[One summer you suppose]
One summer you suppose another summer
will be ransomed—at last—
the stark-rocking maple now willfully green,
the house like a boat like a house,
its old anthem stolen back from obliteration,
incredibly redeemed by a throat—
Chirping & Warbling
I have written here and there about the time when I played in a basketball league in Boston that was so tough that sometimes guys driving to the hole lost fingers, and one time a guy driving hard to the basket got hit so hard his right arm came off, but he was lefty and hit both free throws, but there are about one million other stories from that league,
My eighth grade English teacher was a man named Proudfoot, but we all called him Bob. By 1971, Bethel, Connecticut, standards, Bob was a radical. He wore his blond hair long, with bell-bottomed blue jeans and square-toed Frye boots. This didn’t sit well with parents and administrators, but his students loved him.…
In December 1908, while a student at Harvard, T.S. Eliot came across the poetry of Jules Laforgue in Arthur Symons’s critical introduction The Symbolist Movement in Literature. …
Two-stage rocket with capsule equals: two forty-four gallon drums, the side of a packing case, fencing wire, switches from an old country telephone exchange, wooden fruit boxes and a pram seat. A gantry made from fence pickets and nails, looking…
How can a man who owns so little owe so much?
It rains for a while and then it doesn’t. The phone rings. The pipes rattle. A breeze blows and the house settles. And when the cocks come, frugging and a’strut, their gaudy plumage plashing brash against a backdrop of blocked-up cars and vacant lots and bank-owned cottages, their doors knocked heavy-off-the-hinge, one cannot help but flattened be by the persistence of the beautiful thing even in the face of that which will ultimately consume it.
On every page of his short story collection Hot Pink, his second book, Adam Levin can be found experimenting, fixing, inventing—to great effect. In “Frankenwittgenstein” Mike’s father struggles to perfect “Bonnie: The Beautiful Body-Action Doll for the Self-Body Image-Enhancement of Toddling and Preadolescent Girls at Risk.™”…
In a few years Portlandia’s cultural diatribe, “Put a bird on it!” will be mostly forgotten; this story collection will not be. Yes, there is a big bird on the cover, but no, this is not a book about birds. Yes, there are many animals in this book, but no, this is not a book about animals—at least, not exactly. …
Frank X. Gaspar
I wanted to show her the dawn
coming up over Truro, I wanted
the sky pulled down
like crepe after a dance.
Death of a Frog
—Philautus Maia, first and only specimen ever to be found, circa 1860, in Sri Lanka
I. Maya: Illusion
And who were your ancestors,
your glossy little children, lone
ghost of the emerald
Maybe it’s the possibility of free elections in Poland. Ariel arrives in Podlaskie Voivodeship midsummer, 1988; a few more kilometers to the east and you’re in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic; to the north is Kaliningrad Oblast. A kid your…
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
The first slave ship landed on the shore and an African disembarked, meeting her fate. A couple of centuries and some change later, that slave’s great-great-great- and too-many-greats-to-mention descendants toted sacks down cotton rows, looked up at that fiendish sun. Bore the sacks up again.
Christopher Boucher’s first novel, How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive, is an unusual performance. It asks us to accept that a ’71 Volkswagen Beetle could be a human child, and treats this child with a literal, mimetic authenticity.…
Nance Van Winckel
Butte, MT 1927
The sky’s traffic is cumulus, but not too.
Our elk’s an arch across Main. Eighty feet high
and just as wide. Beneath its copper-gilded withers
pass boys with tubas, teen twirlers, wreathed
ponies, and the miners’ widows—in turn
and on time. Elk of extended thanks.
Of course, she sat next to me. The woman started with little hisses, meek sips of air as her breathing quickened. In the window’s reflections, I could see her sulking face fight to remain still, but her lips were giving…
In Vanessa Veselka’s debut novel Zazen (the first publication from Richard Nash’s Red Lemonade) there are two concurrent wars: one in the parallel America of Veselka’s creation, and one inside the mind of her fervent narrator, Della.
Craig Santos Perez
The 28th Māori Batallion of the New Zealand Army served in Greece, North Africa, and Italy during World War II. They were highly decorated, respected, and feared. …
On Saturday I voted in Libya’s first free elections in nearly fifty years. It was a great feeling multiplied by the exuberant sense of joy expressed by the people on the street in Tripoli. After voting, we drove to Martyrs’…
No moon tonight, but aren’t you tired of hearing
about these things, the crutch I’ve strung these notes
along? Either way, there is no moon; it finally
rained. The heat’s not broken yet, but still,
a summer sky-river made its way to us
at last. . . .
Ilan Stavans and Harry Morales
Translated from Spanish by Harry Morales He woke up early. He had had a bad night. The white bed sheets were hot and wrinkled and he had an Apache Indian indentation across his left cheek. The bad news, that’s what…
The siege of Sarajevo ran from April 1992 to February 1996. Of the estimated 10,000 civilians who died 1,500 were children; 56,000 people were wounded. Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were the architects of the brutal blockade, a…
Erika Jo Brown
Much might be made of the paralepsis in the title of Adam Fell’s debut poetry collection, I Am Not a Pioneer.…
William Carlos Williams
First Published in The Kenyon Review, Summer 1948, Vol. X, No. 3 In the center, above the basin, the mirror. To the left of it the Maxfield Parrish, Ulysses at Sea his small ship coming fog threatened from between Scylla…
Categories of Understanding
I’m studying the unspoken.
“What?” my son asks.
“What are you looking at?”
But there is no explaining,
Franny fought the gridlock on I-Drive for an hour only to arrive at the Palmscape Funerarium too late—seven-thirty, the viewing had ended at seven. Instead of a funeral party she found a man in a reindeer suit. He slumped on…
I placed the distal blade of the mayo scissors through the bean-sized opening at the bottom of her mutilated genitals. It was as though my patient’s bottom had been set on fire; her clitoris, clitoral hood, and labia were gone.…
The “girls of peculiar” in Catherine Pierce’s eponymous second collection of poems hail from a variety of strange and mythic places: the spooky recesses of personal history (a recurring purple-haired high school self), the cliques of adolescence
The preposterous rouses us.
Cardinal in a hardware store,
cupcake in a sock drawer.
The clown was on her way to work.
On offer was another portion
of winter’s tin entrenchment.
Sobbing shrubs, streets empty
It was the summer I thought I was pregnant. The summer we moved to the city. Some people hoe their hair into crop lines and say, “Why would you bring a child into this world?” I was not then, and…
Thomas Merton claimed that “there is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessnes, a hidden wholeness.” Geoffrey Nutter’s poems accept this proposition, and try very hard to reveal this hidden wholeness—not by questioning the meaning of things, but by striving to see past the very stuff of the world.…
Ah, Ravicka. Where the bookstores are all independent, language swoops through the body, and buildings disintegrate. A city-state in flux and crisis. Belgians know about it. Citizens are disappearing. There’s still good coffee, though it’s the end of the world.…