Reverse Clearing

Lorene Delany-Ullman

The flat clouds are a façade
of clouds, collapsed into
a comic book,
a sky that always
promises a cropping
(if given enough water)
and lunch on a park bench
with strangers
because even strangers
will converse
about weather—

all morning
I descend into other parts
of the morning
the skies partly cloudy
along the beaches—
by midday the gloom
will linger inland like fatty tumors
along the spine of low mountains

I can’t avoid the sky,
its ethos of haze or fog—

between allies of pavement,
the sea somehow
maintains its scent, always
this smack of salt

Salinity

M.A. Scott

Both of us gray enough to pass for blue,
the great heron and I, in the tall cordgrass
inspecting the silt for silver to sustain us.

I want to stilt with her through the mud
and glasswort, tidal and flat, our salt circling
the cracks in the cries we use to code infinity.

Soldier Child

Robert Miltner

Two dark oak doors with white porcelain knobs. The dun plaster and lathe walls frame a boy of thirteen. He wears an unbuttoned double-breasted coat clutched at his chest by his left hand. His cropped hair is as dark as hardwood floors. A turned-up collar, his torn pants and bare feet. The white bandage wound around his left knee. The weight he won’t put on it. The way he stares back, his eyes black as the holes of gun barrels. The way he doesn’t blink.

Embracing the Bodhisattvas

Robert Miltner

Night sky with slivered waning moon. A river filled with flares and riven with flaws. Glow-sticks in underwater glass jars: a controlled burn of spiritual ambiguity. Flint and stone walls encase the Buddhist temple. Candled lanterns illuminate paired hands. An ancient tree aglow with sparkling seeds. The lush mountain range is tonal. Listen: raindrops make the brass bowls sing.

Aubade

Jonathan Jones

Well meant is insincere, turn out their pockets and whatdoyouknow. This one would be a marriage, this a different set of rules. Keys on the kitchen table and the milk sour breath of happiness. Aubade, so easy to criticize, I know, the ones you do not know. Their tone rings reminiscent of nothing so simple to correct. Dead language roped around their wrists. Time’s microscopic epic labels everything lost property. Less casual than formal. All on show.

The Last City that Went Underwater

Lana Bella

alone, now, you rose up,
held in humus milk,
caterwauled to the cacophony
of fluid strewn with silage—
with a coronet of frozen dark
and sequined stars held to
your head perched low,
Blue pickerel weeds snarled
glossy leaves into your hands,
caught in the swath of dragonflies
and great crested newts—
an almost brooding sound,
less wind-swayed in its journey
around the mist-rinsed pond,
bayed a rustle fainter than earth
over your skin: a pelt of wiggles-
suckled, algae surfaced, delicate light
hatched in tapestry of perennial
sandy loam, gilded with bare bones
of your city that went underwater—

At the End of the Last Glacial Period

Eric Pankey

A herd flees,
  fords the river’s sun-bright passage—
A white incised line follows a bone burin—

To accentuate the counterpoint,
 a sudden turn to adagio—
A gesture preserved, a gesture alive in the act of making a mark—

Tachycardia

Robert Hamilton

Every father is
at some point
Saul with a fist
full of javelins.

Both of you stop this.
Stop hitting yourselves
with tennis rackets.

A vacuum balloons in
my chest. Presented with pricks, I
kick. A pilum lets fly,
skids on concrete in a comet
of sparks. My autoharp falls
dumb. Outside, meteors, metaphors.

Machine as Ghost

Robert Hamilton

Each fallen god looms larger just as
the windmill blade on a flatbed seems

taller than the windmill and the bough
the gale cracked off, wet and black on the

ground, is tree enough and more and
the Ding an Sich is not for you; you get

only one of its narrow dendrites, filament-thin,
reaching high, hungry for signal.

Chapter Fourteen: Follow Here

Phoebe Reeves

All things are under the wings of doubt—
cattle and the fruits of the earth,
 men and women,

the menstrual flux, the flow of milk
and infirmity.
 Between her legs,

with her hands, she summons her health
as if it were flowing from the knife,
 alone without

the foundation of loss.
 Some men came to a stream.
One of them took off his clothes

and went into the stream
and tasted it and declared that it was true.

Without words, action is secret.
Out of the water,
 the man’s hand suddenly burned.

Under the threshold of the door,
 the bones of a name said
I have my own hands, and a little hole,

unknown to touch or look.
 I have seen the fields, the air,
and been within the year to prove this.

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