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The Flowered Shirt, by James Cox

The man waiting for the carpool ride to arrive,
standing in the hallway in the gray sharkskin suit,
tubes of Havana panatelas inside his coat pocket,

a starched white shirt, his wingtips shining, gray
felt trilby with a two inch band held by the brim
in his right hand—he looks the same as the man

who left yesterday morning and every yesterday,
all lined up in my mind like spotless edgeless
man-shaped dominoes, each one the same man,

the queue receding back through time, hundreds
of replicated sharkskin-suited men with cigars
and hats, thousands of them, reduced in shades

and sizes by a seemingly infinite distance, every
one starched white and stiff gray. Which one bears
the distinction that makes him mine? What would

that distinction be? All of them left to go fishing. They
sat on the stern seat of as many boats as they were,
at the helm of the outboard engines, steering out

to sea; the line of boats, the gray-suited men
with cigars and trilby hats, taking off in series
from the shore like synchronized divers in a show—

not one looked back or thought to give a sign. Thick
dark clouds rolled over the rapidly blackening sea;
all the boats and men vanished. Lightning strokes
plunged iridescent yellow bowls under the surface;
no shadows sinking, the whine of engines gone,
no sound but the distant storm. Flat silvery-backed

fish jumped out of the water as I walked the beach
going north. I came to a table set out at the edge-line
of high tide. I found the square gift box one of them

had left behind. When I lifted the lid and looked inside,
the obviousness of it struck me: the uncanny under-
standing; the absurd, perfectly conceived wisdom.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

James Cox, founder of the Four Winds Daoist Center, lives mysteriously in the woods in Whittier, North Carolina, talks with dogs and sends poems out to the universe. He cooks excellent Chinese food in his wok.

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Janis Joplin at Monterey, by Wendy Drexler

A shovel scraping bare

rock, carving up another          little piece          of my heart,

hoarse with it, coarse with it,

the shrill trills and come-on cries,

no slaking that thirst, that voice a saber

of thistles and pearl, that American way of making it

all up, severing the tyranny

of home ties, peacocking,

packed tight in gold lamé

like black powder

in a flintlock musket,

her colonies rebellious, and all

embargoed cargo              dumped

from the dock.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Wendy DrexlerWendy Drexler‘s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Meatpaper, Mid-American Review, Nimrod (semi-finalist, 2006 Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize), Peregrine, Poetry East, Tar River Poetry, Off the Coast, and other journals. Her first book-length collection, Western Motel, was published in 2012 by Turning Point. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily and in the anthologies Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust and Burning Bright: Passager Celebrates 21 Years. Her chapbook, Drive-Ins, Gas Stations, the Bright Motels (Pudding House 2007), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and Cider Press Review nominated her for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Wendy is a poetry editor for Sanctuary, the magazine of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. Her website is WendyDrexlerPoetry.com.

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All Your Lives, Your Sister and You Wore Long Braids, by Jin Cordaro

Then your sister turns 16, and can strike the ball
across the tennis court – harder
than your parents could ever strike
either of you. Her body rears up
like a horse who knows it can leap the fence.
You see it’s true. You see it when her feet churn
the clay surface of the court, and the muscles of
her thighs shake like a tremor in the earth, like
a hand reaching up to stop another hand.
When she cuts her braid, you see her
wearing the skin of a horse beneath her clothes.
She begins to appear in your dreams,
summoned like an unfulfilled wish, pacing
the same length of fence, showing you where
the ground slopes, and the one rail
is just low enough.
 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Jin Cordaro’s poetry has appeared in Cider Press Review.

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