of abuse

from poets. I’m surprised

to hear the last one in New York

live on the radio. (Though perhaps not.

The vestigial tails of their crafts, wagging

one another. Thump

thump. Heaven-made

bedfellows. The skywriter

and the radio. The three of us implausible

as ever: The poet writing

about the skywriter on the radio.

Did you know we are an incantation?

It’s true; If you say, “A poet hears a skywriter

on the radio” three times in the mirror, a Romantic

appears: Shelley, with his pussy-bow

blouse soaked from drowning

in the Golfo dei Poeti. He will pour

out his shoe like in the movies,

and a small silver sardine will dance

in the light at his feet.)

The skywriter speaks of slicers, which blitz

the imagined fingers of God

and faces in the clouds for his celestial

vandalism. The hot, smoked paraffin

and oozing exhaust he leaks

to write love on a blue sky day.

The messages are needy, force him

to fly backwards while holding

a cracked button for smoke with his thumb.

A pocket mirror taped

to the dash reads the hazy

plumes back to him as he hangs,

a bat in the cockpit,

upside down. Mid-scrawl he checks

his work like a schoolboy who stops,

halfway through a B

for the presence of the dotted line,

but this craft is limitless, un-college ruled.

The M’s and the R’s are the impossibles.

Ask for double-backs to ward off

W, when the world is inverted.

The alchemy of the R,

at once yearning

for bent and straight.

And yet, the skywriter

on the radio written

about by the poet is undeterred

by the earth as a ceiling

and not a floor.

He writes it, difficult and forever,


Improbable every time.

The Man Who Got off the Train Between Madrid and Valencia

I had been on the train for

two hours. The cliffs of Cuenca

and their small bird-nest houses blurred

into arid bramble for miles.

Along the embankment, hundreds

of brown rabbits pulled their bodies

back into burrows

to elude a metallic beheading.

A small wave of life,

brown on brown in the desert

where no one lives.

(Years earlier in Spain, I lived

with a familia. Horrified

when I went to peel a mandarina

and two rabbit ears,

white inner hairs still pert,

stood straight up in the trashcan.

I politely spooned

rabbit stew for lunch that day,

hoping my voodoo was reversible.)

Slowing, the train rolled into a station,

deserted but for a dirty sign

ventas with no teller

and a film of dust.

Through the window, I saw him

step off the train.

Jeans, brown briefcase in hand. A weary

walk. The walk of a man who at the end

of his working days

lays down in his clothes

at the edge of the ocean.

Lets the small waves sink him into the sand.

There, he ambled out,

straight into the campo.

No homes or fences for miles.

Just the rabbits and me.

For years, he was my talisman.

A patron saint

of loneliness. The man

who walked into uncertainty.

A magician of memory.

Did he vanish? Die?

Had I witnessed him

walking into the desert or

imagined it? The way

a grenade aches

for a man. Or a film, spools silent,

without a reel.

I told only one man

about the man

who got off the train between

Madrid and Valencia. The man

I’d made a myth about toeing

the line between nothing

and everything.

He said he could love us both.

I married him, knowing

that the stations and all the spaces

in between

belonged to us.

Dreaming of Tomatoes
in Antarctica

They train for Mars

here, that red planet’s

ghost. A twin separated

at birth, no, stillborn,

icy with rigor mortis

in the joints. But

somewhere in Lombardy

There is a field, intraversible

with green, humming

with flies. A casita with earthen walls

and a clay roof. A terrazzo

where hot hay and manure fill

the nose. A terrazzo where skin

goes dusty with pollen. A terrazzo

where one becomes a flower.

There, a lacquered pot

sits split by the growth

of roots, creeping from the cracks

like garden snakes.

There, a tomato plant hangs

bent with fruit. Large,

heavy with fertility.

That red globe waits


with 1,000 seeds.

Alexa Poteet is a poet and freelance writer from Washington, DC with a master’s degree in poetry from Johns Hopkins University. Her poetry has appeared in Reed Magazine, PennUnion, Sixfold, Lines + Stars, and NewVerseNews, among others. She was also a semifinalist for the 2015 Paumanok Poetry Award and a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee. She has enjoyed staff positions at the Washington Post, the Atlantic and the National Interest.

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