It Only Looks Like Leaving

Rob Carney

Lynx Music

The lynx knows all about quiet,
his ears grown long to hear more of it.

He sharpens his claws on the trunk of it,
hunts silence,

carries it home. And his paws
ghost over snowdrifts,

and lakes are asleep
under ice sheets,

and the stars seem frozen
like an orchestra, waiting to begin . . .

has anyone seen the conductor?
Where has she gone in her night tuxedo?

The lynx looks ready to tell us something,
but only in the speech of violins.

 

It Only Looks Like Leaving to Someone Standing Still

The hermit crab isn’t a hermit; she’s a vagabond.
The shells she picks are empty box cars.

They’re overnight transports from Moab
to Phoenix, where the morning rises

and trains are uncoupled
and it’s good just to stand there with coffee,

hearing them clank—
the music of off-again-somewhere.

They’re spiral umbrellas
keeping boredom away when it rains.

What is a turtle thinking,
walled in by all that attachment?

Already the sun’s climbed high above the railyard,
and a ladybug seated on a faded leaf

is moving on, its shell
a disguise for its wings.

The crab spies an open door
and hops the train to Denver.

She’ll see the full moon silvering snow on the mountains
by the time they hit Santa Fe.

 Contributors

Rosemarie Dombrowski

Civil War

The dead bird is a kind of song.

I think about the end of Lorca, the act of loyalty,
the incidental things.

And I wonder what we’ve really discovered,
what anyone truly knows before their exile.

Maybe just this: that both sides of a double-sided coin
can be wrong.
That anything moral is a dilemma.

According to Spanish legend, the king of crickets
steals the voices of boys,
leaving them mute.

According to you, this is why you’re here:
for the truce-making.
And for the words.
 
 
The Resurrection of Lazarus with Worms
 
I walk outside and begin
ceremoniously circling the yard.

I’m wearing a floral baboushka,
and in the dusky light, I remind myself
of my dead grandmother, Magdalena,
who always carried a coin purse filled with lozenges.

And this circling reminds me of an odyssey,
which reminds me of the boy with the beautiful voice
who adored soaking in bathtubs
while obsessing over the lives of the 16th Century Venetians.

And like any lover of frescos,
he was plagued by an insatiable perfectionism,
and he made me recite incantations for the dead,
and he told me that the resurrected can’t make love,
and that angels were just another word for ecstasy.

So when I found the bird lodged in the river rock,
its one wing still nervously fluttering,
I thought of Titian, and how he would hide his paintings
for years, as though the art of capturing something
in the act of dying was always too imperfect;
and I thought of Lazarus, and what it means to have
nine times to die, and how worms must feel
when they crawl along the bodies of the dead,
or slither down the throats of birds.

And then I remembered the ecstatic tone of Dante
as he instructed Calliope to strike a higher key,
to raise poetry from the dead.

And so I crouch over the fragile body, and I begin
whispering a prayer that can resuscitate the dying,
hoping not to revive the pigeons in the alley.

 Contributors

David R Bublitz

Reveille

 
I never knew my father
before the uniform
flag starched olive drab
they called camouflage
because every time
he put it on he disappeared
he was gone the day I was
born already invisible
in the field at Basic or AIT
eating dirt and shitting water
while mother held me
blood sweat and shaking
bundled against her body
like a canvas duffle bag
straps drawn tight
to keep it all from
spilling out

 

Army Wife

 
white lace Kevlar
barbed wire wedding bands
payday low-crawl
canned bean enlistment
folded-flag basic training
airport tarmac red-eyes
field radio phone call
three word cadence
yellow ribbon PTSD
21 gun homecoming
Halloween candy bullet holes
Thanksgiving turkey tracers
Christmas present IEDs
yellow cake anniversary
empty bed night vision
taped ankle questions
Dear John care packages
foxhole single parenting
pulled pin wedding vows
twenty years holding spoon

 
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William Snyder Jr

Still Life with a Plate of Onions

Vincent Van Gogh
January 1889

A simple stove, three wicker chairs. Wooden table
scarred by knives and shakers of salt. A candlestick,
terracotta, painted orange and brown, yellow candle alight.
Now dinner, he says. Parsley, a carrot or two,
some potatoes. Salt and pepper. Chicken fat
from yesterday. A little wine. Four onions
on a stoneware platter, tunics veined and crinkled
like ancient scalps, smell of furrows and earth.
Sit, he says, and I do, and he twists
the parched brown stems, pinches
the tunics free, slices each onion into wet,
white wedges, his blade against the grain.
Those empty bottles? I ask. Wine, he says, those nights
I sit here, plate pushed away, the book
you see, the cards I read. And absinthe too.
He rests his pipe on the table—reddish walnut bowl,
smooth black stem. It wobbles, but he stills it with
his thumb, then scrapes the parsley, onions,
carrots and potatoes into a skillet. They spit
in the hot fat. I like cooking, he says.
Better here than Borinage. Oh, but a duck would
be nice. But damn him. Theo won’t send money for duck.

 Contributors

Derek Graf

Realism

If the sea hides first in us and then in myth,
I feel its silence blossom all over my body.

Can we fall back on distant rains?
Honestly, a prayer is how the body fails

in reflection. When the sparrows leave
like sparrows, ask the wind for comfort

that it must be so, that no forest contains
your voice, that no city in which a father

dies offers sanctuary from gathering frost.
We live in the breaths of all fire but cannot

find our names there: even the sun is unaware
I have never sensed its hand on my shoulder.

But body and voice, have we always spoken
like this? Without names and falling away?

 

Realism

Without a name and falling away,
evening repeats its yellow patterns

against wide water. Without sound,
there is music. There is music

passing through one body at one interval,
distinct in the way human touch is not.

Whoever wrote the waves appear strangled
at the feet of thin trees cannot see displacement

in its truest form: one transforms as one
exits, and the entirety of the sea dissolves.

Into what? A charge of rain, floodwaters,
countless brooks. After years of clouds

the clouds are forgotten, though bound
to processions of approach and retreat.

 Contributors

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