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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

Monique Jonath

how i cried anyway

my father and i do not look alike

at first glance, but

we have the same scar on our chins

from falling off our bikes and

leaving a bit of ourselves behind,

red bifurcating again and again in the cement,

so strange to imagine how our skin

closed hastily, unevenly

(easing pain is not the same

as making smooth again).

later, meteors dragged their pale fingers

across my thighs,

so strange how scars can also

come from the presence of something,

and how i cried anyway,

imagining acid etched down my face,

sometimes falling asleep with

my palms pressed to my ribs,

something subliminal welling up—bitter—

in a dream,

and how i woke up spitting onto my pillow.

a mi sheberach

The Mi Sheberach is sung at Jewish religious services,
a prayer for healing.

for so long, i wanted to be pink,

like my tights, like the ribbons,

soft and satin.

i wanted to fit just right,

like blush fastening itself to my cheeks

and forehead when it’s the middle of the night

and the sun still burns in the air,

like the last drops of afternoon sliding

off the clouds to follow it.

i wanted to be girl, to be sweet,

to be rose without thorns,

to be dress, to be pure.

i resented red in all her brashness.

i burned myself ironing a blouse

and now pink looks at me with sad eyes

scaly and rough and

now i want to be wood

to be leather to be coffee no cream no sugar

i want to be earth

to be earth

to be earth turning umber where i have spilled blood a renewal of body

but i know that when pink

has turned brown again

my body will not forget

the shape of the wound

African Mask in a
European Art Museum

I was born slowly, over

the course of several days,

my body pulled out of a block of wood.

Though I did not cry,

someone held me against their face

and passed sound through the

keyhole of my stiff,

full lips.

We did this for years,

dancing outside and

growing flecked with red mud

in the rainy season.

I was the shroud for the living,

a face that did not change

as I passed from mother to daughter.

We could have gone on for

centuries like this

but now I sit in a well-lit room,

unable to blink away the blinding white,

a red stain behind my chin a reminder;

someone used to press life

into the cupped palms of my cheeks,

and now mine is the

head mounted on the spike.


I’ve drawn a lot of crescent moons lately.

They litter the margins

of my notebooks, ink seeping

into paper and taking root

(perhaps when I flip back through

there will be flowers).

I carve them out of air with dancing arms

(how many times do you have to carve

something before it becomes real?).

I tuck them behind my ears, as

they hide in the coils of my hair,

whispering to me about yesterdays.

I like to think that dreams are woven from

the moonlight that describes your face at night,

scenes molded from the pooling silver in

the coves of your closed eyes.

I trace them onto your shirt,

sliding my fingertips until

your back is a map of tonight’s

sky, or at least of what I can see from

here, my head continuing into

your chest continuing into the picnic blanket.

Mwape Ntesha

We do not talk about it.

Silence can be what you make of it.

She died before I was born

and they gave me her name.

The kind of silence born of grief can span continents, you know,

and in it I wondered about her.

Every name from my mother’s side is embroidered into the veins

where mosquitos dip their needles to drink.

I thought of her and

each red welt that swelled and unswelled was a fight I had won

against the mosquitos and their poisoned beaks.

I did this for several years.

Her red sores only spread,

the consequence of the first man she ever trusted.

I heard several years later about

this invisible beast that couldn’t be crushed by newspaper or fingertips.

He was the last man she ever trusted,

then she succumbed, before I was born,

to a beast that back then could not be crushed.

We do not talk about it.

Monique Jonath I’m 18 years old and was born and raised in Oakland, California, by my Jewish father and Congolese mother. I’ve been a dancer my whole life and started writing poetry my freshman year of high school. I was a finalist for the title of Oakland Youth Poet Laureate in 2018 and 2019. My work was featured in the YouthSpeaks Anthology, “Between My Body and the Air” (2020). I’m a student at Brown University. Contact me!

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