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garden :: boris pasternak

by

The drowsy garden scatters insects
Bronze as the ash from braziers blown.
Level with me and with my candle,
Hang flowering worlds, their leaves full-grown.

As into some unheard-of dogma
I move across into this night,
Where a worn poplar age has grizzled
Screens the moon’s strip of fallow light,

Where the pond lies, an open secret,
Where apple-bloom is surf and sigh,
And where the garden, a lake-dwelling,
Holds out in front of it the sky.

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the mango :: mary oliver

by

One evening
I met the mango.
At first there were four or five of them
in a bowl.
They looked like stones you find
in the rivers of Pennsylvania
when the waters are low.
That size, and almost round.
Mossy green.
But this was a rich house, and clever too.
After salmon and salads,
mangoes for everyone appeared on blue plates,
each one cut in half and scored
and shoved forward from its rind, like an orange flower,
cubist and juicy.
When I began to eat
things happened.
All through the sweetness I heard voices,
men and women talking about something—
another country, and trouble.
It wasn’t my language, but I understood enough.
Jungles, and death. The ships
leaving the harbors, their holds
filled with mangoes.
Children, brushing the flies away
from their hot faces
as they worked in the fields.
Men, and guns.
The voices all ran together
so that I tasted them in the taste of the mango,
a sharp gravel in the flesh.
Later, in the kitchen, I saw the stones
like torn-out tongues
embedded in the honeyed centers.
They were talking among themselves—
family news,
a few lines of a song

thought as philosophical torment :: will alexander

In the mirror of excessive drift
there exist those values
which exist within schisms
within error wracked spectrums
which glow by means of vapour
above anti-dimensional obstruction

the visage of metrics
tuned to a mesmeric lisp
to a rancid facial dice
thrown across ethers
across 3 or 4 sierras or voids

so that each sculpting
each prism
advances
the apparitional understanding
to a macro-positional scalding
which collapses
which takes on the centigrade of absence
bound to invisible comradery

provisional :: catherine bowman

When he procured her, she purveyed
him. When he rationed her out,
she made him provisional. On being

provisional, he made her his trough.
On being a trough, she made him her silo.
At once a silo, he made her his cut. On being a cut,

she made him her utensil. On being
a utensil, he turned her downhill. So being
downhill, she made him her skis.

When she was his stethoscope,
he was her steady beat. From beat
she was dog, from dog he was fetch,

from fetch she was jab, from jab
he was fake. When he was her complex
equation, she was his simple math.

So she turned him into strong evidence,
accessory after the fact. So he turned
her eyes private, made her his man

on the lam. So he became her psalm,
so she became his scrubby tract. When he
became an aesthete, she became his

claw-foot bath. So she made him a rudimentary
fault line; so he made her a volcanic rim.
So she made him her unruly quorum;

so he made her his party whip.
That’s when they both became
mirror, and then both became lips.

From lips she was trumpet, from trumpet
he was mute. Then he made her his margin
of error. Then she made him stet.

summary between bodies :: alexandra mattraw

When we reach the summit, you tell of repetition. The way an orange unpeels itself in such heat. : All bruised skin wants to give way in the manner of water. We stop field center, but the green world sweats, thickens like hair. Each pasture clots a day’s naming. We share corner store bread : Fingers break the body in two. Darkness trembles light waning bees. My styrofoam anxiety a cup misplaced I bite into moons. Then print-crescents : Your foot on soil as proof of where sadness went. Why I didn’t have reason to change my mind, pick each wild iris apart : I see you not. Your foot shores my other. This pattern to sea pebbles larger notions of stability. Sodden bread spreads where we left it. Your arm confused with mine. The envy of sands, rocks war up waves to tell them.

detail of the hayfield :: richard siken

I followed myself for a long while, deep into the field.
Two heads full of garbage.

Our scope was larger than I realized,
which only made me that much more responsible.

Yellow, yellow, gold, and ocher.
We stopped. We held the field. We stood very still.

Everyone needs a place.

You need it for the moment you need it, then you bless it—
thank you soup, thank you flashlight

and move on. Who does this? No one.

ghazal: america the beautiful :: alicia ostriker

Do you remember our earnestness our sincerity
in first grade when we learned to sing America

The Beautiful along with the Star-Spangled Banner
and say the Pledge of Allegiance to America

We put our hands over our first grade hearts
we felt proud to be citizens of America

I said One Nation Invisible until corrected
maybe I was right about America

School days school days dear old Golden Rule Days
when we learned how to behave in America

What to wear, how to smoke, how to despise our parents
who didn’t understand us or America

Only later learning the Banner and the Beautiful
live on opposite sides of the street in America

Only later discovering the Nation is divisible
by money by power by color by gender by sex America

We comprehend it now this land is two lands
one triumphant bully one still hopeful America

Imagining amber waves of grain blowing in the wind
purple mountains and no homeless in America

Sometimes I still put my hand tenderly on my heart
somehow or other still carried away by America