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After Eden
by Daniel Bourne

Already in the drowned field they are fishing out
the last of the herd, white necks resting on the trunk
of the stunted mulberry they stood under during rains,
its red and black berries just inches from their lips

as if their appetites reached in that direction.
In life their flood went downward: into grass, the shear
of each green blade that made the cud inside them sharper, the
rumination of those fortunate to survive

until suddenly they are dead. And we watch it from our house.
Even on dry land, the news is never like we were promised, the fruit
never close enough that we can eat. And the owners to come next
will always wonder whether we too suffered much before the blow.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 1.

Daniel BourneDaniel Bourne was raised on a farm near the Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois. His books of poetry include The Household Gods and Where No One Spoke the Language, and On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe, a collection of translations of the political poetry and essays of Polish poet Tomasz Jastrun. His poems and translations have also appeared in such journals as Ploughshares, Guernica, American Poetry Review, Field, Salmagundi, Plume, Colorado Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Cimarron Review. Over the years, his stays in Poland have included a Fulbright Fellowship for translation in 1985-87 and a graduate exchange program between Indiana and Warsaw University during Martial Law in 1982-1983. He teaches at The College of Wooster, where he edits Artful Dodge. See more at https://danielbourneblog.wordpress.com/

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Anthophobia
by Bret Shepard

Because the car drives too fast into nothing

but horizon and other cars

look like flowers out of focus, broken alive

in fields. Because you can’t believe

how a bed oscillates between comfort

and suffocation by sheets. Because

flowers replace gravesites like candles replace

light the body needs. Because smells

live deeper than touch. Because water washes

even determined insects from petals

and people, and people pull out their desires

come the springtime, because people

can never bloom enough to make the world

more than machine, even if they want

blood. Because the threat is often more a smell

and then a pinching inside the body.

Because the cry you hear is a child standing

on a flowerbed tended

by his dying mother.

Because all things die by candlelight or stem.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 1.

Bret ShepardAfter living in Alaska and California, Bret Shepard completed his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Currently, he lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Green River College. He is the author of Negative Compass, winner of the Wells College Chapbook Prize.

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Gorgeous
by Kieron Walquist

after Ocean Vuong

I’m a buzz cut & braces, scarecrow-thin, ready for
my friend’s P90X video to show me a hunger
worth wearing. Shirts off, we drink protein—which is

a papier-mâché paste—& pump dumbbells to
get ripped in 90 days! In his close basement, we give

each other grief—no, like this—& perfect the
form, the rep, by shadowing the TV. His body
brushes mine after we try pushups. It’s not what

I was expecting—firm but I could fall into it,
like a mattress. Sorry, I say, & hope he knows

our chest bump means nothing. (It does.) He laughs about it
& dries off—rubs at his neck, back. In the mirror, we cannot
help but flex. & there, he hands me his towel—wet—to keep.
 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 1.

Kieron Walquist lives in Missouri. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, Daily Science Fiction, fresh.ink, Gingerbread House, Gulf Coast, Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, and X-R-A-Y, among others. He plans to study creative writing at WASHU’s MFA program in the fall of ’20.

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