person Estrella del Valle, three poems translated by Toshiya Kamei

Born in Córdoba, Veracruz, Estrella del Valle now lives in El Paso, Texas. Her most recent poetry collection, Calima: CAution LIve aniMAls, was published in 2018. Translations of her poems have appeared in various journals, including Burnside Review, Coe Review, Controlled Burn, International Poetry Review, and Pembroke Magazine.

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His translations of Latin American literature include books by Claudia Apablaza, Liliana Blum, Carlos Bortoni, Selfa Chew, and Leticia Luna. For more information, please visit https://toshiyakamei.wordpress.com/.

)(

Genealogy

The first woman from my line
was a nobody who picked an apple.
Through tears she birthed the love of her man.
Someone foolishly made up a family name.
Since then all women whine;
we were born dim and wicked.
That’s the story my father tells us,
but I know in former times
the first woman who took our name
was the heroine of the forbidden tales
who left my grandfather for a sugar cane cutter.

*Previously published in Burnside Review

Genealogía

La primera mujer que levantó mi estirpe
fue una desconocida que cortó una manzana.
Ella parió con lágrimas el amor de su hombre,
alguien le dio a la estupidez por apellido
y desde entonces, todas gimoteamos el haber
nacido torpes y perversas.
Esa es la historia que nos cuenta mi padre,
pero yo sé que, en otro tiempo,
la primera mujer que llenó nuestro nombre
fue la heroína de los cuentos prohibidos
que abandonó a mi abuelo por un cortador de caña.

)(

The Ravens

We’re four and still pretend
to love each other, fake love at the table
and sit on the porch and tell unusual tales,
while Mother fixes a meal
and hears us devouring flesh.
My father blindfolded my brothers
and before he abandoned us, covered his eyes with his coat.
My brothers swing on my mother’s hand,
they can’t bear to be blind because of Father
and peck at one another to atone
for some sort of sin.
They will peck out my eyes if I go near,
that’s why I cross myself at night
say the Lord’s Prayer for all.

*Previously published in Diner

Los cuervos

Somos cuatro y aún jugamos
a querernos, a simular amor sobre la mesa
y sentarnos al pórtico a platicar de historias anormales,
mientras mamá prepara el alimento
y escucha devorarnos la carne.
Mi padre vendó los ojos de todos mis hermanos
y, antes de abandonarnos, cubrió los suyos con sus ropas.
Mis hermanos se columpian de la mano de mi madre,
no soportan ser ciegos por culpa de papá
y se dan picotazos uno a otro para expiar
no sé que clase de pecado.
Sé que me sacarán los ojos si me acerco,
por eso me santiguo por las noches
y rezo un padre nuestro por todos.

)(

The Sorceress

Because the line is one and I don’t dare
leave the ambiguity that tortures me,
I, the most cowardly of all women,
write between my eyelids
the most secret spells to find you,
to talk about the rain when I burst into your dream.
I draw lines between lines to kill the boredom,
to let space emerge and fill my void,
I make space and make our plot from the vacuum.
In my hands I agree to the script of the spectacle,
and I can be a fairy, a witch, or the greasy virgin of your flesh;
here’s an escapist act, a trick that surprises
the most incredulous; you’re the tiger
who jumps through the burning hoop to escape,
the conjurer of my memory,
the master of this absurd ceremony with my death.

I’m the clawless monster with my mouth
to tell you about the world.
The most cowardly magician in history.

La maga

Como la línea es una y no me atrevo
a dejar la ambigüedad que me atormenta,
yo, la más cobarde de todas las mujeres,
escribo entre mis párpados
los más secretos hechizos para hallarte,
para hablar de la lluvia cuando irrumpo en tu sueño.
Hago líneas entre líneas para borrar el tedio,
para surgir la nada y llenarme el vacío,
hago la nada y hago de la oquedad nuestro argumento.
Entre mis manos pacto el guión de espectáculo
y puedo ser hada, bruja o la virgen untuosa de tu carne;
he aquí un acto escapista, un truco que asombra
al más incrédulo; tú mismo eres el tigre
que pasa el aro abrasador hacia la fuga,
el prestidigitador de mi memoria,
el maestro de esta absurda ceremonia con mi muerte.

Yo soy el monstruo sin más garra que mi boca
para contarte el mundo.
La maga más cobarde de la historia.

)(

person Sarah Dickenson Snyder, three poems

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has three poetry collections, The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera, forthcoming in 2019. Recently, poems have appeared in Artemis, The Sewanee Review, and RHINOhttps://sarahdickensonsnyder.com/

~*~

Speaking to Rilke

I imagine you sitting on a bench
in front of Apollo’s archaic torso at the Louvre,

perhaps Rodin sending you there and you
capturing light on a thin page. A sonnet

sculpting to its center—
You must change your life.

