Latham St., San Rafael, 1993

by Emily Alexander

Along the back side of a house
in California, the yard is green and wild
with weeds and my parents are young
enough to fool themselves into love or something

it might stem from. They call to each other
from different rooms, their names like held
things, despite the shifting warmth of June,
the breeze sifting through screened windows—(More …)

venice poem

by Emily Alexander

i am sweating, & have been since
                                                             france. the fabric pressed
against my lower back is damp, but unnoticed
                                                                                    among the small unnoticings
of strangers photographing the light of venice as it slips
                                                                                                     into the river. i feel up
walls just to touch
                                   some kind of skin, & i’m lost again, leaking
around corners & trying not to ache
                                                                for my own home’s small evening
glow. i suppose this
                                    is what people write postcards about, wish you
were here,
& here i am, pushing(More …)

Math

by Kwame Dawes


Math messes things up; this is
a problem of fate—the enemy
of the random, the egalitarian
paradise of home truths and
proverbs—math wrecks it
all. Rain, God says, falls
on the just and the unjust
alike, but the unjust usually
have umbrellas and math
pays attention to that stuff,
to the facts of it, like when
I say, “We are all having it
hard,” to ease my guilt; most
of that is a lie and it’s true,
the thing I am not saying
is that hard time is a language,(More …)

Down in the Valley

by Kwame Dawes


On the morning after the news,
                                like a nightmare,
                a litany of tragedies, we will
call this the decade of grand
                                disappointments
                and we will know who we are
by the accumulation of our silent
                                                mourning, no one will
                                understand why we all wear
                black, our women in black underthings,
their eyes shadowed with
                                regret, their bodies impatient,
                their tongues sharper with resignation.
Only we will know how.(More …)

seedling

by Elizabeth Forsythe

i.

John tells me geosmin rise after rain

i’m sketching charcoal into tetrahedrons& ask why

one type of surgical stitch is called a mattress stitch         this type is

incredibly secure &

good for fragile skin or larger lacerations

[6C10H15O7 + heat]

he says plutonium is not the most unstable element(More …)

Bethlehem

by Vincent Hao

I laud my feet against
the summer grass, & around me

crickets are juiced by the leg,
pushing the world to a spring. it is quiet along
the river. near me, a boy sets(More …)

The Stem, Cut into Fourths

by Vincent Hao

i move in with my father. this is the day i am born. there is an ulcer against

my thigh. he pretends to be a doctor. there is a scar on his side.

all the same, he says. they cut it off of me. we visit his hometown.

i ask him why all the flowers are made of little hands.

the ground forgot itself, he says. that is the last time we speak.

he leaves on a business trip, dressed in a black suit and slacks.

at home i sleep on a burning bed. i dream of a red train, filled

with words. they overflow off the engine. they fall into my lap.

i wonder what it means when i catch crucifix and tongue.

you are too much, i say. no one in particular listens. i find myself(More …)

Everything, Again

by Vincent Hao

this is beautiful: the sky, waking in triples. my father,
over breakfast talking about the computer his team

will build. he talks with the corners of his jaw taking
life of their own, creasing & wiping off chardonnay

lips in unison. on the tv a man with a baseball bat
beats another to a scar. behind him the sky(More …)

A Prayer to Cathy McMorris Rodgers for More Cake

by Kate Lebo

I admit I am not loyal.
That my womb moves and votes for the other guy.

That is my right, and my womb’s right, as I know
you’ll understand, personal responsibility

being so eminent among your concerns,
so important to us all, how we take care of ourselves

and then others, the burlap of our community
woven of such acts of self-preservation

before generosity. Cathy,(More …)

Invention

by Maxine Chernoff

“Daylight disbanded the phantom crew.” —Edith Wharton

The sentimental is a rumor,

inexorable memory

of cottonwood seed

left in its husk, of

a grief spent down to dust. (More …)

Territory of Men

by Jami Macarty

The café customer mutters a body part and a man’s name

Plastic lids startle

the floor’s scuffed wood

A man comes in

A man goes out

A window captures

the one looking in (More …)