Poetry Archive

Midnight Hives

The harvest moon is six hours late
and I can’t catch up. Houses, fences,
cars dive into the dark like wrecked ships.
I gain my bearings— shadows move
through the field, corrupt ghosts
whose dirty hands drag the grass—
and listen for the hum of the bees.

Weeks I refused to be led here,
bound-less apprehension fueled excuses:
I fear the dark, the lumbering bears, the
abrupt silence of crickets like a pinprick,
blood rising to the surface of midnight.

I am told to close my eyes and walk, he strides
ahead, a drunk man bitten sober,
no stumbling over tree roots or rotting branches.
I map the distance to the outline of boxes,
greedy for the whirring I’d predicted and recognize
as soon as I am close enough: it is a life,
or death, an alien motor, a moon engine.

He demands I come closer, just smell them,
they won’t sting you, they know I’m here.
He is leaning down, his ear to a box, talking
to me, to the queen, his prayer thickening
their universe, but I can’t hear him—
they are droning in my head
like an incantation heard centuries ago—

I am shedding the moonlight, drinking the shadows,
rooting, growing, branching yellow flower heads,
smelling of earthy orgies,
feral and alive like the hot breath of birth:
the goldenrod, the bees.


Lisa Caloro teaches writing and poetry at a small community college in the Catskill Mountains. She also bar-tends on weeknights, which is more like teaching than one might imagine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jelly Bucket, The Chaffey Review, and Evening Street Review among other journals.

Bathing in the Creek

The female llamas make sucking
noises as they drink.

They bat their tails sideways.
As they bed down, the creek’s waves

roll over their coats in laps.
They moisten their necks on the rocks

and rub their wool clean.
The males press their chests

into fence wire.
An oak tree shades them,

its taut leaves balanced in the wind.
A single tug and the acorns drop.


Daniel Lassell grew up on a llama and alpaca farm in Kentucky. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Post Road Magazine, Hotel Amerika, Frontier Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, and Yemassee. Read more of his work and see other accolades at www.daniel-lassell.com.

Self-Portrait as Soft Rot

This is how the waking goes: sickly
sweet trill of birdsong against glass
the near-transparent world returned
to life sharpening figures my mouth
rounds into that first silent syllable
that proves the dream hasn’t ended
in the expected kind of light I think
there’s too much blood in my body
while under another’s sky too much
blood finds its way out of a body I
know each contains a river colored
copper by paper mills by its bank
steadily eroding a lone deer skeletal
in its wintering coat although it’s far
from winter though the first wound
cuts deep after that everything is all
soft rot & squirm acceptance maybe
our smaller violences begin as mis-
translated prayers if there is a boy
about my age waking right now to a
halfway gone home bombed down
to three walls some sky for a roof &
maybe if he hasn’t shattered yet yes
until he shatters the waking sounds
something like sparrows muffled by
glass the earth barely there yet there


John Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Disinheritance and Controlled Hallucinations. A seven-time Pushcart nominee, John is the winner of numerous awards, including the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, Confrontation Poetry Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry. He serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Yale Review, Midwest Quarterly, Sycamore Review, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Atlanta Review, TriQuarterly, Columbia Poetry Review, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Physics of Fire

We drove along the edge of the burn line, right down to the Columbia River, 70 mph with the windows rolled up. One month and 50 percent-contained, the air tasted like char and the sea. Saw where fire fell upwards and cascaded into wind, jumped the tracks, crossed the river. So much green. Cottonwoods used the updraft to their advantage and survived: Blown back by heat, how far they had to bend, tannin and silver flags of resistance. We knew this road and twists, but not the rock suddenly bare, blocked from falling by cargo-containers and metal nets. Imagine our foreheads un-creased, knowing each other without the torque of time’s speed and the signs of slide every yellow mile-marker. And below, where oil tankers peel through and cigarettes ditch themselves, how small ferns become relieved to be sprung, because of the firestorm.


Kristin Berger is the author of the poetry collection How Light Reaches Us (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a poetry chapbook, For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her long prose-poem, Changing Woman & Changing Man: A High Desert Myth, was a finalist for the 2016 Newfound Prose Prize. Her most recent work has been published in Contrary Magazine, The Inflectionist Review, Timberline Review and forthcoming from Four Chambers Press, Light Journal and Plum Tree Tavern. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she hosts a summer poetry reading series at her neighborhood farmers market. More at www.kristinberger.me.

Echolocation

Let’s work this out in the dark.
I find you, you find me.
A snapshot under a streetlight’s warm brim,
small furred mouths taking
moth bodies whole.
Intimacy is blood in the pitched chambers,
trace and return, the long-foretold
figure-eight of oxygenated rush.
It requires blind faith.
Work and pump and beat—
See where the heart strikes the scaffolding of ribs,
its shape as clear as a rubied bell,
clapper suspended like a bird
waiting for its note to fly back?


Kristin Berger is the author of the poetry collection How Light Reaches Us (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a poetry chapbook, For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008). Her long prose-poem, Changing Woman & Changing Man: A High Desert Myth, was a finalist for the 2016 Newfound Prose Prize. Her most recent work has been published in Contrary Magazine, The Inflectionist Review, Timberline Review and forthcoming from Four Chambers Press, Light Journal and Plum Tree Tavern. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she hosts a summer poetry reading series at her neighborhood farmers market. More at www.kristinberger.me.

