Cadralor Issue 2

Gleam Issue 2


The following poems were selected by the editors
for Issue 2 of Gleam
:

First Husband, by Jennifer Franklin
Harden,
by Steven Duncan
Hollows,
by Kerry Trautman
Hylas at Lampasas,
by Jenner Shaffer
Insomniac,
by Tmishael
Invocation,
by Mela Blust
Liquid,
by Katie Kemple
Montage,
by Carolyn Martin
Negative Entropy,
by Diane C. LeBlanc
Pappus
, by Lori Witzel
Poseidon Taken for a Squid, by Joseph Salvatore Aversano

Recollections, by Julie A. Dickson
Reliquary
, by Jenner Shaffer
Repair,
by Diane C. LeBlanc
Snow Angels,
by Sharon Waller Knutson
The Waves,
by Leah Baer
Three Coyotes,
by Jeff Ewing
Threshold,
by Lisken Van Pelt Dus
Vertigo,
by Ann E. Michael
We Begin at the End,
by Kat Good-Schiff
Weather in the Heart,
by Sarah Provost
What Remains
, by Karen Cline-Tardiff
Winter Bloom,
by Sherre Vernon

First Husband

By Jennifer Franklin

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Driving through backroads
    across the Atlantic Ocean in fog
    and rain, music blaring, sheep
    attached to green cliffs as if gravity
    were an unproven theory like love—
    how easy to build a ship of promises.
  2. The snow fell for years—
    hiding the fact that he loved
    the dog and hated me.
    We walked the white roads
    and I hid my shame—
    the knife I kept to cut myself.
  3. The wooden box of Renaissance words
    stands with wreath of rosemary and pansies,
    fennel, columbine, and rue. No daisies, no
    violets. Dust fills the crevices of its lid
    beside my bed. I keep it as a reminder
    of what not to allow men to do.
  4. Quantum physics claims my old life
    and my new life still exist four blocks apart.
    I stand in the park, look up to the eighth floor
    of the two pre-war buildings. I cannot
    see the fire or frightened faces
    in the windows, waiting to be saved.
  5. Oh, his lies—gems glistening hard
    as emeralds, amethyst, the sapphire
    of our daughter’s birthstone. Harmless
    from here, a decade distant. I still want him
    to suffer, where Dante damns the betrayers,
    after he escapes the hell of his own hollow heart.

Harden

By Steven Duncan

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. refracted light through row of glass bottles
    scatters lines on a white windowsill
    spills out in every color
  2. wisps of packed silk tighten around cocoon
    suspended from a twig swaying
    destined never to open
  3. lint and dust escape deflated vacuum bag
    in an explosion of recovered filth
    a cloud of simmering smoke
  4. grey geode cracks beneath steel hammer
    sending shards of sharp rock into orbit
    spitting before a crystal reveal
  5. calcifications found in grandmother’s chest
    formed before it was time to hear
    what she kept inside

Hollows

By Kerry Trautman

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. In the flood, she finally lost
    the pale blue pillowcase—
    dragged house to house—
    pillowcase filled slips of paper scrawled
    with words as fuel for future dream poems,
    like wishful thinking.
  2. Every locked door is a witch’s,
    and behind it Dorothy’s red hourglass
    ticking in its drizzling way, and behind it
    a clamor of clenched hands awaiting
    decisions. Sometimes you have to
    follow where the wings go.
  3. A man named Spyder
    gave her a flower today
    off the back of his junk truck.
    It was plastic, but then,
    she hasn’t been given a real one
    in so many years she can’t remember.
  4. Does the tree with wounded bark believe
    it is easier to keep living, sheathing
    scarred pulp in new green fibers,
    concealing its hollowing insides,
    knowing just the right storm
    is bound to give it its due?
  5. Viscous April wind cannot be trusted,
    takes what it wants. Like how water
    insinuates itself toward the lowest point
    saturating, rotting its way down.
    Like bodies swollen upon waking.
    Women full as the moon.

Hylas at Lampasas

By Jenner Shaffer

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Oil

    The toe of the moon rocks night & day, the aurora of well-keepers
    happy tears of heaven, soft sand drying, slicked-over. Dimpled dream,
    napping midday, pastels play the lover to her features, she stretches
    through the evening, half-awake with thoughts of every form she will take.
    Along the sea with its foaming & sighing, braiding & unbraiding
    she hums to herself, casting her reflection in pools,
    with a sudden breath she is changed.

