coyotes on the edge of town

by sean arthur joyce


— New Denver, BC, March, 2014
 

Crisp March night
under half-moon sky.
Coyotes on the edge of town
throating the song of the forest—
fluted, wild as an icy crag,
flawless ease
of ancient lore,
all the dogs silent.

What shivers
is the sub-zero night.
Moon-carved shoulder
of Goat Mountain
an eerie resonator.
Cobalt blue of winter sky
brilliant—stark against fir
steeped in black.
One thing is sure
amongst so much doubt—
a voice
calling out mastery
from the dark

exhibit: in the woods, outside duncan, british columbia

by renée sarojini saklikar


That a bomb is made. That is known.
That the bomb is set off, that is known, in the woods, outside Duncan, cousin-town
                        to the village Paldi.




*



Of all the locations in Empire, real and imagined, past and present,
                        It is here: June 1985, 
there are no straight lines— 




if there is a man, he is making detonation—
                        Time loads up incident.
                        In recounting there is implication. 
                        Describe all particulars.


                        Piney scented,
                                    the woods.                    Where is
the past 
                                    also present


we never speak of it

 


“Exhibit: in the woods, outside Duncan, British Columbia” was previously published in children of air india, un/authorized exhibits and interjections, (Nightwood Editions, 2013)

the poet visits

by eugenia hepworth petty


Itinerant in the Northwest each summer
he plays  sevillanas on the porch
and argues about the use of language 
to describe the rap-poets' hubris

He lives twenty feet above the San Lorenzo
high in the watershed	
where the water runs narrow and shallow
between the banks

At night, roosters, doves and guinea pigs 
sleep in cages in the safety of the house
            the ferret passed away in the spring
miniature horses entertain the children 
of Indian families in Sunnyvale 
on  Ratha Yatra and Diwali 

He recalls the story of when he was 86'd 
from the artist complex in Santa Cruz
"I wasn't being belligerent
 I was being a poet," he says
pacing back and forth

the lost man leaves a will

by jennifer boyden


To the wind, the fullness of my mouth, juice
of my openness. To gnawing things, the osseous fists
of my bones’ rebinding. I want the earth
to accept my head. I have wanted to be held
by something my entire life, something that demands
all of me to answer back with holding.

To my gone children, all I cannot say without
my tongue. I call you in silence. You answer
in kind, and are counted. To birds, a nest of hair
and threads for the wobble-necked and pink-bodied.

I give the trust of grass to bear and raccoon,
to the crepuscular world who pauses before taking,
whose staring eyes give back the light of cars
as if to fix the breakage of air
before the great coming down upon them.
I have been broken. I
have been broken.

My walk from one place to this did not leave
a trail: I walked my route only once, and once-
forward is not enough to be remembered by grass.
My path is where I column into my own shape.
I give space to air with my leaving.
I give space to flying with my leaving.

I ask for nothing in return. I have received more
than I asked for, and worse: the world afloat; answers
at once and for nearly everything; animal bellies
untethered and dragging.

To the leaf, serration of my teeth.
To water, ice of my witnessing. It will need it.
To deer, asking and then emptiness before slaughter.
The grass should take my memory. But to the trails worn
by the escaping many, the mud of unknowing.

Here is what I know for now: worms,
I have loved you rightly
since I learned that dirt holds secrets blind and dependent
on whatever mercies we are willing to gift. I gave you names.
I counted your rings, measured your body-yawns

toward darkness. Worms, you are better than stars
because you are here.

Do you remember
how my mother stitched her people’s names
to my cuffs and then disappeared? The birds left
before the people did, but you, you worms, you stayed.

To the worms, my thanks. I ask you to make me rich
within yourselves: you stayed. While the earth
was fleeing itself, I named you, and you answered
to the place of my naming, and remain.


