Circled around fold out chairs I squeezed
his hand at the end of the Lord’s Prayer.
I wanted to give him something to believe
in deeper than the creed. I wasn’t prepared
for him to go back to selling out of his car
or even further back to living broken, alone.
After hours, I smell him cooking in the park
on the edge of a cot stoking a city of homes.
Off the grid, unannounced, more elbow room
to move around. There are whispers of his needs.
By morning the city finds traces of him, spoons,
rosaries, wax envelopes all down the streets.
Predawn sauna of summer, his crown of dreads,
in the mangled butternut tree roots, body and bread.
Meaghan Quinn is an Assistant Poetry Editor for The Tishman Review. She holds an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Bennington College. She was nominated for Best New Poets 2015 and a 2015 Pushcart Prize and was a recipient of the Nancy Penn Holsenbeck Prize. Her poems are forthcoming or have been published in Heartwood, 2River, Adrienne, Triggerfish, Free State Review, and other journals.
I beg the counselor
to help me return
to avoidance, but he
says I need to be
out in the crimson
pool of people,
that things get worse
before they get breathing
and I open my eyes
in the rivered room,
its throat of night,
and beg myself
to leave the doom-
birthdays of boot
camp and realize
fully that family
exists in rooms
I turn on
Ron Riekki wrote U.P.: a novel (Sewanee Writers Series and Great Michigan Read nominated) and edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book from the Library of Michigan and finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award/Grand Prize shortlist, Midwest Book Award, Foreword Book of the Year, and Next Generation Indie Book Award), Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2016 IPPY/Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal Great Lakes—Best Regional Fiction and Next Generation Indie Book Award—Short Story finalist), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).
I could have stood there all night staring at the Torah ark in your bedroom
looking for clues to the future a disclosure but the relic was a relic adorned
with Christmas lights in a semi-legal living space on Ludlow Street its wisdom
not for me falling in love was like being on the verge of an accident I had kept
to myself for so long often losing in order to falling in love was like being
shut out of ideas a delectable trap disclosure also often an accident
The future says our nine-year old son
is a parallel universe we are driving
down a tree-lined street Did they keep wood from Jesus’s cross?
he wants to know No I say There were fingerprints on it, I bet he says Yes
Tina Cane is the founder and director of Writers-in-the-Schools, RI and is an instructor with the writing community, Frequency Providence. Her poems and translations have appeared in numerous publications, including The Literary Review, Two Serious Ladies, Tupelo Quarterly Jubliat and The Common. She is the author of The Fifth Thought (Other Painters Press, 2008), Dear Elena: Letters for Elena Ferrante, poems with art by Esther Solondz (Skillman Avenue Press, 2016) and Once More With Feeling (Veliz Books, 2017). In 2016, Tina received the Fellowship Merit Award in Poetry from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island, where she lives with her husband and their three children.
She wakes to the back-hand slap
of rain against the double pane
and a dream that she can’t shake.
After coffee and a shower
it hangs a delicate chain
around her neck.
Across town he rubs his neck
a white knuckled dream slaps
cold metal chains
around his wrists, painfully
they ache. In the shower
steam rises, but he is shaking.
Outside puddles’ oily spills shake
the city awake by the scruff of its neck,
while a neighbor half asleep showers
her white blouse with coffee, slaps
her oldest child. Pain
sparks up her arm like a cold chain.
In another house, the first fight: the chains
of marriage begin to shake
the dream awake. A pained
morning commute replaces nights necking
in his father’s car. They feel the wet slap
of the day’s showers.
Upstairs, recovering from chemo, in the shower
she slips; he catches her. Nothing changes
the past, but here is the sure slap
of his calloused feet shaking
the floor to reach her–his soft kiss on her neck
forgives him, soft cools her pain.
At the flooded intersection, a car at breakneck
speed crashes. Metal showers the morning’s pane,
slaps the world awake. Everything shakes, changes.
Rebekah Keaton’s poems have appeared in various online and print journals, including recently in The Dying Dahlia, PoemMemoirStory, The Healing Muse, Rust+Moth and Common Ground Review.
Dear mother hen
I dreamt you’re now gold-plated
I dreamt you’re now a nanny
in heaven’s nursery
as you had done back here
there’d be no sweeter song to your soul
than the chirps of those tender lights
did the choirmaster make it to heaven
whose fiery voice
spurred weaklings to dare death
and melted iron hearts to tears
is our rich uncle smouldering in hell
who embarned tons of grains for thankless weevils
while you and I scavenged for crumbs
as you rode down the ever-busy new road
did you pause by the crossroad
to peep down the old alleyway
now overgrown by tall grass and spider web
did you spot our famished Patriarchs
costumed in sackcloth and ash
grieving our marriage to new Gods
who brook no rival, being jealous
Ekweremadu Uchenna-Franklin writes from Kaduna, Nigeria. He was Longlisted for the Erbacce Prize For Poetry 2015; he was the First Runner-up for PEN Nigeria/Saraba Magazine Poetry Prize 2011, and made it to the Book of Winners, Castello di Duino International Poetry Competition 2010. His works have appeared in Coe Review, The Write Room, Saraba Magazine, Wilderness House Literary, A&U American AIDS Magazine, Kalahari Review and elsewhere.