  2. Texas Mountain Laurel

    you go bearing death as beauty
    clustered grapery shedding scent
    pleasantry encapsulating waxen purple whiffs
    attended in a congress of bees
    beyond me you would have me taste the sweet fruit
    slender Helen in twilight-colored fragrance
    of malice a murex Medea bad dream you are having

  3. Order in the Window

    A scallop’s high point, on the rattler’s rock. Rumbling annelid, mesozoic keys jangling in the cafe,
    waitress poising an iridian bauble on her tongue, Believe I’ll be having the special.
    Through glinting, caliche-dusted trucks, parting the olive feathers of mesquite,
    murmurations of belemnites circle a cnidarian Bruegel chunk, Gabriel’s horns chorus
    beneath a pterosaur wing steering an onshore flow, gliding ammonitic flats
    porpoised with Bacchus-beasts, beyond the littoral mash miles deep in the delta am I,
    cynodontic-self stirred, button-nose suspended, long lashes winking, my Asmodeic other.

  4. Least Brook Lamprey

    The world, everything to make of it, a billowing plasma, a girdle of asters,
    reveries in the taste of pollens, self-to-self redeemed, carrying all the weight
    & still with room at the top. A slow perfection enjoying spring smells,
    the feelings of fall, snuggling trenchant to the gravels of winter,
    free of questionable shadows, rolling over, belly in delicious grinding grit,
    a velvet-skied kingdom sparkling towers to horizons in the night-life of an amiable city
    converged on the midway, thrilling to shrieks from the loop-the-loop.

  5. The Isle

    The books were bound in skin, I say, where the gray lady went gliding toward the stairs–
    black dog, you rascal chonk– twin eagles of whirlwind tipping the nod– big bat of Brushy Creek,
    how does your black baldy? Do bluebonnets still explode in the dark? As if we haven’t lived enough.
    The chimaeras are a thoughtful touch. Are they meant to be scary? I never understood. I suppose
    the prophets have counted down, an oracle’s eyes rolled back, must have. See if I get this right:
    When limulidae come hauling in to shore, blue-blood beating lunar, someone’s meant to be there.
    Leviathan likes qui-et, barnacle scruff, no suns on the planet. Ladies send their love. Godspeed, hero.

Insomniac

By Tmishael

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Tea brewing is a work of art
    peppermints are made to smolder lime lungs
    hibiscus red and fermented rooibos leaves
    knock tired bones into a semi-dead zone,
    but art is not the debate here, price is..
    so, coffee is the next best living liquid
    to water – yes or yes!

  2. There, a rustle in the distance
    mama warned that lost eagle forests
    wake with the moon and not to wander like mice do
    but mama, what better thing could
    pretty big eyes do if not admire
    rustling arrows under Ms. moon? little owl
    met a wind vane and shook his tail feathers

  3. Guzheng’s vibrato pitches
    without a plectrum, chords strike a
    note at quarter past yesterday while
    banana ears eclipse over lighted tent
    Lumiere blue ocean collapses
    near the harbor of oriental ivory where
    timbres strum a lover’s sorrow

  4. If I could, I’d sell the moon for a warm milk-laced
    cup, trap shrieks against my ribs, not miss
    homemade cookies I never sniffed
    caffeine-activated nostalgia, me versus
    a tampered-with monsoon and a
    walk-out monster’s bedtime stories, yawning as
    Fang Yue’s zither thrums ‘master’s lost dagger’

  5. After birth and bedsores, letters arrived
    man plunders a thirty-five year old
    ‘better or worse’, a wife’s life-savings are
    replaced with cardiac arrest
    no, there would be no obituary
    Sarah’s income was wired to her siblings
    only a botany textbook flies across the room

Invocation

By Mela Blust

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. my brother and i are tall dark shadows on a south facing cliff, fingers poised and pointing for the next shooting star. some are only brief glimpses of light grinning from a coal-dark sky, eliciting shouts of joy that echo to the sapphire bay, awash in midnight slumber. other stars are distended, glowing tails, cat-like in their saunter across the atmosphere. sean lights a cigarette, his face awash in the cerise glow. a whispered plea escapes my lips, its desperate incantations cosmically entwined with the star he didn’t see.

