Posts tagged ‘poetry’

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Tender Ship by Catherine Gander

“We have seen them trying to get water out of the boat … it’s pretty overloaded there – it is pretty dangerous, just the number of people on board that boat.” –BBC’s Simon Jones, reporting from alongside a sinking refugee dinghy in the Dover Strait, August 10, 2020.

I know the difference between a stiff and tender ship
It has to do with balance and a certain stability
The kind that lets you roll into waves and take on water
then sluice it clean off
Or keep it on deck, until it seeks, as water always will,
its own path into the body. A tender ship is harder to correct.
I know the difference between a tender ship and a ship’s tender
How the latter is a little boat that shuttles between craft and shore
turning water into care.
The same and not the same, these tender vessels, like the ship
of Theseus—or Pip, who, treading water, saw God’s foot upon the
treadle of the loom, and was changed. Water is intelligent.
It knows the fluid difference between tenderness and harm
will swallow whole the body it caresses, slip liquescence
like loving fingers between lips and limbs.
No camera, please the man
in perfect English says, scooping water from the crowded dinghy
with wrecked hands. You can see it’s dangerous, the reporter says to the lens
then steadies his body to yell across an oceanic distance
Where are you from?


Date: 2021

By: Catherine Gander (19??- )

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Hair Treatment by Nia Mendy

Inspired by Grimms’ Snow White and Disney’s Princess and the Frog

For the first few months, Snow White tries
to finger comb. Prince Charming whines
as she straightens strands after each shower,
goading her with his drawer of scissors.
Yet he spends hours cutting and moussing,

his hair so slick that his hands convert to an oil spill.
He peeks at the mirror for enchantment, but it never
speaks and leaves him to consult Snow about his fairness.
Snow wants to reduce the glass to shards. When he calls
his bride’s hands future sledgehammers, she doesn’t flinch
and jerks his tresses till he begs. Sometimes Charming chases
her around the castle, shears buzzing alive in his fist.

Who understands the blink of fainting, how the forest
tapers to swimming green, then spins to black?

Easily Tiana, swooning as her mother weaved perm into her
strands, the chemicals cooking her hair straight. Snow still
remembers the princess’ whimper in the echoing bathroom,
Tiana’s incisors puncturing her own lip as if teething, the exposed

scalp. The mother listened for stops, no pleases. But the cries
never arose, fermented behind lips. At home in the castle bathroom,
Snow observes her own mouth even now. It didn’t choke on pleas,
but clenched while she lapsed under the poison’s appeal.

She and Tiana suffered under their first
crowns, their shoulders nursing tremors.
Snow waits for Charming’s first snip, to catch
his hands tangled in shears. He doesn’t
understand how everything becomes teeth.


Date: 2013

By: Nia Mendy (19??- )

Friday, 15 October 2021

Piano Before Breakfast by Priscilla Atkins

He has a piano that he plays before breakfast. Reminds me
of the guy on the other side of the wall in Mike’s apartment

on Wells. When I stayed there alone, every morning, sudden
plink-plink-plonk. Not screaming, but peppy; Bach, Bartok.

Five minutes, less, the wall popped. Then I’d hear the lid
close, the door click open / shut. Mike traveled so much

for his job, he never knew about the next-door maestro
(it was during this period I convinced him, long distance,

that frozen broccoli is better than no broccoli). I wonder
how many people play an instrument

for the last time, knowing, “Okay, this is it-the last time
I will ever hear your voice.” Or is it always shrill. Silence.


Date: 2013

By: Priscilla Atkins (19??- )

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Midlife by Cynthia Shutts

We are both terrified of loneliness in middle age
So, we snag the first driftwood that happens by
I carve you into a piece of art for the mantlepiece
And you use me as kindling.


Date: 2020

By: Cynthia Shutts (19??- )

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Extinction by Rebecca Morgan Frank

We were tied to the weather.
Outside, houses turned their backs to the wind.
The dead sipped what was left from the ground.
The snowcover turned stale, darkened.
There was nothing left to discuss.

We were game heads, stares fixed,
tongues thick and permanent
in my molded gape, your grimace.
We couldn’t taste anything.
The carpet beetles were eating us alive.


Date: 2013

By: Rebecca Morgan Frank (19??- )

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Theory of the Disappeared Man by Maya Phillips

who looks like my father or
his father or an ex or neighbor or
someone I’ve never met at all—

We’re facing an epidemic
and the drugs are still in clinical trials
(or would be if the doctors could find them)

but now we’ve all grown accustomed
to loss, saunter through empty rooms,
arms spread, saying, Just look

at all this space! Studies show
this is catching. The man susceptible
to a vacation or a trip to the store or

a sudden drive just around the corner
when the corner’s two counties a
country a lifetime away—

Why can’t we all just stay in our homes,
lock the doors, grow old with clasped
hands in safe quarters?

