Court-Bouillon

Clemonce Heard

is what French militants dubbed
the fish head mélange, but we say
Coubion, because the fewer syllables
the less bourgeois. This is no tartare.
This is the muculent skull of an arrow,
stirred into a stock with the butts
of scallions & celery, jealousy & snot.
Like Goliath’s lot, this too is prepared
for the sovereign, along with its guts
dangling from where the severance
took place. If a scalp is clutched
by its locks there is a face, if clasped
by its beard, a squid. Crustacean
shells & grey shallots may be heaved
in to give the stew more of a zing.
To ready the king’s palette, intestines
snipped from beneath the pectoral fin
are waved before his anointed brow,
in a hypnotic baiting, blood clotted
grapes. Here, he must bite down
& strain every drop before hawking
the putrid skins across the raw slate.

Appalachia

Will Cordeiro

A woodchuck munches
on a bruised crabapple
beyond the clothesline
where we play badminton.
It wobbles off, past mulch

and duff, snout dabbling in
rough muckage. Dandelions
lush the lawn with blowsy
ghosts. A truck guzzles up
a fog of yellow dust. Mizzle

stuns our horse-pond. Knuckle
deep, seep jellies over periwinkles,
whole brindled bundles of them.
A backlit buckle of felled trees
now doubles in it. Autumn,

and my life is almost over.
No, it only feels that way. Really,
the overcast erupts in slender
tinsel. Fat glops of frog spawn
slurry. The faint light suffers.

The Breakneck Boys

Amanda J. Bermudez

prettily-lit
& laced with that wealthy haze
insinuating older gentlemen
(aged less by trial than by trouser-ironing better halves)
practiced in rain-based exchanges of words
an hour here or there
in rooms kept safe
barred from the breakneck boys
by the legitimate sons
however dumb
(however deaf)
in letter jackets
linens & ties crafted for the occasion
crowded ’round
listening carefully for oceans
in shells
hallowed out
for the purpose of being easily swayed

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The Hurried Valley

Brad Rose

Nearly died of too much weekend. Even if you have only one symptom, you’ve probably got the whole disease. Like a bloodhound who’s lost the scent, you have to learn to adjust your goals. I thought I saw a face in the trees, but it was just my pareidolia acting up. Bruegel or Bosch? It’s bad, but it won’t kill you. My half-sister arrived with a basket of rented food. Usually it doesn’t agree with me, but here in Purgatory Park, I feel like a total bro, for sure. That’s why I tell people, Appreciate each hand clapping in the applause. You never know when it’s going to be too late to benefit from exercise. But it’s a balancing act. Your heart beats all the time. Six of one, a half-dozen of the other. Pretty soon you’ve grown eyes in the back of your head and the mountains crawl toward you, like a hunter on his knees, the dark of the approaching valleys, black and smooth as a panther’s flank. You’d like to think they only toy with you, but you’ve never run as fast as you’re running now, panicked prey fleeing the valley of the shadow of death. By the way, aren’t those fantastic snakes? But don’t take my word for it. Decide for yourself. No rush.

In the Dawn

Ricky Ray

for John Berryman

Nobody in the dawn. It hasn’t yet assembled
 the people in its psalm.
If a voice has no body, does it need an ear?
 Does the blood carry
its own crosses as it flickers in the flesh
 in search of nothing,
the woman it is, a walking yard of graves?
 She is not for loving,
as if love were the sharp tip of purpose
 piercing, cutting away
the civilizations bacteria build on bone.
 But loving does fit in,
if fitting means being strung along an act
 of service: the guitar
talks back to the fingers, the world whispers
 to the living: touch
until the noise and feel coalesce, reveal
 the music made when
strings and fingers lock as lovers
 knocking the headboard
against the wall, a thousand times
 its rhythmic pulse
that gives the hour what it wanted when
 it made the bodies
and made them ache and put them together
 for love or what
might ever come of living in the dawn.

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

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