TWO POEMS by Aaron Coleman

/ / Issue 22

The Bright River We Keep


                            Outside Homer, Louisiana (1927)
                            For Hattie Mae

 

The broken rhythm of potholes and worn paint points us south 
along the long road 

we wanted and traced but feared to 
speed down; sun-beamed and heavy as

an old growth tree trunk uprooted floats
in loose parallels down

the bright river we keep 
glimpsing behind aisles 

of slender forest and ever-hills. Nowhere’s our everywhere. Juniper 
wood slices past us as we go. Shrewd and unabashed angles

take turns working the mud grass shore. I remind me to breathe. I don’t 
know when to touch you or myself 

so I keep my hand
against my face—What does carefulness do to love?

Where are courage and loss taking 
us, and do I have a choice? What’s chasing 

us—I know, I’ve known. A chance of sirens ambles over
the slow blue bend of this time, touches 

horizon haze in front of us. Heat gambles 
sweat down my spine as we cross

brittle railroad tracks. Getting farther, so getting closer. 
Up ahead: the sign I didn’t know 

we needed clinks and hums. I hear and I believe 
an old engine turning and rolling

its metal realm closer 
and closer to us. Red dirt tests my lungs. I trust

the sunset light on the far side of my closed eyes. Let me
go now, pull over. You can go.

 

 

 

The idea of water

 

           waves filled her first thought
                                                            the wildness of falling
                                          down and through
on her way as she felled
                  his every burning tree 
                                                      until his very stillness 
stopped into bloom 
                                                 after bloom of rain 
                   on skin on night 
on wind poured quick 
                                         into smoke and nearby light 
        until the looking
                                         that was the working 
grew sentenceless 
                                         each phrase and fragment
      a fragrance escaping, no—
                                             a human scent, its
             laws of sweat and love 
                                                  and fear whispering the air
careening into
           heavy droplets
                                               flooded open
                    then leaving
a cavern kindness
                          suddenly our own
                                                            grown crimson with 
                                          evening then 
                      oceanic after blue





Note: The phrase “cavern kindness” is borrowed from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “A Lovely Love.”

 

    Issue 22   

       POETRY

TWO POEMS by Aaron Coleman

 

chances  are by Denise Duhamel

 

OFFERING by Mike Puican

 

TWO POEMS by Mark Smith-Soto

 

WIDOW, WALKING by Betsy Sholl

 

TWO POEMS by Katie Pyontek

 

FIVE POEMS by Kenneth Tanemura

 

TWO POEMS by Michael McFee

 

PEGASUS TATTOO ON THE LEFT by Jai Hamid Bashir

 

POST-IMPAIRMENT SYNDROME by Victoria C. Flanagan

GATE by Grayson Wolf

 

SYRIAN CHEMICAL WEAPONS STRIKE, DOUMA, APRIL 2018 by Brian Russell

 

       FICTION

SLUSHIE by Shyla Jones

 

CALVIN AND CALVIN by John West

 

Odium by Ilya Leybovich

 

THE SWING OF THINGS by Becky Hagenston

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