  2. they affix me to a cold table to remove pre-cancerous cells. part of me was a cancer, i think wanly to myself. i look at the ocean of fluorescent lights above, pretend i hover just above my body while i smell my flesh, burning. they tell me there’ll be burning but i won’t feel it – what i wouldn’t have given to feel it. they smile as if numbness is a gift.

  3. the lake is a lean, blue girl, crushed blackberry fed and summer thirsty. a little boy diving for shells plops a wet clump of treasure into my hands, and our cerulean eyes strike a deal: he scouts, i collect. his sinew itself is like pearls, sunlight-kissed and sliding through the bottle-green shallows. a woman calls, and his tanned soles carry him through the glisten, away, to the grass, and i watch him until he blends, fat little paint daub in a sea of colors. the breeze comes with hungry arms to make fat dandelion puffs disperse, the soft, lonely wishes floating away from me through the ether, lost forever.

  4. a curl of blood escapes my failing-me body again, drips thick into the porcelain tub, making a union with the hot running water swirling around my thighs. i lament all the ways in which my frame could not be a home this time. that night, i lay coffin-still upon the cheap floral hotel comforter, listening to the snoring of a man who chooses not to be a father to the living or the dead. i dream of a cabin that grows legs and runs away from a seething monster, carrying the children inside to safety. i wake with a start: in the room next to ours, a baby cries.

  5. you are three and we are throwing pennies into the fake-teal fountain at the city mall. mine lands with a thud on the cheap, oxidized-concrete bottom, your blond ringlets are loose and waving as you wildly fling yours into the center pool. i stare absent-mindedly as you clasp your tiny fingers together, squeeze your eyes shut, and murmur to the penny-gods you’ve drowned. as we walk away, you ask, as you always do, mommy what did you wish for? i squeeze your hand and reply, i wished for you.

Liquid

By Katie Kemple

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. The planted pine tree behind the Target
    didn’t work out. Its support stick couldn’t
    stop it from leaning over too far. One day,
    I pass and see that its top has been chopped
    off, sap drip tears that dazzle in the sunlight.

  2. At the hospital, my mother sat on a gurney,
    eyes red, she said the pain is unbearable.
    I held her hand. We didn’t know then that
    it emanated from her pancreas, that her
    heart could not outrun an intruder so close.

  3. The snail had a surprisingly long shell, a cone,
    and not the neat round curl of most snails
    in our neighborhood. The tip was broken off.
    The shell dragged behind, as its soft body wrote
    words only the moonlight could decipher.

  4. The tumor growing on our dog’s hind leg
    burst open onto the floor. Emergency
    surgery delivered her home in an orange
    Halloween cast. She gnawed out of that
    within an hour, her shaved leg fighting still.

  5. Sixty percent of the human body is water.
    What can it carve in this odd pond? Our insides
    yearn for kindling futures. Sorrow hardens
    into an amber stone, we thumb in a pocket.
    My mother’s ash hangs from a chain in a locket.

Montage

By Carolyn Martin

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Ben Franklin, get a grip! All that griping won’t stop
    50,000 pennies pinging on your coffin top.
    You’re the Trevi Fountain of Brotherly Love.
    Where did you think your penny saved, penny earned
    would lead? As sure as the Eagles and cheese steak,
    the Philly fathers bank on it

  2. The mountain I saw was not the one you saw
    or pretended to see. We stopped in the cold
    at the Viewpoint sign, so I could track the hawks
    breaking through the clouds and you, fists jammed
    into your jeans, could trace the raped hillsides
    where virgin forests used to thrive.

  3. First prize for Levity goes to the thoroughbred
    whose four hooves rose – simultaneously –
    above the rutted ground. Runner up: the cricket,
    a timid male who knew that volume equals sex
    during mating time. Inventively, he devised
    a megaphone from a slit catalpa leaf.

  4. What do I believe? Last night before I remembered
    sleep, I told myself whatever lies within time and space:
    the raccoons that dig up our yard; the sound of sun
    melting snow, the lilac smell of spring. Beyond
    irretrievable seconds and breadth/height/length?
    That’s another creed.

