I Have a Theory About Reflection

by Renée Ashley

I cannot put my mother in the freezer and neither can I store her/ in the attic nor in the bank nor in the canister of sugar In (...)

Asking of the Bird What it Cannot Offer

by Laura Van Prooyen

The grackles could be a figment. so too, the outdoor café / and the couple under the tre that clatters with noise (...)


Yegus y Caballos

by Travis Klunick

It was late in the night but Larry sat on the old church pew that served for the bench on their porch and he watched the great cumulonimbus flare out over the plains, anviling tall into the night. The thunder came rolling over the creosote, as though somewhere out in that darkness a colossus stood billowing canvas out from him far into the heavy storm air. The first gusts of wind were just reaching the porch and he drank out of an old crockware pitcher full of mescal that Luis had brought him. The downdraft hit the house and Larry’s hat blew off and landed on the ground and the smell of rain came in rich and deep on the wind. The first drops began sounding on the tin roof of the house and Larry thought with his insides warm from the alcohol that it was fitting that there be storm outside as there was storm inside and he fell asleep out on the old church pew with the mescal on the ground beside him (...)
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by Linda Gregg

What do they say about the land of the dead? / About the ceremony of the body? / About women in long dresses? (...)

Big Moon Over the Neighborhood

by David Bruzina

The herd is strong in me. It steers me when I think. / I feel it grunting in my stomach when I sleep. / I walk with my herd invisibly around me. / All my confusions are forms of loneliness.(...)


by Ashley Barnett

A tropical storm grows in the Atlantic with your name. / We listen to warnings on the radio as we drive to the shore, / passing boarded-up houses and closed storefronts. (...)

Waking at Night

by Jack Gilbert

The blue river is grey at morning / and evening. There is twilight / at dawn and dusk. (...)
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The Glass Mountain

by Aimee Pokwatka

“Quiet, now,” she told us. “It’s like Tinker Bell.”/ “What’s like Tinker Bell?” Gnome asked. It was a stupid question, but we forgave him because his eyes were the color of a sandstorm, and he sat still as an injured bird./ “If you don’t believe, it won’t come true.” Aunt Halina was patient with these types of questions. She wasn”t really our aunt. She smelled like melted butter, and she had a scar on her chest that she wouldn’t let us see. She started the story again. (...)


The Voice Before

by Melody S. Gee

Echoes uncurl down this canyon/ like patient honey rolling. Rocks repeat/ everything I say. A tree falls/ as many times as I can hear it. (...)

The Dogs

by Julia Johnson

The wide range converges./ The moon dilutes itself on the plate.// A blue shape, a coat of sorts, wears itself out. (...)
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Post Trauma

by Christina Duhig

The girls hold each other up. / Cameras blacken and turn the fire / engines quiet. An ambulance stalls. (...)


by Jon Obermeyer

It’s not / the kiss of coffee / or the glancing touch of feathered down, or first sunlight shared / like sections of the newspaper. (...)


The Fall of Rome

by Anthony Varallo

He shouldn’t have worn sneakers. That was a mistake. A shower would have helped, too. Why could he never remember that skipping a shower didn’t lend him a feeling of rebelliousness, as his mirror would like to have him think, but only made him feel slimy, insecure? Conner stopped to retie his shoelace in front of the library. The library was closed now, as were the dining halls, the student center, and the university bookstore; a week ago Conner had sold back his books for Professor Palma’s course, Ancient Rome. Forty-one dollars and ninety-three cents. Conner felt guilty for selling these, and so had kept The Twelve Caesars by way of apology. He’d imagined Professor Palma watching him from a hidden window, nodding. (...)
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Where You Fell

by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

The snow held your shape like bedding, / the shadow of your hand over your head ruined / by the feet of the men who found and carried you. (...)

The Bed Is a Still Life of Flying

by Leigh Anne Couch

She’s driving her bed through an illustrated town, / and the road snaps off like a pencil: (...)

Instructions to a Portraitist

by Jennifer Militello

Add to me a mechanical voice, the smell / of the heavens because they smell of the earth, / and what would hydrogen-react with past forms of us // falling. (...)



by James W. Wyatt

Gordon reached across the jumble of plates for the bottle of raki. He’d lost track of the conversation around him. The taverna sat high on a hill, its balcony overlooking the Sea of Marmara, but even at a height the smell of murky water and dead fish reached his nostrils. (...)
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Field Guide to Stillness

by Charlotte Matthews

There is a steep hill and clover / thick as lamb’s ear, as leather bellows / splayed to rouse fire embers. (...)

