person Jonathan Dubow, four poems

Jonathan Dubow lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He teaches developmental writing at Shippensburg University and has an MFA from the University of Alabama.

The following poems are from a manuscript called The Book of Esther as a Bear. Other poems from this manuscript have been recently published or are forthcoming in Chattahoochee Review, Grist, Waccamaw, and elsewhere.

~

Things that may be consumed raw

: honey, turmeric, ginger & sauerkraut.

: a lotus, the kaddish, herring, figs & luck.

: good weather, quitsa clams & basil stems.

: apples, peppers, grapeskin, autumn flowers & garlic.

: citron, paw paws, semen & feathers.

: eyelids, the weather’s voice & stubble.

: anticipation, dewberries & centella.

~

Altricial Year

Twelve months come from fire.
Nights with brightness in their hands
scratch a cup shaped hole of time
to confuse and prevent death.

We feed them cheese and give them head,
swallow
and shred them in our teeth,

grab them by our hearts.
Keep them in mind.

Sometimes a night leaves its tail in our jaws.
Sometimes a month drops his face in our bones
but escapes with his life.

And every seventh year, no matter how,
we let our domestic animals out.

~

Self-Portrait

horseweed scratched
Mars rose
they dreamed of me
the river flooded
at the Y
so much it
disappeared

~

Cast

There is none more open
than a tidepool.

You say, Maybe it was,
but I’ll say it was.

The blue catfish moves in
with its dozen odes

while I learn to salt roses.

~

person Jackie Sherbow, three poems

Jackie Sherbow is a writer and editor living in Queens, NY. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Coffin Bell, Okay Donkey, Moonchild Magazine, Bad Pony, Day One, and elsewhere, and have been part of the Emotive Fruition performance series. She works as an editor for two leading mystery-fiction magazines as well as Newtown Literary, the literary journal dedicated to the borough of Queens.

~*~

The Safety

I wake up from dreaming I’m someone I not. When I wash my face, when I enter the clean air, even when I ride the subway, the difference between me and that woman seems insignificant. Later, the difference seems vast. I Google Amelia Earhart and she looks like someone who helped me, once. I look at one hundred photos of Amelia Earhart, one after another. Google tells me I should also look up other women, like Sacagawea and Helen Keller and Rosa Parks. See More Images. I adjust my search to find out when Amelia Earhart disappeared. The date seems familiar, from the dream. Amelia Earhart is in evening clothes, as a child, and on a postage stamp. Someone has told her to smile with her mouth closed. She stands in front of planes of all models, like the Airster, the Electra, the Avian, the Vega. The Safety.

~*~

Talon

But her hand
was one thing—crumpled and blue
and out on its own, and I knew how
she felt, wanted to reach through
the sky to her—
and love’s different birds:
blue, black, and yellow
maybe even red.
our fingers
pointing at each other
and her after she painted
me green and I decided
I’d always be green now,
and her hand and its blue
and red feathers would poke
out at different angles
to find the winter sun.

~*~

Barn Swallow

I slipped into August: a marble
into a pocket.
The bird in my chest
turned from yellow to blue
and on the train it waited
on the luggage rack while I
entered the city, missing
all the rivers on the way,
missing the Sound,
missing the aquarium. Looking
up as the city felt like
a cigarette pack, like marbles
m-a-r-b-l-e-s in a green
box promised to a child
at breakfast, like the heat
I am committed to bearing
like myself

~*~

person Ace Boggess, three poems

Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra
Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody
(Hyperborea, 2016). His poems have appeared in River Styx, Harvard
Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals. He
lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

////

“Have You Already Arranged a Funeral in Advance?”

—funeral home questionnaire

Who thinks about midnight at 11:59?
Hard to believe in what hasn’t happened yet.

It’s like divorce: not finalized until the judge
says yes & signs, dividing the furniture,

kids, cars, CDs, land. I won’t be there
when my box—my blackacre—

might be a birdhouse on the mausoleum lawn.
I prefer what’s in front of me:

pen, page, the lover of my dreams
who dreams me, too, though reckless.

Give me 11:59 forever. Let me
cling to it like a cloud that passes slowly,

motion denied by illusion of stability.
I’m not counting forward in my head.

///

“If You Were a Bird, from What
Would You Make Your Nest?”

~question asked by Grace Welch~

cushioned ball bats, branches covered in bubble wrap:

arms. soft lines, crooked elbows, forms attached—

women & men, I’m not picky when it comes to comfort-skin.

I want to rest in a cradle of touch.

I sometimes wish for a punch so I might feel

connected. if I slept with arms beneath my neck & back,

my thighs, scratching the itch at my ankle,

teasing the notch at my knee,

I’d be a happy little zebra finch,

lifting my head under morning light to sing.

//

Day Trip

I drive her on a journey to New Vrindaban
to see the Golden Temple, gardens, Krishna shrine.
She wants to look at peacocks & the swan.

We set out in the a.m. before dawn,
directions leading north, a jagged line
for our journey to New Vrindaban.

She’d like to feed a heifer, but it lazes with a yawn.
It has its private bale of hay to mine.
At least she spots the peacocks & the swan.

Then we follow West Virginia’s winding Autobahn
to tour a broken palace less Divine
beyond our journey to New Vrindaban:

the state pen—gothic, closed, the guilty gone—
where Charles Manson’s mother walked the line.
My love preferred the peacocks & the swan.

Dark cells & bars meant more to an ex-con
than to her as if for me a holy shine
on our day’s journey to New Vrindaban
where peacocks lit the grass & teased the swan.

