Craig Brandis, “Storm Over Houston”

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Storm Over Houston

A shadow props up the gutted barn
where we spent the night.
To be keen all the time—not to swerve.
Ten minutes out of every hour
is enough most days.

A man with boulders in his soul,
a dock trying to hold onto
it’s string of boat horses,
a bone-drenched woman
with praise for a God
who is stealthy as a barn cat.

Out on the highway
no sound now,
as if someone
had picked them all up
from a skiff with a pruning hook
and put them in a sack.

 


Craig Brandis lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and studies poetry at the Attic in Portland with David Beispeil and Ed Skoog. In addition to publishing in online and print journals, he is a student of book arts and publishes limited edition chapbooks of his poems using letterpress and handmade paper. His work has been published in New Verse News, Three Line Poetry, the Ekphrastic Review, Dovetails Literary Journal, and elsewhere. He can be reached at craigbrandis [at] gmail [dot] com.


 

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James Scannell McCormick, “Eye Floaters”

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Eye Floaters

(Muscae Volitantes)

It’s as though their name is
to remind you: not crawling, not
climbing, not picking a quick,
stuttered gait—though still
weightless, so nearly weightless
that no word can mean down,
no word up. But rather flying.
In flight: thick swerve or
arc across zenith, snow-plain,
day-lit pane, page. Swarmed,
settling but never settled. Once
seen, no unseeing: no looking
at, but no looking away. They
hover and cloud but scatter faster
the faster you look—and more
maddeningly. You try to name
them: seahorse, lobster. Honeycomb,
web. Ghosts. Memories, and as
cureless. And what flaw without
harm, fault without hurt? You
must bear those, too: They’ll
always be, and in you. Of you.

 


James Scannell McCormick holds a doctorate in creative writing—poetry. He writes and teaches in Rochester, Minnesota.


 

Janet Barry, “Sweet Milk Dreams”

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Sweet Milk Dreams

I have had enough of my own misery

The world has been going on
without me; some people

have died horrible deaths, or noble
ones, and some have gotten married,

had babies, or just spent every day
going to work and coming home

and feeding the dog. Maybe
they come home to love or maybe

the hungry dog is enough, slurping
his bowl of kibbles. Maybe the dead

are in heaven now, wondering why
they ever strapped on that suicide vest

or took that icy route, or what
that fight was all about that ended

in gunshot. The baby cries
for her mother’s womb. Sleeps

in white linen swaddles.
The dog lies all night

in the doorway. In his sleep
he snorts and snuffles,

legs paddling.

In the darkness, maybe,
sweet milk dreams.

 


Janet Barry is a musician and poet with works published in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently Little Lantern Press, The Mom Egg, Snapdragon, and Third Wednesday. She was recently Featured Poet in Aurorean, and has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, as well as having her poem “Aubade” chosen for inclusion in BiLINE (Best Indie Lit New England). Janet holds degrees in organ performance and poetry.