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impenetrable grotto :: leonard kress

after the Polish of Szymon Zimorowicz, 1608-1629

In this hidden grotto, no bird or bell
awakens you, no light can penetrate,
and memory-numbing waters always spill
from some deeper dungeon just to create
sweeter dreams. Let the black wings of night
rush over you, longing to get in. Here, where
poppies glow and silent blackbirds prepare
to nest—Orpheus has come to meet

the one he’s watched night after night in dream.
The pleasure is greater the shorter it lasts,
or so he thinks. She grows more beautiful
with each pass, and he tries to touch her breasts.
Doesn’t he know she isn’t what she seems,
doesn’t he know the multiple meanings of fall?


your kingdom :: eleni sikelianos

if you like let the body feel
all its own evolution
inside, opening flagella
& feathers & fingers
door by door, a ragged

neuron dangling like
a participle to
hear a bare sound

on the path, find
a red-eye-hole rabbit, fat
of the bulbous stalk pecked out
to the core so you can

bore back to the salamander you
once were straggling under the skin
grope toward the protozoa
snagging on the rise toward placental knowing

who developed eyes for you agape in open waters

the worm that made a kidney-like chamber burrows in
directing your heart leftward in nodal cascade, slow at your
hagfish spine who

will bury your bones
investigate a redwood rain or tap
the garnet of your heartwood, bark, put
your flat needles on dry ice to inquire
after your tree family, father or mother in the fairy-ring
next to you, find you
are most closely related to grass
your hexaploid breathing pores gently closing at night, when
did you begin your coexistence with flowering
plants from which arose the bee before the
African honey badger but after the dark
protoplanetary disk of dust grains
surrounding the sun become
the earth you
had no nouns, did you

spell to locate the unreachable :: sarah messer

As no assistance could be expected
of the ocean, I turned to the trumpeting
tunnel of sky and rummaged
the tops of plum birch turning
their leaves like coins, then
to the tumbler sweating
on the porch rail. The sky,
the color of whale oil. The wind,
a box of uncolored letters. And so
I was gris-gris with my lichen hair
and moonstone wound
around my neck, a raccoon
stuck under an electric
fence, or a photo showing
only one wick at a séance.
How to unpin this particular
corner of sky? I sing
an antler song to find
you, but there’s no trace
of the sky in the sky. I’ll have to
collapse the air to find you.

evening storm :: sharon dolin

I want to paint the livingness of appearances.
—Marsden Hartley

What of these evening storms
where foam becomes rock—wave
becomes cove. Inside the billow as
you always dreamed it would be
two men collapse into being.
Like so, the rocks give up their
solid stance. If Hart threw
himself from ship to sea, how
can you, Hartley, hardly alive
in this solitude, not find his
eye inside of you. There is a crest
a recurring tall wave that comes
for you. So little light gets through
other than in sea foam your desire
knit to storm—here is your Maine mountain where the upsurge
the passional thrust gets through.

when I heard the learn’d astronomer :: walt whitman

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the      lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

stone on watch at dawn :: brynn saito

See the writer again
at the gate of memory?

The land cracks open with wind
and shots of rain.

She should drown her pages
in the sky, take to the ground
like a dogged gardener.

Turn the soil into something new —

Survive the past.

Whispers at the barbed wire
no longer suffice. What works is singing
from the cave of the self

where memories of knives
and clouds shaped like tiger faces

live together like children
unaware of their potential.

like stride :: cedar sigo

We will live forever misaligning the changes
into further time stinted tricks
giving up post kickflip failures
scribbling prepared remarks to notebooks
unlocked over dry spells flooded with demand
salt crystals crushed, the past flashed
and I was a working writer, nursing the pools
in everyone’s hearts, disembarking
soothing the air around a final question
away in the country toweling off
my doing the most proper thing turned
somehow slick, of feminine wiles, a clap trap
case book, the dream at the end so delicate
and put out. Makes light so pained
two reclining long in the turn of the neck
in like stride, imparting poetic asides
(bored to tears in Taos) cross out words
and tunnel the line, the guts will sit atop
glistening, hand stamped valves really
toying with release, a lighted display
corresponding controls, to repave
an entire arcade in release of our well
whiskey texting back dimension
We are poor and not cheap, in love
with the same little song slashed booklet