Cadralor Issue 3

Gleam Issue 3


Dedicated to Christopher Cadra, our dear friend, co-creator of the cadralor, and founding co-editor of Gleam

Christopher Cadra author headshot

In August, 2020, Christopher Cadra shared the first-ever cadralor poem via social media, catalyzing the birth of this new poetic form. In a little more than a year, cadralor poems have spread wings in the poetry world via Gleam, spotlights on NPR and other radio and Internet programs, been nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net awards, found publication in dozens of poetry journals, won poetry fellowships, and been translated into several languages. Without Christopher Cadra, none of this would have ever happened.

To our dear friend, Christopher: we wish you a speedy recovery, and look forward to the day you are back with us, writing cadralore, mentoring other poets, and joining us in the joy of reading cadralor submissions for Gleam. To quote Jenner Shaffer and his poem, Hylas at Lampasas, “Godspeed, hero.”

Here is the poem that started it all, Christopher Cadra’s “The Ribbon.”

The Ribbon

  1. The red ribbon,
    lost at sea,
    stayed afloat
    by the grace
    of curls.
  2. The slinking
    of the shoeless girl
    through the woods
    was vapor-like:
    Semblance of hallucination.
  3. About five feet away, she was,
    a golden halo sat atop
    her head. If she’d stayed
    silent, it’d become too bright,
    forcing her to at times
    reveal divinities.
  4. Emeralds danced
    in her hair as she moved
    and when she spoke.
    And a wildfire was tamed
    by those dancing stones.
  5. The creaming of the homespun
    hourglass, accomplished
    through a butter-like blending,
    was all so soft, was a whole
    lot like milk, and the sound
    was like down, almost fuzzy.

The following poems were selected by the editors
for Issue 3 of Gleam
:


Aftermaths, by Sterling Warner
Allergy, by Scott Ferry
And Further in the Small Capitulations, by Jon Yungkans
Cabinet de Curiosités, by Lorelei Bacht
Cadralor to ADHD, by Partridge Boswell
Contrition, by Jenner Shaffer
Crab, the Hermit, by Lorelei Bacht
Cracker Gal Cadralor, by Charlotte Porter
Define, by Jamey Boelhower
Dinggedicht, by Changming Yuan
Dry as parchment, by Jane Dougherty
Emanant, by Jenner Shaffer
Free from freedoms, by Mehunrissa Hashmi
Give Pause, by Susan Moorhead
Holding On to Blue Air, by Ginny Lowe Connors

Holes, by Kerry Trautman
In Search of, by Sarah Snyder
Intimations, by Carolyn Martin
Map: Sheet of the World, by D. Walsh Gilbert
MIMICRY, by Katherine Grace McDaniel
Moments of Motion, by Julie A. Dickson
Mudlark, by Audrey Colasanti
Native Pulse, by Lily Jarman-Reisch
Nuclear Option, by Brian Hugenbruch
Out, Breath, by Kathy Peterson
Shadows Gathering, by Penelope Moffet
TAR AR AIS, COME BACK, by Marcella Remund
The Fire in the Stone, by Jenner Shaffer
The Subjunctive Creeps Back In by Jon Yungkans
The Things You Made, by Brian Clements
This Aspect of Life, by Julia Paul

Watch Issue 3 Reading

Aftermaths

By Sterling Warner

BACK TO TOP >>

1. Feckless
We
slept
uptight
scorning sex
always stark naked
shunning blankets & satin sheets
permitting our warm nude bodies to tenderly touch
pheromones run havoc, teasing
the five senses
accepting
distant
love
lost.

2. Denied
Joe
looked
and smelled
like road kill
hygiene so far gone
his odor repelled filthy flies,
turned ravenous vulture stomachs;
friendless, like a gypsy repentant, desired roots
curbed his hitchhiking wanderlust,
traveling
dreams
now
slack.

3. Hardly Hazing
Joy
fell
face-first
down the old
steel escalator,
landing on cold, cracked, grey cement;
encouraged by pernicious protocol, self-absorbed
crowds ignored her bleeding body
chattered on cell phones:
911
never
once
called.

4. Laurels
Phil
played
golf just
once before
setting a record
twenty years later, often drunk
in the clubhouse, he still brags about his greatest feat
to disinterested people
who live for today
rather than
dwell on
deeds
past.

5. Fobs
I
held
you like
a pocket
watch, kept time with whims
built bridges across difference.
ticking our way through crises, we reveled in good times—
possibilities’ reminder—
unwind our anger,
balance all
pleasure
with
pain.

Allergy

By Scott Ferry

BACK TO TOP >>

1. as if she skims on a swan her lithe arms
wave towards the passing cars —camping headlight
nausea yellow on her head—shopping cart empty
lavender blouse tracing each sweep

2. a woman tends a shrine of too-red roses
and metallic heart balloons on the side of talbot road
the traffic does not break her deliberate breathlessness
as her tender hands place hollow membranes into earth

3. cinder and histamine bulge in her lip
my daughter swallows the blood-colored benadryl
to keep the flood from churning down her trachea
her eyes well with clear dark milk

4. the spines of the rocking chair separate
like teeth on threads oak sternum nearly slips off ribs
but we trust and settle into this daily breaking—
lulling with down-eyed songs to this kicking bird

5. this night i hear a persimmon flush of laughter
outside lifting magenta and thyme into the dark—wait—
are they weeping? a pause like a grey egg cracks
in a shriek—another cry another laugh skips
like silk down the jeweled street

And Further in the Small Capitulations

title after John Ashbery

By Jon Yungkans

BACK TO TOP >>

1  Hadrian’s Wall
January snow had melted but wind’s frigid razors shaved away clothes,
skin and blood, until white bones stood in our place. Grass and heather
glowered before us brown in its standoffishness, wall surrounding wall.
A spine of rocks pushed head-high, its vertebra cut square, fitted precise.
We felt more invader than visitor, Roman soldiers chilled beneath tunics.
I imagined Picts, faces painted blue, defending their homes to the death.
A smoke sky whose arrows menaced rain on a watch. Frost fusing blade
to scabbard, pulling axe to chop or spear to pierce a man. Hadrian drew
a line in the land for lime-green lichen to root in weathered grey stones
that smack of bone. Rome froze here. We returned to the coach to thaw.

2  Gaza
It’s marital quarrel with weapons. One side interjects, firing rockets;
the other speaks with artillery. Shrapnel punctuates these sentences—
rebar twisting into comma, falling bricks and concrete never periods,
just ellipses. And in all this talk, children die—crushed under heaps
that were roofs, walls, play spaces. Infants, boys and girls like dolls.
The region’s one Covid testing lab surgically removed in a jet strike.
It’s Charlton Heston’s line as Moses in The Ten Commandments—
Let my people go!
—intercut with Heston in real life, hoisting a rifle,
daring the government to pry it from his cold, dead fingers. Biblical
in its love-talk. The Red Sea parts in blood—plague born of passion.

