Virgil Suárez – Bad Sons Anonymous

Virgil Suárez At this year’s conventionwe gather to pay homageto our fathers, responsiblemen who worked hard: laborers, stone cutters, welders,carpenters — blue collar all,men who raged, stormedtheir anger through the house, our mothers couldn’t manage,swept with brooms the debrisof broken things, in silencethey took it out on us, belts in hand, we stood there, cried,long …

Margaret Atwood – Flatline

Margaret Atwood (November 18, 1939 -) Things wear out. Also fingers.Gnarling sets in.Your hands crouch in their mittens.Forget chopsticks, and buttons.Feet have their own agendas.They scorn your taste in shoesand ignore your trails, your maps.Ears are superfluous:What are they for,those alien pink flaps?Skull fungus.The body, once your accomplice,is now your trap.The sunrise makes you wince:too …

Jane Hirshfield – Today, Another Universe

Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -) The arborist has determined:senescence      beetles      cankerquickened by drought                           but in any casenot prunable   not treatable   not to be propped.And so.The branch from which the sharp-shinned hawks and their mate-cries.The trunk where the ant.The red squirrels’ eighty-foot playground.The bark   cambium   pine-sap   cluster of needles.The Japanese patterns      the ink-net.The dapple on certain fish.Today, for some, a universe will vanish.First noisily,then …

Jo McDougall – Straightpins

Jo McDougall Growing up in a small town,we didn't noticethe background figures of our lives,gray men, gnarled women,dropping from us silentlylike straightpins to a dressmaker's floor.The old did not diebut simply vanishedlike discs of snow on our tongues.We knew nothing then of nothingnessor pain or loss--our days filled with open fields,football,turtles and cows.One day we …

Marcia F Brown – When I Look at the Old Car

Marcia F. Brown When I look at the old carbacked into the cleared-out space in the shed,I can almost understandthose bewildered men who leavetheir softening wives in middle age,up-and-walk-out after decadesof marriage and family, to take upwith some buffed and waxed young thingwith great lines, horsepowerto burn and a dazzling arrayof untested equipment.When I look …

James Broughton – Wondrous The Merge

James Broughton (November 10, 1913 – May 17, 1999) Had my soul tottered off to sleeptaking my potency with it?Had they both retired before I couldleaving me a classroom somnambulist?Why else should I at sixty-onefeel myself shriveling into fadeout?Then on a cold seminar Mondayin walked an unannounced redeemerdisguised as a taciturn studentBrisk and resolute in …