Current Poetry

“I Met Him at an Anonymous Meeting” by Meaghan Quinn


“Treehugger” Image (detail) by Pam Brodersen

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.

 

“The One-Time Return of Night Terrors” by Ron Riekki

Night Terrors (Rain)
“Drops” Image by Pam Brodersen

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
nearby where
the father
cannot allow
himself
to be
strangled

I turn on
the light,

kneel
and insist
God
enter
every
cloud
of me

 

insist

insist

insist

 

 

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).

 

“Nocturne: Ludlow Street” by Tina Cane

Mother_Flight
“Flight” Image by Pam Brodersen

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.

 

“It Hangs a Delicate Chain” by Rebekah Keaton

What the Monkey_Delicate Chain
“What the Monkey Dreams” Image by Pam Brodersen

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.

 

“Requiem XIV” by Ekweremadu Uchenna-Franklin

Birds on a Line (Requiem)
“Birds on a Line” by Pam Brodersen

Dear mother hen
I dreamt you’re now gold-plated
angel-winged
and ruby-hearted

I dreamt you’re now a nanny
in heaven’s nursery
tending cherubs
as you had done back here
as ever
there’d be no sweeter song to your soul
than the chirps of those tender lights

pray tell
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.