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Working the Garden,
by Brian Simoneau

for Kate

Today I’ve been remembering

summer squash; strawberries

ripening; cucumber vines

wound through chicken wire

the way life and its absence are

threaded between lines of a poem;

apples proving gravity’s

gentle tug, the constant pull

of an underworld shrouded

in the aroma of loam, limbs

lifting back into place, relieved

of their cumbersome load;

and you, mending a hole

in the fence, the guilty bear

not even hiding. She peered

over tall grass, lifted her chin

as if laughing, amused

you’d be fixing what she’ll wreck

again, bemused you haven’t

given up, haven’t let yourself

believe in wastes of time.

I watched you patch it together

lovingly, line by wire line

like a story told and retold

until only a character’s name

stays the same. The hardest part’s

knowing no animal, not one

of us, will ever learn to be

content with the fruit

shaken loose from the branches

that stretch beyond a fence.

Later we spoke in voices hushed

by the summer night until all

that remained was wind

in Douglas-firs, the river’s

not-so-distant roar: sounds

we learn to call silence,

a word I still can’t bring

myself to believe in.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.

Brian SimoneauBrian Simoneau’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boulevard, Cave Wall, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, North American Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Waccamaw, and elsewhere. His work also appears in Two Weeks: A Digital Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughters.

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The Dark of Sheds, by Adam Penna

When I went out into the shed to find the shears

my father had sent me to find, I also found the dark

of sheds, a more significant shear, and stepped into it

 

the way you might wade into a pool at night, not afraid

entirely but cautious unless you step on something sharp,

a roofing nail jarred from its box, the tine from a pitchfork

 

lying where it shouldn’t be, propped up by a rock.

The spades, the square-nosed shovel, the lawnmower blades,

and the moldy smell of cardboard rotting. I understood

 

one thing: to get out with my life I’d have to hold my breath.

It feels like drowning to be fetching from confusion

something sure, specific, sharp, inherited like fate,

 

passed down from father to son, in the genes, unavoidable.

I think of Emerson and his definition of temperament,

which means literally well-mixed like darkness and light,

 

when the door has been chocked open by a heel kicked back

and a bright trapezoid cuts the night into identifiable shapes.

They aren’t geometrical. They’re something greater, suggesting

 

with a gesture how close the stars are to us really

and how, like us, they are traveling as far away from birth

as possible. In the dreams I would dream later, older,

 

I brought those shears to him and smiled, but we all know

how unsatisfying the occasion is, which brings us from the dark

with only what we went searching there to find.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.

Adam Penna’s first full-length collection, Little Songs & Lyrics to Genji, was published in 2010 by S4N Books. His poems have appeared in magazines like Albatross, Cimarron Review, Basilica Review, Nimrod, The Same and others. A sonnet published in the Cider Press Review was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010, and an earlier poem appeared on the site Verse Daily in 2004.

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The Water Girl,
by Grant Clauser

When they found the girl,
blue faced in the green creek,
no one knew her name,
but the water owned her
hair and ran like tears
on her cerulean cheeks
as they pulled her
body to the bank.

Three weeks on and no one
owns her still, as if
lost means lost for good
and not misplaced
the way you lose your keys
or lose your way
for a month or year
and come home sad or gray.

You know someone’s lying,
maybe her, blue face
and yellow hair, lips
drawn to ask a question
before she changed her mind.
We’re all lying here
believing no one knows us,
believing we’re not dying every day

like this water chasing stars
downriver, stones tumbling
into each others’ space
and abandoned at the dam.
Her lost way, the path
washed out for worry
and the silt erasing traces
like names scratched into sand.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2.

By day, Grant Clauser works as a home technology writer. his poems have appeared in The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cortland Review, Wisconsin Review, Blueline and others. In 2010 he was named the Montgomery County Poet Laureate by Robert Bly. His book The Trouble with Rivers (Foothills Publishing) was published in 2012.

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