  5. In a moment of lucidity, Julia requested
    she be laid to rest in her red silk dress with a fork
    placed in her right hand. When mourners asked
    why, her son explained, Mom always said
    the best was yet to be, whether crème brulé
    or a mansion in the sky.

Negative Entropy

By Diane C. LeBlanc

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. The marigold, a gift
    the giver thought was a hardy mum,
    ruffles against a killing frost,
    Caltha in the night field
    waiting for her sun god,
    wasting to nothing but light.

  2. In winter coat and headlamp,
    I pick green tomatoes
    after dark, hoping
    they’ll ripen in this brown bag
    while the fallen ones collapse to seed
    as I would if I could tonight.

  3. The last hours,
    muscles gone and bones all
    lip and edge of empty,
    veins still
    limp and bright as hymnal ribbons
    holding order.

  4. Cantrip during an October blizzard:
    Of goose down and nutmeg,
    wide egg noodles and wool clogs,
    of rationed yeast and a fallen hornets’ nest,
    of soup, slick wood, and post-dahlia orgasm,
    I make this body able to make.

  5. Is it still there–
    that faraway place of salt and oil
    where we sat outside drinking gin,
    eating salted edamame from a bamboo steamer,
    where empty pods held the shape of beans
    as we talked about home?

Pappus

By Lori Witzel

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. It’s a snowstorm, or it was, and
    now the sun is setting past our
    sight, not yet below the horizon
    but unseen. The wind’s made a
    lung of tree ice: gray crepitations.

  2. Everything’s been elided by this
    snow. First the junco tracks, then
    my steps, a few gone deep where
    snow-crust broke under my boots.
    Even these words now blow away

  3. as does my heart, from deep red
    to something pale, untethered, it’s
    adrift the way dry snow falls, the
    way a dandelion pappus floats and
    tumbles once its seed’s dropped.

  4. Wayfinding, as the twilight settles in,
    tinting the blown drifts methylene blue.
    An open question, as I’m lost again:
    what is it that I’m bait for, or a trap for?
    The blue, now darker, now black.

  5. A pause. My breath—the slow cadence like
    yours, I recall, as you drifted off into warm
    sleep next to me on threadbare blue sheets.
    (Not indelible—a fugitive indigo, so mutable,
    weightless as dandelion fluff or a snowflake.)

Poseidon Taken for a Squid

By Joseph Salvatore Aversano

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. the scenic collapses
    into an ocean with it a
    stretch of Highway One—-
    now Kerouac will never
    get to visit Henry Miller;
    and not due to the
    late hour but it
    being all too late

  2. a tug of
    the string on
    the dragon kite
    tugging on its
    string the kite
    tugging at small
    hands tug in
    the wind

  3. a peasant on a
    horse in all of
    central Anatolia:
    the steppe wraps
    round as it did
    around Midas’
    golden grain
    in wildflower

  4. waterspout round the
    surveillance camera
    in streaks of night
    vision green the
    water spray and
    light no one survives
    the destruction of
    anything found
    familiar

  5. the word for winter
    in ancient Greek
    the word for storm
    and for what it’s like
    on Hydra in galoshes
    arrived at from
    the mainland
    by squall

Recollections

By Julie A. Dickson

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Gladys was reciting a poem
    when she stopped mid-word
    and dropped dead, no last breath,
    no movement, just dead. We froze,
    her audience, a stasis of shock.
  2. I always wanted to push her up straight,
    my leaning Nana, who swayed right,
    regardless of bolsters propping her;
    I tended to tip my head so I met her eyes,
    I could barely hear her whisper.
  3. Did she remember being on the streets?
    Roughly shoved into a carrier, broken tail
    beyond repair at the animal clinic. Now quiet,
    perched on chair backs; don’t touch me, feral.
    Does she recall who kicked her to the curb?
  4. Refusing to use a bedpan, I snuck to the bathroom
    when the nurse wasn’t looking, my hernia scar red,
    but dignity still intact. I won’t drink your orange juice,
    can’t stay in bed watching stupid game shows.
    They found me asleep on the window sill.
  5. Even behind closed eyes
    I can still see the full moon,
    etched on my retinas, beneath
    my eyelids like indelible
    marker on a whiteboard.