But how can I—
write words over and over

to find a portal, a curved path
through leaves, trees—your words

a lamp, stretching to the unreachable
where I can almost touch the ripening.

~*~

Red Speaks Deep

It must be our blood—
the death it meant in the beginning

to cavemen and life to cavewomen
each month. Red woven

into our lives in octagonal
signs, cans of Coke, our teams

and nails and lips—and Bruegel,
how the plowman’s shirt pulls us

to the center of the green sheened
painting, how we find him first before

the red cap of the fisherman in the lower
right guides us to Icarus—

his splashing legs, his one hand left,
unnoticed and flapping.

~*~

On the Bank
for Lucille Clifton

It took an hour
to memorize the lines,
ending with sail

through this to that
learning a prayer,
following a tide

that pulls a boat into a river
that widens to an estuary,
and out to the Chesapeake Bay.

It breaths us in, enters skin—
becoming a worded shield,
every rib shouldering

the horizon—
how words can be inhaled,
granular, travel with blood and stay.

I look out at the white tipped sea,
taste the limestone air—
many lives in any one life

opening silently
in the wind—
everywhere a passage.

~*~

person S.E. Page, one poem

S.E. Page is the co-editor of Young Ravens Literary Review and a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has been published in journals including Connecticut River Review, Star*Line, and NonBinary Review. Page writes novels and blogs at iffymagic.com.

***

Quasiflora

I strip the stalk bare
Every chance like a petal
Takes to the breeze

Whatever wishes are
What dreams might be
Open air accepts them all

Mindless of regret, these quasi
Flora float light as seed
Filaments on page of wind.

Alate ink spells out bluest
Sky even while rooted
Deep in dead stars’ dirt.

***

person George Briggs, one poem

George Briggs is a high school teacher from Rhode Island. His writing has appeared in Mystic Blue Review and Sports Alcohol.

[

Retrograde

What undertow
the darkened
room?

Pulling moon,
a balloon alit
beside me

celestial ewer
soaking clarity-
I’m sweating. I can’t see.

Judgment arrives
as a child’s fever,
nocturnal, unexpected

compound of dread.
What tide
back drags?

The moon sees.
The moon sees.

]

person Tucker Lux, two poems

Tucker Lux teaches English, raises a family, and writes poems in Toledo, Ohio. Has work forthcoming in Third Wednesday, and WestWard Quarterly, and has appeared in Adelaide Literary Magazine, The Living Waters Review, The Penwood Review, Florida’s Best Emerging Poets, and America’s Best Emerging Poets.

~

Dream Horizon

Specters of mountains,
east, low,

outlined in dandelion sunrise,
impossible Ohio peaks, passes

to breaking light,
ranges of dreams

lingering, tugging
as we course together,

swept by common current
into waking,

into work.

~~~

Persistence

Five steps in with
all of the breath,
the spirit,
I can take.
Four steps, exhausting
circulatory fumes,
a mist I break,
and leave behind.
I am persistence hunting for God.
I wear running clothes
like monastic robes.
God is out
before the sun,
grazing, sprinting away,
panting, checking my approach.
I, seeking,
slough off my skin, drip
my sweat, drop hairs
all to feed these woods
and breathe, needy,
inhaling all
the photosynthetic runoff,
the superfine matter
of tree-life pulsing out
of leaf cells,
all the drizzle and mist,
all that I kick
up from the ground
all belching from the tailpipes
from the road above that
cannot see me.
And I, the running ascetic,
hunting God,
now re-know I am
all these inhalations,
I am the silver-dust
of these streets and woods
and it is my breath
fogging those windshields
and feeding these trees,
and it is all a drop of God.
You could not know the run
home is my dervish dance,
my ecstatic prayer jig,
that I am David in the streets
dancing off everything
that is not me,
and aching muscles all day
pray without ceasing
for me.

~~~~~

person Yoni Hammer-Kossoy, one poem

Yoni Hammer-Kossoy has poetry appearing or forthcoming in Stonecoast Review, Sky Island Journal, Rvier Heron Review, The American Journal of Poetry, & Songs of Eretz Poetry. Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Hammer-Kossoy has lived in Jerusalem, Israel with family for the last 20 years and, when not writing, pays the bills as a software engineer.

~

Incognito

Say you can become the best version
of yourself: kinder, smarter, more
forgiving, radiant from without and within
the way a pomegranate tree blazes
under early December sun, the sum
of all movement since its first silky leaves
unfurl, since orange crowns bloom between them
and billow with fruit almost too heavy
to bear. Would you recognize yourself
in such a state before it faded?
Or is beauty doomed to be known
from shadow – the same tree standing
after a storm, sullen with stripped branches
clutching the knot of an empty bird’s nest.

~