/

person Andrew Kozma, one poem

Andrew Kozma has poems appearing in Blackbird, Redactions, Subtropics, and Best American Poetry 2015. His book of poems, City of Regret, won the Zone 3 First Book Award, and his second book, Orphanotrophia, will be published by Cobalt Press in 2019.

//

Mr. Henry Bones (xiii)

This is palpable: the thirty cents I need
to call Arkansas, where I was
extradited from. They got me
wrong, who was
someone else. Houston, oh Houston,
where is my ticket home?

Upchuck beautiful. My body
a bathysphere untested
for these pressures your fingers
stitch me with. O science!
And your disdain for the body
as a vehicle, as driven!

The rumble of joyous
hips and ass. This earth
an Eden, this Eden a circle, this birth
of passion illusion, this desire you cry
only instinct, my desire only joyous
remission, a nervous dissolve.

\\

person Sarah Hulyk Maxwell, three poems

Sarah Hulyk Maxwell lives in Pittsburgh. She has two cats, a dog, a husband, and an MFA from Louisiana State University. Her work, both poetry and fiction, has appeared in various publications, most recently The Mississippi Review.

~*~

Lithopaedion

Rare specimen.
Over-steeped, overripe.
Former gestation ghost-child.
Biding inside.

Calcified, until just recently
when the stomach began jumping,
and you corrected the doctor:
not abdominal muscle spasm, hiccups.

An indication of potential
more than life sign.

But we know how to reach in pre-dilation
(let us bring your stone baby back to life)
with forceps and only a little ripping
of removal and placement into a pan
for the Sculpting.

Haven’t you ever heard, we are the clay,
you are the potter—we are the work of your hands?

~*~

Because the fruit fell from the tree onto her elbow

She had mango arm.
A rash from the juice.
Her father said, put alcohol on it.
She did. It got infected.
She went to the ER.
There were open sores.
Her father said, place mango slices inside.
They did. A tree sprouted, roots slipped into veins.
She couldn’t feel the arm.
Her father said, shake the tree.
She did. The roots broke through her skin.
They’d have to amputate,
(re)plant the whole arm into the ground
but there was the possibility of abnormal growth—
a finger on a limb, a mango-ed wrist.
Her father said, we’ll take our chances.
Not a single normal human arm sprouted.
She chose a limb instead that was all mangos
save a thumb.

~*~

Bodied Water

My stomach loses shape and expands into the rest of me. It slides an arm of itself into my arm, a leg of itself into my leg and then gets thicker and wider until all of my inside is stomach, full. My cells are marbles. My kidneys float. My eyes are bobbing. Intuition tells me to unplug the drain between my legs and let it all go but I will never let my water break. I think myself as floating, the ocean on my back, the ocean born of a small leak in my spine to the world. I heard a preacher say once that dying here would be the worst way to go, but you just have to imagine a moon instead of a sun then make sure you fill up your lungs to the brim.

~*~

person Pearl Button, three poems

Pearl Button currently lives in the Salishan Territory of western North America. She has been published in a variety of journals under a variety of names.

/

night at the campground, 1

a plant, a mouse, a man
cold wax moon lifting the empire line
dress he wears, pink diamond tiara
listing, curved, his carbon longing
plant’s dew trembles
mouse ears rampant, attentive
that first small sound of breaking

/

night at the campground, 2

calling it mirror
the deer, the woman, the hare
all see the moon, and in the moon
whiskers and lips
in the night
jet beads on a string of longing

/

the perceptual ability of various beings

daylight deer can pick red from orange
at night blue from green
canvas-walled sleeping, bruise-blue paint
a morning glory vine around the teepee lit
an interior fire, white canvas-bells quiver
a woman dreaming on a pallet
inside the lodge, heat breaks past
painted flowers, desire, cardinal, unseats
sea-green night, the deer muzzles nearby
tenderly kills, chooses one leaf over another

/

person Lisa Favicchia, two poems

Lisa Favicchia is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas and is the Assistant Poetry Editor of LandLocked. Her work has appeared in Peregrine Journal, Midwestern Gothic, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.

***

Developing Trypophobia as a Result of Defining Trypophobia

There are worse things than burying
hundreds of yourselves in your own back
hoping you will leave yourself

better and un-pocked, gape-holed
and freely accepting water
like a breeze, or like the lotus pod

and its dry, empty rattle
raspy and symptomatic
of respiratory infection

or the bottoms of cookies
bubble-puckered. It’s a cricket
swallowing its young, its own

feet, all the way up
to its head where mandibles try
to mimic a mouth

and you’re surprised it can’t
actually make sound, confused
by something that would seek

to be lip and less alien
when you had tried so hard
to make yourself that angular

—it’s this mouth
that deprives you of sleep,
a hyper-awareness of holes

as something to crawl into
that makes you draw covers
up at night with the faintest sound

of scratching, imagining
the ghosts of tiny feet
circling the rim of your ear.

**

A Genealogy of Leaves

My grandmother’s hair was black
polished on brass door knobs,

glass and smooth.
That was when I ran

my hair under faucets
and through the rusted teeth

of combs or tree bark ash.
Black black swamp leaves

could never steep
long enough to leave

my eyes in a retinal burn
of tea-stained iris.

This is a piney matter,
frail hands over stomachs, etc.

Backwater billows
of murk don’t cry

about being unclear—
the certainty in pads

of molting leaf
is nothing like the mint-

white bone, a collar
bone, nothing like red,

and especially not the good
three-pronged forks.

*