Waiting at the Bronze Statue

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Jim Davis

Posture of a swan’s apotheosis. Monarch
on the dock opens like a fan. Weeping
swells, she tucks into her sweater, flicks
ash & says darling does it bother you?
Buttermilk, he says, so she sets it down
on the bronze bill of the swan at the hand
of Hans Christian Anderson & he goes on
with sheet cake recipes. Fog tethered to poles
along the harbor. Drum ships drop anchor.
Remember when he says & she says yes
of course. I never meant to feel like this,
rattle of lambs bleating in a pen, she says
if you were to swim, the horizon would keep
retreating, you’d drown before you found it.

Local Plagues

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Dawn Corrigan

Buttery, wet, they’d slap
against us when we opened
the screen door in the morning

then crawl between
the two panes of the window
or light upon the glass bowl of the lamp,

anywhere they could cast
their powdery, jetlike silhouettes.
Sometimes one landed on the bulb

and burned, a suicide
or accident, and filled the air
with bitter death. In Gainesville

they had locusts
and grasshoppers choked
the fields of Texas, but here

it was moths,
bouncing around
the backseat of the car

plentiful as breath,
and once when you
were driving I reached back

and grabbed
a handful of crumbly
fluttering wings that seemed

a portent
of things to come.
Whatever that means.

Letter to Devin from 20th Street

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Kate Garklavs

Passing a shuttered fitness studio I saw a woman
in repose, perched on a core stability ball like
the subject of a Dutch painting. Deaf to traffic,
pores like an orange, she studied the columns
of a clipboard. I thought of you–not your hatred
of yoga, but our captivity to non­activity, spaces
so wide we buy into their silence. I haven’t seen
Galesburg for years, each month a stomachache
of what I don’t have: the hourly mourn of Amtrak,
lawn jockeys’ cheeks peeling to bleached concrete,
soybean processing plant giant against the sky
that only ever lowers to an alkaline rust. Remember
the Japanese beetle invasion? Red bodies clotting
our screens, storming the cuts in the mesh and
cascading our window ledges. Weeks we found them
brittle in the crevices, upended corpses feathered
with dust. All my souvenirs are out of view. I keep
surfaces flat and right­angled. I want to return with you
to the underage pub and eat neon popcorn til sickness.
Do you ever fear your shoes are too functional?
When you hear Prince belting from an open doorway,
do you lament the hostess’ birthdate, the pedigree
of the salumi? I want to drink Dr. Pepper from a plastic
bottle and leave the last swig. Toss it to the backseat–
better yet, side of the highway to cook and gas
until retrieval by a cleanup volunteer. We don’t
have those here. Stay effortless, friend. Love, Kate.


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Tennyson Ryals

I haven’t seen the tides today
come up to hide the musty shore.
This sea of ours is silken gray.

This rotting jewel—the empty bay
is not the one we used to praise.
I haven’t seen the tides today.

Gone are boats and jagged spray;
while sand and stones are cracked with sun,
this sea of ours is silken gray.

The kelp has gone, but moss still paves
the rotting docks in emerald wool.
I haven’t seen the tides today.

The ancient kings used shells to pay
for silk—just like the ones I found.
This sea of ours is silken gray.

The seagulls circle rusting caves
for crabs inside their gritty tombs.
I haven’t seen the tides today.
This sea of ours is silken gray.


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Laura Madeline Wiseman

Ask at her house, when the first incense burns, the first
bottle opens. Don’t wait until it’s the third or fourth,
when she’s surly and wants to couple in darkness. Ask
when we’re alone in that bedroom, the nightstand light
glows, the TV holds its tongue, candles gutter, air swirls
smoke. Ask when she rages on death, saying, Dead men
don’t bite, or, They’re all dead to me, or She’ll get what
she deserves. Ask when we’re favored, the one trusted
with the story, when she shakes her head, passing to
us her bowl of red jeweled fruit. Ask when she loves us,
would do anything for us, because we’ve been hurt and
have our own dead to mourn, when she says, I will kill
them, and our eyes are puffy and red, breath stuttering
in our chest. If we ask then, we’ll have our books of the
dead. Open them up. Tell what’s inside.


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Paige A. Miller

We pasted stars to my ceiling.
At night they glow and I am
comforted, thinking of an afterlife
as a diaspora of atoms loose in the universe.
Someday I will experience death
as an intimate supernova,
flinging my molecules into the void.
A truth: energy is neither created
nor destroyed.
We can all choose divinity.

For now I will be the patron saint of
diet coke and hidden tattoos,
my wisdom teeth hanging
around my neck as a reminder.
I will wear my stretch marks as
badges of honor and seek out pleasure.
Using shamelessness as a weapon, I
savor abundance; I become voluptuous.
I will be a cartographer, mapping
the future by my tarot deck and
smoke signals from my mouth,
pink and round as the strawberry moon.

I am teen witch supreme,
the horoscope queen,
arrayed in citrine and quartz.
I am fierce in my love and
protective of my own.
I apologize no longer for this wildness.


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Harry Calhoun

Love. Waking after midnight you look in the hallway mirror
and your beard is growing. Death pumps through somebody else’s veins.
Ears sprout from your face like weeds, here’s a nose
and eyes and the odd red lips, which speak this
for the silent, unseen brain.

Nobody else sees this, hears it, the hidden information
personal, private, yet not dysfunctional.

A rat or a spider
or the end of you
runs past you in the hall.
And you are not afraid.

Look in the mirror and smile.
This is what waking should be.

26:03 AM

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Serena Baik

I was driving by instinct.
You were transfixed by passing police sirens.
We both ate at too many diners to count.

And you thought of something hilarious
so you bit my shoulder like I was chocolate
while I was going one hundred and ten miles per hour
on empty highway overpasses.

I farted four and a half separate times in one hour.
You let your cellphone case whip out of the car window
and we both ate a total of thirty-two Twinkies.
In the end we only stopped to throw it all back up,
laughing through the sour bile,
before crawling back inside your ‘96 Honda Accord
to speed home,
the streets whizzing by in Technicolor flashes.

Not at all Sweet

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Laila Lowes

The first wave I caught was made
of spun sugar. I quit living off air
to star in a high-wire act fueled by
whimsy and the faintest spice.
Standing on a parfait topped with
blue and white foam, not hot and
not cold, my chest, at the top,
crystallized, shattered. Everything
goes right and is all so satisfying.