Panegyric for Sid

by Patrick Phillips

The belly. // The belly / of the boy. // The glowing white / and gray ultrasound / of the head, / and the legs, / and the belly / of the shimmering / sea-horse-sized / boy. (...)


by Patrick Phillips

After the biopsy, / after the bone scan, / after the consult and the crying, (...)
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Not That Happiness

by Greg Rappleye

Not bluebirds nesting in a wooden box / nailed to your picket fence. (...)

The Sweeper

by Byron Webb

Night arrives with a handful of hard stars / to throw in the deeps of the blueblack vault. (...)

A Story About the Body

by Martin Arnold

Anger can erupt like a lawn mower pieced together / Suddenly exploding / Yellow jackets (...)

Fear of Wonder

by Maria Hummel

I want to be the people / in the architect’s model / faceless shapely always / striding beside the shiny / walls girders windows halls (...)

Black Light

by A. Van Jordan

Our bodies cast a shadow of one / Body under a black-bulb pulse / In your mother’s basement. Light, even (...)


by A. Van Jordan

Your eyes hold enough lies / Day-to-day walking through the market, / A woman walking freely without / The sleight of hand of my skin, this peccadillo. (...)

To a Thread-Waisted Sphecid Wasp in Enola, PA

by Nina Ellen Riggs

I’ve been left alone on my third wedding anniversary / until you return to my stoop with your payload, (...)


Bonham Ferry Road

by Mark Medric George

Little Joe hit Buster from behind with a three-foot section of galvanized steel, hit him so hard the single flat note of it echoed through the welding shop like a bell. The whole shop stopped working and watched Buster drop to his knees. (...)

Are You Now?

by Viet Dinh

In 1950, I remember nothing more than hating my piano lessons. My mother paid Mrs. Bacyznsky, a fellow Ukrainian immigrant, a quarter for a week’s worth. Mrs. Baczynsky lived seven blocks away, and I not only had to walk there for lessons, but to practice, since we did not own a piano. Every day, my friends Mario and Dale from P.S. 8 would interrupt their game of stickball with a sympathetic wave: There but for the grace of God go I. (...)


by Roy Kesey

So the river’s down, the sun’s starting to blur, and I’m out on my stoop working a late cup of coffee and watching a bunch of the neighbor kids play Jaguars in the mud below. They bare their fangs and brandish their claws and run in and out through the posts that hold up the houses in our part of Belén. The bigger kids hunt down the smaller ones, pin them to the ground and pretend to rip out their jugulars. (...)
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Years and Years and Years Later

by Dan Albergotti

From this distance he can see that the man / is not Jack Gilbert. And he is not yet himself. (...)

Winter Garden

by Julia Johnson

The rafters are falling, pins in the hair, a counted orbit. / How is it the coin, revolutionary smile, creeps in, swallows up? (...)

Real Live Boy

by Sarah Lindsay

And so Pinocchio the wooden puppet / became living flesh, / as he wished. (...)

Scapegoat of Eske’s Field

by Sarah Lindsay

There came a year the potatoes in Eske’s Field / grew twisted in the ground, like men buried alive, / and the sky at night bore a new white scar / low over the north hills, pointing down. (...)

Looking West Over the Mississippi in Summer

by Toy O’Ferrall

When she leaves you, move here / to Memphis, where everything / drains from east and west down / to one point, where everything / is still unsteady (...)


by Natasha Trethewey

Today the ants are busy / beside my front steps, weaving / in and out of the hill they’re building. (...)

Southern History

by Natasha Trethewey

Before the war, they were happy, he said, / quoting our textbook. (This was senior-year // history class.) The slaves were / clothed, fed, and better-off under a master’s care. (...)


Birds in the House

by Kevin Wilson

The men in my family gather at Oak Hall this morning to make birds. They sit in the dining room at an antique cherry oak table and carefully fold their paper cranes. My father and his three brothers fold tiny pieces of paper, squares of yellows and pinks and whites and blues and greens so thin that light passes through them, as if they aren’t there at all. (...)
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from And About Time

by Tung-Hui Hu

In purity you have removed everything / from your room: like a canyon holds a bridge / in its arms your body stretches / across morning. (...)

