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before summer rain :: rainer maria rilke

translated by Jay Hopler

And just like that, from all the green in the garden,
you don’t know what, some…thing, is taken away;
you feel it come near the window
and be quiet. From the hedgerow

is heard the call of the plover, as plaintive
as it is strong. You think of Jerome:
there is in this one voice such an intense loneliness,
only a downpour

could answer it. The chamber walls
with their pictures of us step away, so as not to overhear our conversation.
And the faded wallpaper shines

with the uncertain light of those
childhood afternoons, in which you were
so very, very scared.


each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea :: sumita chakraborty

saying a fable three times
turns it into plainest vision
thrice I say fugitive home
fugitive home fugitive home

this the dunes know
as wind strips
their bodies of the dirt
that forms them
I dreamed my mother
onto this beach
bejeweled by erosion
that turns tree-bones into clay
this the dunes know
as wind strips
their bodies of the dirt
that forms them
I dreamed my mother
face-down in the salt
I practice saying fugitive
unable to say home
this the dunes know
as wind strips
their bodies of the dirt
that forms them

Note: The title of “Each one the other’s phantom limb in the sea” comes from a translation of Sorescu by Seamus Heaney.

bat :: rodney gomez

It hung in the nave
& refused to pray.

The parishioners thought
it was a hand
of plantains,

the vicar a sign
from God to let
good things in.

He refused to spring
for an exterminator.

It sailed down one day
during the Parable
of the Weeds

to attack a black mantilla
more bat than silk.

As it flapped
& clawed its way
to climax,

the woman beneath
cried out for a beating.

The vicar complied,
using the monstrance
to quiet her down
while the bat remained.

Heaven is only
for the innocent.

more than enough :: marge piercy


The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.

the seekers of lice :: arthur rimbaud


translated by wallace fowlie

When the child’s forehead, full of red torments,
Implores the white swarm of indistinct dreams,
There come near his bed two tall charming sisters
With slim fingers that have silvery nails.

They seat the child in front of a wide open
Window where the blue air bathes a mass of flowers
And in his heavy hair where the dew falls
Move their delicate, fearful and enticing fingers.

He listens to the singing of their apprehensive breath.
Which smells of long rosy plant honey
And which at times a hiss interrupts, saliva
Caught on the lip or desire for kisses.

He hears their black eyelashes beating in the perfumed
Silence; and their gentle electric fingers
Make in his half-drunken indolence the death of the little lice
Crackle under their royal nails.

Then the wine of Sloth rises in him,
The sigh of an harmonica which could bring on delirium;
The child feels, according to the slowness of the caresses
Surging in him and dying continuously a desire to cry.

haiku :: etheridge knight


Eastern guard tower
glints in sunset; convicts rest
like lizards on rocks.

The piano man
is stingy, at 3 A.M.
his songs drop like plum.

Morning sun slants cell.
Drunks stagger like cripple flies
On jailhouse floor.

To write a blues song
is to regiment riots
and pluck gems from graves.

A bare pecan tree
slips a pencil shadow down
a moonlit snow slope.

The falling snow flakes
Cannot blunt the hard aches nor
Match the steel stillness.

Under moon shadows
A tall boy flashes knife and
Slices star bright ice.

In the August grass
Struck by the last rays of sun
The cracked teacup screams.

Making jazz swing in
Seventeen syllables AIN’T
No square poet’s job.

jet plane :: donald f. drummond


Within the cracking air the plane defies
My listening ears: aluminum has spanned
Horizon and horizon, while the hand
Has scarcely settled over seeking eyes.
The sound remains to throb against the drums:
A mortal thunder nurtured in the head,
And brought to being when the fact has sped
Beyond recall of all the down-turned thumbs.

The cancer of the mind refuses treatment,
Usurps the lightning and complains of thunder,
Digs out the keystone under the escarpment,
Reviles the avalanche which returns it under.
The mind is color-blind and tired and set:
The color of its flaming wake is jet.