Category Archives: Poetry

Category to hold published poetry articles

Evening in Haidar’s Basement

Marlin M. Jenkins

Spring/Summer 2015

When I give him that look, he asks why I think it’s weird for him to rap along with the radio. He looks back at his game on the TV as I shake my head, place my hand on his shoulder. We were the first in school to begin to grow beards. We will order pizza with halal pepperoni; he will ask about my mother, what it was like for her to re-marry. My mother has not made Arabic food since she converted and met her husband at church. His mother rolls grape leaves on the front porch, wet like his gelled hair. She whispers to the neighbors. When he asks his questions, he stares into the hybridity in my arteries. I stare at the hair on his arms, compare the tight curls on my head, the curve of his nose.

Poet Marlin JenkinsMarlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit, graduated from Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, and will be attending University of Michigan’s MFA program this fall. His writings have found homes in River Styx, Yemassee, and Midwestern Gothic, among others. You can find him online at marlinmjenkins.tumblr.com and @Marlin_Poet.

What Shoes Do

Mary Catherine Harper

Summer 2017

I hated my mother sometimes
as all good girls do,
because there were too many
pairs of unused shoes
in her closet, hoarded there,
a heart beating only for itself.

But how could love be measured
by the amount of dust falling
on thirteen pairs of red shoes,
I chided myself.

I loved my mother,
most of the time,
remembering we both breathe
the same early morning air
with such relish,
before worrying over
the weather the day might bring,
this as all farm women
in my family are apt to do.

And apt to stare into the mirror,
where my skin has taken on the
texture of dried leather,
like that single pair of shoes
left in the garden,
untended, splitting open.

And apt to exaggerate
the count of shoes
and the texture of memory,
gaps where the past should be,
that oblique place
I cannot quite describe,
except to say it was small,
cramped with the clutter
of at least a hundred high heels
and no clear faces.

 

Mary Catherine HarperMary Catherine Harper, a Southwest Kansas drylands native, lives at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee in Ohio. She organizes the annual SwampFire Retreat for artists and writers in Angola, Indiana, and has poems in The Comstock Review, Cold Mountain Review, Old Northwest Review, Pudding Magazine, SLAB, MidAmerica, and New England Review. Her “Muddy World” won the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, and her chapbook, Some Gods Don’t Need Saints, was recently published.

When I Wore a Yellow Polka Dot Dress

by David Huddle

In the George Wythe High School auditorium,
at “The Boys’ Beauty Contest” in 1958,
I played to the rowdy crowd

as best I could but got only nervous laughs,
a couple of jeers, and mostly
tepid applause.

But here’s what I remember–how serious
Mary Sawyers was helping me
put on my make-up,

Nancy Umberger stuffing my bra with gym socks,
Sarah Parsons grieving over how wrong
my ballet flats

looked with that dress.  T.W. Alley,
our All-State tackle who’d got
his front teeth knocked

out that year–a 260 pound bawdy slut
who turned her back to the audience
and shook it–won,

and every single one of us teenage queens
knew T. deserved it, but still–
and I don’t know why nobody

ever talked about it–backstage, us boys
changing back to the sex
we were used to

and even the girls who’d helped change us–
we were all kind of quiet
and sad.

David Huddle‘s most recent books are Nothing Can Make Me Do This, a novel, and Black Snake at the Family Reunion, a collection of poems.  He’s a native of Ivanhoe, Virginia, and he makes his home in Burlington, Vermont.

What I Remember

by Carl Boon

August 6, 1945

It was the brightest morning in many days.
I saw the factory smoke
from the kitchen window
drifting east toward Fukuyama.

My daughter had cleaned the windows
on Saturday. We’d grown displeased
with the soot, what the firebombs
brought from Myoshi and Shobara.

I was putting the breakfast dishes away.
Sakura was listening to the radio.
I told her I’d cut her bangs,
for I believed the heat of summer

had made them long, and her wrists
brushed them often from her eyes,
her father’s eyes. He was dead at 8:17
under a lathe in the lumber factory,

lucky, I suppose, because he never felt
that rush of wind, the cup
that crushed Sakura’s jaw, the monsoon
that killed us again in September.

Carl BoonCarl Boon lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. Recent or forthcoming poems appear in Posit, The Tulane Review, Badlands, JuxtaProse, The Blue Bonnet Review, and many other magazines.

Looking at a Refugee

by Abhijit Sarmah

Fall 2018

I.
In a camp of over a million refugees,
the only unfamiliar face is
his mother’s.

II.
The raven scratches the ground,
but the refugee has no land
to bury himself in.

III.
Every time the old refugee
tells a joke
it is his laugh that is
funnier than the joke.

IV.
It was not too hungry
for summer, yet
not too cold for prayers.
The refugee kneeled
and was gone.

Abhijit SarmahAbhijit Sarmah is a Masters in English student at the University of Dibrugarh, Assam, in India.  He wrote a chapbook, The Voice Under Silence, in 2016.