3  Kitchen
Raspberry Jell-O, mixed with boiling water and poured into ramekins,
leaves a gelatinous, semi-clear residue in a large mixing cup. Sticky
regrets chill in my refrigerator, leftovers shelved inside square Pyrex.
Back to the routine of boiling oatmeal with milk, raisins, cinnamon—
a safe zone or today’s nourishment? Soaking and a hard scrub works
the mixing cup clear again, wiped dry and shelved. A bitter morning
which a propeller plane overhead breaks into jagged pieces to barrage
like a sun-shower of ice—not round hail but fragments. The following
silence rises and stretches. A sparrow trills intermittently, unanswered.
Seams in the ice freeze solid. Sunlight filters through, opaque and chill.

4  Desk
Two bags atop a maple-stained desk—one scarlet with green wreath,
The other sapphire blue splashed with azure and silvery snowflakes,
a snowman caroler trio bundled for a serenade. Inside, still wrapped,
two tins of butter cookies. A box of Christmas chocolates with a red
pick-up truck printed on the lid, hauling a tree. A box of magic tricks.
A steel folding knife in a desk drawer. In another, a miniature katana
and a bronze letter opener, its hilt engraved with a pair of Labradors
looking toward a valley. Inch-marks girdle blade’s spine. Flip it over.
On the blade a company name, a slogan—Advertise—lest they forget!
Random items. The owner took what held them together to the grave.

5  Covid Ward (a found poem—Dr. Rachel Clarke, The Guardian)
For every patient who dies from Covid-19 in hospital, from the moment
they encounter that first masked paramedic, they will never see one smile,
pair of cheeks, lips, nor chin without barricades of plastic. My stomach
twists at the thought that to the patients whose faces I can never unsee—
contorting and buckling with the effort of breathing— I am a pair of eyes,
a thin strip of flesh between mask and visor, a muffled voice that strains
and crackles behind plastic. Of all Covid’s cruelties, surely the greatest is
it cleaves us from each other when we need speech and touch the most—
the means through which we share our love, tenderness and humanity.
That those we love most are the ones we endanger above all others.

Source for Stanza Five:
Clarke, Rachel. “’I’ve been called Satan’: Dr Rachel Clarke on facing abuse in the Covid crisis.” The Guardian, Feb 6, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/feb/06/ive-been-called-satan-dr-rachel-clarke-on-facing-abuse-in-the-covid-crisis?fbclid=IwAR3RA5Fg4p81x65lOlZN7ewNCMCQt9jineVX2IEg4lx8fxyy1pQUy5KrzlI. Accessed Feb 6, 2021.

Cabinet de Curiosités

By Lorelei Bacht

BACK TO TOP >>

1. A glass eye. We begin with vision,
the lack thereof. Eye of the beholder
frozen mid-air, weak winter sun a dim
consolation. Your mother will recognize
you. Not intact, but mostly undetected.

2. A feather. Although plucked, the bird
at hand is better than the promise of
the butcher’s son – now dead. Therefore,
we marry our cousin, the shape of him
in a wheeled chair. When the war is over –

3. A postcard. When the war is over,
men will pursue the making of a family.
Repopulate, filling our cannons in advance.
Words of longing, words of ache, words
of where have my friends gone – burn them.

4. A rosary. This one was useful – winter
lasted us four years. Many a dead, many
a dead, but my cousin. He will no longer
farm, but receive a pension. His one eye
drowns, his mouth a slow supplication.

5. What is missing? There is a space
in between things, and it: where God
resides. Not in the black of words, around.
Not in the dust of things, the kept, the
remembered. If we were birds, perhaps.

Cadralor to ADHD

By Partridge Boswell

BACK TO TOP >>

1
Have I told you how grateful I am for the ripe avocado
in you that says: Only children make sense? The effervescent
booch that puts music before words, dancing in the kitchen
to an unheard groove that sounds to most like silence.

2
The science that advises you to go barefoot in tick-ridden
fields. Poised on a quarry rim or the edge of your chair,
your whole self swallowing a beaten teen mother’s despair.
Your viridescent heart unfences the world and says: Rock on!

3
The times you came home with a new puppy or car,
or decided the wall between living room and hall made
each too claustrophobic, so took a sledgehammer—
a shotgun chapel Elvis, wedding and opening things wide.

4
Or when we stood in the mudroom on the verge of parting
yet again as friends…you ditched the reins and bit, and seizing
initiative with your lips, leaned in—and with a swift heel flick
nicked a split-second spur in eternity’s flank.

5
And that’s it: cake vanishes sans candles, let alone a light.
If not—if I haven’t told you yet—to hell with my recondite
thank you’s politesse. This is no note or even a poem.
Why tell you what can only be shown?

Contrition

By Jenner Shaffer

BACK TO TOP >>

1. Lost Hill, Chimney Rock

The pinnacles of Niangua & the lonely hill, sacred land
slimed algal, from the green, the gray water-shampoo of condo,
greasy slick from the strip slalomed in a wake, piranha & pacu
drift their displaced sadness, chattering teeth. A tug on the foot, dragged from the beach,
held until still. Backflips that never come up, caught in snag-line.
Seek the level, address predictable history, the repeating meanness & duplicity.
Original peoples ousted beyond the borders statehood ratified,
natural landmarks backflooded to the bowsprit to deprive memorial memory,
erase place. J’accuse. A hazard for pilots sloshed in the Corps flood,
oblivious to beacons shooting fire in the night, the unveering course into hazard.

2. Sour Cream

Tommy had a personal interest. Grandpa was a dairy chemist, loved buttermilk,
& most of all, sour cream. It was to be canceled– too much bacteria for that line,
the use in other products would be to greater margin– industry’s golden rule.
For days he worked, sure he could find a way, adjusting ratio & temperature.
Called in by his boss, told tomorrow morning’s the stop order.
Grandpa worked through the night, the secretary found him asleep at his desk,
a formula in front of him. The boss took the credit, the industry award, the bonus.
Company changed hands right before Tommy was to retire, clear the office
by the end of the day, with a severance pittance, & retirement reduced to nil
after forty years of service, his career after the war, when he was a Seabee, on Leyte.

3. Tracks

Land of the dead-man walking. The transverse trail of blue gem powder
at Babyhead Road, a point of hauling peaches to Georgia, reason for the neck-bone
turned to stone in Antelope Creek, under the uplifted Pennsylvanian crest of stars.
Inside the barbed wires of railroad easement native plants, from the sure obliteration
of hooves, seem to cower. Their protector a ribbon of hope so narrow, among cinders
they bloom against the ties until the spray of poison burns them under.
Few eyes among the brightening nights on the lane of the bully.
Clue, misdirection, waymark of emblem, when a moment of accountability
should present a mark, none can be found. Time traces now. Mighty rivers
a turkey’s foot formed, a continental stamp, the trident print to the proto-sea.