Man with a Yellow Pail

by Harry Humes

I could almost hear the pail squeaking / in his hand as he walked up the hill / toward a house, maybe his own house. (...)


by David Bruzina

If I fell in love with a meadow cricket / because she was sad, because of her enormous dark eyes, / we’d disappoint my family and scandalize (...)

The Chemist

by David Bruzina

Because your books won’t make / a sufficiently beautiful sense, / your neighbor has walked through her house (...)

from Girls’ School

by Claudia Emerson

Everything here measures: weight, effort, sin— / and everything costs in this seclusion (...)

Without Power

by Julia Funderburk

Another consequence of the storm: / our neighbors lost two Bradford pears, // trees that often survive just seven years / (life of a marriage these days was the joke), (...)

The Father

by Christine Garren

He does things like cry / and I rush to him / then he goes like a small human whale to a room / where he can be alone— (...)

The Illness

by Christine Garren

At the back of the house in Lincolnton / is the room where I was ill, / where my bed overlooked the autumn yard / with a low impermanent wall of leaves— (...)


by Christine Garren

We kept waiting by the pond, in the afternoon. The blades of grass / leading to the round liquid were bright. You could see our travel, (...)

A Former Gravedigger, His Figures of Speech

by Sarah Pennington

He told us the story just last week—explained how / the fluid bleeding through the walls of those graves / he dug wasn’t water. His penultimate metaphor, (...)


The Umbrella Thief

by Cheryl Hiers

The enormous foot of an elephant served as an umbrella stand for the shop’s clients. When Anna returned to it, after purchasing her boss’s anniversary gift for his wife, her umbrella had vanished. Two ordinary contraptions remained, flimsy things made of vinyl and plastic. No one could have mistaken her umbrella, with its carved handpiece and long, wooden shaft, for the collapsible pieces aban-doned in the elephant foot. Someone had filched it and it was gone—plundered for the February rain. Anna would never see it again. (...)

Advanced at Nine

by Theo Gangi

My mind so advanced at nine... was the rhyme in my head that morning as I walked down the street outside our brownstone. I used to geese hoes for Easter clothes—Memphis Bleek held real estate in my mind that morning, still wet from the shower, passing the Rasta, Trees? Trees? And a line of people spilling out of the bodega because the lotto just reached 25 mil. Just off the neighborhood’s main strip of hustle, my street was a residential community of three-story Brooklyn brownstones, most with short gates, huge, old-fashioned doorways, and well-kept stairwells with potted plants or flowers. Every three of four houses were abandoned or just shy of it, a reminder of the street’s crack-house-ridden past. (...)
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Bedtime Story

by Amy Grimm

Every night a man walks by my house and calls my name. If this were / a movie, his voice would sound like Spanish guitar and blue eyes and in // an hour and a half we would have a big wedding. But it’s only real life, (...)

In the Course of Unwinding

by Rynn Williams

In the slow unraveling of a marriage, / one can feel the draft at odd moments, (...)

Italian Horror

by Don Ezra Cruz

Dove il gabbinetti? she asks. / And we know she’ll be lost forever / between this scene and the next, the sheet (...)


by Angie DeCola

Once held a pile / of biscuits. Since then sits / still in the corner, a tabby / watching marbles roll / and sound across the floor. (...)

The Ramifications of Something So Unusual

by Anna Sunshine Ison

On Wednesday, they pulled a woman, / once-woman, out of the lake— / drowned who-knows-when / and turned into soap. (...)


A Doctor's Lullaby

by Joan Menefee

Early one morning, a young woman entered a dusty train station and watched hours of arrivals and departures register and vanish from the reader board, like the noisy blinking of a hundred square black eyes. With a large bag on her shoulder, she boarded a westbound train from one of its platforms, staring at the tracks beneath the car for a moment before she pulled her weight up the first long step. She seated herself in the nearest empty car. As the train whistle blew a final warning, she checked her passport, as she did every time she left a city. She then looked at the sign along the brick wall opposite the corridor windows. It announced a word more like Prague than any other she had encountered. (...)

