Monthly Archives: July 2019

Neighborhoods I’ve Yearned For by Michelle Grue

Prince Albert town homes
Trees so beautiful I can live with their
pollen that makes me sneeze
Museums of purloined art and the
heights (and depths) of science
Posh crêperie on the street corner

Creaking porch swings
Acres of grass perfect for the active
imaginings of my little black kids
Creek down the way filled with
pollywogs and crawfish
Trees with moss hanging down
obscuring the strange fruit they once hung

Tip-top walking score
Mom and pop flower shop
Ethnic food not yet gentrified,
A brewery that is
Black that don’t crack still
sitting on the stoop and
spilling tea like they been
doing since their double-dutch days
Miss Mary Mack still dressed in black

Michelle Grue is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She studies higher education pedagogy and writing studies through the lenses of intersectionality and critical digital literacies. She has previously published in the fantasy journal Astral Waters Review, The Expressionists Magazine of the Arts, and DASH Literary Journal. Feeding her creative energies and making space during motherhood and graduate school life has been a challenging pleasure.

 

“Elegy with Ice Cream” by Kathy Nelson

            ―Travis Leon Hawk

A man fits a contraption
onto a wooden pail, fills it with ice.
The child turns the handle as easily

as her Jack-in-the-box but soon
grows bored and runs to play
in the dappled shade of July.

This the man who, as a boy, teased
white fluff from the knife-edges
of cotton bolls under summer sun

till his fingers bled. Once, he spied
a rattler coiled between his feet.
He wants her to understand how

hardship built this good life, how
readily dust could blow again, how
quickly flak jackets could come back.

He calls her to him, teaches―add salt
to the ice, keep the drain clear, turn
the crank without haste, without desire.

Her small shoulder stiffens. He grips,
labors with his own broad forearm,
churns the peach-strewn cream.

Kathy Nelson (Fairview, North Carolina) is the author of two chapbooks―Cattails (Main Street Rag, 2013) and Whose Names Have Slipped Away (Finishing Line Press, 2016). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Asheville Poetry Review, The Cortland Review, Tar River Poetry, Broad River Review, and Southern Poetry Review.

Homage to the Horny Toad by Chuck Taylor

Friend Montrose says Why don’t you play the lead
in my next horror film? I’m filming in
Junction where the motel rents are low. The
Monster’s going to be the horny toad.

I’ll film him close and blow the image up
So on screen the horny toad looks large and
Scary what with all that horny skin.

That ought to work I say. We had them in
The backyard down in Deadwood. They can squish
Down flat or blow up big to scare away
The wolves, the foxes, and the coyotes.

You think you know these toads? Why they can squirt
Bright red blood out of their eyes. That’s why I
Am shooting the film in Technicolor.

They’re tiny guys, but not scared of people.
They’ll sit quiet on the palm of your hand.

Carolyn’s said she’ll play the heroine. She’ll
Be chased by what seems to be a giant
Evil monster. Its sticky tongue will flick
Out as if it’s going to swallow her
Whole. A developer’s out to buy her
Land and has trained the beast to chase her.
Good thing you’re using the horn toad. No one

Will recognize little guy made big on
The screen. When I was a kid growing up
I’d see them everywhere, but haven’t seen
The horny toad in more than twenty years.

Chuck Taylor’s first book of poems was published by Daisy Aldan’s Folder Press in 1975. He worked as a poet-in-the-schools and as Ceta Poet in Residence for Salt Lake City.