The Woodworker’s First Attempt
She had tried once before to make a living thing
but it had not turned out well. She can’t even remember what it was,
but it became a special nightmare, her failure,
that consumed her day after day
so she could barely eat
barely saw the sun when it covered the mountains
with gold on those days when it didn’t rain,
when the fog settled beneath the trees
with a sigh, echoing her own sigh
as she lay in bed unable to get up or smile
not even when the shadow of a bird crossed the ceiling at 2 in the afternoon.
Now she thought she would try again, try to make a bird,
a living thing out of the living tree in her yard
that spoke of its desire to fly, just to the mountains
and back, but really to fly on its own
and then join with the earth and be done with earthly things.
– Penelope Weiss was born and raised in New York City and now lives in Vermont. In 2010, her collection of stories, Storiana, was published by Casa de Snapdragon Publishing.
AUGUST IN GEORGIA IS A PIGEON-PALE FIELD BLOOMING
And here we are,
nestled between two haystacks—
needles with no want for thread.
Stars scar-white settle
onto our spines like dust
settles on a windowsill.
Locusts swarm this time of year,
yet; we run wolf-wild through open fields.
If my body were a map, would you pin me to your bed-
room wall? Mark red X’s where you’d want to explore?
(How about here, and here?)
Stirrupless, the last star slips from the sky,
falls into the dirt. You brush it off, press it into my palm.
This is where we memorialize.
The hours hang, heavy with owls.
The sky, a bruise, purples.
Still, your body goes: cornfield, cornfield,
a farmland forgotten,
feet loam-stained, yet taprooting.
– Sarah Escue is a poet, editor, and Florida native. She is an editor at The Adirondack Review and Saw Palm and has received fellowships from Writers in Paradise and Bucknell’s Seminar for Younger Poets. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Gulf Stream, Milk Journal, and elsewhere.
On the road with you, I’m the witch of navigation.
Add a minute, subtract a mile. Presto—time
becomes distance, and here’s Tucson on a short stretch
of hours. But no magic, in my mothering.
This morning’s call reached Lisa’s roommate.
Sorry, she said, Didn’t keep her number.
Tower to tower, up the eastern seaboard,
I’m hunting our daughter’s voice.
According to Zeno’s paradox,
arrival is impossible. Before a traveler can reach,
that first half distance, she must pass
the quarter mark,
before that the eighth.
On and on, while years pass. Miles.
You, my love, would rather not hear about it.
You like the world framed by windshield,
the two of us moving
and enclosed. You promise
to drive me anywhere, as long
as it’s farther away. But once, a child in pig-tails
slipped from a tall stool
and danced to me across the kitchen floor,
dividing the distance
by half, by half, by another half
I leave the kitchen door wide so I’ll hear
the baby cry. Tug a strand of witch grass,
and a dozen seedlings come with it. I want to walk
under the power lines, past the VFW,
the reservoir. This was my choice—
to root out the tangle of blackberry canes,
pace off a garden, string a fence.
Jane Eyre said, Reader, I married him, then
went silent. Last night he looked at the vacuum
marooned in the living room and asked,
What have you been doing?
All those folded onesies straining to spring open.
Reader, I married him and in the maternity ward,
tiny fingers gripping his thumb, he told me:
You did good, dear. Now every day he leaves—
two hours out. Two hours back.
And on the flyleaf of his daybook
in calligraphy—Dear God, Get Me Out of Here.
I tell him I’m afraid, and he thinks I mean
afraid of burglars.
Somewhere in Narragansett,
I would rent a second story room—
with shelves for books, with casement windows
letting in a clear, silky light. North light. Witches
were burned in Salem. One, convicted
for sending her spirits out on a fevered baby,
who lay sobbing for its mother.
– Gail C. DiMaggio watched her husband pursue his music in a world where no artist ever gives up a day gig but refuses to become discouraged. Her work’s appeared in Blue Lyra Review, Adanna, Antiphon, Allegro, and elsewhere.