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Whiteout, October 2016

Listen to the Poem

This poem is for tomorrow
when America will again offer
me a slippery sense of calm in
exchange for a promise to forget.

Tomorrow is a cloth covered in chloroform
easing its hand over my mouth. Tomorrow is
amnesia: I know something
was making me so terribly angry, yesterday.

Every morning tomorrow whispers:
Calm down. The cops won’t shoot
your white body in the street. Your son.
Your sister. Your lover will still be
with you tomorrow. We promise you this.

With every evening comes
the blunt ache of being had.

– Anna Lee-Popham’s writing is deeply informed by the political contexts of home: recently, Atlanta; currently, Toronto. Anna is completing a creative writing certificate at the University of Toronto and writes poetry to make sense of the world.

 

Into Your Singular Room

Soft around your shoulders like a shawl
you draw me

and I come

unready, up-ended, to attend
my new calling and you, no matter how

bewildered.

I bring your meager groceries.
Hand you your cane.

Have I thanked you

for your blood which formed me,
for your milk and your wounds

which furnished me?

And is it prayer – this space we inhabit
that is larger than ourselves and

beyond words?

Afternoons of curled photos.
Laughter thinned by time

and apprehension. The patient

search for things discarded or misplaced
(a shoe, a name, our affection).

Love letters.

This is mine to you. You draw me
near but not into your final privacy

where I rest my hand on your days.

– Marg Walker lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she pursues her abiding interest in the human voice through poetry and creative nonfiction. Her work has recently appeared in Red Wolf Journal, Wilderness House Review, By&By, Page & Spine, and is forthcoming in The Stray Branch.

 

Garden

“These are begonias,” she said
leaning on her knee
polyester
damp with mud
from the morning rain.
She took a pair of scissors
traced fingers
along the length of the stem
and snipped.
Held it
to the tip of her nose,
smiled,
held it out to me.
I toddled
unsure steps
of someone still new
to the world,
wrinkled petals
in my clumsy fist,
then watched them
scatter
like an exhale
across the lawn.

– Jessica Alverson has worked and studied as a behavior analyst but has been a poet and writer for most of her life.  She has published poems in Nourishment for the Spirit: A Collection of Poems and Short Reflections and Live Poets Society of NJ American: High School Poets Regional Winners Winter 2000.

 

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