4. Reprieve

when he wrecks his yacht drunkenly into one of the big docks & blows
before the robe he interrupts bold as gold        where do you play golf your honor
attorneys pause in their cells
at recess        my chambers        we’ll further discuss
       don’t have time you see        running companies        know how it is
       what’s it gonna cost to make it all go away        I’ll hire a captain
       we’ll pick you up        go to one of my restaurants
& the headache went away for him & the day was beautiful on the lake
with a taut line in one of his many slips disappearing into green in surround-sound
chained & secure against the public in a close-shaved haven of amaranth bourbon

5. Drive-In

a silver screen is away in the desert an anodyne hour
on the rim of Arizona riders asleep not you at the wheel
too long not to have drawn near as within your suggestion
it looms presto over the highway fills the sky in a glowing softness
with a red spark wavering lower right
streaming red rises to the upper left
bursts a shower of rainbow light within the space
& the whole frame whisks upward away in tremendous speed
without sound into the seeming panicle of stars
or what is the word of an honest carver fine father

Crab, the Hermit

By Lorelei Bacht

BACK TO TOP >>

1.
Toilets: only room with a lock and last
refuge of the tearful. In two minutes,
I will emerge my standard face back on,
you watch. Women of many masks,
mothers. All of mine cracked.

2.
Kitchen: I have developed an interest
in knives, merely symbolic at this point,
begun to fancy myself a sister of Plath,
Sexton, the like. We never truly moved
on from the sixties, did we.

3.
Cars: not for driving but for deadbeat-
husbandry. I have read of the rain, how
it made him feel an actor, some David
Bowie/Sylvian thing, how he took out
the kids’ car seats, before kissing.

4.
Bedroom: this one is difficult. Our split
lives congeal into history, she wrote.
What left of phosphorus? Liquidators
gone home convey cancerous dust into
their families. Give a kiss to daddy.

5.
Wishing myself a hermit crab, abode
abundant in the sea: a shell, a shell,
another still, all welcome to changes.
No phone bill down in the ocean, no un-
kind reminder of growth pains past.

Cracker Gal Cadralor

By Charlotte Porter

BACK TO TOP >>

1.

March hutch at PUBLIX—sparrow nests, the L and I packed with life,
chicks hatched-out behind the warm neon P, lime-green as new leaves
longer days will soon shift in hue, blur sodium vapor lamps,
crimp twigs stuffing U and B, shoo shadows cast by scattered carts.
Feeling like an X, I collar up, pocket change, move along.

2.

Spring Break—along the Interstate, Santas headed north for miles,
seasonal migration in red plush shirtsleeves, soiled tails untucked,
their cotton beards no longer Yuletide kempt, pushing stolen carts
from supermarket lots, their personal loads in plastic sacks,
no toys. I honk. An Old Nick walking backwards flips me the bird.

3.

Puzzled by sex, I first heard the din in 1956,
17-year cicadas, the Northern Illinois brood.
How loud these teen-age insects. Unbelievable their long lives
underground. So ugly their brittle exoskeletons shed
on porch screens. Gorgeous their prismatic wings and huge doleful eyes.

4.

More than she really seems due to settled contents box top says.
Big mistake. Should read Because of but sneaky snackers don’t like
cause and content on same the cracker. Keep It Up, gal, meaning
keep it down, way down within—It, another goof, refusal
to gender hunger child due to arrive, cheesy parts bit off.

5.

Spoils from the dumpster park left behind, I, my own gift, age out
to that lovely place beneath the boughs sweet with occasioned joys—
twinkle, bird chirp, insect noise—and lids, lotto tickets, needles.
Ah, flattery—dreams of sugarplums and reindeer tapping hooves
on housetops without roofs or Fat Man chimneys or tap-tap hope.

Define

By Jamey Boelhower

BACK TO TOP >>

1.
I remove my shirt to feel the summer sun.
A jagged scar runs down my middle,
a botched open heart surgery.
The doctor was confused when the scalpel
revealed a swarm of black swallowtail butterflies
in a field flushed with flowers.
She hurried to close the wound before
they escaped, using random lines of poetry.

2.
I hold you softly above the sheets,
clean, crisp, and white,
until the rush comes heavy,
then my fingers close in hard
against your curves, soft and stable.
Time stops as my face
becomes fevered with connotations
while you slowly die building my words.

3.
She lets the chord go a little longer.
Leaning into her creation, heals off the floor.
The concert hall still, except
for the reverberation of the last notes
released from her fingers holding
the bow, trembling slightly, as
if the song’s weight could not wait
for the audience to breathe.

4.
Pick a card, any card. Lie if you want to,
he’ll still get it right. This is more than
illusion, this is real magic. He can pull
a rabbit out of your pocket because
he is the rabbit. He uses the cards you
gave him. You mumble the magic words
in your sleep. All he does is listen and
take notes. It is your belief that makes it work.

5.
When all the dishes are done and placed
on the correct shelf, doors locked and
garages secured, night lights shining
against bedroom walls, I sit on the edge
of our bed, for a moment. You turn toward me,
buried deep in covers. You pat my pillow,
beckoning me away from this dream
that I’m not ready to fall asleep to.

Dinggedicht

By Changming Yuan

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. A little cloud looming from nowhere
    Hanging above the whole morning
    Like a bold bloated butterfly
    Trying to take a proper posture
    As if to kiss all the wild flowers
    In a suspended field

  2. In the depth of my heart rain has
    Formed a pool, whose water becomes
    Crystal clear when the wind holds itself
    In meditation, but muddy whenever
    A storm rises above the horizon
    Of a lost passionland, once again

  3. Add just a couple rays of starlight
    To the cocktail, & the drink will be
    Tasteful all the more to the soul
    As you sip from your dimmest but
    Fondest memories of first love
    Stored in a forgotten closet of heart

  4. Throw your youthful inspirations
    Far up into the resin of a tall pine tree
    On the hilltop, & it will be preserved
    There & become an amber until the rock
    Under the tree is hit hard by another one
    To produce a spark burning the forest

  5. Once one of its wings pruned like
    A bonsai branch, the swan can never again
    Migrate to the land of freedom, while
    Kite can always fly high up against a wind
    Even if without wings, yet always
    Held tightly in a human hand

Dry as parchment

By Jane Dougherty

BACK TO TOP >>

  1. Across the wall, afternoon lizards scratch memories
    of childhood holidays. Sun beasts, dragon-gold,
    unknown in our frozen north, they were sea-glitter,
    the cantilena of half-understood voices, pine-scented.

