House in the Marsh

by Eric Whiteside

Fisherman don’t have to live in it.
Just long enough to get
out of the rain.
No matter how broken down,
a house is better than the marsh.
The sun might set from left to right several times
before they reach the living room, but
there’s a roof. It leaks a little,
but it’s mostly dry inside.
There’s a deck of cards someone left
in the parlor.
And if they meet and pass themselves,
they can just keep looking ahead,
never turning around,
at least it’s dry inside.
But if the river floods,
then they better get out quick.
If the peacocks and the herons get quiet,
then they better get their things;
they better get out quick,
through the back doorway,
heading away from the river.
If they don’t sleep going home,
they better wonder
who saw what storm
from the other door. What hands
pounding the door,
wringing every rotten plank into
an unbreakable backbone of stars.

House of Milk and Honey

by Daniel Harper

While I took a shower
you snuck through my door
placed on my kitchen table
a one pint bottle
from the “House of Milk
and Honey” that held
three daffodils, dressed
in the richest yellow
that filled my apartment
with a gentle perfume.
Wealthier than old Solomon
with all of his gardens
I forgot my worries
of overdue books
and made an omelette
with green peppers
and sharp cheddar cheese.

Winter

by Cody Winchester

One December, a horse
fell through ice and
couldn’t reach bottom in
dark winter water.
After that, we didn’t glide
on slippery paths anymore.
When ice turned to slush,
we stood silent and
watched chains around
the bloodstained skull
grow taut and black tires dig.
The dogs and birds ate away
any flesh above the ice
and after the first thaw,
a tractor pulled out the rest.
Around the warm stove, we
tried not to think about
being dead in inky black water
for three months.

For Flannery O’Connor

by Jill Hemming

My grandma always said
her favorite glasses
were thick cat-eye shapes
with fake cut diamonds.
The kind you wear in the portrait ·
at the back of your book.
Your buck teeth waggle
like they’ll poke to 3-D
as I shut this cover
on your crazy hair that puffs
too silly. You don’t look
like you ever went to a formal
and I bet the boys
laughed at your back
when you walked
but oh, I think I like you
despite six feet of dark earth.
You’re still pushing stones,
trying to topple
the hard monuments
men cement to your feet.

Confirmation

by Marni Asplund Campbell

Some time
I’ll show you a picture
of your concrete arrival
in a small glass tube,
authoritative, lab-like,
filled and mixed
with litmus blue, or
acid pink-
some chemical code
that I must crack to see
if you exist.
I turn to set the dock,
wait for your message,
and you reply too quickly:
I am here,
in cloudy color.
I falter, and slowly sit
on our cold floor,
call your father,
“dear God,” I say, and we sit
holding hands,
watching the liquid miracle.