Charcoal, Graphite, Ink; 6 1/8” x 4 ¾”
It’s a song you knew once, begin to remember now: You’ve had this dream before. Diminished, worn thin, day leaking through the cracks, it’s still offering you something, something you want badly to get this time. Squinting against the changing light, you glimpse a graceful unbroken arc, these canted columns might have attained once, but when you thumb through your sketchbook, it’s filled with vaguely algebraic equations in a fine slanting hand not your own – No, they’re somewhere else, on the wall of some men’s room, over the roaring useless hand dryer. Even the charred curling margins are dense with it, slashed blue signs as unknowable as Elvish turning sideways but never slowing, no room, no time to get it all down. You wish whatever’s brought you here again would come to you like that now, but already you’ve forgotten what you saw, your pen’s emptied, makes only scratches. A gull cries your name; startled, you glance up – No, it’s a blue jay taking flight now from the sill.
You lie blinking at a gray winter morning, still feeling the warmth of a kinder sun burning through thin curling mist. Later, you’ll be shaken by a sudden nameless grief, a sense of needful opportunity lost. For now though, a stair tread creaks, comfort enough – The ghost, you know, of a cat you still miss: He’s heard you stirring, flown effortlessly up the steps, scratching insistently at the door. When you pick him up, his fur is cold, smells faintly of clean sheets aired sweet on the line. At the window, he’s content to let you hold him for awhile; watch the birds bickering at the feeder. Out at the Junction, a jake brake bellows, a coal bucket slows for the turn.
The Boat and the Tractor
There is a field
Near my house
With a boat in.
Just a little boat,
Wooden and blue,
That sits under
The big, old tree
In the middle
Of the field.
A rusting tractor
Sits there too,
Under the tree.
I don’t know why
They sit there;
Perhaps they were
And the tractor waits
For the crops to grow,
And the boat waits
For the tide to change,
But the sea is
So very far away.
She alerts herself of the spaces
between the ignored and the flowers sitting
on her bedside, unwelcomed.
The skin of her fingers begin to peel but
nothing compares to the flashing nightmares and
when they are over, every morning the nurse sits
with her and tells her about
her children, and how they come to visit her but
she is always asleep.
I’ve always had wrong timing, she remarks to herself.
It has been three days since the accident and three
days since she has seen the kids and three days since
she will never see her husband again.
It was an accident, probing voices of kind people tell
her but she never listens.
The curtains swirl listlessly and she hears fragments:
nerve damage, seizures, speech impediments,
The doctor smiles at her but only refers to her as car accident
patient; it is the nurses that explain
that she will never be like before.
‘It is good your kids are all grown up mam, otherwise you may
have never been able to support them.’
She closes her mind to them and think of the tulips
next to her. She thinks of Sylvia, the woman who never got
to be the age that she was, there is something unnatural
about that. Sadness leaks into her through an invisible drip.
She finds herself clawing
at the black. The lady who smiles the morphine into her
insists she will be fine and to go to sleep
but no, she tells herself, I must be awake when the kids come
like a bowling ball.
he’s asking me
what kind of siding
on the house.
initialling and signing
a briefcase of papers
my wife initialled and signed
three days ago
so this pinkie ring
can get his cut
in all this.
he says it would
be a good idea
to take those beer bottles
out of the fire place
and put those boxes of books
somewhere besides the kitchen countertop.
countertop space is a big selling point,
with a very straight face.
i’ll put it right up there
with perpetual motion
on my priority list,
close the door
piss in the fireplace
for the next phantasm
Mignon Ariel King
We put a nickel on the train tracks,
me and Mark. Mark who was my tatted,
dark-haired boyfriend, not Mark
who looks like Andy Warhol and who
helped unscrew the Can-O-Matic
from the 1950’s pantry at an eviction
party. The new owners were planning
to rip out the perfectly preserved cubbies
and all. Morons should be forced to live
in pre-fabbed homes with nailed-down chairs.
After skipping stones on Walden Pond,
we smooched our way along the trail,
putting a leaf-wreath at Thoreau’s cabin.
The train screeched by, and big, blue sparks,
like fireworks, outshone all the kissing.
We scurried like kids who think they can
total the commuter rail with illicit sex
and five cents. Blond Mark likes to flirt over
chili fries, so we drink beer, munch greasy meat,
and talk about getting lost in the woods.
Ananya S. Guha
Blast those blasts
Bomb blasts, attacks
gun toting law makers
India is haven for such
outpourings of man slaughter
and love of the machine
who cares, even when
children cry out in streets
losing parents is not myth
it is fortitude, which the fourth estate
proudly proclaim, and now they
are showing it on TV, how
the city of Bombay is on siege,
how that hotel is cordoned by predators
Haven’t you watched it, someone asks
go see it, I recoil, think of death,
and what does it matter if my country
is once again yoked by tyranny
Hindus, Muslims, Christians
my country is the loose soil
of blood forever flowing
into yawning mouths of turbulent rivers.
Blast those blasts
erode, corrode all shapeless tyranny.
My prayer to this world.