  2. I had a favourite marble that year of kids rolling spheres
    of coloured glass into scuffed holes. Orange.
    Lost now. Like me, buried somewhere deep,
    but glass still winks if you scuff the dirt away to make a hole.

  3. Pavements are always grey and hard
    and dust-dirty, and they ring
    with brisk tapping heels, the forlorn wail of babies,
    gutters full of the flotsam of dropped toys.

  4. I left a lot of things behind,
    leather jacket, course work, an A to Z, faces,
    and the memories I packed are as flat as disks,
    scratchy as old records.

  5. Unfolding the past, fragile as parchment,
    it comes apart in my hands, scattering its dead-star
    light of distant summers and fallen roses. Dusk,
    I part the sandbank clouds, still looking for that face.

Emanant

By Jenner Shaffer

BACK TO TOP >>

1. Laocoön

You were told about your mouth         The horse has holy will
Proscribed light unbidden prophet     Tell your sons– do tell them the price
for your proud spear                             of poorly-handled knowledge
Short-lived        in the weave of grasses        rich color        spent leaves
to blend & warn at once        shy        fragile as a pinky        the eye of the pit
does not embark        I used to wonder        what would it be like
to work in a garden        of danger        There was no nub        of shoulder
in my path        his was the illumined face        of a cloud        anguished
in a pareidolian desert        godless of meaning        please
make your own story        good ophidian        tasting the air       unbound

2. Outlaw

Horace is James, I am Younger, through our mothers. Kicks me in the face
with his boot when I’m five & he is three. We make mud pies. Hellions.
Hunt morels each spring & he brings up the loot, his inkling, as to where
in the hills it could be hid. I take Horace out of one city, to Texas, Tennessee,
wherever, long as I lead & do the driving. We are young men in D.C.,
on the flying walks of the Holocaust Museum, through rooms of shoes, spectacles,
gold, among boxcars. We don’t survive, children. He enjoys most the night walks
past the house in Tacoma Park, the conga-bongo rhythm with all the windows dark.
Trucked end of country home-trails, the hooded shape of Horace stays behind smudged glass
in the cab, lonely as the sport of my adventure, the elusive tammer of our treasure.

3. Fox

The flock roamed content with yard forays
on the edge. Nine years it took with no cattle
for the understory to pull close, the ant lion, tiger beetle,
the woolly bear. Then came a string of feathers, & another.
Strung a pen, looks like a hairnet, for the hens & their rooster,
& they don’t much like it. The second morning on an early round
a silver vixen stepped in my path, dark pawed, & hunger-chinned.
How I want to build a small table, array with cheese, grape, charcuterie,
unroll two rattan mats, I see the mythic vale. Said not to be wise, to appease
the wild. The vinous surfeit I’d give, for a quip from Vulpes vulpes.

4. Terra Preta

Thought he made it up, floating the Amazon of 1542, the journal of Orellana,
his elaborate account in drawings & descriptions of an El Dorado, vast towns
of untold wealth, a populous empire. Vanished, a decade later
& on for centuries a mystery, the fiction to lead investors nowhere,
a few widely-scattered tribes, the tapping fingers of rain on the leaves.
Farmers of the forest-fringe, however, knew of mounds of rich, dark earth,
the best soil to be found anywhere, for a hike behind the liana.
The eyes of the sky scan the lines of roads, now, as science delves the dirt.
Blacker than coffee grounds, a flourish under the eyepiece an objective miracle,
ten thousand years actively replenishing, cornucopia of the anthropogenic infinity machine.

5. Adagio

Unknown in diminution, going nameless the lot. Beatific plenitudes
we can’t always be. Dazzle in the dark marine, a seamount of the coelacanth,
devotee to vaulted volcanic niche, where in eonic upheavals
lobes do not dream of hands, the wash of gill bones are satisfied
to pulse, levitate the blurred ribbon of thermocline as islands dive,
orogenies of mountain burnish to sand. Hear the pluvial patter of centuries,
thunder of Krakatoas & Tunguskas, cleft of landmass, seismic atolls.
To rise for twilight, to descend with glow, yawn in the tropical shade,
a community of the solitary their lasting choice outlasts. What angel order
spins the star wheel of anonymous oceans, notes to bless the largesse of a clade?

Free from freedoms

By Mehunrissa Hashmi

BACK TO TOP >>

1.
The couch is an impression of me
being suppressed for a lifetime
losing neither firmness or elasticity
retaining individuality by no means outstanding
you and me paired are not binary

2.
The gladiators grin overlooking Olympus
to the elitists of your age
who have polished it to bluntness
narrowed the gateways and lowered the bars
the tall best know how to bend and distort.

3.
‘Frailty, thy name is woman’ has a closing date.
Frivolity has a longer shelf life all the same.
Reboot the gender fashioned to serve
to self-service mode, to level the field.
Subtle works escape the net unvoiced.

4.
Carrying her sibling on the back at the age of 10
how will she climb the tree without falling?
How will she climb it at all?
So she drops the prospect altogether.
A right so subtly erased from consciousness

5.
The baggage of my culture
dictates to be and act, fashions
in a mold decided by the potter.
Defiance means to be debarred, denied
the privileges undeservedly enjoyed.
———————

(*shikargah –means a hunting place in Persian language)

Give Pause

By Susan Moorhead

BACK TO TOP >>

1.
The blue of the truck the same blue
as hydrangeas growing by the road.
2.
All my life climbing in windows
instead of through doors.
3.
A woman sits on a bench in the rain
with her patient yellow dog.
4.
It’s a myth that owls can’t see the color
blue. I wanted it to be true but, no.
5.
Fingers of light hold the lawn in place else
we’d rise like strange insects into the hum.

Holding On to Blue Air

By Ginny Lowe Connors

BACK TO TOP >>

1
Your friend, the red rooster, is confident in his high-heeled shoes.
Bird bigger than a building. Seeing him lifts you up, till you float
in air, reaching for a piece of the moon. The mystical goat
has left desire behind. As he strums his mandolin beneath a pine,
strangers creep toward the music, the vision. They, too, want to feel
tremors of a world that hovers just beyond.

2
You understand nothing’s fastened down. A few buildings,
perhaps, but they tilt. The green-haired lovers hold each other
as they drift past the horse, which is turning upside-down,
around, and over. Pink cloud rests for a moment in the arms
of a goddess, or in the breath of birds. A white chicken rises
without even once flapping its wings. So brief, this lovely evening.

3
The trapeze artist shows us how to live. Hold on
to blue air. Make of your hands a fan. Allow a chicken
to strut across your upended leg—it is just as alive
as you. If worries tug you down like rain, talk to the horse
with the beautiful eyes. Give flowers to the flying fish.
It knows how to turn when the moon passes in front of the sun.

