Jared Carter, “Lakeshore”

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Lakeshore

You will go down that path again
     and every trace
Will be gone—the fires that had been
     so bright, erased,

The undimmed faces swept away.
     Some part of you
Will carry on, and yet the play
     of light, the blue,

Perpetual waves, the dunes, the wind
     will never change,
Nor the long stretch of sand, its end
     still out of range.

 


Jared Carter’s Darkened Rooms of Summer was the first book selected for the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series and was published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. Carter lives in Indiana.


 

M. J. Iuppa, “Rough-Hewn Stones, a Wall at the Top of the Field”

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Rough-Hewn Stones, a Wall at the Top of the Field

It does not move, but
divides two sides few see

indefinitely—like limits
measured in lengths of steps

To build this took considerable
thought, making stones join

like names or time passing
overhead—or, without

weather’s moss growing
green in its gaps—no saying

how long it will last

 


M. J. Iuppa is the director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor Program and a lecturer in creative writing at St. John Fisher College, and since 2000 to the present, is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at The College at Brockport. Since 1986, she has been a teaching artist, working with K-12 students in Rochester, NY, and the surrounding area.

She has three full-length poetry collections, most recently Small Worlds Floating (2016) and Within Reach (2010), both from Cherry Grove Collections, Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003), and five chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin, NY.


 

Jared Carter, “Promise”

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Promise

Water will be your solace now—
     not tears, not rain,
Not ocean wave, but rather how
     it can explain

The motion that makes each of us
     resemble dew—
That falls, and disappears, and trusts
     that on a new

And sun-filled morning, nothing will
     have changed: each trace,
Each droplet shining with a still,
     prismatic grace.

 


Jared Carter’s Darkened Rooms of Summer was the first book selected for the Ted Kooser Contemporary Poetry Series and was published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. Carter lives in Indiana.


 

Don Brandis, “A Rainy Day’s unFinish”

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A Rainy Day’s unFinish

when its early signals are ignored like winks and blushes,
it signs into distracted minds
as a flock of sparrows pecking at the roof
here and there at first then indiscriminate
drumming that rises, falls
filling up a primordial emptiness
with splashy gestures of an unfinished moment
declaring itself unfinished in crisp detail
hundreds of blur-streaks try to erase the scene
outside our windows, failing but continuing
as if to say, you’re not seeing this
O blinkered men of Haddam
for we are at least a plague of locusts
come to ground as seven-foot snakes churning
wearing dozens of leathery batwings twirling for show
in a carnival you’ve never heard of
with crackling lightning booming thunder
while we hack like claws of blackbirds
at your roof and windows
we are your chthonic cousins
behind, beneath, within your costumes
here to the unfinish: first seeing to last unseeing
the depth of a clear night sky

 


Don Brandis is a retired healthcare worker living a happily married hermit’s life in a small town not far enough from Seattle, reading and writing poems, tending fruit trees, and meditating. He writes because good poems are invitations to engage intrinsic values in a culture that only values tools. He has published some poems with Melancholy Hyperbole, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Red Fez, and elsewhere.


 

Micki Blenkush, “Painted Cave”

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Painted Cave

All week I’ve been crawling
the dirt floor of memory,
trying to read flinty shapes

like calligraphy
in flickered light.
Inside-out, I move

through where I lived
before I knew of maps.
All that I think I know

can be traced to pattern.
I was primitive then,
working pigment to skin.

No one sketches
the beasts
they already know.

 


Micki Blenkush lives in St. Cloud, MN, and works as a social worker. She is a 2015 recipient of an Emerging Artist Grant awarded by the Central MN Arts Board, funded by the McKnight Foundation. Her writing has recently appeared in: *82 Review, Naugatuck River Review, Gyroscope Review, and elsewhere.


 

Adam King, “Like Your Castle”

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Like Your Castle

Not accidentally, the dream
Lets down its drawbridge.
You may enter, though the castle is without
Queen or prince or anyone like that.
A mirror may hang there
To reflect discomfort, complaint,
Or that there is no one fortunate inside,
No one to tell you
You are good.

It is dark unless
The room you’re in is missing a wall.
If you are able to see yourself,
You may wish to speak
To the mirror. In your mind, the bridge
Has been let down or you face
The underside across a moat of cracked earth.
Do not mention the past or future.
Have no notion of what to say beforehand.

No stick
To set fire to inside, no match.
You are altogether without,
And anything can happen to you here
But nothing will.
Will nothing.
When you come to the crumbling
Mosaic at the end of the main hall,
A figure faintly resembling you
Is painted there, who says, you imagine,
“I will keep you warm.”

 


Adam King lives in Albuquerque, NM. He holds an MA in counseling. His poems have been published in Blue Mesa Review, St. Elizabeth Street, Seattle Review, and The Tongue. He is currently working on a screenplay based on the life of the poet H.D.


 

Maddie Woda, “The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio”

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The Use of Physics in Bucyrus, Ohio

Dogtooth violets in tin mugs, well water, lemon pie on the windowsill, I can feel the weight of five generations in my grandparent’s house, a little constellation of Midwestern values and homemade clothing, fertile mice and scabbed Bibles. My grandfather only comments on how thin I’ve gotten over the past couple months. He chatters with the cows about his day but keeps a cigar between his teeth until he mentions to me that making a living off the land is respectable, enviable, and academia is niceties in comparison.

No one starves if you stop working, he says, not even glancing at me as he taps ash in a ceramic dish shaped like an apple. What do you study again?

Physics, grandpa.

Physics. I don’t see any physicists saving the world.

My mother bustles in, torn lace apron, pushing my father onto the scene, he who has milked cows and coaxed corn out of the earth every day since he was old enough to walk to the barn by himself. He who feels soil in his veins and dew under his tongue, who treats calves with more tenderness than his children, who treats acorns with more tenderness than his wife.

Now dad, he says, ruffling his fingers like he’s shuffling playing cards, like he’s lighting a cigarette. Physics does lots of good things.

Oh yeah, my grandfather sneers, the solidity of an entire generation propping up his contempt. Like what?

Well. My father looks at me, eyes like honey even though his hair is grey at the temples. Tell us, son, what good are you doing?

 


Maddie Woda is an undergraduate at Columbia University in New York City, majoring in English and American Studies. She is a member of the Columbia Review and has forthcoming work in ANGLES.