The Wonders of Nature

by Taylor Brunson

	René Magritte, 1953

Yes, erosion, many-mouthed and tender, undresses 
us, but I promise I will stay with you until the end. 

I would rather our slow unwinding than what is taken 
by every ship sailed, and days’ annual stretching

toward what I am afraid to hope for. Yes, the season returns 
the sun, sharpening its gaze with each passing year, blue-lipped

seas drawing closer. I am sorry for the length of this lesson—
that I asked you to turn our backs to the water, every other fish 

glistering like precious stones, and how willing you were 
to avert your eyes. It has taken me so long to turn into you,

ready to be unmade under wide-tongued tides, but I promise
the future is swelling to meet us. What is left for the fish

thrown back if not a world warming over, forever
hooked? Please. I promise I cannot let you go.



____
Taylor Brunson is a poet living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, whose work has recently been featured in or is forthcoming from Non.Plus Lit, perhappened, Dwelling Literary, Horse Egg Literary, and Interstellar Literary Review. Taylor serves as an assistant poetry editor for Four Way Review and an assistant nonfiction editor for Nashville Review.
Published
Categorized as Poetry

Sweet Things

by Marjorie Moorhead

Upright and tight fisted. 
Poised to release. 
Each pink peony bud,
potential enclosed; 
vitality condensed.

In June, solstice coming, 
each will open, spill forth 
beauty and fragrance 
like fireworks; 
bright booming blooms. 

Then, weighty petals 
flutter down pooling 
on garden ground; 
stems arching
in summer's night, 
making way for the next 
sweet thing.



____

Marjorie Moorhead: I am writing from northern New England, and my work is very connected to the geography and changing seasons. I am a survivor of the early AIDS epidemic (before treatment), and my work often looks at ways of survival. I have two chapbooks, Survival: Trees, Tides, Song and Survival Part 2: Trees, Birds, Ocean, Bees, and am represented in many different anthologies, and on several literary sites. I meet regularly with a small group of poets from the area, although we’ve been zooming since the pandemic. Same with a women’s prompt writing circle. I am a mother, wife, daughter, birdwatcher, walker who hopes to keep growing as a poet person. Read more of Marjorie’s work here.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

A Variation on a Recipe

by Ray Ball

There is not a single clean knife in my kitchen, so I have to use 
my nails to peel the garlic. I spent days learning all the words for different

species of plants and birds in a language I dream of speaking fluently— 
truthfully, if you asked me, in my mother tongue, to identify

trees in the arboretum or to point to a rose of Sharon I would 
still fail your test. Exotic and domestic birds in the bestiary cry out,

begging me to recognize their songs, to pluck them by the neck 
from my deck of cards. Pliny wrote about the partridge: 

all this libidinous bird wants to do is to fuck and fuck. I don’t 
believe I’ve ever tasted partridge, but I have heard its meat is bland, 

so, even though it’s chicken I’m cooking, I mince several cloves.



____

Ray Ball currently lives on the land of the Dena’ina, where she works as a history professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is the author of four books, including the chapbooks Tithe of Salt (Louisiana Literature, 2019) and Lararium (Variant Lit, 2020). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including descant, GlassOrange Blossom Review, and Waccamaw and have received multiple nominations for Pushcart and Best of the Net. She is an associate editor at Coffin Bell and an assistant editor at Juke Joint. You can find her on Twitter @ProfessorBall.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

My Mother Renames the Colors

by Amorak Huey

§ Nearby storm; or, a puckering of wind.

§ The heart, gratified.

§ Tangled-hair.

§ Encroaching city: parking-lot-in-summer.

§ Inhale, smoke, spark. 

§ Page by candleflicker.

§ Pond’s last water, evaporated. 

§ Radiosong, between stations.

§ The next morning; the oak uprooted; the spidering dirt.

§ Aching muscles, the work that made them.

§ The body; a body; not the only body.

§ Distant son.

§ Spinning planet, lost marble / the years it takes. 

§ Impossible sky.



____

Amorak Huey’s fourth book of poems is Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress Publications, 2021). Co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the chapbook Slash/Slash (Diode, 2021), Huey teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

episiotomy poem

by Chiara Di Lello

I broke out of your body
they told you I had to

for years I knew nothing
of suture or seep – 

I believe the tale you tell 
of the male doctor who had
no faith in supple or stretch
and leapt instead 
for the certainty of slice

I left it wounded, the bone
cradle you wrapped around me

If it were me, opened 
and sewed up again
would the memory ever sound
like anything but blade?