4
The trolley runs upside-down because memory works that way.
Looking out the window, you see a beautiful city,
and alongside it the village you never really left. But what
of the yellow cat? It’s the child in you. Lucky you, to fall in love.
Floating above a foggy street, you don’t believe that war or time
can pull the two of you apart. Though you remember dark windows.

5
Your life is one long fall through planes of color. You parachute
slowly through a water-colored sky. Thank you for taking us
with you. We hear the music of the wind, look into the eyes
of a white goat. The scent of baking bread wafts toward us; the table
tips over. Sifting toward red roofs is a flurry of snow or a flock
of white doves. The world is topsy-turvy; you teach us to love it anyway.

_____________
Note: Marc Chagall’s “The Red Rooster,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Blue Circus,” “Paris Through the Window” and “Fiddler on the Roof” are among the works that inspire this poem.

Holes

By Kerry Trautman

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1.
I know when to let people in and how far,
the way the oldest houses in town
built protocol into
all their different entry doors.

2.
The bird trapped in the attic smells outside air
blowing in through the chinks in the eaves.
Maybe she sips rainwater drips
through pinpoint holes in rotted roofing.

3.
When forest wind blows through
holes bored through fat mushroom
stalks by some beetle,
does it breathe a kind of song?

4.
Each spring starlings return to the outside
flapper of our dryer vent to pick lint
for nesting. I can’t warn them
what will happen when pouring rain comes.

5.
Like everything else around here,
instead of letting someone else break
my heart the wrong way,
I just do it my damn self.

In Search Of

By Sarah Snyder

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1.
As if we were all small owls
clutching a branch
in a world turned sideways,
our tree severed and moving
on a truck heading to some city
in December.

2.
I hold the trolls I loved
their long colorful hair,
the larger half of a wishbone
with the wish, and the Archie comic book
I read over and over, a life
I wanted in its thin pages.

3.
How easily the leaves give into wind
but not to falling; some stubborn ones
rattle all winter so tight the bond.
None of us should drown.
Move under the shadows of the unpeeled leaves
of the artichoke to find the generous heart.

4.
Crouched in the barn under a roof
sagging into a rusted car, the upright
but broken wooden wheelchair,
a filing cabinet with one drawer
pulled out as if someone might return—
a whole world of things once touched.

5.
Remember the smooth pennies you pulled from the train tracks,
thin and warm with near death, think of the waterfall
not just the roar but the pool below the one that seemed
to encase the fawn who either slipped or leapt from the edge,
and Rilke who told a young poet to dive deeply
into aloneness. Find what you coil inside.

Intimations

By Carolyn Martin

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1. Don’t praise the day before sunset.
––A Polish saying.

But what about the choir of crows warming up
at 5 a.m.? They deserve praise and so do parents
falling out of bed bone-sore, spilling lives
in factories and cubicles. And so do kids
trekking to school with homework almost done.
And so do teachers raising shades in a child’s eyes.

2. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—
waiting for a gift from the sea.
―Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Evening fog softens an angry reef of clouds.
Pretentious crows scavenge torn crab claws,
dead starfish, and mussel shells on the messy shore.
A single gull reflects on a wave-made pool.
You head home in your sand-scattered shoes
with one impressive oyster shell to paint words on.

3. Summer afternoon … to me those have always been
the two most beautiful words in the English language.
––Henry James

The dusty baseball field vanishes beneath
a circus tent, crews of clowns/jugglers/acrobats,
smells of generators’ exhaust and animal heat.
Trade-off: August games for kettle corn
and tickets to cheap seats to watch
the practiced surety of tightrope and trapeze.

4. The ear is the only true writer …
––Robert Frost

When eyes turn down, ears tune up:
sirens, horns, quibblings on the street;
hallway voices ignoring “Quiet Please”
when they pass the hospice door.
The last words he whispers: a request
you record the soundprint of his final sigh.

5. I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now.
One does, I think, as one gets older.
––Virginia Woolf

Too soon, the calendar says, for bleeding hearts
and daffodils, crocuses and squills. Yet here
they are risking late frost to illuminate
your eighth decade. You praise them for proving
death’s impermanence and tell the brisk blue sky:
Never too late old, never too soon wise.

Map: Sheet of the World

By D. Walsh Gilbert

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  1. Bring me tablets of star-shaped clay where the world lies flat
    surrounded by bitter river, islands beyond the flight of birds, a place
    where the sun cannot be seen. Warn me of winged bulls, eagle-
    headed beasts, serpents hungry to devour. Rescue me with cosmic
    gods clad in robes of goat-skin, with epic, incantation, hymn, and omen.

  2. she was sailing  |  coves mysterious  |  bay lagoon estuary
    measuring  |  the depths of water
    whether it was  |  over her head  |  deep enough
    counting the marks  |  a knotted rope
    slipping through her hands  |  the burn

  3. a letter  [what we remember]  [what we keep]
    there’s her mark  [her monogram]  [her signature]
    hear again her words her river  [never lost]  pack them into poetry
    [sweet voyage]  because paragraphs may fade
    the paper  [folded many times]  bends into topographical relief

  4. The ship’s astrologer with the flaxen hair wears an armband,
    stolen emeralds, and a choker made of hemp . Her eyes are kohled
    Egyptian black. Her lips, the pucker of shocked Pisces caught
    by a satin ribbon tied around its tail. She fastens Andromeda
    next to Pleiades, charts an hourglass, and then, she points at me.

  5. Nomadic, I roam. Scavenge for the ripened bits. Sniff to follow ancestral
    maps & footpaths and plunder sugar from their sheet music. To forage a road-
    way atlas across an empty ocean, and hunt the inventories of jig & fiddle,
    the lilt & rhythm of a familial Eden until I find what constellates and simmers.
    Until hungrily, I drink in song, throat wide open, with deep-belly gulps.

