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Poetry Winter 2018    fiction    all issues


Cover Elena Koycheva

Bryce Emley
Asking Father What’s at the End
& other poems

AJ Powell
& other poems

Faith Shearin
& other poems

Claire Van Winkle
& other poems

Sarah W. Bartlett
Summer Cycles
& other poems

Nooshin Ghanbari
& other poems

Meli Broderick Eaton
The Afterlives of Leaves
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
& other poems

Paula Bonnell
In Winter, By Rail
& other poems

Addison Van Auken Waters
& other poems

Daniel Sinderson
& other poems

Andrew Allport
All Nature Will Fable
& other poems

Marte Stuart
What an Insult Time Is
& other poems

Matthew Parsons
My Father as an Inuit Hunter
& other poems

Emily Bauer
Gently, Gently
& other poems

Bruce Marsland
A once lovelorn bard’s final journey
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Night Makers
& other poems

Isabella Skovira
Lawless Conservation
& other poems

Juan Pablo González
Colombia, 1928
& other poems

Molly Pines
The Pillbug
& other poems

Jamie Marie
On the Lake
& other poems

William A. Greenfield
If You Show Me Yours
& other poems

Bill Newby
Tuesdays at The Seagate's Atlantic Grille
& other poems

Elder Gideon
Male Initiation Rites
& other poems

Joel Holland
Dear Gi-Gi
& other poems

Martha R. Jones
How Lewis Carroll Met Edgar Allan Poe
& other poems

Faith Shearin

Old Woman Arrested for Teaching 65 Cats to Steal

after the headline in the World News Daily

I’m still trying to imagine how she did it.

Maybe she used costume jewelry

to instruct them, served tuna

each time they carried a necklace or ring

in their mouths, as a mother might carry

a kitten? They were her pets

but they worked for her, as thieves,

balanced outside unsuspecting

neighbors’ windows on feet as quiet

as desire. She was an old widow

in Ohio, the sky low and gray,

and she was lonely in her flat ranch home

where her felines began to multiply, their

hunger like her own. She taught them

to bring her what was shiny—pocket watches,

earrings, diamonds—from a suburb

where things went missing

when someone closed their eyes in front

of a television set, or stepped

outside to get the mail: whiskers

against bureaus, velvet ears twitching

in the evening shadows.

Early Lab Mice

Robert Koch hung a curtain between the place

where he treated patients and the lab where

he began growing anthrax in a cow’s eyeball.

While his wife was upstairs, marinating

a roast, he remained in the basement,

dissecting an infected garden rabbit,

its ear under his microscope.

Robert drew whatever he observed so

the pages of his notebooks filled with

sketches of rod-shaped bacteria;

he noted how anthrax could be

active or passive, revived by temperature

or moisture, and he remembered the mystery

of a sheep eating from a spring field,

blood gushing from its nose.

Robert set mousetraps in the horse barn,

and when his daughter, Gertrud, was given

white mice as pets he took a few downstairs;

he told his wife to turn away all but the sickest patients

and went on working by lantern light,

his cultures growing over a low flame; I imagine

how Gertrud’s mice watched Koch

from cages and jars, with haunted

pink eyes, balanced on hind legs,

their tails naked behind them,

sensing danger, discovery.

When The World Was Flat

It was possible to drift off the edge,

white sails billowing into eternity,

the earth sometimes in the shape

of a box, sometimes

like a dinner plate. You may

have read about the four corners

guarded by angels who held

the winds; once, we floated on air,

or rested on the backs of elephants

which stood on a sea turtle

swimming in an infinite sea.

When the earth was flat it had

a primordial tree at its axis, and the sky

was a canopy, and life ended

at the horizon, in the place

where clouds fattened,

growing round.

Laika, Before Space

Stolen from the streets of Moscow,

Laika was a dog trained for space

by living in a cage; in photos

her ears bend forward, as if listening,

and she wears a flight harness; she stands

in the cockpit of Sputnik 2: the satellite which

never meant to bring her home.

I have read that Laika weighed

eleven pounds, that she lived

on her own for at least one winter,

each day dark and narrow, snow

in her fur. One scientist took her

home to play with his children before

she was launched into the burning panic

of her final hours and I imagine

Laika in the back yard of her last November

chasing a ball that collided

with a fence: ice dripping from the eaves,

frozen earth, her breath floating.


My daughter’s textbooks bring it back,

and her notes on a chalkboard where cells

go on dividing, mitosis and photosynthesis

exactly as I left them all those years ago,

the fetal pigs with their eyes closed,

dreaming of birth. An aquarium bubbles

in the corner and my lab partner has lost

her notebook in which she has been drawing

anthrax and babies who cry like cats

because of a deletion in the short arm

of chromosome 5, babies who won’t live

long enough to learn about prophase

or anaphase, and now the teacher is leaned over

a microscope, explaining the vast

universe we cannot see: viruses, dust mites

in our pillows, time, the biology room itself

which stands in my imagination, at the edge

of a white forest in Michigan, 1985.

Faith Shearin’s books of poetry include: The Owl Question (May Swenson Award), Moving the Piano, Telling the Bees, Orpheus, Turning (Dogfish Poetry Prize), and Darwin’s Daughter (SFA University Press). Her work has been read aloud on The Writer’s Almanac and included in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

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