Tag Archives: Conclave

“Stray Cat” by Jenny McBride

Victoria park
where I was running
the ducks at water’s edge suddenly running too
and in the empty space of their wake
a tattered cat.
I called him on his hunting
and he meowed, ran after me
hungry, lonely, being eaten alive by the city
but I ran to lose him
not because I don’t love cats
or didn’t want to rescue his painful life
but because I was far from home in a conference hotel.
Was it the same
with the men I approached
when I was young and lonely?
I always took it personally
but maybe they were just figures rendered useless
in the scheme of things
on the day my heart was warming
and years later
they paused to scratch out an excuse.

Jenny McBride’s writing has appeared in Common Ground Review, Rappahannock Review, The California Quarterly, Conclave, Tidal Echoes, Streetwise, and other publications. She makes her home in the rainforest of southeast Alaska.

“Internal Exile” by Diane G. Martin,

          “…we have no hope and yet
          we live in longing.”

                     Inferno, Dante

I’ve been pressed between the pages
of a heavy book, a keepsake
to be rediscovered one fine
day, yellow, brittle, print-stained—
a sentimental talisman.

I’m so close to every line;
indeed, they are on me engraved.
Exquisite shapes keep me awake,
though once lofty, once plain thoughts have
blurred, have rubbed their meanings away.

The lack of air is thick with them—
clouds of locusts on a rampage—
these words elbowing each other
These worlds of words, all alien.
I distrust them–black, banal worn.

Yet it’s not for nothing I’m named
Diana.  For now, I bide my
hours quietly, lie warily
between famed leaves and string my bow.
Somehow, I’ll fly to the dark wood.

Diane G. Martin, Russian literature specialist, Willamette University graduate, has published work in numerous literary journals including New London Writers, Vine Leaves Literary Review, Poetry Circle, Open: JAL, Pentimento, Twisted Vine Leaves, The Examined Life, Wordgathering, Dodging the Rain, Antiphon, Dark Ink, Gyroscope, Poor Yorick, Rhino, Conclave, Slipstream, and Stonecoast Review.