About thehuronriverreview

I am editor/faculty advisor of The Huron River Review.

Devon Miller-Duggan: “Variations”

Variations

I.
Looking down
across the
purpled roofs—
Heidelberg—
I reach out
for your hand.

I clasp air,
which turns to
fire-opal,
anvil-weight,
comet-shard.

You are my
church and my
volcano—
wonders from
books of lists.

The turquoise
St. George glass
in Freiburg’s
cathedral—
we were there
together.
I won’t come
here again
without you.

II.
We are each other’s watchmakers—correcting gears, brushing dust, re-winding springs, then facing each to each and telling time like seven candlesticks. We were each other’s lathes, carving our rough branches to same-length-but-mismatched legs for the table made to hold our feast. We were changelings returned to each other’s waiting arms. We were the Long Day and Antediluvian Longevity compressed into the body of one dove.

III.
Be my friction-pulley, slide me through your gears.
Be my water motor, spill me through your years.
Be my crank-pin-lathe, file me fine as hairs.

Stag and Vine me, darling, I will be your field.
Arrow-shoot my bird’s breast, surely I will yield.
Juno and the Peacock me, I promise to be stilled.

I’m cardamom and nutmeg, so heat me in some butter.
I’m rosemary and thyme and dill—chop me with your cutter.
I’m ginger, summer savory, and sage—steam me in your water.

IV.
What clouds assume the most fantastic shapes?
For now, that’s our hearts’-house.

How purple-glowing is our hearts’-home?
Let’s go make up the mushroom bed we’ve gathered from.

What’s the dark?
The heart divided into two unequal, necessary chambers,

How to count depth by dropping torches?
Yet we find the river.

V.
We’ll build all through the time we have—
spruce up our Palace of the Sun, add shine to our new history and histories
and make the country that we are seethe earth-oil.
We’ll build the veranda you’ve always wanted on our house.
Dear husband, I recommend me to you.

 

Devon Miller-Duggan has published poems in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, Christianity and Literature, Gargoyle. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Delaware. Her books include Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008), Neither Prayer, Nor Bird (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Alphabet Year, (Wipf & Stock, 2017).

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Corey Mesler: “Cleanse Me”

Cleanse Me

Everyone’s back is soiled
except the man in the cave
whose back is a wall.
People arrive daily, con-
fused, in need. They
speak with wee voices, like
squeaks in a broken wheel.
They say, I am alone and
no one will cleanse me.
They say, tell me something
hopeful, we’re all dying.
The man in the cave retires
for five years. When he
returns no one seeks his ad-
vice. There are people in
other caves now. There are
still questions without
answers. There are long lines,
like a genealogy, lines of
applicants who want to re-
place the man in the cave,
who now never speaks, never
speaks. There is a silence,
a lingering silence like rainfall.

 

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published 9 novels, 4 short story collections, 5 full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel, Memphis Movie, attracted kind words from Ann Beattie, Peter Coyote, and William Hjorstberg, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 3 of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs a 142-year-old bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at https://coreymesler.wordpress.com.

Robert Okaji: “Vesuvius”

Vesuvius

When the earth shrugs,
some warnings are better
heeded. A little

smoke, some ash.
A knife point held to the chin.

Why listen at all?
The man in the big house hides in its vastness.
Surrounded, he walks alone.
People speak, but he hears only himself.

Meanwhile,
the mountain
belches

and the birds fly north
seeking firm ground
upon which to land.

 

Robert Okaji lives in Texas. The author of three chapbooks, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Wildness, Vox Populi, Birch Gang Review, and elsewhere.

Lowell Jaeger: “Blacktail Deer Road”

Jaeger

Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, author of seven collections of poems, recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council, and winner of the Grolier Poetry Peace Prize. Most recently Jaeger was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting thoughtful civic discourse.

Cliff Saunders: “The Final Storm”

The Final Storm

The day the stars fell, we were looking
at blue sky and losing faith in ourselves.
Our love cracked right in half like a tower
in a cold city that shook the ground
while everyone else panicked.
We spilled into its abyss late into the night.
It was important for us to suffer in our silence.
We wanted something that was us,
that represented us. All we found
were ashes around the drain in the sink.
How did it start? We knew the storm
was coming. The lights dimmed clear
across the country, and a paper ball
that kept on growing floated down sunlit Broadway.
An organ broke, snow fell from within us
out there on the street, where it left too harsh
of a light, including a moon only days from death.
I spent a lot of time praying for you and me,
waiting by the phone for you,
puffed by wind and surrounded by the sea.
All I ever wanted to do was dance
behind the curtain of the big bus
with you, to your heart’s discontent.
At the end of the bus ride, where were we?
I asked God all night to go sliding
down hillsides with me the way the wind
always revels in the final unraveling.
Instead, he gave me a gift, a story of codes,
and the text read: Once upon a time, the boy
who touched your broken heart beside the inlet
made you cry while he slept on your couch.

 

Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in Connecticut River Review, Five 2 One, Avatar Review, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, and Whale Road Review. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he works as a freelance writer.

John Grey: “Tornado X”

Tornado X

I am enthralling
because I can rip
roofs clean off
and send cars and cows
spiraling through the air.

If I don’t happen to you,
I’m the best and rawest thing
out there.

A flying neighbor
is better than sex.
No drug
like horses in one field,
their stalls in another.

Corkscrewing, flattening,
lifting, moving…
what stimulates more?
Look out your window
as I sweep by.
Work with me.
 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Front Range Review, Studio One, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Naugatuck River Review, Abyss and Apex, and Midwest Quarterly.   

Hannah Wells: “Nightingale”

Nightingale

I.
Touch is an outward growth that pulls intangibility
out through the frenetic slips of light
as if from water.
It is an act of mercy, a plea
for the silence as reconciliation.

II.
A soporific distraction,
the champagne sky casts my breath in bronze;
I chase the last hours down and the earth’s latitude
spills over the length of my shadow.

III.
Penitence ripens in the palm of grief until all that remains
are the colors of your voice, an offering around which
I hem my day before we dissolve
in tangent blades between the grass.

IV.
Promontories of the song outside the window, listen
the nightingale nails you to the falling sun,
he sings you down into the dust.

V.
One by one I place at your feet
stones that became words taken from flesh and wonder
if there is a way to reassemble us from this frenzy of silence.

 

Hannah Wells is 27 years old. She graduated with honors and a BA in English from Wayland Baptist University, where she completed an honors thesis in poetry and two one-act plays, both which were performed at the WBU theatre. She will have her first publication through Anima Poetry Press in the Summer/Fall of 2017. She strives to capture the specificity of visceral moments found in nature through a spiritual perspective.