MIMICRY

By Katherine Grace McDaniel

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1.   Indian Cove, Joshua Tree National Park, California
patterned in rust, darkness and light
mimicking the boulder field in refuge from raptor eyes
a chuckwalla lies in heavy-set leathery toughness
cobbled together from Creation’s leavings
permeated by sunlight
he cocks his broad head quizzically
in my direction but discerns no danger
from the two-legged anachronisms passing close by
thin-skinned aliens reeking of sunscreen
he will not relinquish his borrowed heat without cause

2.   In the Shadow of Kit Carson Peak, Crestone, Colorado
executing a jittery dance across tattered prayer flags
wind slowly shreds mountains into unforgiving heaps of sand
too soft to attain the swagger of their former height
imitating the thrust of the Sangre de Cristos
men have built spirals here to corkscrew into Heaven
and stupas to enshrine and embrace the dead
we lie like vagrants in a borrowed house
sudden summer snow accentuates the peak’s jagged beauty
camouflaged yet exposed amongst indifferent rock
a young hiker freezes to death alone on the slope

3.   Twenty-Nine Palms, California
in the desert spring afternoons hint at summer’s heat
accepting nature’s proposition we drowse beneath hanging leaves of eucalyptus
smooth, white trunks rising like sculpted legs into the sky
plump Gambel’s quail court on the neighbor’s rooftop
as the mountains rise in unseeing watch over fragile, dusty earth
electric pink bracts, paper-thin and exuberant erupt into glorious blaze
mesmerizing the eye with disbelief that these exotic dancers
are only colored leaves masquerading as flowers in attempt to protect
unassuming blossoms, small and white like the bird’s egg
lying hidden in a nest deep within this thorny bougainvillea

4.   Outside an Immigrant Detention Facility for Teenagers, Houston, Texas
inner-city summer smells of sweat and asphalt with a tinge of urine
possibility translates into amoebic movement surging and
retracting as those at the edges jostle to see or be seen, to take action
or merely breathe in this close-packed crowd
a dozen people spill into the street and the mounted police yell
from wide-eyed horses who cannot get too close
fatherless and motherless the outsiders become insiders and remain concealed
car horns, chanting and raised voices penetrate those unremarkable walls
we are so near to one another and yet so far apart that no one,
inside or outside, can be sure if these are shouts of support or battle cries

5.   Boyd’s Sanatorium, Dripping Springs Natural Area, Las Cruces, New Mexico
a gravel track turns away from town and crawls onto the mountain’s flank
where the spring teases with a hesitant wetness
a defunct dining hall juts out on piers, an outhouse squats along the trail
persistence is a shadow staring from fenced windows
panting, stopping on the mountainside to die the numberless dusty deaths
of those cast out to make room for the latest unhealables
high above an eagle glides on a thermal
his cry a knife blade drawn against the sky
exhilaration resonating against the mountain
dying away untranslated into memory

Moments of Motion

By Julie A. Dickson

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1.
Two boys, adolescents crouch on tin roof,
train heard in the distance, rumbling ground,
felt through their feet, chatter teeth, no fear
as smoke billows through fog of morning –
and when engine passes the deserted station,
two dark figures leap onto the first box car.

2.
Gulls stranded far from shore circle, tireless
wings flap sea air, black eyes dart over waves,
sudsy-capped liquid peaks, current carries
flotsam, non-edible to aerial carrion eaters –
fishing boat sighted, blue hull dances, voices
drowned by screaming gulls in off-key symphony.

3.
Chase, run, up tree, leap to branch, back down,
acorn snatched, bury for later, race to railing,
window opens to emit peanuts, familiar hand
extends, shelled nuts haphazard as if in flight –
squirrel eyes follow descent, squawk their dibs,
grabbing nuts, another blue light special.

4.
Heads peek up, just open beaks visible above
twigs tucked tightly, precarious, inadequate
ledge below eaves, barely protected from rain,
sun rays pass below, illuminating busy Phoebe,
branch to ledge chirps and chides open-mouthed
nestlings, enough for all – stay back from edge.

5.
Hands clasped, veins riddled indigo against pale
translucent skin, leaden feet as if weighed down,
slow progression cottage to dock, footsteps rote,
down worn path lined vincas nod violet approval –
years of walks to weathered chairs facing east,
sun-smiled faces dream of drifting on lake breeze.

Mudlark

By Audrey Colasanti

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1.
Our house here is a cuckoo clock of wrens
all day, they swoop out from under the eaves
chirp-barking at us to stay away
they have buds in their beaks
shoestring & bits of hay
things scavenged to build a natty nest
just like our own cuckoo clock chalet.

2.
Just read that a man in Nigeria has discovered
a diamond the size of my fist
the photo in the paper showed his dirty hands
       scarred from all that hunting
holding the diamond as if a poisonous snake
a rattler disguised as shiny object
a shiny object composed of carbon & so much venom.

3.
When Grandma lost her wedding ring on Christmas Eve
and then spotted it again on Christmas day
she called it “The Christmas Miracle!”
as if Jesus had something to do with the ring
slipping off her finger while sipping a martini
and then placing the ring on a thread
of shag carpet right beneath her feet.

4.
Walking the shore, scouting for berries
we stumbled upon an entire cow carcass
embedded in the riverbank. The bones
showed glossy white, while moss grew
out of its jaw; a macabre green tongue
sticking out at us, mocking us for staring.
That cow. It startled us so.

5.
I only found the “Alleluia egg” once
dyed by my father to be the color of Christ’s blood
with my basket teasing of jellybeans & marshmallow
chicks, I didn’t search that hard
I was convinced the egg would taste of the rusty
minerals that pool underneath a scab
the kind you lick at, when no one is looking.

Native Pulse

By Lily Jarman-Reisch

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1.
I seek to stumble upon softened time,
suspended between coming and going,
hear the hum of earth through the soles of my feet,
reclaim a lost rhythm
like the soundless swimming of caribou,
lose tick-tock time to the tides or trades,
my bearings in a cloudburst
or a cricket’s trill
beneath a moon-blackened sun.

2.
Our homes well-stocked then hollowed, filled again then thin,
found their own rhythm of respiration
while air-starved brothers and sisters
had goodbyes stolen by smothered breath.
Earth sunk beneath our feet, we scrounged the night sky
for Venus to brighten the east.
From a narrow place into open air,
will we scout the sky for the flight of the Perseids,
our faces brushed by the meteors’ breath?

3.
Leaden light dulls the river’s glitter, glint off the glaciers,
darkens to metallic dusk.
Unsettled by sudden chill,
elks sniff the swelling wind,
heads strain on stretching necks.
Fur stiffens in alert
then roils in manic wind of moon’s speeding shadow,
buffeting the beasts under a blackened sun
fringed by erupting flares.

4.
Without standing under stars stippling an Arctic lake
or the Milky Way framed by the mountains of Moab,
will I hear the wind change pitch at sunset,
the hiss of the Perseids?
Will I glimpse a thin place,
the small gap between heaven and earth,
ring with its native pulse,
the ceaseless throb in the grand silence
that stirs and strips me bare?

5.
Craving what I cannot touch,
fingers furrow deep in garden dirt,
kneaded dough, separated and reunited in a braid.
I stroke framed photographs, the sleeve of a sister’s sweater,
slipped from her shoulders when her breath suddenly stopped,
sleep in the shadow of the ashen horse trailed by open jaws,
dream of the long-dead,
return to childhood homes,
choices I regret.

