Marianne Moore

by Tom Snarsky

The knight asks, stellarly, if he can
Cleave gulls into nü shapes
W/which to pepper our cracked sky like

Mastodon on vinyl, or maybe aging
Into a mirror made of teenagers. I flaw
Whilst winsome and make breakfast

My priority, flowing down the river
Of the average workday *completely*
Unafraid; listen for speeches,

They’re how you know a character
Is in love. If you notice the actor
Making choices that’s because we

Needed that model of how to take
A snowflake on your tongue and
Shepherd it fully to meltdown. It is

Thine, the Renaissance painting of changing
My mind, and it predates the invention
Of chiaroscuro by ~ -500 years.



____

Tom Snarsky is a math teacher who writes poems. His book Light-Up Swan is now available from Ornithopter Press

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Our Mother Who Loved Strangers More

by Jessica Cuello

didn’t want strangers in her house.
Strangers were separate and pure.

Omens for an unknown guest:
hair floating in a cup

excrescence on a candlewick.
Strangers kept their hearts preserved. 

Ours were shrivelled quince 
shrinking from their child skins.

They came from her interior—
messy, weepy, without warning. 

She always took the stranger’s side, 
the stranger’s word. In her obituary 

she wrote: To remember me, 
be kind to a stranger. An utter, 

a total, a perfect. No bloody cord
to them, no hurting likeness there.



____

Jessica Cuello is the author of Liar, selected by Dorianne Laux for the 2020 Barrow Street Book Prize and forthcoming in 2021. She is also the author of Hunt (The Word Works, 2017) and Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016). She has been awarded The 2017 CNY Book Award, The 2016 Washington Prize, The New Letters Poetry Prize, a Saltonstall Fellowship, and The New Ohio Review Poetry Prize. She is a poetry editor at Tahoma Literary Review. Read more of Jessica’s work at https://jessicacuello.com/.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

First Shower Ever on the Niagara Falls Church Trip

by Jessica Cuello

At eight I felt a caress / from the diary with the metal clasp 
The conch shell whispered in my ear / I touched the hard pink flesh

I kissed paper / stroked my own hair / passed my hands against 
the wall back and forth / Wall like cloth / cloth like skin to touch

I kissed it / My first shower was on the trip to the falls / We leaned 
close to peer in the cavern of Death / a mist that touched the neck

I peeled the paper from the tiny motel soap / The water only came 
out cold / So this was a shower / water pressure touching skin

The other girls left me on the trail /  slow animal / I did not 
push back / The held are brazen and the touchless cowards



____

Jessica Cuello is the author of Liar, selected by Dorianne Laux for the 2020 Barrow Street Book Prize and forthcoming in 2021. She is also the author of Hunt (The Word Works, 2017) and Pricking (Tiger Bark Press, 2016). She has been awarded The 2017 CNY Book Award, The 2016 Washington Prize, The New Letters Poetry Prize, a Saltonstall Fellowship, and The New Ohio Review Poetry Prize. She is a poetry editor at Tahoma Literary Review. Read more of Jessica’s work at https://jessicacuello.com/.

Published
Categorized as Poetry

Backstage

by Kyla Houbolt

When nightrain comes the water creatures play.
They are not the song of garbage can lids
nor will they dance in the lights of cars.
They find hidden alleys, lost yards.
Abandonment pleases them.
They sing in secret,
praise and preen long gray bodies,
dance for the sweet mud,
wonder what lives
behind dark windows,
swear up hard oaths of thunder,
own it all.



____


Kyla Houbolt lives in Catawba territory, so-called Gastonia, NC. She published two chapbooks in 2020: Dawn's Fool in March, and Tuned in November. Links to acquire those are on her website, https://www.kylahoubolt.com/, as are links to digitally published individual pieces. When she isn't making poems she's making gardens.
Published
Categorized as Poetry

Eel Facts

by Taylor Brunson

What’s electric, uneeled, 
is a knifefish. In a pulse,
language, a reading

of the room. The electric eel
is shaped like an eel. 
The electric eel will produce

electricity like a knifefish.
I tell you how electric
eels swim backwards

and forwards, thriving
in stagnant water, ribbon
of a fin making its own

waves. How electric eels 
have taught me how little
it means to be named

and unnamed, whether
there is a peace to be made 
between what others make

of you and what you know
of yourself. Stunning
unribbon, unblade, unfish,

uneel. Electric, homing
where a threat can be carried
furthest. I know what you are

but what am I if I cannot cut
the water, here in the place
where I can be called anything.



____

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