by Steve Wing
Steve Wing lives in Florida and has been a frequent contributor to qarrtsiluni. More about him can be found here.
Flesh and metal collide
road kill sets with asphalt
The small mammal bones
I dug up last fall
one cervical vertebra
one miniature femur
one blackened fossa
Back to one
the hope I pin my life on
brushing my daughter’s hair
tasting your mouth in mine
raking the dirt with my bare hands
Written on the bones of the dead
is knowledge free from pain
is the hieroglyph for hope
Katherine Glatter is returning to writing poetry after many years’ hiatus. She has been a massage therapist since 1988. She moved from to Amherst, Massachusetts in 2000 to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique, completing her training in 2003. She has always loved words as well as the workings of the body, inside and out. She is also a Sacred Harp singer, a pursuit she took up after moving to New England.
from the Bed Bug Diaries
Like a good hit man,
we know when to lie
low, when to disappear
for months on end,
how to blend invisible
in crowds, slip hidden
into cracks and fabric
rips, rest along metal
spirals in foam, avoid
the fuzz, St. Anthony’s
medals of lost-not-found:
gone to the mattresses.
Joanie DiMartino is the author of Licking the Spoon (Finishing Line Press) and Strange Girls (Little Red Tree Publishing). Along with writing and performing poetry, she hosts the monthly Soup & Sonnets Salon for Women from her home in Connecticut, which is finally free of bed bugs.
In Athens, the old gods still sleep on marble
Artemis bares her belly to the sky
while Hephaestus slinks near taverna kitchens,
seeking the ovens’ warmth.
Aphrodite flirts in the crossroads,
wandering streets and boulevards,
She will prance and preen for treats from sugared fingers,
and slip from scent to scent.
Poseidon paces the square
too long from the sea and too restless to seek it.
He bays for rain and guards the puddles
Tridentlessly protecting tiny, dirty kingdoms
Zeus pads the perimeter
lounges beneath the cypress, laps from the fountain,
far from Hera beneath the orange trees,
Her Hesperides still fragrant, her eyes closed to the exhaust.
Dawn Nikithser has been writing since she could hold a crayon in her babyfat hand. She is pleased to say that both her handwriting and her ideas have improved since then, though she will still use a crayon if nothing else is available.
My first clumsy step in the dark alerted
broods, dens, clans, nests. Their snarls
resembled broken dinner plates, shards from vases. So close
to a smile, I’m always put at ease with gleaming.
Animals complain, I didn’t bring anything sharp. They hold me down
and sniff me for metal, I feel whiskers and breath
on my body. They examine my claws, blunt. Pull back my lips
with their paws, but don’t bother to steal
my teeth: those dull aspirin tablets. They fit me with a starter jaw:
mosaic teeth from a mason jar.
They must have found a crate of marbles. Eyes green
or yellow. I can’t discern: are some marbles black,
or are eye sockets empty? It is impossible
to identify variants of black against the navy backdrop of sky.
Their eyes must be their own light source. I brag: my human eyesight
allows me to read books. Nobody is impressed.
They snatch my glasses and immediately crack them
into usable shards. The forest blurs.
Trees wear animals like jewelry. A live creature is the most attractive ornament.
They perpetually stitch themselves a new hide. Even the smallest furs
can be patched together. A sturdier skeleton allows
them to brandish a wider jaw. Nobody has a taste
for wearing human,
so I’m safe.
Barbed, pink ribbon tongues wag
throughout the woods. Only mine is tooth-pricked.
An animal with enormous ears whispers
into mine that I have arrhythmia. My heart
is the most delicate ornament
I’ve ever worn.
Valerie Loveland (website) is the author of Reanimated, Somehow (Scrambler Books, 2009). Her poems have been featured in the Dzanc Books anthology Best of the Web 2008 and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.
It’s the shit commute,
the hour-long drag from the Cubans I live with
to the blacks I work with.
The slog of cars—passing
dollar stores and bakeries and gas stations and
old women selling Dasani from a neck-strapped cooler;
back-packed children mocking the stalled and the flat,
laughing at the slouched bodies, shielding their eyes,
in the bus stop of the abandoned.
These old men on scooters putt between cars.
It’s just another week stocking shelves at the grocery,
but in two little years, the monthly checks kick in;
then the sweet sound of salary passed under the table.
On any given block here,
I can buy weed, a bag of mangoes, a woman.
At the red light, half-way to work,
I see her attempt at crossing six lanes of traffic.
She’s got twelve seconds before the crosswalk signal
will demand she stop.
But she’s late today and the left strap of the electric
hangs down around her bicep.
The skin, blue-blacked by decades of sun, ends
at a pair of faded orange flats.
There’s no time to walk here like a lady,
like she practiced for days before crossing the stage
that commencement year in Trinidad.
In Miami, she’s running late to her own shit job,
a staggered parakeet,
a swirl of tropicalia in this drive-thru ghetto.
When the arrow goes green and the guy behind me honks,
she startle-taps the hood of my car.
Moves on ahead.
I’ll notice she’s left behind faint fingerprints of sweat and dust,
of the many many days of this journey to here,
the fat from last night’s fried fish.
Leave me the deep smudge memory of who she is now,
of who I once was—
before I tamped it down hard.
Rafael Miguel Montes is a Cuban-American poet and Cultural Studies professor working and writing in Miami. His work tends to explore the two worlds that he seems to consistently inhabit—Little Havana and Academia. The ultimate irony is that although his family was exiled from Cuba and brought to the United States, he now teaches English as a Second Language and American Literature to students who have also been exiled or made refugee from turbulent countries. His poetry has been published in a number of journals in the United States, the Caribbean and the UK. He has most recently appeared in The Caribbean Writer, CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character, Prole (UK), and The New York Quarterly.
dancing in the updraft, alleluia spectralem gloriosus dominus
you will not hear it coming, the whoosh of wingspan could be anything
wind, tasers, tinnitus
a phantom call from the creditors
Oh hail Mary full of ghosts give us the blessing before the burn
area spreads full spectrum bruise red purple blue black brown yellow
look into its eyes, see whirlpools in the Styx
slick with sludge, fertilizer runoff
see your eyes in a bad webcam photo
see yourself drowning
as with most noctuam species, male owls are usually smaller
Minerva wants what she wants
a nice temple, vineyard, legions of honour
tall evergreens for her owls
Poet, science writer and interdisciplinary adventurer, Mari-Lou Rowley (website) has come between a mother bear and her cub, encountered a timber wolf when alone in the woods, found 36 four-leaf clovers, and has published several collections of poetry, including the just-published Undus Mundus (Anvil Press). She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, near the river—and wild-life thoroughfare.