Listen and I will fill your ears with truth.
My green tipped spikes will test your fingers;
my leathery scales will rasp rough on your
tongue. Even butter will not soothe me.
The asparagus will fence me in, solemn
poles ashamed of my audacity, the way
layers of my rosette get shed like veils in
our dance. What you desire of me is sparse
in proportion to what you will discard.
Ardi shauk, ground thorn, artichoke:
like a throat full of accordians
in a sommelier’s nightmare.
Come taste my heart.
by Sara Dailey
Because there are no McDonalds in Antarctica.
Because it is bad for grandma’s back.
Because mommy has a headache.
Because you’ll regret it when you turn eighteen.
Because your brother might hurt himself.
Because we could get sued.
Because kids in Nova Scotia don’t get that channel.
Because if we do that, Santa will find out.
Because your father won’t notice.
by Mark Dennis Anderson
I look for reasons to leave
To return to where people are fleeing across the sea
Get out now they scream
And empty their pockets to cross in rickety boats
Can barely stay afloat
I dream of return
Finding myself in what was left behind
To sit quietly beside my grandfather’s grave
And plant mint to keep it fresh
And share the view with him
And tell him that his son had a daughter
Who always wanted to come back
She just didn’t know how
by Taous Claire Khazem
Here, you are alone
I take responsibility from you
I’m always watching always
Listening, I also take
Responsibility for you,
Make a gift of it, but
You are a blind/deaf force You
Stumble and yell, drunk without responders
I am a mute/inert force We
Beg and plead me to
For and From you
You move us to be responsible
I move us to response
The two of us, response and responsible, dance
We are a creation pairing:
You gift and thieve me something whole
And different – I cannot name it, but
Give and take together We
Create and have created everything
by Billy Graves
I remember you telling me
that you aren’t good. I thought
of you making soup on my stove
when I had a fever and the way you didn’t listen
to the new Sigur Rós until you could hear it with me.
I patched these moments
together like quilt squares and blanketed myself.
I studied them daily,
the same set of shadows, while you grew
stony and silent. I still believed in you.
Last week I stopped.
By Elizabeth Dingmann
After nearly 25 years
I decided it was time
to jump in puddles with impunity.
And I have. Jumping in skirts and tights.
Kicking water at friends passing by.
Dancing in the little rivers
made by March’s melting snow.
Pink and polka-dotted, I used spring
as an excuse to wear them everywhere.
Running errands in blue jeans,
instead of heels with my work skirts.
I wore them on our date and at your apartment
they were the first things I took off and the last put back on.
They were invaluable a few days later
walking through the misty cold after you told me
it might be better if we stayed friends.
by Kelly Prosen
I am not a superstitious man. I don’t say God bless you at every cough or sneeze. I might say Gesundheit, leaded with accentuation, but that has nothing to do with anything other than my former German proficiency. My pocket wallet sports a deuce (its corners still intact) to remind me simply to stop at the bank – I am not a number runner. I see no evil eye in fans about the theater. Spin to the right? Fart three times? What are these but self-fulfilling, prophetic placebo effects. Mind the crack, if you must, as you step into my office of circumstantial coincidence.
That isn’t to say I’ve always been so clear minded. On the 19th of December, 1993, for instance, my mother and I decided to rent a movie. Amongst all the titles, we happened across My Fair Lady. Is Audrey Hepburn still alive? I asked. My mother wasn’t sure. By the time we got home, we’d forgotten the whole discussion having rented something else, probably Sleepless In Seattle.
by Mark Dennis Anderson