Reliquary

By Jenner Shaffer

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Denial of Escape

    Alone in the house. Napoleonic chairs pale pink silk, never to sit on. Prussian tigers in china
    corkscrew out of sight in parlor mirrors. Summer motes of an ell, a piano’s stale plink.
    Deep from a drawer, beneath fine hands in correspondence, string-haired twang is a pirate mandolin. Great barrels double-stack the cellar, snakeskins string the gaps. No getting around Stonewall’s room.
    Said over dinner he hoped heaven was like this. Secure rest in campaigns sneaking the valley,
    the guest room with its secret stairwell from the closet down to the slave-entrance coat-closet.
    Dad sheds his gloves in a grin, Going to make sandwiches, come on when you’re finished.
    The grand spiral is for cowards. Think a bright cancel, a green viking ship. Prove you don’t believe.
    My arms are full of newspapers from the windowsills, a breath of wind is on my heel,
    I am halfway down the tumbledown steps when the door slams shut.

  2. Garment

    They dream of functions, textures, colors.
    Denticles, derm of abrasion, silky coverings &
    bristling full with stings,
    in feather-wraps & furs,
    wet or damp or hydrophobic.
    A photostatic grid, an eyelid
    or two or three, they reflect on the self-envisioned
    & when they wake, generations of desire
    slide hangers, saying–
    I’d wear this out.

  3. Columbia

    Southern belle, Five Points, headed for the horse race, eventually.
    Tipsy with lampshades, Army boys on furlough step behind the cordons,
    beer trucks idle with their paper cups, a mushy bag of boiled peanuts
    kicked against a storm-drain.
    Eyes shift, looking to turn a lock.
    Sickened, resting, anywhere would do, steps of the capitol.
    Beneath the slackened whaps & dings
    the grasses of amphorae whisper, a homily reaches,
    the emptied stomach perks
    to sizzling pork, feet & snout.

  4. American Beast

    Frost-fringed dawn redwood, flowers for eagle-vision, bittern-still in bald cypress,
    turkey-wattled, toe to topknot circumferencing the Lost Continent. Clatters gravel,
    sticks down, breaks brittle leaves, ice panes collapse. Wades the juicy plains,
    shawls through alleys of the Smokies, toward the lowering sun,
    a swath of steam nodding, & savors reach the interior seaway.
    Anomalous attachment, the swamp-lord’s web.
    Thudding stills, & river-lain, the lungs cease.
    Drifts to sea & sinks, is gnawed upon:
    hold the dangling arms,
    remainder bars a coral cave.

  5. Galatea

    A shadow passes under the door, that would-be, Dr. DeJarnette.
    Wild things play the walls, a testament of vines.
    Augusta County claims frontier, all that cannot be seen.
    In a boy’s heart a scorpion turns, gold under the floor.
    The boy chews his fingers down, locked in the room.
    Bighoof & his legend of freedom end up a steak.
    A porcelain dove, hand-painted by a nun, shatters in metaphor.
    Committed to a shallow pit, the cracked swimming pool rings with frogs,
    a spontaneous generation of duckweed & of lily blooms.
    With machined-motion the eye flutters, & beauty’s monster stares.

Repair

By Diane C. LeBlanc

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. The Party

    I give this Sunday morning to handwashing
    sweaters, water running grey from dye
    and dirt the color of winter sky.
    A year into this pandemic and I’ve forgotten
    how time catches, but washing seems
    like honest work, the way caring used to feel
    when kneading a lover’s sore shoulder
    drew soft moans, when gathering the first dropped
    orchid blossoms meant beginning not ending.
    I rinse and agitate each sweater in a bucket
    then shape them on surfaces until I’m surrounded,
    a party of cold sleeves and buttons.

  2. The Facts of Last Night’s Dream

    Everyone could speak except my mother.
    She was a small skein of embroidery floss.
    She hopped from the shopping cart I was pushing
    up a steep hill. I found her first
    in a friend’s cold garage, transparent and still
    until I smoothed her strands and lifted her
    into the cart, but she leaped again. She sprang
    arms and legs. Running through blueberry thickets
    without her silver pail, she picked and picked and
    stained herself blue. I chased her until
    she tangled on branches, my mother
    a web I tried to gather without tearing.

