Twenty minutes to midnight
the frogs are still calling
and somewhere in the far distance
a woman is flinging clothes
into a suitcase. Her shoes
echo like gunshots on the tile floor.
In my sleep I am forever
counting the times my parents
have left me alone in the house,
the frenzy of my fingers reaching,
the deadbolt drawn back
with an unexpected snap.
Ann Walters lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, Cider Press Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Ballard Street Poetry Journal, Literary Mama, and others. She is also a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Dialogue of Distance
“What’s this?”—I asked,
my finger tracing in small circles
the radius of his knee.
“Repeat after me: la rodilla.”
“La rodilla,” I said, deliberately,
without the trill. “And this?”—
my palm smoothed the wrinkle
of his neck before climbing
down his spine. “El cuello
y la espalda.”
Shifting to an elbow, Ricardo reached,
squeezed my foot—“El pie”—and walked
his hand to my calf where he paused
and whispered, “La pantorilla.”
Too lovely a word, I thought,
for such a mild mannered curve.
Further up, his hand crept, to my knee
(no need), my thigh (“el muslo”),
delayed, walked up to my hips:
“¡O, las caderas ”
and around: “Las nalgas…”
us turning and smile-sly.
took my hand
and held it
pale side down
to his chest:
“¿El pecho, acuerdo?”
“Yes.” “¿Y esto?” His palm
pressed mine more firmly
and he breathed slow,
that I might not miss
his rhythmic beats.
¿Y esto? He nodded, silent.
¿Y esto? With my hand
sweating beneath his
and through blue
Amy Lee Scott is an MFA candidate in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her essays and poems have appeared in JuiceBox Journal, The Iron Horse Literary Review, Quarter After Eight, and Brevity.
I want the rats back. I want spilled seed in the cellar and tossed seed on the ground near the feeder. And the warped door draped across two planks in the yard–I want it mounded again with grain. In tribute I want rain to gray the day to match the coats of rats. I want them to plump up before it’s dark; to watch the small sacks of their bodies scuttle along paths from hole to seed and back. Bring his large hands and teeming bags of trash. And the burner in the yard’s deep corner, I want that. Unclean this raked and organized world. Bring squirrels and rats and ground-feeding birds.
Linda Tomol Pennisi is the author of Seamless (Perugia Press, 2003) and Suddenly, Fruit (Carolina Wren Press, 2006). Her poems have appeared in Hunger Mountain, Cimarron Review, Lyric Poetry Review, McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets, and Natural Bridge. A 2004 recipient of an Individual Artists Grant from the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, Pennisi directs the Creative Writing Program at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY.
Just Off Highway 10
In memory of Shelley Anne Martin
I first felt lost
when I pulled out of the drive
dripping moss in the rearview mirror.
Leaving behind the highway
the cool clear wind hits my face
and I am in Nanaimo
watching her ashes find the path of wind.
Even if I could shed my skin
memory would race behind
threading a needle.
I find myself
back to the broken tree
trying to figure out what car part
lies at my feet.
Chantel Langlinais’s poetry has appeared in The Louisiana Review and The Southwestern Review. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from UL Lafayette, where she majored in creative writing. She enjoys collaborating with fellow artists in projects that explore experimental modes of poetic discourse through the implementation of music and photography.
Eating out of a metal pod, looking up.
Maple leaves like duck feet,
The way everything is like nature.
You know, like umbrellas are like canopies;
My heartbreak like moss.
Or no, not moss, duckweed – ever growing green life,
Something hatching, yes…spurned and cracked and wet
You know there’s a fungus that infects ants,
that makes the ant mad
until the fungus spurts from his head and kills him
Like something out of Ancient Greece
which the Romans copied and made worse.
I miss you, sitting here, looking up at these stupid maple leaves
Your feet are like Roman feet.
Your fat toes: square, there, leaning on the table.
You, looking out
onto your computer screen, longing for mountains.
You screen-save them
All around me there are mountains now but no windows.
I’m in somebody else’s window and how I wish you were here
Sharing my Can of peas, shaded by canopies
Vanessa Garcia is a graduate student at the University of Miami in Creative Writing (full scholarship and TA ship). She is a recent finalist for the Rolex Mentor & Protégé Arts Initiative and full scholarship recipient from the New York Summer Writer’s Institute. That’s lately…much more to be told – please visit the website: www.vanessagarcia.org.