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NOMI STONE Two Poems

Lost Object Former 2003 Iraq War interpreters, Current role-players in War Game To taste it would make me North++++Where is that acre of sweet marrow Bone-meadows snowier each day green curls into knife Iraq is ripe we carry it through the simulacra of the woods At this time of year, you could wash orchards in the icecreek till your wrist aches cold and absolutely the mouth of knowledge++if your neighbor learns about what you’re doing with the Americans—careful now, this is war—he might eat you you are the last fruit left on this street War Game, Mock Middle Eastern Village When dead, lie shirtless in a clearing whisper your eulogy to your partner until the blinking blue God- Gun reboots us just as the sun comes up.   Iraqi role-players are weeping over a bodiless coffin in a remote American wood. In a pre-deployment simulation some military contractors call “The Crying Room,” the women perform for three days straight, howling their lamentation for successive units of training US soldiers. In this quadrant of rooms in …

COREY VAN LANDINGHAM Epithalamium

Because I’ve seen the way a body looks preserved, I turned away from you. That’s the most that I could do. Distance, dear, makes the heart grow weary. The scene where I’m your citizen, but am touching myself inside a stranger’s apartment as, in Yemen, an American drone kills 14 at a wedding, mistakenly. Mistakenly, I chose the hydrangea, whose large pink blush has been said to match the size of a sender’s heart. When not pruned properly, the flowers sag, begin to break. Once, you fed me heart on a skewer. After, I read the animal would be inside me forever, idea that made me sick for days. Now, my autoerotic display, while, in Yemen, vehicles still are smoking. Distance makes easy unmanning the hands. I hasten to compare the scene where I’m such a terror in that dress, where the flowers are all a mess, and I’m gussied up. I’m turned on by men I’ve never met. What a wedding photographer, as anyone poses candid for the drone. But, no, I’m only posing …

Rachel Rose: Two Poems

Ars Poetica It is hard won, it is fragile, it does not bring joy. It holds water, it holds air, it is its own reward. It is light as cobweb, it is tough as cobweb, it is barely visible. It is hollow as a victory in the battlefield. It is heavy as a baby’s coffin, great as a dolphin’s eye. It beckons, it whispers, it flickers in the wind. It is impractical, it is laughable, it wrestles. It is free, it is precious, it speaks the sound of water. It is mad, it is alchemy, it is fleeting and enduring. It can be studied but it can’t be learned by heart. It can be followed in the forest but only by its track. It can be followed in the city but only by its blood. It jumps fences, it embroiders, it ferries the dead. It can’t be captured and it has no price. It’s in the screaming alley, the ink-blot pines, the village well. On the threshold of your pain you may find it holding …

Kai Carlson-Wee reads “Westbound Train”

Horses asleep on the cusp of a minor hill, / quietly bending their heads to the grass. / I could be one of them, lit by the billboard signs,

Mark Levine: “Creek”

I’ve never gone on a “father-son fishing trip.” Nor have I ever called anyone “Pa.” Still, this is my go at a fishing poem. I’m drawn to the idiomatic force of the “fishing trip” as a trope for intimacy, serenity, and spiritual fulfillment in nature, just as I’m drawn to the possibility of “ordinary” speech as a vehicle of familiarity and ease. Neither one is mine, though. The poem’s suggestion that one might join one’s father for an end-of-life fishing trip, speaking in cadences of folksy directness, provokes awkwardness in me. The poem, I think, wants to embrace that awkwardness, and to take the journey that it knows is unavailable to it. In literal terms, it follows a much denatured creek that rambles through the town I now live in, and it dumps out into the Lake Ontario of my childhood. Even as a full grown person, far into one’s own life, one might persist in imagining how “everything” would be different had you and Pa only taken that trip together.    Creek I suppose …

Michael Lee: “Refraction”

I have seen a great deal of death and loss. For my own sanity and preservation I had to explore death, to understand it and craft for it a personal mythos. This poem seeks to do that, to make death more tangible not by simplifying it, but by complicating it, adding to its ethereal nature, to understand it not like something we might hold, but like something which holds (the difference between how we conceptualize a stone in our palm versus how we conceptualize wind). I don’t know why concrete fact is often seen as more comforting. The realization that we don’t know what we don’t know is a most exciting and encouraging one to me. Death could be anything we have thought of or that we have not. I want to sit with death and ask its name, but since it won’t answer I call out to the dark and let the echoes respond. I let the questions be their own answers. I inhabit wonder, and my lack of understanding becomes what I know. …