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A Day of Good News
by Sherry Rind

I raked the wet apple-leaves into the hen yard
where the young chickens prowled around the pile, suspicious of this new thing

until the boldest, the chestnut tinted Rhode Island Red
picked at a leaf, dropped it, lifted a minute bug,
stepped forward, followed by the other three

and then began their dance of foot forward and pulling back
head dipping for larvae and woodlice,
the hidden eggs of slugs and millipedes
forward, back, peck, muttering and singing to each other

until all the leaves were spread across the pen
as they had been over the lawn;
now each one examined and plucked clean,
a tablecloth of gold and brown covering the mud
churned now with manure, food for microbes

that will pick apart the fabric
and leave lacework skeletons and leaf mold
for worms to weave through their veiny tunnels in the soil—
the red hen and black, the tan and ochre
turning and turning the leaves, not attending
to the misty rain laying over us a beadwork like crystal.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Sherry RindSherry Rind is the author of four collections of poetry and editor of two books about Airedale terriers. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Anhinga Press, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission. Her poems have appeared recently in Cloudbank, Marathon Literary Review, Crosswinds, Weatherbeaten, Shark Reef Review, and others.

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Hornworm
by Susan Okie

I pearl a leaf’s bottom,
a marble drinking light,

hatch out minute,
green as the leaf I rest on,

devour, mixing its yellows
with my blood’s blue

to match this leaf,
the next, the next, eating

my way down stems,
no time to savor. Your fruits

are dreams. I’m my own
ballooning. I embody,

transform—goliath worm,
a giant, pliant,

undulant cigar.
I swell till you can’t miss

the white diagonal stripes,
red horns. Wait

for the day I don’t eat:
time for a spell in Hades,

playing dead. Know it
by the cord pulsing

down my back—my heart,
rising to light.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Susan OkieSusan Okie is a doctor, a poet, and a former Washington Post medical reporter. She received her MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her poem, “Perseid,” was chosen by Michael Collier as the first prize winner in the 2012 Bethesda Poetry Contest.

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All Saint’s Eve
by Alyson Miller

That night going the long way, round the back-roads with the real gardens and the old people’s home and the footpaths twisted like broken teeth and drunkenness and that lie you told the day before. All Saint’s Eve, choked with allergies and lost bees and milk-pale skin and the promise of heat. There had been too much garlic in the moo nham tok, not enough chili in the gang massaman. You took photos of a grape vine seeded in a rotted pipe, the clusters of green fruit dick-shaped and hard and bitter. At the bus-stop, a woman asked the time; she had to lay flowers at the cemetery for a husband who survived the Holocaust but not the flu, who died hot and aching and tired. You worried about her fumbling around tombstones on an evening for undead things, and she told you she’s nearly there, that the tock-tick of limbs was slowing to the lub-dub of a heart filled with ghouls. At the end, she said, small things will catch you, worm inside like a black thought and fill up the spaces between memory and bone. In the morning, you found a bush rat on the front lawn, its little body matted thick with brown ants and flies. You buried it beneath the jasmine, ribs skywards, pink belly split wide, and tucked in the dirt like a benediction, a blessing for the safety of the ground.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 3.

Alyson MillerAlyson Miller teaches literature and writing at Deakin University, Australia. Her writing has been published both nationally and internationally, alongside a critical monograph, Haunted by Words: Scandalous Texts, and two collections of prose poems, Dream Animals and Pika-Don.

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