Monthly Archives: August 2018

“Grading” by Maryfrances Wagner

We’ve watched
the moon sag
into tomorrow,
ready to set down
our pens.
They argued
their case,
we ours—
more detail,
another example,
better verbs.
We’ve stroked
our chins, pulled
our earlobes,
shifted our feet.
Ink glides its
well-oiled
ball bearings,
eager to praise
a phrase,
to find
a moment
of thought.

Maryfrances Wagner’s newest book is The Silence of Red Glass.  She is co-editor of the I-70 Review.

“no consensus reached” by Sanjida Yasmin

four Fridays later, six
bloodshot eyes confront
eight boxes of hand-me-downs
& that one house sparrow with
the black goatee & white patch—
startled by the shattered glass

yesterday was about moving
ten years from floor two
to floor four—
a good work-out

today, the dusky dawn is
filled with a goose egg;
the fat house sparrow
chirps a question

followed by another starless night
& when the goose egg finally sets,
the sparrow & the owners lose
pulse of the feathery momentums.

Sanjida Yasmin is a poet, writer and an artist who lives in the Bronx, New York. She splits her time between the Long Island Business Institute, where she teaches English, and St. Dominic’s Home, where she provides therapy and finds inspiration for her work. Her poems have appeared in print and online journals, among them are Pink Panther Magazine, Peacock Journal, The Promethean, Nebo, Panoplyzine, Poetry in Performance and Anomaly. She earned her MFA degree from the City University of New York.

“On the Eve of Roberto Clemente’s Third Miracle” by Michael Brockley

He knows he could still drive Warren Spahn’s curveball into the right centerfield power alley. But he has moved beyond batting crowns and Hall of Fame inductions. Beyond the pleas of hospitalized boys who have read too many comic-book biographies. His intercessions restored a cloud forest in Costa Rica. Brought water to those who thirsted in Haiti. Still the earth is heavy with its old grief. Clemente knows there are brown men and women adrift in a sea where slave ships once disappeared. Knows the desperation of lives lived on the cusp of earthquakes. His miracles are burdened by the evil that creeps through chastened villages in limousines. His supplicants no longer pray in the language of the blessed. Their fears pulverized beneath churches crushed into shell-game stones and homes replaced by ghosts. The Great One has always known the ground rules. Purposeful in the face of another sacrifice, Clemente rubs pine tar into the handle of his Adirondack bat. He knows the plane is overloaded with mercy, and climbs aboard again. 
Michael Brockley is a 68-year old semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, Tattoo Highway and Tipton Poetry Journal. Poems are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Clementine Unbound, Riddled with Arrows and Flying Island.

“Dwell” by Gabrielle Brant Freeman

Shoulders shake beneath my pressing palms, you angel
of tangled blades and skin, you angel of need, of voice
that leaps from skies slippery in stars like thunder.
Outside, Spanish moss fringes in wind on its way to water,
clutches at crooked trunks, at crooked branches stripped
of leaves. Beneath me, you are made flesh, fallen in psalm.

Hands slide down my smooth sides, fingers press praise
into skin. Outside, the river rolls on as though you, seraph,
are not burning here, as though your touch does not strip
me bare, as though I am not scorched by your voice
as you lift it and speak my name out over the water,
as you cry out over the current, as you call the thunder.

Crash and Roar and Boom and Clap! Thunder
rumbles up through us like the rising scree of cicada song
after they unearth wet wings, cling hard to bark, bathe
themselves in warmth. Belly to belly, we tremble. You angel
of arms and heart, you light-bringer. You voice
the words that dismantle me, sacred words that peel, that strip.

Love. Stripped
down thunderbolt
vocalization.
Outside, green tree frogs squonk their night song,
join the southern chorus frogs’ trill. Divine messengers
heralding rain.

There is the water of the river and the water of the rain,
and, in the deep of night, there is only the brief strip
before one becomes the other like heaven
pushes into sky, the liminal space of sturm
und drang. Urge and drive, we dissolve in symphony.
You angel of pulse and breath, we are voiced

together. Outside, the world turns soft into dawn, its voices
change to birds and nattering squirrels. The river
rambles, burbles around snags at its banks, sings its song
eternal. We listen. Light filters through trees in strips
that stripe our skin. The cat purrs like distant thunder,
stretches in a spot of sun. This morning is splendor, you angel.

May our voices flood this house forever. Storm and surge and strip
and skin forever. Tide and lightning, blessed thunder
bellow. May you kiss me into hymn forever. Make me an angel.

Gabrielle Brant Freeman’s poetry has been published in many journals, including Barrelhouse, One, Scoundrel Time, and storySouth. She was nominated for a Pushcart in 2017, and she won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Competition. Press 53 published her book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Read more: http://gabriellebrantfreeman.squarespace.com/.

“Enough” by Mary Dudley

It wasn’t the cantaloupe at breakfast
or the blue bridge spanning the highway
on our way to this retreat.

It was the black-paper hawk warning the small
birds in the russian olives just outside the window
to stop before they hit the glass,
no matter if the oranges on the table called them
or persimmons.

Life has its boundaries,
the hawk said.  It is not
always air and light
and free flight over the arroyos
into canyons.
You enjoy such freedom you do not even know
how free you are, how free you’ve been.
Stop at this glass.  Here.
You have space enough
You have no need to come inside.

With an M.A. in American poetry, Mary Dudley then earned a Ph.D. in early child development. She writes about and works with young children, their families, and teachers.  She’s published three chapbooks of poetry and her poems have appeared in a number of collections, including Zingara Poetry Review.