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Poetry Winter 2020    fiction    all issues

Cover of Poetry Winter 20


French silk sample book

Paula Reed Nancarrow
Morning Coffee
& other poems

Jill Burkey
& other poems

Oak Morse
Boys Born out of Blues
& other poems

Beatrix Bondor
Engine Ode
& other poems

Monique Jonath
a mi sheberach
& other poems

Lisa Rachel Apple
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Human Condition
& other poems

Kirsten Hippe-Rychlik
and we are echoes
& other poems

Devon Bohm
& other poems

Jeddie Sophronius
I Rest My Mother Tongue
& other poems

John Delaney
Poem as Map
& other poems

Elizabeth Bayou-Grace
Fire in Paradise
& other poems

In Utero
& other poems

Michelle Lerner
Ode to Exhaustion
& other poems

William French
I Have Never Been
& other poems

Josiah Patterson Wheatley
Coeur de Fleurs
& other poems

Karo Ska
womb song
& other poems

Robyn Joy
& other poems

Han Raschka
Love Language
& other poems

Rebbekah Vega-Romero
The Memory in My Pinky
& other poems

Gilaine Fiezmont
Europe, too, Came from Somewhere Else
& other poems

Scott Ruescher
At the Childhood Home of Ozzy Osbourne
& other poems

Emily R. Daniel
Visitation Dreams
& other poems

Lindsay Gioffre
Toxicodendron Radicans [Sonnet 1]
& other poems

William French

Ambulance Ride

The ride was running over dog’s tails,

through nursery rhymes, past fire sales.

Red light through the dead of night,

a strong wind ravaging the avenue of old

saints, their fragile bodies shattering at

the sound of our engine fully revved,

virgin throats suffocating in

our invisible swirling smoke.

I feel white against my neck oozing warmth

and gaze at nothing while our

flight washes the roadside.

The tide must be going out.

From some far-off place, I can see

a face framed by a streetlight—

or is it a halo on one of those saints?

Faces, faces, and more faces.

Now stooping, now staring,

now whispering softly,

but only to each other:

The World Series must be over and

they don’t want me to know who won.

(I had a bet with somebody.)

And now, without warning, this

screaming red torpedo disappears through

the mouth of the whale and we

are plunged into

the brightest darkness.

And like Jonah,

I am saved from the sea.


Early morning glimpses

of dew-stained grass and

mist rising from lonely fields.

Glimpses of the rising sun

painting the sky, leaking in

through old Venetian blinds,

casting long shadows on familiar

naked skin lying there,

warm to the touch.

Glimpses of you and me,

flesh to flesh, but joined

only in predawn dreams

of each other as other

people, quivering, panting,

remembering times when

the night was electric and

the stars meant warmth, and

the distant dawn sang out

like the Ode to Joy

instead of a haunting and

lonely factory whistle.

Early Morning

Four o’clock on a cold winter morning -

or maybe it’s five. House creaks

like an old man’s bones. Furnace

wheezes to life—long hiss of gas

ignites into flame, sheet metal bangs

once: sleepy molecules spurred

by the sudden jolt of heat.

Motor kicks in, dutifully settling

into a steady, throbbing hum.

Wife curled at my side is

a symphony of non-synchronous

sound, an atonal melody, like

something out of Schoenberg.

Dog snoring at her feet provides

the harmony and the counterpoint.

Cat coiled on her forearm

purrs out the rhythm like a string bass.

And I, lying awake in the wondrous

heavy darkness, strain to listen and

remember old dreams and marvel at

why I’ve never heard any of this before.

October Morning after the Loss

Cold October morning.

Sky the color of old iron.

Dull misty gloom rising,

dense as a forest, cruel,

damp, dangerous as despair.

Stepping blindly

into what should be

daylight but

is more like the underbelly

of a stagnant pond.

In the distance,

dirty yellow lights

leak into the darkness,

tiny rectangles of life

in this circle of nothing.

I Have Never Been

I have never been to Dublin—

Ireland, that is—to walk

the winding streets, to

trace the trail of

Leopold Bloom.

I have never seen Paris

from atop the Eiffel Tower or

stood wide-eyed marveling

at the Mona Lisa.

I have never heard an

opera in La Scala or

ridden a gondola in Venice

or eaten Tuscan food

in Tuscany.

I have never tanned in

the Azores or combed

the Malagasy beaches

at dawn.

I have never stood at

the base of Mt. Everest,

a Sherpa at my side. I

have never seen the

full moon rise over Mumbai

or strolled the parapet of

the Great Wall of China.

All that I have ever done

I have done with you.

I have lived my life

in the shadow of

our backyards touching.

And yet, standing

on the shoulders of

our love, I have moved

through time and space;

I have watched this

universe spin around me.

And I have seen everything.

William French Retired health care professional and professor emeritus. Have published nonfiction, some poetry, and some fiction (including genre fiction).

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