by Jeanne Wagner
Everyone has their own version
of the Annunciation.
Me, I liked being impaled by sun-shafts
pouring through a fanlight,
a numinous pleasure like stepping
into the shower half-lit. I wanted wet
days, when the rain’s fuddled rhythm beat
on my skin, till I felt poured over
like a sacred text.
I was a sybarite waiting
for a watered-down version of St. Sebastian,
my limbs assailed by soft rain.
Other times I let the sun’s rays pelt me
with their spackled light,
motes dancing like molecules inside
their margins, sending me glad tidings,
that everything is less solid, more restless
than once I imagined.
A Girl Gets Sick of a Rose
by Amy Woolard
When I asked for a pencil, they gave me a rattle.
When I asked for a hammer, they gave me a kiss.
All mongrel, no matter, I’ll stay out past dinner;
I’ve practiced the answers to all of their tests.
I’ve given up sweets, their ridiculous shapes,
Their instructions on which ones have cherries.
Everything under the sun is lukewarm;
The poppies are blooming with worry.
When they gave me a map, I thought they were done,
I thought I could take off my dress.
They told me one town was as good as another,
Sent me packing, all fiddle, no case.
Each cul-de-sac greyed like a cooled blown bulb:
All dashboard, all driver, all sky & no cake,
Each neighborhood gatehouse, a live empty socket.
When they asked for my ticket, I gave them a wink.
The instructions all listed Step One as Repeat;
The poppies were planted in rows at the park.
I lived on a circle, then moved onto a square,
Then wandered back into the kitchen half-drunk.
The screen door, the scrim, the latch, the last word.
The glass throats of each vase open wide.
A house is the largest tombstone we make;
We keep walking, grateful, inside.
by Erin Radcliffe
The morning’s beak evokes no suspicion
rising over dry leaves
that light like gold-shot scales
I am as literal as I care to be
stepping over a dove’s wing ground into the pavement
and radiates peace
among the dwarf trees and their sidelong fruit
because here’s what we mean or splay
here’s some purpose undone
a fitting that overshines
the finality we don’t detect
quiet like fish gasping on a bank
but constellations crowd thunder with story
their locations now deciduous and oscillating
below we are antennaed
our tassel of forthright
not bright with the silhouette of bats
but popped like a grackle’s song
as we perfect the long art of stealing
and then rendering eggs
for such a potted, utter solemnity
I am not convinced that everything is dirty
or made to be so.