Category Archives: National Poetry Month 2018

“Nook” by Hannah Rousselot

The closet is small enough
that when I go in with my book
my body is compressed on all sides.

I lean the pillow I brought
against the thin wood.
The flashlight makes the shadows
stronger, but now I can read about

a girl who escapes and saves the world.

I have nothing to escape from
except the toxic cloud
that my parents created downstairs.

I have nothing to save except
my own bloody fingernails, from myself.

Hannah Rousselot is a queer DC based poet. She has been writing poetry since she could hold a pencil and has always used poems as a way to get in touch with her emotions. She writes poetry about the wounds that are still open, but healing, since her childhood and the death of her first love. Her work has appeared in Voices and Visions magazine, PanoplyZine, and Parentheses Magazine. In addition to writing poetry, Hannah Rousselot is also an elementary school teacher. She teaches a poetry unit every January, and nothing brings her more joy than seeing the amazing poems that children can create.

“Mermaid Suicide” by Danielle Wong

My skin ripens—
a nutty hazel canopy of flesh.
Cocoa dust and tawny
muscle roasting, hot
fire beneath the relentless

Sun. My private vessel,
suffused with color and
plagued by a vain
saturation, but draped
in Vogue and saintly couture.

The corrosion has
already begun—
hot blood coursing
through precious skin and
brackish waves claiming me
as their own.

To drown like this,
I think, would be quite
convenient.
To wither away,
via sun and
decay. Ugly moths and

fireflies are the only
inhabitants of the corroded
corpse where I once dwelled.

Has there ever been
such a simple decline—
an ending more languid than this?

Danielle Wong is an emerging author living in San Francisco. Her debut novel, Swearing Off Stars, was published in October. Her work has also appeared on several websites, including Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post, and USA Today. Beyond writing and reading, Danielle loves traveling, running, and watching old movies.

“Pachyderm” by Toti O’Brien

What makes baby irresistible
is candid decrepitude
held so gracefully.

Wrinkled and sagged
a zillion-year-old skin
stacked on its tiny skeleton

yet clear of all attitude
only wisdom
that of pretending none.

Little beast, born a centenarian
but without a lament
totters by with unsteady majesty.

Such conspicuous fragility
grizzled innocence
in its meek stare.

Eyes black corals
buried by timeless oceans
submerged by rippling sand.

Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician and professional dancer. Her work has most recently appeared in DIN Magazine, Panoplyzine, Courtship of Wind, and Colorado Boulevard.

 

 

“White Crow” by Yuan Changming

Perching long in each human heart
Is a white crow that no one has
Ever seen, but everyone longs
To be

Always ready
To fly out, hoping to bring back
A glistening seed or a colorful feather
As if determined to festoon its nest

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving China. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan currently edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Yuan and hosts Happy Yangsheng in Vancouver; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, seven chapbooks, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17), Best New PoemsOn Line, Threepenny Review and 1,389 others across 41 countries.

 

“Safe” by Karlo Sevilla

“Along the sidewalk,
always safest along the sidewalk,”
father used to say.
(A truck may swerve,
roll over the sidewalk
and pin you against
a lamppost…)
Still, always safest
along the sidewalk.

I wear my brand new pair
of Air Jordan while I walk
on the sidewalk.
(They’re affordable
and look and feel great
as the real deal.)

I’m safe as I stroll
with my shoes
on the sidewalk.

Karlo Sevilla is the author of “You” (Origami Poems Project, 2017). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Radius, Matter, Yellow Chair Review, Eunoia, Poetry24, The Ramingo’s Porch, Ariel Chart, In Between Hangovers, in the anthologies of Peacock Journal, Eternal Remedy, Riverfeet Press, and Azoth Khem Publishing, and elsewhere.

 

“Night” by Jerry Wemple

Night falls suddenly when the sun declines
behind these granite hills. The boy sits on
the river side of the flood wall, his back
to the town. He smokes a cigarette, counts
the cars and tractor trucks on the state road
across the water. Wonders where they’re bound.
The boy would like a car, some way, any way
to leave the town, to drive past the farms
until the hills grow and the woods thicken
and sit beside the tiny stream that is the start
of this half-mile wide river. The boy rises,
heads into town. He walks past the little park,
a few blocks up Market, enters a tiny hot
dog restaurant, nods to Old Sam, who started
the place after the war. Sam knows, fixes
one with everything, uncaps a blue birch
from the old dinged metal floor cooler,
while the boy fingers the lone coin in
his pocket. Outside the wind rises and shifts.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

“Overheard” by Carolyn Martin

As evening sneaks around
the house,
the ironing board and
kitchen sink gossip about
your first kiss.
Inexplicable –
how they understand
the weight of soft,
the intimacy
of wind-brushed clouds; how,
in this chartreuse spring,
you’ll leave behind
your baseball glove for moony moods
and un-chewed fingernails; how
you’ll charge
summer’s quickenings
with shattered
beliefs of black and white.
Tonight, as the board folds itself
and the last dish is washed,
the owl clock hushes
their surmise.
If you had overheard, you
would have entertained
their slivered truths,
perhaps cheered their prophecy.

From English teacher to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and perfect summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK including “Stirring,” “CALYX,” “Persimmon Tree,” “How Higher Education Feels,” and “Antiphon.” Her third collection, Thin Places, was released by Kelsay Books in Summer 2017. Since the only poem she wrote in high school was red-penciled “extremely maudlin,” Carolyn is ​still ​amazed she has continued to write.