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Poetry Winter 2021    fiction    all issues


Andrej Lišakov

Laura Apol
I Take a Realtor through the House
& other poems

Rebekah Wolman
How I Want my Body Taken
& other poems

Devon Bohm
The Word
& other poems

Gillian Freebody
The Right Kind of Woman
& other poems

Anne Marie Wells
Gravestone Flowers
& other poems

Laura Turnbull
& other poems

Andre F. Peltier
A Fistful of Ennui
& other poems

Peter Kent
Reflections on the Late Nuclear Attack on Boston
& other poems

Carol Barrett
Canal Poem #8: Hides
& other poems

Alix Lowenthal
Abortion Clinic Waiting Room
& other poems

Latrise P. Johnson
From My Women
& other poems

Brenna Robinson
& other poems

may panaguiton
& other poems

Elizabeth Farwell
The Life That Scattered
& other poems

Bill Cushing
Two Stairways
& other poems

Richard Baldo
A Note to Prepare You
& other poems

Blake Foster
Aubade from the Coast
& other poems

Bernard Horn
& other poems

Harald Edwin Pfeffer
Still stiff with morning cold
& other poems

Nia Feren
Neon Orange Tree Trunks
& other poems

Everett Roberts
A Mourning Performance
& other poems

Alaina Goodrich
The Way I Wander
& other poems

Olivia Dorsey Peacock
the iron maiden and other adornments
& other poems

Bernard Horn


Don’t look at her walk now,

her tiny, sidling flat steps,

neither crablike nor direct, falling

her permanent companion, between rooms,

on the bottom stair, even from her bed.

Rather remember how she swept into a room,

beautiful and engaging, her lovely

son and daughter, her husband

and Max her Great Dane in tow. Perfect

is how you saw them.

Don’t think about her hand trembling,

her mind as analytic as ever now crippled

by forgetfulness, the passion still there

sullied by despair. Remember how

Boorfield her Basset would come skittering around

on unclipped toenails

as she effortlessly called to mind

decades of actors and performances,

Dusty and Bobby and George Scott,

whom she read scripts for, and weigh each one

with savvy and irony.

Keep her at the center of engaged

conversation, and remember

Pompey her Jack Russell and the “ah”

of recollected pleasure or beauty,

so clear and generous, it was as if

you had been there

or would have felt as she does

if you had. Keep her

in her pleasure in company,

her roast legs of lamb, her grace.

Her glamour.

June 19. Against Transformation

She lay there in her own bedroom in a hospital bed,

diminished, barely responding to word or touch,

lucid for an instant, then lapsing back into silence,

the visiting hospice nurse having recognized

and announced that this is a “new stage,” a “crash,”

and that the son in England should come right away.

Masked, we stand at the foot of the bed,

my wife touching her foot, as the daughter, all patience,

cajoles a sip or two of water. The image is recalcitrant.

It simply will not budge. Frail as she is,

all the forces of remembrance are impotent

to produce and sustain even a translucent superposition

of how she once was, say, lifting a whole leg of lamb

from oven to serving plate on Passover

and hauling it to the kitchen table to be carved,

that image from long ago bursting into flames,

then consumed from the outside in,

like a piece of movie film projected onto a screen,

curling up, melting, dissolving,

revealing beneath it the powerful and frail body,

thin limbs moving listlessly,

the shallowest of breaths.

June 25. Litany

Why you woke at 6:00 am, somehow tuned

to the last breath of our friend, as Ann woke

across the continent at 3:00, I don’t know.

Whether the dying woman heard any of us,

husband, daughter, son, friends of fifty years,

speaking tenderly, inches from her ear,

during what we now know was her last day,

I don’t know. Whether the haphazard motion

of her arms and legs and whispered no’s

the day before that were signs of discomfort,

pain, despair, or something else entirely,

I have no idea. I still have a hankering

for the notion that there is some connection

between how a life is lived and how it ends,

a drop of meaning perhaps, even revelation

or virtue, despite the lesson of Auschwitz,

Hiroshima, or Covid-19, that there is no connection

at all unless it’s to humble us, to teach us the horror and folly

of dragging our most intimate private needs

and passions, Lear-like, into the arenas

of public life, and I remember, six months ago.

We were walking with our friend in a park

by the water, when suddenly her legs were giving way

and it took all the strength the two of us

could muster to keep her from falling

again. That was the moment our bodies

first registered the seriousness of her decline,

which we did know.

August 20. Mattresses

Today is the day of the hauling of the mattresses,

our eldest and youngest daughters and youngest granddaughter

having departed for Brooklyn and Tel-Aviv

after a month’s visit: the futon up one bending flight

onto its slats on the third floor; the pair of lumpy

single mattresses up a different flight

to the ancient stiff-springed sofa bed

in Linda’s office. By the third mattress,

our middle daughter, just in from a year in Austria,

and I have it down, the lifting, the twisting

in the staircases, the care not to knock down

paintings, the sliding, dusting, the lifting again and

and the lowering: There’s something ceremonial

about it all, as the two of us working together, mostly silent,

barely mention the three who are missing,

after the permanent stain of masks and quarantine,

the new rarity and unfamiliar carefulness

of our exchanges, and the echoes of

one hundred seventy thousand of our people

subjected to the cataclysm of dying alone

has unsettled our access to the everyday joy of family

we’ve always tried hard not to take for granted.

Bernard Horn’s new collection of poems, Love’s Fingerprints, has been praised by Carl Dennis, Major Jackson, and Prageeta Sharma. His first collection, Our Daily Words, was a finalist for the 2011 Massachusetts Book Award in Poetry. His translations of Yehuda Amichai’s poetry have appeared in The New Yorker and other magazines. He is the author of Facing the Fires: Conversations with A. B. Yehoshua, the first book in English about Israel’s pre-eminent novelist.

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