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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

Writer's Site

Rebekah Wolman

Greetings from the Mezzanine

I’m writing from the mezzanine

where I’ve been put

in a vocabulary lesson

from my older brother’s fifth grade teacher

who suggested to her students

that they warn their younger siblings

If you don’t stop procrastinating

I’ll put you on the mezzanine.

I like the mezzanine seats.

The view is good

in a middle ground

happy medium

Goldilocks kind of way

not too close to see the whole stage

not too far to see the musician’s faces,

not so steep that it’s vertiginous.

Or it’s the mezzanine of a department store

where I’ve been put

and the furniture is just as just right

a couch stuffed full but not too full

a small upright piano not quite in tune

but good enough

and a well-stocked rack

of magazines for browsing.

I may stay for a while

inhabiting this story between stories

this liminal pause

considering my defense of procrastination

that it’s germination

or hibernation

both natural phases

in this cyclical living.

There’s a small café

with Sacher torte and Linzer torte

with linden tea and a sundae served

in a glass goblet with a dimple

where the bowl joins the stem

and the melted ice cream pools.

The final drop is never quite retrievable

but I’ll be here for a while, trying.

To-Do List, Items 1 & 2


Rinse poems, it says.

I’ve soaked this poem in multiple changes

of water like the greens from last night’s

dinner prep, so much peppery mineral-vegetal

growth for each pale mud-caked moon

of turnip. I’ve given away the grit that sank

to the bottom with each discarded draft.

You can eat the cabbage aphids on the kale

and I’ve read that they have superpowers.

They metabolize the bitter compounds of their hosts

to fend off predators, and while the females wait for males

to fertilize their eggs, they manufacture clones

of their tiny round grey selves that clone themselves

in turn, up to thirty generations in a single summer.

They stay alive all winter clinging

to the frozen stalk until it thaws

into a long-awaited meal. It’s just as well

they’re too persistent to rinse off, I guess,

and is the rinsing my poems really need

the kind that some art can’t be made without—

rinsing off the acid from an etching plate

when it has reinforced the lines and marks

you’ve carved in ground to open them to ink

or rinsing the chemical coating from paper

you’ve exposed to sunlight to reveal

the ghostly image of whatever you laid on it

floating in its sea of Prussian Blue?


Send out poems.

Send them out for

their 5000-mile service,

front-end alignment and new wipers.

Send them out on an errand.

Send them out with a list:

milk, eggs, butter, chips, lawn

and leaf bags, mousetrap.

Send them out with the mouse.

Have them release it from the wire

jaws of death. They won’t mind

the darkening drop of mouse blood

drying on the wood. Make sure

they wash their hands

when they come back.

Send the poems out to cool off.

Tell them they can come back in

when they are ready. When they’ve given

what they did some thought and are ready

to apologize. When they’re ready to focus

and can start again.

Send them out for coffee

and tell them to keep the change.

Get a little something for themselves

or pocket it for later.


I’m not a grateful person,

I told Darcy at the post office

when she asked if I might want

the Thank You stamps, but I was joking.

I am grateful, I assured her. I just didn’t like the script

on the Thank You stamps, and I really wanted

the Raven stamps, the Western Wear stamps

with the faux woodcut cowboy boot complete

with star-shaped spur or the Ursula K. LeGuin

commemoratives, all the new issues

that hadn’t come in yet. But truly

I am grateful and I was that day.

I bought the Sun Science stamps, the full sheet

with six different solar phenomena, four each

of the coronal loops and holes, the solar flares

(royal blue and teal versions) and the plasma blast,

and one each of the sunspots and the Active sun.

I’ve learned just enough about all of this to know

that I am grateful for the Quiet sun

and its predictable stream of steady light,

a flash of which shone through the fog

when I went back out into the street.

At the bookstore, I found a copy—used—

of the book I wanted—the extraordinary Olio

by Tyehimba Jess. (You should read it if you haven’t.)

Two women were squeezed in with me in the narrow aisle

between Poetry and Spirituality, and I couldn’t help

but overhear their conversation. “My friend’s husband,”

one said, “was telling me about this book.

