M.J. Iuppa, “How Do You Imagine Yourself?”

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How Do You Imagine Yourself?

Take a deep breath, feel air slowly inflating
your body that has been collapsed for so long.

Take another gulp, only this time lean forward.
Let your hips rock your spine, unlocking each

kink until your body stands on one foot, then
another, facing forward, so you can breathe

freely, with arms loose at your sides, and head
tilted upward, looking up through branches

of an old maple that stands in the front yard
where crows have hidden secret stashes in

its leafy crown, and you declare, Why I never
knew that was there, as if it were a surprise,

like the way the wind catches your body off-
guard, making you wheel wildly back around,

arms flapping madly at whoever is passing by.
Yes, they see you, and laugh—they laugh at

the way you move, you silly old man.

 


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 has been 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. Most recently, she was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017. She has four full-length poetry collections: This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017); Small Worlds Floating (2016) and Within Reach (2010), both from Cherry Grove Collections; and Night Traveler (Foothills Publishing, 2003); and she has published five chapbooks. She lives on a small farm in Hamlin, NY.


 

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Aden Thomas, “The Slow Dance of Scarecrows”

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The Slow Dance of Scarecrows

The empty trees were warm with night.
And the mice sleeping in their beds
warm, warm in their quilts of snow.

I knew it without opening my eyes,
two lovers below the branches
warm in each other’s embrace.

When the wind moved the branches
scarecrows danced inside my chest,
worn and warm from years of waiting.

They cast their long shadows
across the cornfield of my body
and danced until the morning.

 


Aden Thomas grew up on the high plains of central Wyoming. His work has appeared in The Inflectionist Review, Turtle Island, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. His first collection of poems, What Those Light Years Carry, was published in 2017. Read more at www.adenthomas.com.


 

Eilise Norris, “Thin”

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Thin

After Christmas, you are thin as the wind.
The trees have more colour.
My mother warns me you are birdlike today;
I take back my wish to fly. My car drifts right like a shopping cart.
Your chair rolls, empty,
a few inches down the corridor.
I didn’t know until the third time here
that they move you from room to room
to clean: rolled out of bed as if you have overslept.
Loss is eerily tired, white-walled.
Your voice husky at midday,
gone by 3 p.m. I see you slipping,
folding small. Round
cheeks concave,
the hollow between waves.
Words and water
tussle in your throat.
Slow, slow, says the straw
at your lips,
you can have one
but not
both.

 


Eilise Norris works on academic journals and writes in a room above a pub in a small village. Her first published poem was recently included in The Cabinet of Heed.


 

Aden Thomas, “My Missing Life”

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My Missing Life

During the day, I faced the winds
and told everyone twenty years
had not mattered, my marriage had not
mattered, it was a chapter in a book
I was writing in the third person.
The plot would follow the life I chose
as long as I left the words in light.

All night, unable to sleep
I feared for my missing life.
I imagined it lost among the stars
and stolen by another universe
where I could never travel
to see how the story unfolded,

that I had loved my wife for more…
that I had been the father
my sons would want to be.

The fear was like a herd of buffalo
spooked by a fire in the dark,
stampeding across the sagebrush,
a thousand terrible energies.
The cliff unseen,
always somewhere ahead,
eventually the empty skulls.

 


Aden Thomas grew up on the high plains of central Wyoming. His work has appeared in The Inflectionist Review, Turtle Island, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. His first collection of poems, What Those Light Years Carry, was published in 2017. Read more at www.adenthomas.com.