Poetry of the Non-Prose Kind

Potiphar’s Wife Talks About that Time

Deborah Bacharach

In the end Joseph did all right for himself.
Because he was in the dungeons,
he called the dreams, and from there
he worked it like he worked it in
my husband’s home, putting together
puzzles of rain, watching hands,
oh he watched, roll pastry dough
on marble table tops. I saw the oasis
shimmer at the edge of the horizon
like I had been walking toward it
my entire life, like I had been crawling
on my hands and knees.

Willing

Devon Balwit

Eat me, I say. Bite me. Pincerslice into soft webbing. Champ cuspids. Beakpick to bone. Lift me, shake me, breakneck, side to side, side to side. Dogroll over my unthreading innards. Bury muzzle in bloodmuck. I offer myself. I drizzle a garnish.

[four poems]

Bob Heman

}{
inserts words
into the field
the others approach

the meaning there
nothing more
than their experience

 

}{
they were repeated
where the sky
was empty where
the trees ended
where even the
bears had machines

 

}{
this was
how they
went away

a door
in a field
of flowers

 

}{
predictable words
arranged upon
the ground
they walk upon

they are removed
if too much
meaning gathers

Excerpts from Translations

Benjamin L. Perez

Toska
The endless other
Of the void’s silhouette.

Lítost
Infinite winding-sheet
For a stillborn god.

Alpenglow
Sanguinary summit;
Executioner’s block.

if a body is bound

Kristen Renee Miller

i. if a body is bound

—yet is not a book
(weird inner stringing)
call it hate, sprung
from under sodden, salten
fear, a kind of failure
open, given

see—
one’s best hid under,
working, see—
I’m dust and full of sight

 

ii. if a body is bound

—but you’re here on invitation
dear, so we decorate
and minister

embitter these
in greater numbers, O—
behind this roar, a door

binary be shade again
send in the gradient
sea

 

iii. if a body is bound

—I’m right to object
to die of wonder
creating under unseen welts
and trending sins

a sister dies—
her object was
a little darkness
not a book
not in the usual sense

Meditation On an Unnamed Island

Jennifer Atkinson

No one asks who dropped the first shell,
when among the mangroves’ arched roots,
out of the heaps of oyster shells, fallen
and crushed to lime, the snags and shoals
of random tide-flung bits and silt-on-silt
accumulation, new land rises up.

We love the idea of the world as a sudden
paradise created whole on purpose for us
to lose by being human. Or the other idea
of the world as envisioned designed garden
toward which it studiously evolves.

Meanwhile, here on actual shell-by-shell-
by-mangrove created ground, the raccoon
philosopher turns her mind to pleasure,
to work—shucking oysters, digging clams,
combing her tail of fleas and burrs. All around

the rack and weave of mangrove, mudflats
marked with slicks and shallows, decomp
reverting and recombining. And overhead
the fish crow flies from bay to bayou,
the sun-silvered eel in its talons writhing
(what if it were?) in a sideways figure eight.

Association

Tricia DeJesus-Gutierrez

There is erogenesis
a slit between
mint and molar
the throwback
safety of innocence

designated hitler

Dylan Krieger

never trust a pitcher who refuses to hit his fair share, whether fair or foul, or else you’ll end up whispering your wedding vows to the outfield, cleaning up after the septic run-on sentence of your body—fainting spells, blood-caked toenails, rose-gold swellings jetting pus around the five-pointed star of your breast. different from the rest, he told you the story of how he became designated hitter in college, adopted a fake name you remember (perhaps wrongly) as tucker, and somehow mustered the guts to face each pitch stone-cold sober—swearing off the devil’s water, leafy greens and LS-dream fodder, not to mention children’s tylenol, atenalol, pain relievers one and all. that’s the kind of teetotaling ragdoll i would have let tattoo my forearm come fall, had the lager not robbed me of my faith in man and god. that’s the happy-go-lucky glad-hander who threw the first pitch in the dirt, so it wouldn’t hurt as much when its stitching ripped apart and left the earth

Hanalei Bay, 1971

M.J. Turner

Tourists wade at the edge of the surf,
white swollen knees hover above the clay-
colored foam — blimps following a parade.

Sand pours out of bathing suits shucked
outside the backyard shower: bare flanks
breaded like chicken cutlets, waiting. Yellow
grains scratch the painted floorboards again.

To the South

M.J. Turner

Five borders, three languages: I’ve left
slate roofs and sausage rolls behind.
In the empty compartment, the bed

stretches out – whiter than home,
starched, almost the smell of bottled
clouds – shuddering at each unnamed
stop, squealing by the late-night sidings.
When magenta and chrome yellow
hang in the windows, fields
colored like cheap calendars taped
to a pre-school wall, I’ll step
into the train station and speak
its language like a toddler,
with a wallet and a full set of keys.

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