by Robert Kohen
Winter like a late comet,
flew into our lives.
The house we saw burning
atop the hill, too far above
for us to save, and so
we drank in its warmth.
The tattoo on your wrist
we sold for wood; later
our rust-laden bones
creaked as we hoisted
the new house. When
the moon burned we began
to worry, the animals roaming
awkwardly aglow in the night.
Eventually the music
stopped, leaving only the
soft pulse of the blood
beneath your charcoal-stained
thighs. When we could no longer
speak we painted colors onto
the forest, our violet dark
hands bespeaking our guilt.
If March came, we agreed,
we would move
back to the city.
Postcard From Spain
by Alan Michael Parker
Thanks for your card. I like hearing from you.
What a great picture, too: there must be
a million people on that beach in Barcelona,
so many outfits and towels and umbrellas.
And your note’s wry:
”The cyber café has the cheapest postcards.”
It’s different these days, even a little eerie
that a postcard can be from a life
lived two weeks ago—now that the internet
has made the past and present one.
And Instagram and Tumblr together
are like the Big Bang:
you’re everywhere at once in Spain,
with a toothache at the pharmacy,
sipping an icy lemonade in a park
then dipping your bandana in the fountain,
finding the darkness in you
is Goya’s. But I’m so glad you wrote,
and thought to share: thank you.
Yes, I’m mostly recovered, the family’s well—
though no one understands Aunt Martha any more,
which has an upside;
you know what Aunt Martha can be like.
I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thanks to you, I see again
the face of the clerk at the post office
in the tenderness of her hijab,
how perfectly her sigh made her lips purse
when she smiled at my awful Spanish
and counted out my change
slowly, in impeccable English,
as though I were no smarter
than her stapler. But she liked me,
I could tell: our moment was simple,
irrespective of her politics or mine.
I have been thinking a lot about the light
I glimpsed in her kind irony,
as though I could see
the unflickering living candle of her.
She liked that I was mailing myself a postcard.
Old Memo (Disregard)
by Lysette Elizabeth Simmons
Left heat on sixty degrees all weekend, so now
in fear for hamster’s health. But you’ll be happy to
know that’s not where I live. Usual workplace
disturbances. (Common sense:
you drain the joe, then make some mo’.)
Anyway, along the way, established a few facts:
1. The weather changes often & is not always what is expected.
2. Life feels better when one dresses appropriately for the weather.
3. We’ve pretty much squared away the deal with the weather.
So, new suggestions for conversation topics:
a) Who spits in the elevator?
b) Where do the crackheads go when they come here?
c) Who’s been shaving his or her head in the stairwell?
d) Who’s the asshole who keeps leaving DELICIOUS sushi in the fridge?
Oh god I must try harder to resist
peeking in others’ cubicles. Love thy neighbor
by getting off his or her ass about the coffee pot.
That’s what I always say.
(No it’s not, but will try to
just for today.)