Audio

Work with audio narration or other accompaniment

Io

Catherine Rockwood

No dignity for you, Inachus’ daughter;
come early-modern times you’ll be a byword
with hooves flailing in air, always embarrassed.
Down the long centuries your spectators
will watch you plunge and wave that unkempt arse
at Heaven. They sit gravely, reins in hand,
these equites. How equable. You veer,
and see a polished steed prick up its ears.

We Live Our Lives through Other People’s Bodies

Derek Mong

      till we’re no more than campfires
our families encircle. Our families then—

beneath the lantern of a saline bag—
rehearse their own deaths through us.

Meanwhile our pores open inward
under a deluge of morphine

and memory is all we have left to eat.
Slowly it grows to enclose us, before sailing

like a whale’s belly lightlessly on.

Our organs then, if we gift them to the living,
will rise, piece by piece, on cloaks

of dry ice. The small planes that await them
chirr over this city like crickets.

See their shadows leap freely, like those
of skimmed stones on the drowned.

And the men here—paused at a crosswalk
and listening—can feel their heels

lift as the crowd pushes them on.

The Book of Sex

Derek Mong

The names we write here cannot be recorded,
though ownership drives all who yearn.
These pages—widespread as a motel Bible’s—
burn in those who wish they were burned.

I know those who’ve read them blindfolded,
the silhouettes more lavish when veiled.
We parents do them one better: this print
lifts us—half sandpaper, half Braille.

Across 400 East

Amy Jo Trier-Walker

I can’t tell you about Delanoi’s sheep.
They aren’t in the pasture
across from the west woods anymore.
Medicare didn’t cover her Alzheimer’s.
I can tell you they ran to him every morning
up the meadow with the horse and two dark cows.

Monsters

Tammy Peacy

A pile of last season’s hot peppers, snow-bled and sun-blanched, sat in the field like a mouthless set of prehistoric teeth. It convinced me a minute I was seeing something that wasn’t. Once the crawling feeling between my shoulder blades passed, I put the bottom of my boot to the top of the pile and the husks came apart with the same startling satisfaction as the hollowed bones of a baby bird.

I pulled aside a few of the pepper shells left intact and placed them in a row. Choosing the biggest two for canines.

My brother appeared, head to neck to chest, over the ridge between this field and my shed. I nudged my toe at the mud and when I looked back to the ridge my brother’s whole self had arrived and his right hand showed that he’d took our daddy’s rifle from up over my wood stove.

“Looks like you got monsters in your field, brother,” I said.

He just never stopped looking at me.

Oven Timer

Hilary S. Jacqmin

A bakelite timer
 forged
like a flocked hen

surveys the gas range
 in this pre-war kitchen.
A mahogany biddy

that clucks off seconds;
 fat bantam
of the dinner hour.

Our broody Buckeye
 orbits,
a bell suspended

in her belly.
 See her
pea comb, rosy

as the errant pearl
 of blood
that punctuates an egg.

Raw

Caitlin Vestal

In the bathroom of the doctor’s office you stare at the pad in your underwear, slick red but not soaked through. You wonder if you should change it.

A nurse leads you to the exam room, where you climb onto the table. You wrinkle the paper that will tear when you lay back, shift forward into the stirrups.

Your husband smiles at you from a chair where he is reading emails on his phone.

The doctor enters, announces that you’re having a miscarriage.

You nod.

You knew this last night, when a thud in your belly woke you once, twice. Dragged you to the toilet where you sat for hours, watching the dog watching you, her head cocked, pacing back and forth in the doorway.

The doctor steps out, tells you to undress from the waist down and cover yourself with a sheet.

You lump your jeans and underwear on the floor, and the pad sits, exposed, raw.

A knock and the doctor is back, snapping on gloves, checking for latex allergies. Sliding between your legs, saying, You’re going to feel my hand, you’re going to feel my hand, you’re going to feel my fingers.

Dear Trud,

Matthew Johnstone

To empty at / the bursted pollen, onto unevenly lit slabs,

head filled / with shade, how a currency of years in space

to close performances / attached. My hid specified from

work / & uninvolved in shippings of myself, less amid body,

my inventory / omits over counted shadows. It was warm

where you wane certain to / obsolete, still your earth tells

me that some proximity sifts / us through breaking grades.

Syrupy

Ivy Alvarez

Spine of the world: its curvature: sheer. Here. Consider each tangle. Impossible at this angle. A honeyed slickening, skin scaffolding, thin viscosity whips falling, how much vertigo our earth diverts, divests for the ceiling. So crystalline. Everything begs for a licking, a taste of armature, pure musculature, sweet architecture. Such a candied, candid space between these buildings. A teeth of stones, shadows, signposts. Blinds. A muscled bite. Concrete bones beneath each bright surface. Right. Simply scurfless. Open doors to cavities, decay, every roof shiny with condensation, haze. Let’s scoop the drops, boil it up. Reduce. Evaporate.

Night Prowl

Ion Corcos

I am a rattlesnake, wrapped in a purple blanket. A route over water and mountains. The forecast is for snow, half a world away. I am human with fire in my belly, burning wild. A mad dog, prowling the streets at night. It is raining now. It is snowing. My house is on fire. I am a tree holding a nest of eggs. A rattlesnake comes. Steals them. I will not hold fear, tend to it like a baby. It is snowing now. I hold a broken umbrella. An umbrella is a tree without spirit. There is someone in the dark.

css.php