Mark Trechock: “Calving”

Calving

Saw Arne at the barber shop
Waiting his turn, seemed
To be nodding off, his
Old truck magazine slipped
Off his lap. He woke up.

Calving, he said, midnight,
three o’clock, six,
And here he was sleeping
Downtown like a vagrant. He
shook his head, rubbed his eyes.

I asked him, could he tell if
He could pick out the cows
That were likely soon to drop,
So a guy would know
To stay and help if birthing was hard.

Arne gave me that look, like
City boys have no brains,
And said, well, when you see
That extra pair of legs dangling down,
You’re getting close.

 

Mark Trechock published his first poem in 1974. He put poetry aside from 1995 to 2015 after more than 20 years as a community organizing. He lives in Dickinson, North Dakota. His work is soon to appear in Triggerfish, Visitant, SBLAAM, and Sweet Tree Review.

 

Katherine C. Frye: “No Gods”

No Gods

when i press my forehead to the ground,
i hear Rushing.
there is no Wind. there is no Water.
in the dirt, i feel Sunlight on my back.
i hear the Earth: she is Breathing.
and beneath her, i hear my son:
Laughing.

when I rise,
I heard Rushing.
the Night is Dark.
the earth is stone.
my son is Stone.
there is blood in my ears, and beyond them,
Silence.

 

 

Katherine C. Frye, currently a theater student at Utah Valley University, began writing in the third grade with a series of ghost stories all titled, “The Shark-Alligator” (none of which contained a single mark of punctuation, which Katherine adamantly defended as an “artistic choice” so as not to receive low marks.) She has been recently published in the literary magazine All the Sins with a short story called “Millie and the Wendigo.”

Layla Lenhardt: “Little J.”

Little J.

I remember un-peeling you like a clementine
under a full moon at the Jersey shore. You were
topless in a beach house kitchen and it hurt
harder than all the skinned knees of my childhood.

We fed each other pocked strawberries, but I never
digested them, they were better stuck between
my teeth. My fingers were in your mouth, my mouth
was on your chest. We were silver and white,
a spider web on a queen sized bed.

Later, I was in a bathtub, watching my hair
float in curls around me like a noose. Your name was a spell
I cast to make myself remember that all the demons under my bed
were silenced when I was under you.

 

Layla Lenhardt is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Poetry Quarterly, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Opiate, The Charleston Anvil, and Scars. Her forthcoming poetry book, These Ghosts are Mine, is due for publication this fall. She currently resides in Indianapolis.

Darren C. Demaree: Three Poems

amend/amends/amendments #22

skulls don’t blink
our history blinds
just that way

the strength of
our bones works
just that way

the organs split
processing america every
single, damn time

 

amend/amends/amendments #23

the mouth surrounds
the delinquent apple
we should be

a nation of
delinquent apples
our parades should

choke the snake
we loosed before
we remembered gardens

 

amend/amends/amendments #24

your body is
will be i
can promise you

personally definitely will
be cleaned before
your shadow is

tucked away or
put on display
don’t slow down

 

Darren C. Demaree‘s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including Hotel Amerika, Diode, North American Review, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of eleven poetry collections, most recently Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire (June 2019, Harpoon Books). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry and currently lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and children.

Cynthia Pitman: “Entangled”

Entangled

Wild briars surround me,
wielding their thorn-barbed wire,
a weapon that threatens to keep me captive.
My hands claw at the sharpened spikes,
but my hands can’t help me.
They can only bleed
from the scratches and gouges
torn into my skin
and refuse to go into battle again.
A razor-sharp scythe would help –
arming me equally,
giving me a chance to make a break
from this bristly prison
and – finally! – taste the sharp-sweet syrup
of my stolen blackberries.

 

Cynthia Pitman is a retired English teacher with poetry published in Amethyst Review, Vita Brevis, Leaves of Ink, Ekphrastic, Postcard Poems and Prose, Right Hand Pointing, Literary Yard, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Three Line Poetry, Third Wednesday (finalist, One Sentence Poem Contest), and others. Her book, The White Room, is forthcoming.

Disha Trivedi: “a marriage vow”

a marriage vow

look
__________across the bridge
where
__________once, two lovers
__________jumped,
hand in hand
for the sheer and simple joy of it.

the water was not deep.
daylight
__________had snuck up on them:
night
__________was for people
bent
__________on secrecy;
their mission
was celebration.

he jumped
__________and she fell;
unevenly
__________they went,
__________billiard balls,
and bowling pins,

dancing
__________in the air
one after
the other
__________till the whoop
__________and splash
rent
__________the water
__________like so many
unsent letters,
ready to accept a
simple correspondence.
love makes it easy

to risk drowning. for
two moments,
__________maybe three,
the people
who have gathered here today
watch and wait,
and then
__________two heads
emerge, sodden.
their mouths know only
the shape of laughter.

 

Disha Trivedi is a scientist-in-training. She currently divides her time between Scotland, New Zealand, and her native California. She has been previously published in The Women’s Issue, an anthology curated by the Harvard Advocate.

 

Robert Wexelblatt: “Surprising Consequences of Our Revolution”

Surprising Consequences of Our Revolution

_____Like all objects, the object of our revolution was unknowable-in-itself, accessible only through its secondary qualities, its taste, color, odor, texture. Like all revolutionaries, our revolutionary vanguard failed to understand that the object of their sacrifices was unknowable. On the contrary, they passionately believed in the glorious end, not just the taste, color, odor, and texture of the revolution. As we massed on the hills overlooking the spread-eagled capital—literally on the precipice of victory—our leaders smiled at one another. They could smell and touch and taste their final triumph. And it came swiftly, too.
_____Bottilini, the immensely prolific court composer, died penniless in a gutter at the age of forty-two. In his last appeal to the new Ministry of Culture he had written: “So I mastered the composition of the string septet. So I wrote over four hundred of the things. Look, I admit the string septet happened to be favored by the Ancien Régime, but is that my fault? Couldn’t you people use a few string septets too?”
_____The celebrated orator Halbschwacher fell silent. He had been the scourge of the Royalists who had not dared to imprison him for fear that he would convert the other prisoners, the guards, that his eloquence would captivate the very locks. Now that thunderous voice was heard no more. He retired to a cottage on what had once been his country estate, took up bee-keeping and knocking together wooden tables and rush-bottomed chairs. In response to an attempt by the Minister of Propaganda to recruit him, he replied, “What’s there for me to say? You want slogans. Slogans are vulgar. Without the cognoscenti of the Court my talent for invective is obsolete. Best wishes.”
_____The revolutionaries now had an inkling that all the consequences of their victory might well have been unknowable and they hastened to fill this intolerable creeping vacuum with ugly apartment blocks, agricultural collectives, hydroelectric dams, steel mills, nuclear reactors, wind tunnels, and rocket engines with enough thrust to launch the Royal Museum into solar orbit. The achievements of their frenzy were amazing. But what of their object, their original goal? Faint traces of its taste, color, odor, and texture may still be discerned from time to time in the swirling, multicolored effluents fouling our rivers.

 

Robert Wexelblatt is a professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published five fiction collections; two books of essays; two short novels; a book of poems; stories, essays, and poems in a variety of journals, and a novel awarded the Indie Book Awards first prize for fiction. Two collections, one of Chinese, the other of non-Chinese, stories, are forthcoming.