  3. Against Pulling

    The first cut to repair an old book
    reminds me my knife is sharp
    and fine leather splitting from thirst
    is beyond salvage. So I slice
    and slide my knife between spine
    and pages held tight with linen tape,
    shaving flakes of calloused glue
    until I reach stitches and knots
    and finally, the headband of silk thread
    wrapped around cord, bright cuticle
    not as afterthought but as architecture
    against pulling and pulling.

  4. Despair

    The longer we stay at home
    the more often friends lose a chicken or two
    to sudden death—no trauma or disease,
    just cold wattle and comb
    lying in the coop among the living.
    Grieving during a pandemic
    is a new kind of holy despair,
    a nerve tax for time passing
    without ceremony, bodies tucked in
    pillow cases, wrapped in beloved scarves
    for the drive to the landfill, while at home,
    in water pans, eulogies well beneath ice.

  5. Poems for the Living

    After the inauguration, the work, as in
    now the work begins, isn’t to name
    this tree, that bird, but to witness
    forces like fury and justice chasing
    a woman pushing seeds into mounds
    she packed and gathering amulets
    ripped from the dead, sweeping
    the dust of splintered pods, no prayers
    or charms left to summon. The ones
    who show up will resume the planting,
    writing poems for the living
    on paper made of ruined dresses.

Snow Angels

By Sharon Waller Knutson

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. I flap angel wings
    in a snowy bed,
    white and frigid
    as a house of virgins.

  2. The farmer fleeces sheep
    with sharp scissors,
    leaving them naked,
    shivering in the shade.

  3. In an orange blossom blizzard,
    the Japanese woman
    in the kimono keeps in step
    with the strutting soldiers.

  4. Flaring like a four-alarm fire,
    the sun is a mistress burning
    through mattresses and mansions,
    leaving no survivors.

  5. I skate nude on ice, freezing
    as old flames march beside me,
    just out of reach, tasting tangelos
    on my tongue, succulent and sweet.

The Waves

By Leah Baer

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. The White Sea, 2006

    In sub-zero Arctic seas, the white whales follow
    Natalia Avseenko, enchanted, smiling, naked body to naked
    body, undulating in the deep blue. Fingertips caressing.
    Like dancing. Or love. 10 minutes, 40 seconds, the whales
    don’t breathe or breach, Natalia needs no air. They follow
    where she leads. To aquariums, life imprisonment, while one
    hundred thousand belugas swim free, Natalia’s seduction
    unheard in the indigo, unanswered. Natalia loves the whales, and
    she is so captivating. She is saving them from freedom.
    She is training them to bear loss.

  2. Pacific Ocean, May 2020

    Bioluminescence blooms and a woman worn
    by death—one hundred thousand from Covid-19,
    any day now—steps off California into sapphire
    life jeweling her ankles, hands, waist. She walks out
    into the sea until the sand floor drops and her arms cut the
    star-sequined ocean. She forgets the hospital and swims
    parallel to the shore, that brilliant blue line of life glowing
    as she turns her head to breathe to the rhythm of that almost
    impossible oath: First, do no harm. First, do no harm.
    First, do no harm.

  3. Paris, 1902

    Two new radioactive elements: polonium and radium, 0.1g chloride
    between them. Marie and Pierre Curie proved them into existence,
    their “gleamings, suspended in darkness,” the “faint, fairy lights” of
    glowing tubes. Lights which might one day save life. In Paris
    elsewhere, Loie Fuller dreams of dancing dresses fashioned
    from radium, a Fire Dance illumined by gaslight in red, yellow,
    orange, green, violet, blue, swirling fabric echoing flame. Marie loves
    the “spontaneous luminosity” of the radium’s faint blue light
    as she loves Pierre. The young tongues of radium girls moisten brushes
    to paint numbers, to glow in the dark.

  4. Vietnam/New York City, 1965

    People are dying in Vietnam. Agent Orange is beginning
    its generational effects. A girl in a play across the ocean, loves gamma
    rays and man-in-the-moon marigolds. A girl in love with science, living
    past a mother’s lethal love. Agent Orange is one of the “rainbow
    herbicides.” It has tactical uses. Ask the Ho Chi Min Trail. Ask
    the U.S. military. So many color-coded means of killing: green, pink, white,
    purple, blue, four kinds of orange. So very many ways to die. Ask the girl
    with the gamma rays and the marigolds she’s raised from seeds. She loves
    wavelengths: in her care, the flowers survive, bloom. Ask her about the
    dangers; she knows how to keep things alive.

