Lisel Mueller – A Prayer For Rain

Lisel Mueller (February 8, 1924 – February 21, 2020) Let it come down: these thicknesses of airhave long enough walled love away from love;stillness has hardened until words despairof their high leaps and kisses shut themselvesback into wishing. Crippled lovers lieagainst a weather which holds out on them,waiting, awaiting some shrill sign, some cry,some screaming …

Sarah P. Strong – After 75 Years, She Finally Gets Angry

Sarah P. Strong At first we did not know what was happening.The tea on the porch table cooled several degreeswhile she stood up, clutchedthe scrollwork back of the chair. The lineson her face arranged themselves in a waywe’d never seen, her nostrils flaredand the bird in the tree behind her stoppedsinging. Someone, not me, tooka …

Tracy K. Smith – We Feel Now A Largeness Coming On

Tracy K. Smith (April 16, 1972 -) Being called all manner of thingsfrom the Dictionary of Shame—not English, not words, not heard,but worn, borne, carried, never spent—we feel now a largeness coming on,something passing into us. We knownot in what source it was begun, butrapt, we watch it rise through our fallen,our slain, our millions …

Joyce Carol Oates – This Is Not A Poem

Joyce Carol Oates (June 16, 1938 -)  in which the poet discoversdelicate white-parched bonesof a small creatureon a Great Lake shoreor the desiccated remainsof cruder roadkillbeside the rushing highway.Nor is it a poem in whicha cracked mirror yieldsa startled face,or sere grasses hiss-ing like consonantsin a foreign language.Family photo albumfilled with yearningstrangers long deceased,closet of …

Alison Luterman – Fog

Alison Luterman We don’t have snow herebut some mornings the whole worldis white and hushed and soft with fogand whatever troubles we went to sleepclutched to our thudding heartshave loosened overnight and are dissolvingin mist. The regal hillsto the East have been erasedbehind a cottony scrim, and peopleappear to appearout of nowhere in the dawn …

Phillip B. Williams – Final Poem For My Father Misnamed In My Mouth

Phillip B. Williams Sunlight still holds you and givesyour shapelessness to every room.By noon, the kitchen catches your hands,misshapen sun rays. The windowshave your eyes. Taken from me,your body. I reorder my life withabsence. You are everywhere nowwhere once I could not find youeven in your own body. Death meanseverything has becomepossible. I’ve been told …

Julie Kane – Used Book

Julie Kane (July 20, 1952 -) What luck—an open bookstore up aheadas rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,and then to find the books were secondhand,with one whole wall assigned to poetry;and then, as if that wasn’t luck enough,to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone ofmy chapbook, out of print since ’83—its cover …

Charles Simic- The Saint

Charles Simic (May 9, 1938 -) The woman I love is a saintWho deserves to havePeople falling on their kneesBefore her in the streetAsking for her blessing.Instead, here she is on the floor,Hitting a mouse with a shoeAs tears run down her face.

Maxine Kumin – Custodian

Maxine Kumin (June 6, 1925 – February 6, 2014) Every spring when the ice goes outblack commas come scribbling across the shallows.Soon they sprout forelegs.Slowly they absorb their tailsand by mid-June, full-voiced, announce themselves.Enter our spotted dog.Every summer, tense with the scent of them,tail arced like a pointer's but waggingin anticipation, he stalks his frogstwo …

Beverley Bie Brahic – Apple Thieves

Beverley Bie Brahic In his dishevelled garden my neighborHas fourteen varieties of apples,Fourteen trees his wife put in as seedlingsBecause, being sick, she wanted somethingDifferent to do (different from being sick).In winter she ordered catalogues, poredOver subtleties of mouthfeel and touch:Tart and sweet and crisp; waxy, smooth,And rough. Spring planted an orchard,Spring projected summersOf green …