“The Lost Man Leaves a Will” was first published in The Declarable Future, © 2013, by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Reprinted by permission of The University of Wisconsin Press.

david on the phone

by jennifer boyden


David sober says to feed the bear
who’s eating the birdseed in our front yard.
Says we must, for him, feed it so we’ll earn a badge
under the god he’s wearing lately. God with eyes.
God who sleeps a lot when David needs him most,
and whose waking patience is thin
as the bear’s winter cells. This God of tallying
and disappearances is called upon by David most
in the time of morning vapor when it’s hardest
for David sober to believe: whole day stretched
in front of him like paint thinner, each cup a cup
which is to be used for coffee only. Feed the bear,
David says sober though alone at his end of the hour
when god might wake for him. David says
it would go well for all of us if we pour milk over bread,
honey over meat, and then carry out the bowl.
But lock the door when you’re done, David says
sober, because the source is always sweeter
than the meal. He says the bear’s salvation will be heard,
and might speak for him at the end of his need.

And with what sweetness on the tongue
will it urge the god of that single cup awake?
And with what honeyed breath will it seek
us out again, small gods terrified of the asking?

 


“David on the Phone” was first published in The Declarable Future, © 2013, by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Reprinted by permission of The University of Wisconsin Press.

sea smoke

by judith skillman


As far as winter
stretches, I am alone
on this cliff
staring down at what
could be fog or steam or mist.

The whisper of reeds recalls
a wound I barely remember,
a figure who could be . . .

As far as we are apart,
as old as that
and more, our differences,
the complaint you mustered
upon finding heat coalesced
into a lump.

The body, cremated, can be compressed
to diamonds. Stroke of gray
on a gull, prescience,
hull of the boat that might have saved Icarus
when he came of age . . .

As far as the dead are concerned,
the sun is smoke
the moon milk,
stars salt. With seared eyes
the dead see the living,
hunched figures
who find by dreaming
what it is they are looking for.

A glimpse of cloth,
bone of hanger left between a coat
torn from its closet
and the marred dowel
from which hung
garment bags. Mothballs
of ancient Styrofoam,
the insects have eaten
through silk, cashmere, linen,
and more.

Hat that should have been worn
in minus centigrade—
the dead see
our flesh in tatters
and the foreshortened days,
foreshadowing.

 


“Sea Smoke” was first published in Heat Lightning New and Selected Poems 1986–2006, reprinted by permission of Silverfish Review Press.

driftwood blanched

by allison linville


Bristle tea and rosehip teacups.  
                           Visions include walking among stalks of vegetables.  
                                                     Stalks that grow down, stalks that grow up.  

                                        Growing lemonade, are you?  

Today, thimbleberries widen 
              in the cracks of tables, 
                           the cracks of watered down wood.  


Eating gardens of gardens of gardens and your mother never called you back.  

                                        Set your latest whipping almonds aside 
                                        for future garnishes; 
                                        you have so many beads 
                                        already, darling.  

              You never want 
                           your celeries to be lavish or cold.  
                                                     Running on apricots.  

Would you ever have thought our letters 
              would spontaneously grow themselves?  


              Hurry over now, you say, 
              you don’t want to be reading to yourself.   

Someday, you will have a child of thorns, you hear.

twenty seven

by allison linville


Driving from the big sky to the desert 
                                        sky is impossibly grand for this life.  

I have never thought that everything starts 
             when people say it does.  

It starts now 
it seems 
ends soon 
I can feel it, and 
I will go ahead and 
restart it after that.  


There was snow and in the kitchen, we could talk. 

Tomato soup.  
The art of nice; 
             the brevity of low.  

In April, the desert welcomed 
                           us with its warm, 
                                         dry nights and we heated 
                                         and walked and learned the 
                                                                                value of sunrise.  

Sunrises away, sunrises over lakes.  

I never knew it would be so heavy 
                           to run.  

And despite your unending effort, 
             we still moved south 

                           and it hurts, and it hurts.

coordinates

by allison linville


I am unwittingly cold 
                                        every night you have a hold on the doorknob. 
             Lamps offer light 
from propane, 
wood convects to add warmth. 
 
                                        I cannot explain to you the morning,
                                                     in the morning.  
             Where emptiness of air 
                                        is the only thing that could fill you up.  


Required distance 
             descendent of thunder 
                           wearing bolts of fabric. 

I do not record that which I love.  

Rain splatters down the fry pan 
                           you exhale abruptly at the sparks.  

Flowers puff into fire; 	
              a new way to fold paper. 
                           Static blows through treetops.  

We are so accompanied by our worries.  	
                                                                  Wooden spoons hit bottom.   
                           So that your fingernail might cover the place you wish to be.