Carol Hamilton: “Morning, Green Tea, the Efforts”

Morning, Green Tea, the Efforts

The quiet places hide
in the space where
important papers gather.

They are drawn, as I,
to that spot of sunlight
on maple floorboards,

the space all around the mobile
only touched with bright
blue, magenta, green, orange, yellow.

It is not the lifting
but the dropping things off
into forever that is hard.

But there you go, flutter up
in spring warmth like
the wakened monarchs of Michoacán,

you with important documents
gripped tight in imminent approach
to the grim-faced immigration officer.

But I don’t have to cross borders.
I can sit here in a pool of light
until the sun is high at last

and all the fists open,
the silenced voices speak,
and I am ready.

 

Carol Hamilton has recent publications in Paper Street, Common Ground, Louisiana Review, Pontiac Review, Sanskrit. Louisiana Literature, Off the Coast and others. She has  published 17 books, most recently, SUCH DEATHS. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize.

Advertisements

Bob Meszaros: “Mrs. Matilda May”

Mrs. Matilda May

1869—

Here, among the pockmarked tombstones
of the poor, below the sycamore that drapes
its ancient limbs across the graveyard sky,
(its thin bark peeling like old skin, day after
day, month after month, year after year)
the dirt lane’s wide enough for just one car.

Born in eighteen sixty-nine, the absence
of a final date keeps her mystery alive.

Childless? Forgotten? An old woman dying
in the house alone? Are her ashes mingling
with the ashes of some other man, or were
they caught by a gentle wind and carried
throughout the world, without end?

Here, where the sycamore bends and twists
its mottled limbs into the sky, above the neatly
chiseled letters of her name, before the heartwood
rots, I carve her initials in the living tree.
No need that death be writ in stone.

 

Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in The Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.

Salvatore Difalco: “Manhattan”

Manhattan

6 am: adjacent man in bad wig snaps
like a slug. He’s too ugly for us, skin like canvas,
an ancient egg his skull. He eschews the relic
airs of the neighbour, Mr. Dust, rabble of the hood,
age-spots his calling card. Folks, this is no new
found land, wearing out its greenhorns—decrepit
rules even in its shiny zones of tony brands.
Nothing would survive the flat, expired robes
he wears for breakfast in his musty nook,
rotting man, no smile to spare, so toothless.
He wears earplugs for myopia, plays phone tag
with his God in a red psychedelic sweater.
I’m just saying, nothing like Manhattan
in the morning, even when you’re rotting,
even when you don’t know that you’re dead.
 

Sam Difalco lives in Toronto. His work has appeared in print and online.

Sergio Ortiz: “The Problem with Traveling”

The Problem with Traveling

Every time I’m at an airport,
I think I should change my life.
Behave according to my numbers,
set fire to disorder & crawl
below the radar like a Pitbull
― digging a hole
under the fence. I’d be woven
up to my neck, beautiful
beyond purchase, trusting
the creator, fixing my problems
with prayers & property.
I’d think of you, at home
with the dog, a field full
of purple buds― we are small
& defective, but I want to be
who I am,
going where I want to go
all over again.

 

Sergio A. Ortiz is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in FRIGG, Tipton Poetry Journal, Drunk Monkeys, and Bitterzeot Magazine. Ortiz is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard. He lives in devasted Puerto Rico without electricity or water and very little food. 

Gail Hosking: “Wasson at Mid-afternoon”

Wasson at Mid-afternoon

On the front porch swing you could see
dust flying from an old Ford truck
headed your way so you stare
and stare for one large minute
because you are lonely, so lonely
you might melt into one of those
tractor tires filled with marigolds. You might
run away with one of the wandering mutts
hungry for your grandmother’s slop bucket
she left in the barn. No fans. No bathtub.
Nothing sweet or cold. Who could stand it?
Not you singing the top ten buzzing on the radio
from far off St. Louis. Not your sisters
down at Kenny Miller’s to use his phone
as you grow dizzy and dizzier from the heat.
Not a friend in sight. Not an invitation to count.
Not even a river to wade through. Just miles
of cornfields, the sound of your grandfather’s demands
for another cup of coffee. As the truck passes
in a dirty cloud and the temperature rises,
your powder blue culottes and seersucker blouse
grow wet. A pregnant cat comes to the stairs.
It was like this:
sometimes you disappear
and not a soul knows. Long before you have
a right to imagine so, you want to leave
this earth, leave it now before anyone notices.

Gail Hosking is the author of the memoir Snake’s Daughter: The Roads in and out of War (University of IowaPress) and the poetry chapbook The Tug (Finishing Line Press). Her essays and poems have been anthologized several times and appeared in such places as Camera Obscura, 100 Word Stories, Upstreet, Elipsis, Post Road, and Consequence Magazine. She holds an MFA from Bennington College. Two recent essays were considered “most notable” in Best American Essays of 2014, 2015.

Margaret Potts: “Happiness”

Happiness

I could, I really could, I say.
I could sit down while you re-paint the porch
and sip coffee until I die today.
Because the caffeine in the morning
and because the morning in your smile.
Because it took me such a long while to be,
here,
sitting on a porch with you,
rooted.

Is this how it feels to be a tree among trees?
A vine of ivy draped across similar vines?

Community: when I complain that I do all the talking
and you toss me a scowl.
Because you speak through deeds,
and me, incessant vocabulary made verbal.

Does the ivy not climb?
See: one tree, desiring sun, shooting past another unforgivingly.
Isn’t the Earth complex?
A solitary, living planet spinning in a cosmic mess,
and yet — brothers with Pluto.

And you, and me, and we.
Respecting boundaries, are able to co-exist:
together and separate.

 

Margaret Potts graduated from DePaul University, Chicago, with a degree in Philosophy and French. She’s published poetry with After Hours, a Chicago literary journal, and won 2nd place in the South Dakota State Poetry Society’s annual contest. She currently lives in Oakland, California, where she works with at-risk youth.