Self Portrait as Bottle and Snow Globe
Someone built a boat in me, or outside
then unfurled within. Masts and rigging rose,
a grate, a background of painted sea.
Press your ear to me and hear the roll,
the shanty of the woman who paces
the shore, knows the sea and what it takes.
Meanwhile I look for sails to hoist, a chart,
an aperture to use for navigation.
I hold the moon low again tonight,
unvarying cork on my horizon.
He filled me with water and plastic snow,
took me and shook. Inside me is a bridge
divided from the shores. If it follows
from nothing, leads nowhere, at least no one
can leap or drown but me. He used to like
to set me over, tip me back. Snow swept
and raged across my towers and suspensions
until he grew bored, denied me even
tumult. I occupy myself with gasping.
Inside me, every forecast calls for storms.
Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She is the author of the chapbooks Dear Turquoise and Creature Feature, and the full-length collection Dead Man’s Float (forthcoming from ELJ). She serves as Managing Editor for Cider Press Review.
We saw her in a wooden box as Doris Longwing.
No animals were killed to be naturalized,
Says the taxidermist, with the exception of a few.
Doris—my mother’s mother—who turned into
A butterfly: white eyes and saffron streaks, reminding
Us that we look nothing like her. Naturalized.
No, unnaturalized. We try to memorize her patterns,
The natural order we sought to learn before this death:
A quaint crucifixion preserved beneath glass.
Kelsey Hatch was raised in Massachusetts and graduated with a major in English Literature from St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY). In addition to writing, Hatch enjoys foraging for mushrooms, cooking, and spending time outdoors. She is currently creating art with spore prints made from harvested mushrooms. Her latest work appeared in the May 2015 issue of Alimentum: The Literature of Food.
Beside me in a nursing home
you unfold a yellow page
and read the little poem
I wrote for you before old age
had robbed us of familiar ground.
Let our day be put away,
lost, then one day found
between the pages of a favorite book,
thick and leather-bound.
You read each line and wait
in hopes that I might recognize
this ancient valentine.
The nurse stops by. She says it’s late.
You see a flicker in my eyes.
Could it be a sign
that proves at least I’ve heard?
It’s as if I said in spoken words
as my vital signs were noted,
“That’s beautiful, my dear. Who wrote it?”
Kevin Shyne is a lifelong writer and sometime poet. He is the author of a children’s book, The Man Who Dropped from the Sky. His poetry has appeared in The Lyric.
Condominium of the Trees
We bought a condominium on Oak Lane
on Maple Avenue, on Willow Drive. The elms
were all dead, but it might have been
Linden Boulevard or Chestnut Hill. Who knows?
I have it carved, here, somewhere on my wrist.
The blood is almost dry and besides,
my eyes are better now, after drops and drugs.
We pay the association fee.
We drink some wine, wave at faces in the window glass.
Some nights we play tennis while neighbors
roast a pig or do their origami in the sand.
We’re playful, use their middle names.
They call us Roosevelt and Jane, but we don’t mind.
In summer, we use the pool and water
rises above our necks. Sometimes we pick lettuce
in the moonlight, or find mushrooms growing
by birches tangled on the lawn. We fish in the koi pond,
slip between shadows in the road.
It’s a good life in the Condominium of the Trees.
On a hot day, we saw a squirrel stretched out on the railing
of our deck, a rubbery gray shape drained of anxiety.
No blood was spilt and we soon returned to our game of Bridge.
We won at Scrabble, lost at Trivial Pursuit. We found our sandals
beneath a flaming bush. Night came on and we headed
home, or were we there already, rubbing our noses in the fragrant grass?
Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His latest collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press), and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).
Kasey Elizabeth Johnson received a BA in English from Reed College and an MA in English Literature from the University of New Mexico. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Prick of the Spindle, Saranac Review, and others. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
Grant Quackenbush is from San Diego.