  5. Hallway Closet, 1953

    Mother banishes me to the dark, beaded dresses from
    her 1920’s dancing days vibrating beneath my fingertips: red,
    green, gold, blue sing their colors to me. Each color electricity and
    buzz. Each color a different song singing my body, blue
    the loudest. My birth the year of peace, so they say, Hiroshima
    and Nagaski, hiding under desks from H-bombs. I know
    the hiding won’t save us, just like I know I see colors in the dark.
    The door opens and light spills, blue dress a shining flame in my arms.
    “I love you,” is what she says. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, because
    I am right about the heat of blue.

Three Coyotes

By Jeff Ewing

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Three coyotes follow
    a pair of deer at stride through
    the shallows, not one
    looking back.

  2. Freight cars tagged
    and sided signal their allegiance
    in shadowed runes debarking
    into the trackside weeds.

  3. Clouds, they say, from
    the north carry the exhalations
    of glaciers frozen again
    in release.

  4. A red-shouldered hawk
    flexes its wings along an arc
    of horizon, undoing meridians
    with a talon’s flick.

  5. At a candescent door
    voices within shed winter from
    my shoulders, rising light and hoarse
    as gulls renouncing the tide.

Threshold

By Lisken Van Pelt Dus

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Tonight’s monster saucers its eyes
    huge under a wild white head
    but I have learned how to keep its kind
    from crossing the threshold.
    It scowls from the doorway.

  2. The grave is marked as it has always been,
    a granite stone set into the earth
    at the crest of the hill. The name
    and dates have faded slightly, is all,
    veined with lichen.

  3. Behind the liquor store, boxes
    scattered – Relax Riesling, Admiral
    Nelson’s and Lady Bligh’s Rums –
    like the aftermath of an orgy,
    limbs and flaps akimbo.

  4. Night fell like molten lead
    poured into webs of maple branches.
    The sky filled it like stained glass –
    blues darkening into indigos,
    then deeper like the heart bruising.

  5. The sun today bounced hard
    off the snow and windshields
    and roads. Even our dead ash
    gleamed in its brilliance.
    Light ricocheted clear through us.

Vertigo

By Ann E. Michael

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Near Abiquiú the mesas
    drawn up from desert
    studded with rabbit sage
    above the rock slab
    prickly pear’s bold blossom
    a sheltering scorpion

  2. It hurts to give birth,
    I read. So I studied how
    to break myself open into
    surf and tide pool
    wave after wave
    swelling

  3. How to skip a stone well:
    you find water broad
    and still on a day windless
    a bank littered with chert
    flint or shale—
    the toss is just as horizontal

  4. Walking up the driveway
    I am wearing my father’s hat
    beneath my boots the gravel
    irregular and stony cold
    fringed with yesterday’s
    scant snow

  5. There is nothing to forgive
    not the harsh word or
    the times I abjured your heart
    today’s pearl sky and soft rain
    tell me this is
    a benediction

We Begin at the End

By Kat Good-Schiff

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Yesterday my mother took me
    to the forest. Surrounded by green,
    no recourse to sky,
    we followed an uneven path.
    When darkness fell, she stepped away.
    I can’t teach you what I never learned.

  2. The mind is not a hollow-boned bird
    that can fly all day
    until the sky turns red.
    It is only a kite
    and needs your body for tether
    so it can swoop and soar.

  3. Today you must climb the mountain
    with your burden of stories.
    Now is not the time
    to walk alone in the forest.
    People at the summit
    are waiting for you.

  4. The fish tasted like water.
    Now the river
    lives in me.
    When I die
    I will be greeted
    by millions of tiny mouths.

  5. If childbirth is wildfire
    my womb is stone.
    How will the forest renew
    without me? My legacy:
    a bare, granite mountain.
    You can see for miles.

Weather in the Heart

By Sarah Provost

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. I married on summer’s solstice
    to let in more light, alas. You don’t have
    to have malice in your heart to do real harm.
    Yellowing leaves, smoke.

  2. Summer is brief as a salt breeze
    or a ticker tape parade. Dogs yawn
    in the shade, such diligent indolence, all
    ruby mouths and loose paws.