Nuclear Option

By Brian Hugenbruch

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  1. Endless fields sown with salt:
    granules pitchfork-folded
    in a loam so rich
    it might have fed us all
    until the sun burned out
    and the moon, bored, left us behind.
  2. What song remains on the open sky
    but a vibration, half echo,
    half memory?
    A sparrow falls
    eyes blinded
    its heart in its beak.
  3. A bear with fur of glass
    pads an ice-road across a lake
    aware of the cracks that form
    under the weight of every step
    with no way to solid ground
    but forward.
  4. A seemingly stable star has
    a quavering moment of no return
    where gravity collapses inward
    and with a shuddering, subsonic groan,
    a galaxy of energy is cast outward
    and comets turn to dust.
  5. I reach out my thrice-bitten hand
    and try to claw my words
    from the air and back into my mouth
    but they’ve carried you away
    faster than clocks
    and further than tombstones.

Out, Breath

By Kathy Peterson

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1.
How did my lovely trapezius fail me, with no
strenuous or wrenching motion to recall, no
repetitive action, nothing except an angle
of repose while dead-to-the-world sleep
wrapped me in a dream-hold. How did
the stingray-shaped muscle stop holding up
my arm, not allowing me to use the microwave
or hair brush without stinging me and retracting.

2.
On my desk, An Examined Life, unexamined.
A litany of misnomers on a rain-spattered page.
All the banal and burning talk about living
in the moment, as if there were any other way,
when the Past is our field of vision, and the Future
is in back of our heads where we can’t see it.
A red truck parks, unaware it’s being observed.
In the bayou, two manatees, a burden of proof.

3.
In the tumult is a multitude of melt. Limit
me to one skirmish daily, inverse servitude.
There is pain panning over shin and shiner.
When it scampers off to the playground,
unaffected by hornets, knives and volts,
I follow it to see how I might persuade it
to leave my greenhouse, the place I stash
my odd sensations. A palm tree stands guard.

4.
I have been looking for a place of comfort,
devoid of the sandpaper scrape of suffering.
Walking alone, the body is a beached whale,
blubbering over a docked boat. I stare at a blur
of wallpaper needing to be taken down. Pattern
of regrets. I belong in the middle of a lime green
pool, frog. Leaping is my lost motivation, an empty
glass. In the transformation kit, all my necessities.

5.
Walking alone, I wish myself beside you.
Am I leaving you again, between our old life
and your new one? For difficulties of relocation
I have written you a short list. Do not get
trapped in the wringer, with your seams akimbo
and your buttonholes strained. Be the torso
that maintains alignment. Don’t concede
your power of whimsy. Bright the pond, waterlily.

Shadows Gathering

By Penelope Moffet

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     1. Diamonds

A half-moon hangs above the pines.
The pool is a lake in a forest
until twin underwater lights click on.
My shadow comes to meet me at the wall.
Near the steps, in the unlit shallows,
water spangles into diamonds.
It’s good to be old,
with no one to watch me
and no one for me to watch over.

     2. Breakage

One by one they shattered,
the etched crystal goblets,
the hand-blown aqua water glass
with swirls of green and purple,
the white ceramic colander
with its big dots like blueberries.
And the promises I made to each
of the two wounded men I lived with:
I will never desert you.
I will be the one who stays.

     3. Locust

On Locust Avenue there were no locusts,
neither trees nor winged voracious angels.
Fancy hotels lined Atlantic Avenue
facing the Pacific Ocean. One anniversary
my husband and I splurged on dinner
in a rooftop restaurant by the beach.
We gorged on lobster thermidor, tiramisu,
too much wine, then staggered past
the homeless in their doorways
to our small place on Locust
to burst out of our clothes.

     4. Foot

This gray plaster foot has moved with me
from home to home, anchoring doors when wind
whistles through. I blow dust from its toes.
Tall beautiful Mark left one in the brush
at the artists’ retreat and gave one to me.
My husband Roger was a short man but
he had long second toes like Mark’s.
Toes lost like the rest of his beautiful feet
in Alaska when, homeless and probably drunk,
he slept in a tent through a blizzard.

     5. Fish

For a few weeks a shiny metallic balloon
shaped like a fish bobbed above a tree
across the street. Mornings I watched it,
floating on my back in chlorinated blue.
Now it dangles limp on the line, all hope gone.
Mostly I keep moving, arms carving water.
Nothing is more gorgeous than this amphibious life.
No one else is here but many hover, friends and lovers
I won’t meet again. I see them when I sleep,
I feel them when I pulse across a pool, shadows gathering.

TAR AR AIS, COME BACK

By Marcella Remund

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1.

In the market, a boy pokes his finger into the bulging blue eyes of a swordfish half-buried in ice. A woman in black leather juggles steel rings set ablaze. She jokes, as a ring slips from her hand, bounces, and rolls down the alley in a whirling shower of sparks. Johnny Cash and June Carter sing in my head.

2.

The sea smells green today, wet and fishy. Waves break over and around craggy boulders, slap the cliff face with foam. A flash of silvered blue catches the brief sunlight, flips just below the surface, then disappears below. Later, I will swear it was scales and barnacles, a mermaid tail.

3.

I’ve named the brown gull that hangs out at the bus station Jonathan. He’s the size of a small cat, puffed up on garbage biscuits and sidewalk fries. He perches on the light pole beside the bus slots, flies down—jumps really—and waddles along the walk doing his cleanup. I leave a Styrofoam cup of water in the grass.

4.

I’m another insomniac in the Connacht Hotel, in a room that overlooks a parking lot. I come back from the vending machines with a bag of crisps, swipe my key card to turn on the room’s electricity. There is no American TV, and the instant coffee is weak brown water. Beyond the wall at the head of the bed, the universal cries of people trying to connect.

5.

Ireland is a sliver of memory lodged in my chest. The heart’s muscle has healed around the shard, but the beat is different now, syncopated 16th notes of reels and jigs. In my sleep, a red deer steps from behind Brigid’s oak, bleats tar ar ais, tar ar ais. Longing wakes me, my bodhrán heart a desperate rattle and call.

The Fire in the Stone

By Jenner Shaffer

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1. Forge

A fasting show, forked, fluted, blunt, the councils emerge.
A silver light in summer rounds red as the Triassic.
Penitence in, abasement for, culpability toward, says the knot
tied stoic in the mat. Where the ground-provisioned glisten fresh fruit,
a new form, made again not the same, does see. Sliding shades
of Lepidodendron, lawn of Auricaria, the fan of maidenhair unrolling
pall to the sun, to blazon day amber & orange on the green,
woodwinds & trumpets in vapor, to redetermine loss
in the refining gorge. Actualize thread & ear, a stentorian chorus,
Cantharellas, Magicicada.