If it were someone 
who did it, not something
would their face turned toward me
not always say knife?

behind my eyes turns
a tiny, vicious machinery
what you keep from me
moves the wheels

I broke out of your body
you tell me I had to
it happened to me
but I happened to you



____

Chiara Di Lello is a writer and teacher whose work has appeared in Best New Poets, Noble / Gas Qtrly, Little Patuxent Review, and Yes Poetry, among others. She delights in public art, public libraries, and biking through New York City.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Abundance

by Lane Fields

The road cuts through halls of trees, snakes
through my hometown. See the signposts
for creeks and bisecting lanes named for broods

that never left the county. See tumbledown
two-room homesteads with John Deere
riding mowers chained to posts out back.

See stucco fortresses with their balustrade-lined
balconies and iron gates. See the fields
extend far beyond the view of the road,

acres stretching out and away from
developed land. See the blood-wet corpse
of a fawn in the gutter, its mother aching

somewhere in the clearing, surrounded
by birches, watchful owls, and hum of
cicadas, late summer’s abundant song.



____

Lane Fields is a queer, trans poet living in Boston and a student of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Lane’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in places such as Hobart, Yemassee, The New Southern Fugitives, and Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project. You can follow Lane on Instagram at @lane.fields or Twitter at @ohwowitslane.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

River Suite

by Lane Fields

 
I.
 
as the body yields
to a knife, so the land
             cedes to the river—

II.
 
my body became the river,
wound-wet; gored by grace
             -ful fingers, subdued;
 
from my chest came
a congregation, flurry of white
             birds; my body ached
 
with its gift—

III.
 
I am suspended with
thirst for the river, I know
             all of its names;
 
I speak to it, tender as a
lover, & it does the same;
             it calls me back
 
to the boy I never was,
calls me beautiful with
             its hundred tongues,

calls me past the field
of forgetting, calls me
             home.



____


Lane Fields is a queer, trans poet living in Boston and a student of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. Lane’s poetry is forthcoming or has appeared in places such as Hobart, Yemassee, The New Southern Fugitives, and Tupelo Press’s 30/30 Project. You can follow Lane on Instagram at @lane.fields or Twitter at @ohwowitslane.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Margate Main Sands on Christmas Day

by Anna Harvey

Christmas, and I drip out of a borrowed raincoat
Glasses speckling tidal spray
I am hungover, and the walk is entirely failing
to blow the cobwebs away
The day is an unfinished line
unravelling itself into the horizon
I am a thread loose of its spool
I want to be a whole shell – want to
unfurl myself onto the sand: widen,
be as big as the great grey skies
reflected in the sea;
which only throws
my own roar
back at me

____

Dr. Anna Harvey is a medical doctor in Cumbria, England. 

Published
Categorized as Poetry

The Encounter

by Constance Hansen

I have abandoned
the desire to learn

the name of the woman
floating in my childhood

bathtub. The first time I asked,
she stepped out of her polka dot dress

and into a cloak of clamshells and kelp.
The second time, she just stood there

dripping saltwater on the bathmat.
The third time, her index finger rose

to her lips in warning gesture. I ran
into my brother’s room to swipe a soft

pack of Marlboro Reds in offering,
but when I returned, she was gone.

I wonder after her
no more or less often

than cathedral pigeons
shitting down a fractal staircase

marvel at the vanishing
miracle of math.



____


Constance Hansen is an editorial assistant at Poetry Northwest. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Harvard Review Online and EcoTheo Review. She was a finalist for the 2021 Fugue Poetry Contest. Constance holds degrees from Middlebury College (BA Religion), The University of Washington (MFA Poetry), and Seattle University (Masters in Teaching). She lives in Seattle with her partner and young daughters.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Meet Me

by Constance Hansen

At the edge
of the mistaken
lake. Meet me

at the edge
of the woods,
where water

only laps rocks
in the wind, which,
too, is moon-ruled.

Meet me under
the towering firs,
where girls hung

used tampons
by the tails, like mice
on a haunted

Christmas tree.
The sisters were weird.
They’d been saving

their fetid darlings
in film canisters
and ornamented

a wintering
rhododendron
with contagious magic

because they favored
the boy who slept
inside the window

it scratched. How
do I know this
is a confessional poem?

Because I was there.
Meet me at the edge
of memory & fantasy,

of childhood & adulthood,
of attraction & repulsion.
Meet me in the middle

of the lake that GPS
led the car deep into.
Meet me in a faith

such as that, however
terminal, however
misplaced.

Like the moon,
we float on water;
we’re always new again.



____


Constance Hansen is an editorial assistant at Poetry Northwest. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming at Harvard Review Online and EcoTheo Review. She was a finalist for the 2021 Fugue Poetry Contest. Constance holds degrees from Middlebury College (BA Religion), The University of Washington (MFA Poetry), and Seattle University (Masters in Teaching). She lives in Seattle with her partner and young daughters.

Published
Categorized as Poetry