The Karaoke Bet

by Adam Berlin

Me. Jack. Standing in the breakdown lane, hands in pockets, like a couple of morons out in the cold. We didn’t even have gloves. One car had passed us, one car in the last twenty minutes, an old Plymouth Valiant, and when we waved it down we saw an old man looking straight ahead so intently that we knew he’d never stop. He saw us, but he didn’t want to see us. Which was precisely why we’d driven this road in the first place, going north. We’d gone to see someone who didn’t want to see us. Now we were coming back. And we were stuck. (...)
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Is Resurrection of the Dead Possible?

by Heidi Czerwiec Blitch

We’ve witnessed the anatomical spectacle: / the frog’s wired leg both cathode / and electrode; the cadaver a vehicle / for current; scent of ozone; muscle splayed. (...)


by Roxanne Halpine

It happened on a normal day: you slipped on the icy sidewalk / or in the bathtub, maybe roller-skating with your son. You’ve fallen / and banged your leg, hard, and later that night, alone in your room, / you watch it form: the barest hint of lavender deep beneath your skin. (...)

Instructions on How to Leave Me

by Rhett Iseman

Tell me again about that dream where, / In my lace skirt, I’m stealing your blueberries / Faster than you pick them. (...)

When Imagination Is the Runaway

by Renee Soto

Tonight’s 11:58 freight train, boxcar / horizon, is more than a familiar melody (...)
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Poem From Which Wolves Were Banished

by Jeanne Marie Beaumont

Winter is hogging the canvas tonight. / The cat and I lie curved at the edge / of the world, / well on our way to becoming a statistic. (...)


by Jacob Daniels

When Burt paid me, he licked the brown envelope / like a sad dog lapping at a stranger’s cheek. (...)

A Letter

by Gary Duehr

As if my heart has been pulled / from my body. Bewildered. // My senses brimming with indecision’s / thick black smoke. Whatever choice remains // means someone undeserving of it / must suffer the consequences. (...)


by Katrina Vandenberg

Late night July / in Minnesota, with John / asleep on the glassed-in porch, // I listen (quietly) / to Bob Dylan on a cassette / you made from an album // I got rid of soon after / you died. (...)


The Cornfield

by Ann Stewart Hendry

Two days ago she had picked up the phone, shaking with fear, only to listen to the distant voice of the official from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farming telling her that, yes, their animals, their farm, their life was now condemned. (...)

The Language of Elk

by Ben Percy

It is low and sad and frightening, a dark sound rising from a dark place—the deepest corner of lung, nested there like a secret. You’ll hear it in the evenings, when the sky’s gone pink and shadows start to melt together. If your back is turned to the forest from which it pours, you’ll turn around quick and find strength in the tight hand-shake of the walnut stock of your .338 WinMag. Your breathing gets desperate. You aim at everything, push your gun forward like it was the mute button. The sound is gigantic, a low-throated moan, faraway, copied by another, closer by, then another, then another. The sound—it renders you lonely, the loneliest man in the whole world. This is the language of elk. (...)

Under Texas

by Matt Valentine

Jack could taste the diesel fumes coming into his dive mask and he reminded himself, again, to beat the crap out of that bubba J.C. when he went up. J.C. had started the pump up on top of the tower and hadn’t checked the direction of the wind, so the diesel fumes were getting blown right into the air intake and into Jack’s hat. Not a big deal in a forty foot water tower but that dumb hick would do exactly the same thing offshore and probably kill somebody. (...)
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Of Course

by Martin Arnold

I like the way mutiny rebels against sense / By sounding as elegant as a chorus // Of bodies jumping ship, though of course, / They leap by sword. (...)

Necklace of Cannonballs

by Martin Arnold

And just like that it hits you— / All the promises you’ve dodged / Like bicycles on a sidewalk / By stepping out into traffic, // The friends you’ve hugged to stick / Kick-me signs to their backs, // The lies you’ve pirated because you thought / That’s exactly what / A stranger wants to hear (...)

All I Want All Day

by David Blair

All I want all day is morning with its nightgown eyelets / and its places for sleep like your long, slender arms, / your neck, your hair. (...)

Night Writer

by Margaret E. DiVito

It is hard for him to remember the string / of women. None of them mother. None of them / childhood. Not names, just different colors of lipstick, / lasting only until the mouths were worn / back to their natural shades. Their unmentionables / they left behind from the shove out the door. (...)

