On a muggy August night
soundtracked by cicada choruses
we speak in nods and murmurs
as the children cling,
sleep-warmed weights against our shoulders.
The sprinkler system stutters its hello.
Later with drinks on the patio
we say little, if only because so
little needs saying after such
a long journey. It’s as though
these shapes in their familiarity
crowd out the need for words:
the porch lights, the gas grill, the patio stones.
Here where we left them
are the trappings of our lives,
and if whatever’s buried
under still-gleaming covers and screens
is trying to proclaim
We’re going home for the holidays in our December issue. But what is home? And how do we get there anyway? Our crop of writers is conflicted about the nostalgia of homecoming and the sometimes dark places the journey can take us.
Winter in the city can be cruel. The writers in this issue expose us to the small and large sadnesses of people we pass in the street, whether it’s a woman wandering, lost in the throes of dementia, or a brutal subway accident that we wish we’d never seen. A bystander exhorts us in one poem, …Read article
At five o’clock on a Tuesday I met my friend Mark at Piccadilly. He’d been in the Scottish Highlands; I’d been in Paris. He still talks about how strange it was to be in another country and to see my young face appearing like an apparition out of the crowds. Under Cupid’s aimed bow and arrow, we stood with our arms around the girls we loved back then, as a polite English punk with spiked blue hair took our snapshot. In the evening a light rain was falling as the four of us walked through SoHo, looking …Read article
At fifteen my mother curled inwards,
dredging up pearl and brine
from the sewer she kept in her stomach.
She painted worlds like liquid skyscrapers
and suckered poems onto her wrists like barnacles.
I was fourteen when I tried to die,
folding school tie into an escape ladder.
Later, I told lies about the hole in my ceiling
I still don’t think she believed.
When my father cried for the first time in years,
his own mother smooth and small in her coffin
the aunts sang their tears
into a hundred paper lanterns
their faces puckered by …
Thump, thump. I edged back as the trickle of water slipped beneath the door. This trickle was joined by another and, like a group of black snakes, the water slithered forward, pushing us further into the small house.
“Daddy, what’s that sound?” she asked.
I was still surprised by her keen sense of hearing. What could I tell her?
She grasped onto the back of my baggy worn jeans as I guided her towards the stairs.
“Daddy,” she had asked, in the summer, before the rains had come. “What does love look like?” We had been walking …Read article
she’s gone home
to see her mother.
on the platform at Union Station
with a toddler in each hand,
clutching a battered suitcase,
waiting to board the Santa Fe
and a sleeper to Oklahoma City.
Earlier she tried
to pull her gown off
(a common occurrence
the hospice nurse
and now lies pinned in the
wreckage of unsacked linen
as still and unsurprising
as a car on blocks.
her bruised veins mark
roads to somewhere
beyond the edges of most maps,
a geography as plain and simple
as a Tulsa …