From Theodore Worozbyt’s “The Red Dress,” a poem in the current issue:
At the Sound, the rocks were gray.
The rocks were gray against the water.
Rose quartz filled the yards, at dusk.
The needles rose and fell in the firs.
The noises from inside stayed quiet,
Music and steam. A brindle pit bull
Gave up barking, far away.
A hammer lay beneath the bed.
From Traci Brimhall’s “The Unverifiable Resurrection of Adão da Barco,” a poem in the current issue:
First, a tourist finds a poem in the leper colony,
carved in a kapok, ants swarming sap in the cuts.
Then a fisherman uncovers instructions for a rain dance,
an usher discovers recipes for the jubilee.
A riverboat captain comes to town and leads them
to a tree in the north describing the mating habits
of the marabunta, to one in the south with an ode to plums.
[read the poem
From Jake Adam York’s “Self-Portrait as Superman (Alternate Take),” in the current issue:
At twenty-four frames per second, sixty seconds is two hundred
feet of film you’ll never see: Christopher Reeve
ready to become mild-mannered Clark Kent—sharp
trilby and blue chalk-pinstripe suit—
once they call Action, the Who-me smile fading
to bit-lip circumspection, cover story and secret,
hand on the button-down’s placket, ready to pull
the buttons from their eyes, peel
the rough-hewn cotton from the ancient crest, the S
From Jennifer Grotz’s “Listening,” in the current issue:
Water turns everything into a jewel
then puts a metal taste in the mouth
slowly replaced by dust. Which is why standing
in the rainy street you feel much richer than you are. Or, aware that everything will dry, much poorer.
You feel that way anyway in New York, and a little lost,
but let’s be honest, that’s what you want, to hide,
and like an owl, you’ve retreated not to high branches
but an anonymous skyrise.
Image c. 1610 via Wikimedia
From Paisley Rekdal’s “Birthday Poem,” in the current issue:
It is important to remember that you will die,
lifting the fork with the sheep’s brain
lovingly speared on it to the mouth, the little
piece smooth on the one side as a baby
mouse pickled in wine; on the other, blood-
plush and intestinal atop
its bed of lentils.
Sparrows via Wikimedia
From Aditi Machado’s “Outside the Aviary,” in the current issue:
There is a history of sparrow-keeping
and of the keepers. There is no community.
Only twos and threes of us, making our spells.
We speak of the diaries that have been kept
on sparrows; their masters and friends;
the letters; the legends.
From the current issue, Beverly Burch’s “A Brief History of Rejection“:
First came jacere, Latin word for throw.
People went over head over heels
and something had to be done. By late
Anglo Saxon jection was firmly merged
with re- since everyone knew you’d do it again.
Previously, angry verbs ran through the body
spewing lava, ash, and the village was destroyed.
In the Renaissance if someone failed
to show due affection a sonnet was written.
Rejection slips emerged in the next century.
From the current issue, Matthew Nienow’s “It’s the Boat that Haunts You”:
And so it is, the boat has come to own you,
has learned to speak a language you cannot help
but agree with, its voice the dark lapping
of water against the hull, its song the wind
in the stays while you sleep, dreaming of a bowsprit
to hold you against the waves
Edward Hopper’s Office in a Small City (left), captures an American moment of mystery and isolation.
In the current issue of NER, poet Victoria Chang meditates on Hopper’s painting.
The man could be the boss or could have a boss the man could have a
heart or could not have a heart the man is not working should be working
should be making profits not in fits but constantly the man looks out over
the yellow building over everything he must be the boss must be someone