Nocturne: For the Aviaries

by Joshua Poteat

Then the rain came, / full of a sadness I’ve never seen before, / through the cottonwoods // and along the river, / which is no longer a river / but an apparition under the sand. (...)

The Execution of John Billington

by David Roderick

That was it: the rope pulling taut, his spine jerking. / Neck-burn, the end of the brilliant, breathing thing // that was his body. (...)

Southern Pastoral

by Natasha Trethewey

In the dream, I am with the Fugitive / Poets. We’re gathered for a photograph. / Behind us, the skyline of Atlanta / hidden by the photographer’s backdrop— (...)

Camera Obscura

by Natasha Trethewey

Suppose it happened like this: / you are outside, like the woman // in this photograph nearly a century / before you, (...)
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by Bob Rogers

The mornings drag on, arriving at a quality of grayness impossible / at a more complicated hour. I am used to the rooms of the house / being empty, their quiet as fast to me as the bone-colored paint (...)

Upon Receiving Your Last Letter

by Terri Trespicio

It didn’t shock me when it came—it seemed / I’d worried at the grain of it so long, / like a mollusk, hard at work against the thing (...)

Still Water

by William Ashley Johnson

At sunup we begin again, above the dam / where the river is corralled / and strains against the mesh of roots / that line the banks, / each fat from spring’s run-off. (...)


by Jake Adam York

The dish, / like a moon on my neighbor’s roof, / gathers light // though it isn’t light he’s after, (...)

When Mother Was a Boat

by Élan Young

She tried to break what the mirror saw, / but could only sweep the sharp edges of herself away. (...)


Catching Up

by Patrick J. Murphy

Clarissa’s father worked for the Hendry County Water Management Board. She imagined him in the company van, driving across the flat Florida miles, reading meters at concrete bunker pumping stations and looking with concern at canals thick with algae, so she wasn’t surprised when she returned home and only her mother was there to greet her. (...)

The Religious

by Christina Milletti

Outside the Restaurant Suisse I lay in the ivy. I was flat on my back, the ivy curled around my arms and legs, bucking my chin (tickling me really). A soft vegetal bed. I smelled of shade because it smelled of shade. Of earth, of cool life among leaves, of small stones and the snails beneath them. In the ivy, it is dark and peaceful while I wait for my guests who are touring the city. They have a map (I sold it to them). My maps always lead to the Suisse. (...)
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Photogenic Drawing, CA. 1839

by Alison Barnes

View this alone in the dark, and be brief. / Unwrap it from the black paper in your bedroom with the curtains closed. (...)


by Anna Elkins

My train slows through a weedy crossing / where children wait, holding their bikes / at angles under their short bodies, twisting / the handles right and left. (...)


Halcyon Acres

by Robert Morgan

From the time she welcomed me at the door, it was clear Gloria knew what was going to happen, or it was clear what she thought was going to happen. There was a boldness about the woman that was both scary and thrilling. (...)
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by Bruce Smith

She said: An American girlhood. I served the snacks // Not me, not me, not me, but something enemy // in aprons, spit in the oysters. (...)

The Ghost Town I Live In Has Signs That Say Keep Out

by Jennifer Understahl

The one gas station attendant / shines his pump. I love no one // right now. It’s that easy / to get by here. (...)

On Jimmy’s Front Porch

by Molly Luby

his momma does my hair, / in plaits not braids, and whistles / out complaints through the comb / held like a pirate’s knife in her teeth, (...)


by Todd McKinney

Tonight, I buy a 12-pack just for old times’ sake / and feel, as I twist off the top and lift the bottle’s lip to mine, / a tiny man who must be a part of myself (...)


Take Them In, Please

by Christie Hodgen

The daughter is leaving home, and the time has come for advice, so the mother tells the story of how she once fought off a high-school state-champion wrestler in the backseat of his Chevy by holding the blade of her ice skate to his temple. (...)

Heart Medicine

by Marjorie Kemper

I am reading I, The Jury in the backseat of Stan’s Pontiac, I am scrunched down low in the seat so that even when I lift my eyes from the page I cannot see out the window. All this to say that my mother can force me on this so-called family vacation but she can’t make me look at scenery. She cannot make me enjoy myself. (...)
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