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TWO POEMS by Jennifer Givhan

NOCTURNE

Then I remembered: Mama wasn’t gone
but safe, in her bed, turning in sleep. It was I

who went away—from Chopin in the bones,
palms heavy with dates like dark

purple fingers reaching toward sand, toward fruit
sickly sweet…

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WATER AND ISLAND by Jennifer Sperry Steinorth

pressed between blue pages a few hours

on our old boat which is not ours my leg

over the bow you in the stern with the kids

in the stern I’m reading poems you’re not

the sky a depression of noon wilting

on our way back from the island we did not

reach…

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FOUR POEMS by Christopher Kempf

SLEDDING AT HARDING MEMORIAL

It was how humans, the future
will say, entertained
themselves those last centuries
winter existed. Cribs
of dogwood racked
in the side yard. Jarred
fruit. Fat
in our snowsuits, my sister
& I climbed
the huge steps & pressed
our faces to the gate’s
wrought bars.

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YELLOWED by Steven D. Schroeder

The shade we named sidewinder
fang hung on a signpost
at the main-gate lookout tower—
another, tree die-off, we newsprinted
into leaflets about how far
until the next water supply.
None on spyglass lenses could filter
the color of a highway…

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TWO POEMS by Airea D. Matthews

SEXTON TEXTS ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
Sat. July 3, 8:14 am
(1/2) Because there was no other place
I went home
away from the scene of crazy-making senses
came back before dawn
in heavy July

Sat. July 3, 8:15 am
(2/2) my purse wide, thighs wet
keys set down
bedroom bound
where one child also sleeps.

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WHEN I DIED BY FIRE by Scott Beal

800px-Fire-damaged_wall

my children knew I was the kind of fool
who could drop a spark on my coat
and wear it burning into the house,
fold it over a chair and go on reading
as smoke filled the apartment…

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TWO POEMS by Joy Ladin

EARLY MORNING FLIGHT

Half-empty plane, hot black coffee – it takes so many people
to keep my body soaring.
I must be important, or at least not dead,

and my not being dead must matter, or it wouldn’t be so sunny…

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LIGHT INSTALLATION AT THE HILTON by Iva Ticic

there are galaxies
above what used to be the soft spots
at the top of our heads

we elongate our necks
at an angle
trying to take in

all that neon-filled fullness
of the light-splattered cosmos

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TWO POEMS by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

DEAR AMERICA

I pick you up
& you are a child made of longing
clasped to my neck. Iridescent,
lovely, your inestimable tantrums,
I carry you back & forth
from the underworlds
where your giggles echo,
grow into howls.

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BREATH MEMORY [BREATH ALPHABET] by Cory Hutchinson-Reuss

Zero degrees again. Midwest winters confuse loving with not leaving.
Yes we are made of drifts. Yes we are made of degrees on a map of discontent.

[Aluminum breath, breath of absence and alchemy,
Breath of blood history, breath of aromatic bitters]

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TREES by David Lawrence

The log that fell into the river went for a long swim into a hidden country where logs were the dominant culture and the trees wept as they saw their barky cousins floating home.

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TWO POEMS by Patrick Rosal

TEN YEARS AFTER MY MOM DIES I DANCE

The second time I learned
I could take the pain
my six-year-old niece
—with five cavities
humming in her teeth—
lead me by the finger
to the foyer and told her dad
to turn up the Pretenders
—Tattooed Love Boys—
so she could shimmy with me
to the same jam
eleven times in a row
in her princess pajamas.

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