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Elegy for an Unused Storm Cellar
by John Sibley Williams

I can’t see the whole ocean from here. Just a bird-
broken bay, backlit oyster shacks piled high in
hollow shells, incomplete haloes reflecting off

polished masts. Windless, their sails tied down
like domesticated dogs to backyard trees. A born
wildness deferred. Something I want desperately

to call my own: what is the word for wings
once skin has grown over them? We arm ourselves
with slack & acceptance, adulthood & all sorts of

gods, stories that end with boys falling, feather-
singed, from the sun. This is meant to be
a teachable moment. A father aims his son’s

cocked finger at passing barges & says bang.
He reads the morning paper loud enough
the whole house mourns each casualty.

& there are so many casualties. Just beyond
the storm-readied town, past the jetties that break
the breakers in half, in other words out of our empire

of sight: a war that reaches us ink & clean lines. Of home
I mainly remember these confident rooflines, so sharp they
could be words. How another’s tempest brings out our eyes.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.

John Sibley Williams is the author of Controlled Hallucinations (FutureCycle Press) and six poetry chapbooks. He is the winner of the HEART Poetry Award, and finalist for the Pushcart, Rumi, and The Pinch Poetry Prizes. John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, co-director of the Walt Whitman 150 project, and Marketing Director of Inkwater Press. A few previous publishing credits include: Third Coast, Inkwell, Bryant Literary Review, Cream City Review, The Chaffin Journal, The Evansville Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Ruth from a Foreign Field
by Avia Tadmor

I forgot where Dibon was. Forgot
where Edom was. Barefoot I crossed rivers

Arnon and Nimrim. My feet made sounds
the banks had never heard. And twice

if I remembered my father
I didn’t know what to do with my heart.

Or with the Phoenician tongue,
my Moabite Kingdom: I carried it

already broken, persistent
inside me, the hunger

of dogs. At night in my makeshift bed
under the junipers, Canaanite winds

were plucking the leaves off branches
like tongues they tasted the world

tasting like ash; like the old country
that kept spinning itself around the mind—

a knitted blanket: the limestone hills and barren
plateaus, the youngest ewe

born hoof-less
and nursing through winter, the snow kept falling

even in spring. How the four old women
who raised me returned each night, knitting around

in my voice to warn me
against my inappropriate heart.

But the heart, she kept turning and turning
my feet against the trees’ difficult roots.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.

Avia TadmorAvia Tadmor was born in Israel. She received a BA from Harvard University and is currently completing her MFA in poetry and literary translation at Columbia University, where she also teaches undergraduate writing. In 2016, she was named a finalist for the Indiana Review Poetry Prize.

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This Song
by David Crews

comes to you
from the song
before it
and that one
from the song
before that
and so on
these songs
come to us
some in sleep
and others simply
the street
walking down
these songs
that resound
in the chest
like the deep fluttering
of a thousand
grackle wings
into the day descending
and the thousand
grackle cries
that fall around you
your mouth agape
trying to remember
what it was you know
and still there will be
songs we carry
with us
the deep songs
of longing and love
if only to remember
those low notes
your mother once
hummed into your
dreamless sleep
like the memory
of the dead bird
your father said
was a sparrow
cupped
in your tiny hands
and your mother said
to drop it to the ground
and you did

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 1.

David CrewsDavid Crews is author of the poetry collections High Peaks (Ra Press, 2015) and Circadian Rhythm (Paulinskill Poetry Project, 2014). New poems and essays are forthcoming or recent in Platform Review, Tiferet, The Curlew, Lime Hawk, Bird’s Thumb, and Stoneboat Journal. He serves as editor for The Stillwater Review. davidcrewspoetry.com

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