2. 103 Days

since the Civil War surrender. Dusky kerosene glints a tin-stamped ceiling
in the Queen City, over a gentleman’s agreement. For a worthy dis
justifies the law of a crack six-shooter, Dave on the cobblestone,
for Bill the batwing doors fly wide, thud-heel sparkle of his lethal legend
winding years. Tawdry, stale despair, costume diamonds
caught in headlights, a blaze of signs as the club thumps
the turnaround scree of diesel wheeze, as contemporary aces flinch
at a backfire across the same square. When dark swirlies nose an alley
the warrants fly & the red-brick night is in repose, hot heart of town
with a concert flyer lazily flapping its ragged message to a post.

3. James

Winoka’s spring boils under the cooling pool for the power plant,
paddlefish nose the dam beneath the hydraulic, shimmy the scour-hole
at Shelven Rock, ready in the tourmaline green beyond Hootentown.
Portages in kind. A stealthy trespass to the natural arch atop the sheer wall,
in line with the fish-eyed. Cattle pasture, windrows hazed & distant,
bales like shaggy beasts, the urchin of towers. A summer cloudburst
catches flaked jasper, the labyrinthine enamel of a horse molar
speeds the balance of time. Rugose in the defile, refuge of relics,
inky salamander whose constellation-skin seams the mould
on the way to my craft, stash-curtained in moonseed.

4. Alla Prima

for Bill Alexander & Bob Ross

The magic liquid goes on with a swipe, a squiggle of color feathers
an aerial perspective to vastness. Can you see it? Fire in the sun!
Twirl the odorless thinner. Hypnotize. It’s a vignette . . . vignette . . . vignette.
Have the nerve. Can you see? You are not fooling anyone.
Deep-breathing men of oil, establishing levels in air, the corruptible mirror
of water, mixing trough the color of poison, as light has it, through the eye
to the mind of experience. Give him a friend. Two hairs & some air.
Just beat the devil out of it. Masters of old, walnut, linseed, egg, the smell
of vision. Tricks in the refracted layers of trade, upon the first stroke.
Give it a happy spark, bang, bang, bang, bang. Now I will fire in the stone– here.

5. Tree

Half-fallen near the western plot, broken along immiscible boles,
lightning-scarred, consummation of mantra swirl, as the stricken mast lives
the phantom piece is on the ground, hideout of the cottontail,
sun-bather Plestiodon in breakaway sapphire. Fleabane & sleepingplant circle,
speak to the bearing of affliction as solaces shudder,
a coping as beetles hone in wireless timbre the cankered cambium,
breaching stock in dependable ruin. The pileated pair
has brought the one & are teaching the boring of a hollow.
Knelt among weeds, I talk to a toad I would follow through fire,
bathe in glory garish, if only to chirrup the dream of a coal-fired witness.

The Subjunctive Creeps Back In

after John Ashbery

By Jon Yungkans

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1
In some early versions of Little Red Riding Hood, the girl and the wolf
eat Grandma together. Imagine that Darwinesque feast—the iron taste
and teasing richness of heritage sliding down Hood’s gullet. The wolf
strokes her hair as it offers her another bite with a dove’s gentleness.
The beast suspected her wolfen all along, needing only a taste to nudge
the animal part of her onto the forest floor. It licks her face to clean it.

2
How many times did I pass the Stairway to the Stars in Hollywood—
late-night treks for bargain-bin Rachmaninoff and parking-lot tacos?
White steel sawtooth lattice—tactile and geometric at their distance
from the 101 Freeway and something akin to combustion—smooth
as the criminal tickling my void. Those stairs ambled into black air—
and nothing of the ocean to be seen or heard. Just rolling under tires.

3
Old guy was a stick with clothes on it—red tee-shirt way too baggy,
black shorts ready to drop at any second. He was going on about how
life was so much better now, he felt like a new person, bubbling on
like a cracked water main, all the enthusiasm bottled up inside him
whistling as it leaked out. And, you know, he really did look happy
when he told me, By the way, my name’s Frank. I’m a cocker spaniel.

4
The Gates of Hell opened in Turkmenistan, flame and white-hot metal,
when a Soviet drilling rig stabbed a natural gas pocket and collapsed
all at once into a giant crater that formed as if a mouth had swallowed.
Over 50 years and the hole still glows and shoots yellow snake-tongues
while time slows, hissing along undulant desert dunes, the rolling deep
gravity slowing a clock which waves its hands across a liquefying face.

5
Faces bobbed and floated toward the altar to receive the Friday night
miracle—the congregation a wave for the laying tide of hands, a holy
crag against which to slap in fate more than faith—and in faithfulness
return the following week, sure as moon pulls the shimmering ocean
in compulsion to move, crash, withdraw and seeking some benediction.
Faces washed toward and away from the altar, progressed out to sea.

The Things You Made

By Brian Clements

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  1. Your autumn hard cheeses
    on blue plates, arrayed by the window
    that looks out over the sloping field
    and down to the tree line
    and the brook beyond.
  2. The honey mead
    you brewed in the basement
    and delivered like manna to doorsteps
    with tiny notes on tissue paper
    taped to a bottle.
  3. Throughout the whole house
    and spreading to the patio
    when someone opens the slider,
    the invisible body
    of your bread.
  4. The little clink
    when you place each dry glass
    exactly
    in it right spot in the cabinet,
    the thump of the cabinet’s close.
  5. Your patience with young adults
    on the sidewalk, in the airport,
    holding hands, holding up
    the whole world behind them
    and not caring
    because they’re never coming back.

This Aspect of Life

By Julia Paul

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  1. Each pair of eyes, a story. Hers speak another
    language. His saw a car crash into a liquor store.
    Mine drowned in the Atlantic. Yours look like
    baby mice. Lid-watching of the dying is a lost
    medical art. Hippocrates was a proponent.
  2. Hidden among branches, prayer ties break into blossom.
    Even the heart isn’t shaped like a heart. The heart’s
    fist knocks on my door. There’s no escaping
    the weather, my mother always said. Shadows roll over
    mountains. Rain is not to be confused with miracle.
  3. I once knew a man who had paradise tattooed
    on his chest. What is the point of a point of view
    without the benefit of fantasy? Tonight the stars
    are a thousand-piece puzzle. Wind shifts the darkness.
    My silent hawk opens his wings.
  4. The blink of porchlight. Petals abandoning
    their own beauty. Circles on a map. Map on a lap.
    A cup of sugar, two of flour, greased pan.
    Dragonfly resting on an oar, against vanishing.
    Barbed wire, broken sandals. The work of grief.
  5. These are the holy moments between                         
    and                        . It doesn’t take much to love
                                   . If only                                 ,
    then it wouldn’t                          . The eyes have it.
    Regarding loss, there are feathers still to be gathered.

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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.

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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!

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

Meet the Editors

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