Blockhead

When the TV arrived the Directors
portended no blinking. Still, I am trying
to shut my eyes— unhook

the little sinewed hooks— The nose
pressed to the cornea’s dream, all Technicolor,
is ingrown. The head sticks— The wires

are fixed, are done / me in-
to the screen; so fat with copper
my pupils now, the circuit
is not closed, is breached.

And it’s true that the tongue, the speak
is planted— These roots / are foreign, are
not my lay— And one must have some sense

of one’s making— The killing hand,
chevalier—by ether carriage drawn—
It sees what I am, but still, (oh dolor am I)

won’t change me. I know
that this time I’ll hack
right open—a mouth but not
where the mouth should be—


Sophie Weiner is a poet from Baltimore, Maryland. She is the poetry editor for New Limestone Review at the University of Kentucky. Her poems have appeared in Runestone and White Stag.

Fractions and Finer Things

Absence is the finest thing—
subtracting — one from one —
makes a sum without a witness.

If it isn’t in the equation it was never
in the room. Implied when it is built in.
The empty chair denoting gone, the table
goning still — But what of me?
Do I not suggest

a something-ever-not-present — some
intention in the form? I cultivate
aloft, could not fit my figure
to the world. I circumvent

quotidian. Here is how to possess
a negative: I felt a cleaving in my mind
and let the halves just sit there.


Sophie Weiner is a poet from Baltimore, Maryland. She is the poetry editor for New Limestone Review at the University of Kentucky. Her poems have appeared in Runestone and White Stag.

Hiding

A hideaway can sometimes be a person. When I was in high school I needed a place to hide from my bony knees, my blistered face, so I crept into a girl who laughed loud and stole charm bracelets from Claire’s and drove her Taurus fast with the windows down, Def Leppard on. Pour some sugar on me. She skipped school to eat chicken biscuits from Mrs. Winner’s and brought me, too. She made us buy concert t-shirts from Goodwill, the backs printed with city names climbing like ladders. I stayed inside her, completely covered up, not even my own toes sticking out or the top of my head, my dark part growing. No one knew what had become of me, not even my own mother. They looked and looked. I stayed that way until my hideaway had to go to Mississippi for the summer. I still wonder if she got to hold her baby before the nurses took it.

Meat to Kill

Starving, we eat. By the end, morsels of dried rice cling to our shirts.
One bowl holds our sour soup to feed four people. The ash, from the
chopped tree bark, consumes us. The liquid gasoline is funneled into
plastic bottles, then placed into the furnace and lit. I went to bed hungry.

Listen to the daily pork chopping as the cleaver hacks into
the silence of father laboring in the fields. It is presented on the table.
My father’s rib bones curl as he tells me, “Eat until you’re full.”
But there is hardly any meat to kill and to share, so I say I am full.

At the roadside food stands, steaming bowls filled with rice noodles
are mixed with lime, bean sprouts, sugar, salt, pepper, oil, and pork.
I sit at the table and a girl says to her aunt, “Look, there’s a pig!”
Thinking it was me, gobbling down the bowl, I sat in silence. But then,

a black pig walked toward us alongside the road. Our everyday meal.
My co-teacher used to bring us mangoes, papayas and pomegranate from
her backyard. We spat the seeds outside the class window, and we would
meet under the mango tree. Sopheak says all she wants is a simple life.


Jewel Pereyra received her B.A. in American Literature and Culture and Women’s Studies from UCLA in 2013. Her most recent article “(Deaf)iant Architects: ASL Poetics and Concrete / Corporeal Spatiality in the Deaf Diaspora” was published in Georgetown’s gnovis: a journal of communication, culture, and technology, and her poems have been featured in Vagabond: A Multilingual Literary Journal, The Pomona Valley Review, and The Anthem. A 2017 Homeschool Hudson Poetry Fellow, her writing has been supported by Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc. (PAWA). She is completing her M.A. in English at Georgetown University where she serves as the Lannan Associate for the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice.

April

How difficult it is to say what’s here,
in April’s drownings.

Try.       The bayou, drenched in blinded eyes,
twice opened, once fighting with steam

of murk rising beneath scum and mosquito eggs,
decay warring with the soil-soaked water regimented

with weekly fertilization, grown with cannibalization
so it’s twenty aspects of the same hue, green gator,

alligator crawl moss, the moss even blooms, brown;
something multifaceted though, like the rotting tree

you dropped your foot into last October. Blood
soaked through your khaki pants, flies fought

to be near you, gnats arranged an orgy, manifested
in iron and dirt. They’d never seen red before.


Caitlin Creson is a first year MFA candidate at Georgia State University and received her B.A. in English from Augusta University. She has been published by or is forthcoming in Sand Hills Literary Magazine and Waccamaw, and she has presented poetry and theory all over the United States. Her work focuses on the depiction of processes; she likes to explore the image or story of something or someone becoming, turning, evaporating, and what all that entails. You can find her on Instagram @readingcaitlin. You cannot find her on Twitter because she is not a bird so she doesn’t tweet.

Page 1 of 8