the Angel Wants to Tell Me
by Lynn Wagner
Not to fly. To stand, to erode slowly
the decade, stare
into sun, moon, eclipse,
grow stiff in
without weeping. What she herself
has been practicing
so long now, and if
I listen close, her way is plain,
plan good. Go down
to God’s Little Acre, she will
and dig your own homey ditch.
down in its damp outline
and breathe in. Then look to the sky
and tell me your name.
Who would dream such a thing.
And yet, I clearly saw the sign
the cemetery fence: ‘Absolutely
no dogs or fake flowers. These
will be locked at dusk.’ The angel
on me and never blinks.
She’s seen the ruin of her city:
snuffed blast furnaces, rusted
railroad tracks, the dry canal. She
the heaviest labors are over. Emptiness,
breeds a certain species
of space, such as moonglow or
muffled hope inside my mouth
when I try to speak.
Get up is what the angel tells me
it’s then I want to kiss her
full on her concrete lips forgetting
some future day when strangers will come
cover me in the
of Sunday picnics. There, where
will shit on me
and squirrels mate blindly
on the flat marker
of my days. Then
the shadow of the angel washes over me,
Wagner’s poems have appeared in Shenandoah, subtropics, Rhino and 5AM. She
has been awarded fellowships to the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts by the
Vira I. Heinz Foundation. Lynn received an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh,
where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets prize. A newcomer to Colorado,
she maintains a web presence at http://lynnwagner.pbwiki.com/.
of all was the straight grain
a mind with nowhere much to wander,
perfect attention to the ceaseless tick-tock
of the hours,
and praying, in my
hollow heart, to the gods
and plane who shaped my walk
lifted my limbs away from the fire
and into the murky light
and bone, and left me here.
joint in me still squeaks with gratitude
if I complain at all it’s because
I’m nearly human.
after all, is as plain as a trestle table
with the shavings of a dream
which the seeds of moisture recede,
leaving me a little warped
morning, a bit stiff, nose out of joint,
a dwindling dream of trees and the light talk
the birds, and the men with their singing and their saws,
ready to work on all I would become.
published by Alehouse Press
A native of Virginia, Ted
Gilley lives in southern Vermont and works at the Chapin Library of Rare Books
of Williams College. He is the winner of the 2008 Alehouse Press
poetry prize. His poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, Free Verse and
The National Review and his fiction has been published in New England Review,
Northwest Review and Prairie Schooner and other magazines and anthologies.
by Ron Lavalette
I don’t know when it happened;
it all fall away. I let it fall
the long drive to work in the morning
in the sunlight, let it fall crossing
ridge after jaded ridge, fall
with the glimpse of an unlikely hawk
or a capture of crows, or the stacking
of cordwood, the season’s
fog on the hillside, or the flutter
of a yellow
kite in a midsummer wind.
Like the stones of the dead, untended
in the long grass in the middle of June,
in the middle of
nowhere I let it fall,
left it all behind and disappeared,
slipped into seamless dreams, drifted
through blue nights and black mornings.
I watched the water boil for coffee,
sat by the river and watched
run away toward heaven, heard angels
whisper in the
leaves, left the secret
undiscovered, saw the uncertain moon
swim, reflected in dark, starlit pools.
Gone, now, the last of
a ll the wasted words;
the effort, senseless, of upward struggle.
published in The Comstock Review
Lavalette lives in the Northeast Kingdom region of Vermont, barely a snowball’s
throw from the Canadian border. His work has appeared in dozens of print
journals such as The Anthology of New England Writers, EDGZ, Lynx Eye, Maelstrom,
The Pine Island Journal, and Raintown Review. His work has also appeared in pixel
form at Able Muse, Conspire, The Country Mouse, The Crescent Moon Journal, MiPo,
New Works Review, The Orange Room Review, Stirring, The Writer’s Hood, among
by Katie Phillips
smile at the stack of Bob Dylan CDs
not holding in the passenger seat.
clouds have gathered. My "Wow" rises
the harmonica for your benefit,
you can't see that one sunlit peak
the midst of threatening sky. The road turns
at the "Welcome to Anaconda" sign
I pat my raincoat, crassly folded
your lap should be. "Anaconda was almost
state capital," I say, but that's all I know
you don't ask for more. You wouldn't mind
singing and swerving onto the shoulder
more snapshots over the car door.
it's only when I get just south of Philipsburg
you not being here feels like absence.
want you to see these dark rotting barns,
of Highway One. It seems only you
know why my eyes fill the road
water again when a flock of swallows
through an open barn door
out the gaping roof.
Katie Phillips spent time in Maryland, Colorado, and Montana before moving to a
suburb of Chicago. She feels fortunate to be able to walk to work with her
dog. She has had poems published in the Cider Press Review and
The Raintown Review; was a finalist in Byline Magazine’s Silver Anniversary
Chapbook Contest; and was finalist for an 2006 Illinois Arts Council Grant.
by David Cummings
recently I found a black and white photograph.
is twelve, a single figure standing in a whiteness.
is her last year and I do not know the occasion,
it has weight, for she is wearing her finest kimono.
in this old recovered photograph, the silk shines.)
she seems wrapped in it, secured, arms arrested at her sides,
slender wrists bare below the sleeves, and her hands—hands
would fold nine hundred sixty-four cranes—so still now.
it is her small, round face that haunts me. How serious
is, the dark, dark eyes looking out at me forever
that place of forever—something passing through the veil,
of what winter’s beauty is. And behind her\
houses, leafless trees, a ditch, unfinished Hiroshima.
is no child but this child.
Sadako-san, somber unfinished child of cranes,
dead October 25, 1955—
ten years and eighty-one days after the black rains.
on any day, looking up at the Park’s little statue
or down at the new
bounty of cranes, would not embrace
the ease of hope? But in this recovered
face, this child
dark as eternity, is as true a form. Let me hold her
constant in thought that the work of hope work rock and water.
of the heart toward the soul, the high flight of mind
in the realms where
like spring possibility is reborn,
is the welcomed half of love; here is the
half that makes it whole.
Light of two Sadako-san to guide me,
one in stone imagined, one real;
one the rare light of joy, one sorrow’s light—
let each call to me the other.
Cummings started writing poetry after he left his position in the Theoretical
Physics Department at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Meditating on
his experience during travels in Japan and Europe led him to begin writing on
the subject of war and its devastations, both physical and spiritual. His work
has appeared in Poetry Flash, Bellowing Ark, The Sandhill Review, Cuts From the
Barber Shop, and Convergence.
by Rachel Malis
didn't come to Odessa to raise our dead.
have enough to talk about.
me stories about you,
dusk in the summer. Tell me which park benches
you bring girls to, and what were their names?
much did you ever win at cards? Tell me
watermelon stands you liked best.
did your house smell like,
you punished if you broke something inside?
name the exact green
of your army
kind of weather on the day
you had to leave.
those who said goodbye at the train,
you packed, the color of your suitcase.
want to know if you held your mother's hand.
shade of blue her eyes were that night.
published by Oberon Poetry
will be graduating from ASU with her MFA in May 2010. She was the recipient of
the Academy of American Poets Junior Prize at George Washington University in
2007. She is the recent winner of the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival
Poetry Award, has been published in Oberon, and has work forthcoming in the New
Mexico Poetry Review.