The writer starts each section with a thank-you note

to someone in his life and then goes on

into a meditation.” Then they started talking about Rumi

and I asked if they knew his poem

about the guesthouse, the one with the lines

This being human is a guesthouse/

Every morning a new arrival. . .

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows. . .

Be grateful for whoever comes. . .

They didn’t, and I couldn’t find it in the book

she had picked out but I told her she would find it

if she did a search for “Rumi guesthouse”

and she was grateful.

At the ice cream shop, the flavor of the week

was Golden Milk, salubrious tonic of ginger

and turmeric, almost too good to be true.

And when I stopped at the community garden

to finish the melting frozen Golden Milk,

the evening primrose was in bloom, a crown

of watery yellow blossoms atop each spire

of layered upturned leaves. The leaves are all

that has emerged so far of the evening primrose

in our garden, and now I know what I have

to look forward to.

In response to being told I admire your poems

I want to say that I too feel a tender kind

of admiration for them, meaning that I wonder

at them, that I regard them with pleasant surprise

and maybe even marvel at them as if holding them

out at arm’s length from my body and lifting and turning

them gently or walking around them tilting my head

slightly or squinting to take them in from all angles

these things I’ve made but think may not be all of my own

making, like the domed and golden loaves I mix and knead

but whose chemistry of sugar, yeast and acid is only partly

in my control, or the garden in its prime that I planted but am not

the rain or sun for or the wind or birds whose visits scatter seeds

and make surprise revisions; and meaning, having entered

the atmosphere of admiration, that I see them as a kind of miracle

I can’t quite explain or that like mirages they may not look

exactly as I thought they would when I get closer

and you may not see in them what I see.

I aspire as we do with those we hold in high esteem

to the qualities of their small inanimate selves, nerveless

but also nervy, brave and unapologetic in their presence

on the page, and when I say thank you for admiring them

I am thanking you on their behalf for your attention

to them but I want to thank them too, say thank you

to them for their patience while I dawdled and left them

waiting and for letting me catch up or find them

in their hiding places, and thank you to the other poets

the steady shower of whose voices sings and soaks

deep to the roots of the poems, and I want to say

thank you to the burs of language that catch

on the trouser legs of my mind as I wander

across the fields and stumble through the thickets

of my days, thank you to the poems for their willingness

to not just take but be small leaps of faith.

How I Want My Body Taken

I don’t want a horse or car

to carry me. I want to be brought

in the arms of some beloved, held

tenderly and passed from friend

to friend, warmed against each heart

around a circle or up and down each row.

And then I want to be taken

by the weather, the way our friend

was flung, his son perched

on a steep hillside with tears

of afternoon sun and cold wind off the Pacific

in his eyes despite his squint

as he opened a white container,

tilted it to the air and swung his arm wide,

casting his father out to sea, his father

blowing back at him in sunlit motes

and drops of fog and settling

on his hair and shoulders,

or entombed like a Viking in a ship

I’d traveled in alive, my grandfather’s

heavy but fragile wood and canvas canoe,

the grey paint and shellac cracked

but still watertight for a final paddle

through a beaver creek at sunset,

the full moon rising at the other end

of the lake, and then buried under layers

of pine needles and rotting aspen leaves

in the Northern Ontario woods.

But what I really want is to ride

in a wire basket on the handlebars

of the bike I dreamt I was riding

the night I learned how,

my being still tingling with the thrill

of letting momentum take me,

the perfect balance of stillness

and motion, of abandon and control.

I want the night to be as dark

as it was in that dream, the streetlights

cycling off, streamers flying

from the bar grips and the rider

pedaling hard, then harder,

building speed and with it levitating,

the bike ascending at a slant

above the trunk of the last parked car

and then leveling off at its cruising altitude

taking flight over the whole row of them,

and leaving a wake of light behind it.

Rebekah Wolman is a retired educator living in San Francisco, on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone peoples. Her poems have appeared in Essential Love, an anthology of poems about parents and children, and in The New Verse News and Limp Wrist. She is a 2021 winner of Cultural Daily’s Jack Grapes Poetry Prize.

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