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So the Road Was Cut by Women
by Marjorie Saiser

I am grateful, especially to the ones whose names
I don’t know and can never learn. Nameless,

faceless, I thank you. You cut the road for me
and then today I came upon one who has

thrown a log across my path. What now?
Like all those women betrayed by women

before me, I climb, I find
a way around this latest block,

I grouse, I resent, I bleed where she scratched,
I keep looking ahead—there’s someone far in front:

the woman I need, toiling in hot sun
without the canopy of praise.

Plain cotton back bent over the trail.
I’ll follow her.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Marjorie Saiser’s novel-in-poems, Losing the Ring in the River (University of New Mexico Press, 2013), won the Willa Award for Poetry. Saiser’s poems have been published in Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, Poet Lore, Nimrod, and Chattahoochee Review.

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Memory of Highway 20 West
by Anna Girgenti

After dark, crossing the Mississippi
into Iowa in a black car,
your palm opened up to me
from the passenger seat
and I was amazed
the way a hand can curve
like a tongue in my mouth.

All this you whispered over
a running river, girl lover,
your eyes two full moons
toward which I turn the wheel:

Here are your construction men
working late, you said,
the dairy farmer, and the lone
trucker who smokes cigarettes
sometimes and whose weight
you once measured by the darkness
of the bruises on your winter hips.
There is the liquor store, its
blinking sign, and the town
which we cannot ever return to,
which has seen your lips pressed
to my cold ears in mid-October,
which is not really a town
but a maze of iced sidewalks,
quiet dive bars, the park next
to the house in which we first
made love, and the second house,
and the third.
Look east toward those phantom
hills, driftless as we have been
all our lives in search of
a new shape

and the cathedral

I hauled you from, weeping

forgiven, forgiven.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Anna GirgentiAnna Girgenti is a Midwestern writer who’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction has appeared in Susquehanna Review, Polaris, The Oakland Arts Review, and Plain China: Best Undergraduate Writing Anthology. Her first poetry chapbook, “Asking for Directions,” was published by the University of Iowa in 2018.

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My Mother Grasped My Hands in Hers
by Devon Miller-Duggan

and nuzzled my left hand.
I will have been ready for her leaving,
for the decade of it, of keeping my hands
beyond her kisses’ reach.
I was on the other side of razor-wire.

On some part of the planet I am a butterfly
which, when walking in the open with its wings closed
looks exactly like a brown leaf skittering across brown ground,
whose wings open to lapis, peacock, tangerine, coral—
perhaps by light breezes, perhaps vanity, perhaps tease.

Beside the razor-wi.re, I was clear:
I could not climb over into her
heart. I did not want her on either side
of living, did not want her worship, yet I must
have opened to colors
only she ever saw, or said
only she could see.

I am brown-leaf-butterfly.
I couldn’t cross to her.
I couldn’t leave her in the field for dusk,
for her long dusk,
for her own wildness,
and the storms, coming from over the inevitable.
I could be neither leaf, nor visitor, nor comfort, nor blossom.
But I could break.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

devon-miller-duggan_sqDevon Miller-Duggan has had poems appear in Rattle, Shenandoah, Margie, The Indiana Review, The Hollins Critic and elsewhere. She’s won an Academy of American Poets Prize, a fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts, and an editor’s prize in Margie.

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