When he is antecedent to the leaving,
all evidence points in the direction
of men I think I know—he, whichever man

who lives in the in-between, the unseen
space where I can’t follow, I could
love him, have loved him before, all my life.


Date: 2020

By: Maya Phillips (19??- )

Monday, 11 October 2021

The Diver by Christine Hartzler

I saw Greg Louganis dive in St. Louis
in 1984. Oh, the way he folded and
unfolded in the air. We all gasped
when he split the surface and disappeared.
But he rose up in a shimmering swath
of bubbles, unbounded joy.

Seventeen years later, a man steps out
through the lattice of a skyscraper and
folds himself into a breathtaking pike.
An anonymous diver, abandoning his
day job. Maybe you’ve seen the
photograph? A single body falling, white
oxford full and fluttering, like a peony,
blowsy, on that singular day.


Date: 2003

By: Christine Hartzler (19??- )

Sunday, 10 October 2021

I’ve Got an Asinine Affinity (Infinity?), a Clumsy Love Song by Ronda Piszk Broatch

The bees of the heart weave stillness into a conversation.
String theory is smaller than the bees in the honey tin,
larger than the bats hanging from the DO NOT DISTURB

sign. If I wasn’t so tired, I’d rearrange my family’s lives
above the upright piano, would spring a new theory in a blue-
me world, where wandering beyond the yard sets my laughing

gear in motion. If only my iPhone had a zapper app
I’d deploy it at the movies, but for now I just use my keys.
Tell me about your everyday love, and I’ll tell you how

the worm bin is haunted, and the fact that I hid the rules
in back of the cider house, in a can of Lyle’s Golden Syrup. Sticky
sunrise, and UPS brings a broken administration all the way

from the America, the box intact. I miss my life, I really do.
The bees of my heart sing the Mad Girl’s Love Song
so often my quarantine has an earworm, and the rat

in my compost pile steals the worms. If I wasn’t so tired
I’d be detachable, capable of reliability, but that’s debatable.
In an old insane world, the able are constantly bewitched, which

is good, in my book. Close your eyes, pots and pans, running
water. Can’t you hear the phone ringing? The Mad Girl’s
in the Bee Box, and I’ve got a sloe-gin theory about that.


Date: 2020

By: Ronda Piszk Broatch (19??- )

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Sowing the Field by Sara Henning

To love is to tell the story of the world.
–Nomi Stone, “On World-Making”

If my body is a field you once lost yourself in,
Mother, if your body was a field I once lost myself

in—I could say sweet things about windflower,
musk thistle, some fractured kaleidoscope of purples

and blues. But these metaphors do not hold us long.
We are the truth beyond. You, catching like shrapnel

in my cellular heat before you skimmed your way
into a different ether. Before you made crucial

alchemy of this life and let go, I was proof of your
longing. Now, when my husband touches me,

he’s searching for some part of himself that will stay.
He wants some part of our love he can hold in his

hands. Someone once told me that to have a child
is to feel like your heart is walking outside your body.

I do not want a child to fall to her knees when I die.
This is how love becomes circular. This is how

love outlives us. Every time my husband reaches
for me in the dark, I think: I am alive. I think—

it starts this way, one cell breaching another.
Then a world unfurling, a world that will go on.


Date: 2019

By: Sara Henning (19??- )

Friday, 8 October 2021

This is How I Choose to Remember by Brittany Coppla

you: arm & hammer toothpaste slobbers
towards your chin and i don’t even have
the itch to thumbscoop it away.
framed by the bathroom doorway, you perform
a pop song while your phone thumps its tiny bass pulse.
this recital is more for the fandom
of your own reflection in the mirror than for me,
which only raises the stakes of hitting the high notes.
the toothbrush wedges down the corner of your mouth
to make room for the peppermint suds
you gargle through during the chorus.
the intervals between lyrics are a time to either
rework the instrumentals into nasally vocal solos,
or feverishly brush the enamel like a kid who thinks
a few furious scrubs will keep the cavities away.
you lasso your shirt over your head at the final
crescendo before the end. as the room yields to a staccato
quiet, your body folds into itself. standing in your boxers,
you bow. the proud and bent you during this silence:
this is who i choose to remember.


Date: 2019

By: Brittany Coppla (19??- )