  3. In the four small rooms under my ribs
    it’s always ventriloquist weather, a mirror
    reflecting itself. Love masquerades as nostalgia,
    or vice versa. We light the lanterns again.

  4. Once we read runes in the scat recitation
    of salt spray frozen on stone. The sky
    was the rough, maculate white of birchbark,
    and later, though not enough, my skin.

  5. Maybe the sun always scatters its beads
    like a blessing. The small leaves of spring synchronize
    their celebration, the humblest weeds
    mumble and thrum with life.

What Remains

By Karen Cline-Tardiff

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. The dirt opened beneath our hands, no matter
    the agglomeration of minerals, dead worms,
    time-worn rocks, it was not enough to fill
    the six foot deep hole. Your body could not
    fill the hole, could never fill the spaces required
    of you. You always in the background, silent.

  2. I strapped myself into the same car, five days every
    week, 51 weeks every year. I drove across two different
    bridges to strap myself into a desk, surrounded by fast-
    flying papers and busy lines. I watched as the crews
    rebuilt the bridge for two years. I watched as I drove
    my car through the new guardrails, braced for impact.

  3. Too many dishes. Mismatched plates piled up in
    the sink, glasses chipped at the mouth, sharp edges
    worn soft as I rub my tongue across them, reminded
    of rocks tumbled by the ocean. I take pictures of
    the assorted implements, offending dishes, post them
    on Marketplace. Go to the store and buy paper plates.

  4. He lay in the same bed every day for a year and a half.
    Two hours before he died she rose from her own bed
    and sat beside him. I can still hear the bed creak under
    her weight. They held hands for the first time since
    they eloped 58 years before. His face screwed in pain,
    then relaxed. Do we all know when it’s time to let go?

  5. A bite from each piece of candy in the box. Replaced.
    I can see the pinks and browns attempting to ooze
    from the dark chocolate, onto the brown plastic.
    She used to eat a bite a day. I never understood how
    she didn’t gobble them all up. Now I look at what’s
    left, a turn in my stomach, and throw the heart away.

Winter Bloom

By Sherre Vernon

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. She mists the room with rose-water
    combs my hair to spring curls. In her
    world the tub, the toilet paper, her back-
    zip slacks are pink. On these church
    mornings, she calls me Sharon,
    like she knows I am ever the thorn
    of the desert rose, not a sweet
    parlor wine we can’t afford.

  2. In the dirt and brush of Ojai, beneath
    the Grandmother Tree, a stranger spritzes
    my face with a petal infusion, says it clears
    the spirit to receive. I catch the eyes
    of an old woman in ropewhite braids. She
    says she knows me from before. I only
    remember my sister saying that I will wither
    into her. I’ve lost her name.

  3. A cedarwood hairbrush. A rattail
    comb spitting teeth. My mother
    yanks and twists my eyes, wrests
    the hair from my face. She casts
    a net to catch my strays.
    Plastic bobbins crack and lock
    into themselves and burrow
    beneath my scalp, bleed.

  4. She speaks absently over me: her first
    husband washed her ritually as an act
    of love, each time. But my grandfather,
    palm-tree-trimmer, scavenger-who-
    sleeps-in-the-truck-cab, knows better
    the nape of her neck. We snap green beans
    into a tin bowl. Later I will sneak away
    and paint her wall with pink polish.

  5. Little child, yes, the rose-water.
    Little child, yes, I am open again
    to pink. I am the age of peppered
    greens on kitchen counters. I braid
    your hair in a crown, simply. We gather
    acorns. Juniper, I weep only when I think
    of the granddaughters I will never see,
    the granddaughter you did not get to be.

Ready to write your own cadralor?

About Us

Gleam is a journal wholly devoted to the new poetic form, the cadralor. Co-created by three of Gleam’s editors, the cadralor consists of five short, unrelated, highly-visual stanzas.

More About Cadralor

Get In Touch

If you are interested in submitting your own cadralor poem or if you have questions, you can reach out to our Gleam email. We look forward to hearing from you!

Call for Submissions

Meet the Editors

The cadralor was co-created by:
• Lori Howe, Editor in Chief
• Christopher Cadra, Senior Editor

Meet the Editors

%d bloggers like this: