Category Archives: CPR Volume 14, Issue 2

Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 2, October 2012

Snapdragons,
by Anne Champion

The fog lifts, revealing
solitary stalks coated in dew,
new white ruffles draped over sleek green stems
grazing the grass like a wedding gown,
married to the earth’s need.

If only all love wasn’t meant to be plucked,
pulled from its roots and unearthed,
then everything that blooms
would not always be lost.

Pinch the base of the flower,
pull it from its stem and press your fingers
against the flower’s cheeks,
reveal the jaws of the dragon open wide,
bright yellow throat and fuzzy tongue.

Remember to marvel in delight,
pay homage to the transient nature of all things
before you release the flower
and the jaw snaps shut.

 

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

Anne Champion completed her MFA in Poetry at Emerson College. She received her BA in Creative Writing and Behavioral Psychology from Western Michigan University. She currently teaches Freshman Composition and Literature at Emerson College, Wheelock College, and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She attended the Squaw Valley Writers Poetry Workshop in 2012.

See all items about Anne Champion

Visit Anne Champion’s contributors page.

Pond, Water Lilies & Meadow, by Brenda Yates

With apologies to Eamon Grennan

You enter Senda’s painting in stillness, among reflections of smudged trees and brush at the edges of water, your eye drawn through a break in foliage to sunlight sheening a meadow beyond, untruthfully shining back on the pond, lighting pink floating flowers and a fruiting red fungus that illuminates the foot of an almost familiar, splotchy, white-bark tree—a separate kingdom brightening just above worn-away roots, opened like a dark mouth, wounded, but still eating into the ground.

It was the only oil my father ever bought, the only painting that hung on the walls of wherever it was we were living, aside from the reproductions depicting the temptation of Christ, and Jesus, alone in the wilderness, praying, while dark, piled-up clouds sent down “slanting pillars of light like ladders up to heaven,” shafts I called God’s eyes and took as evidence, whenever they appeared in real life, that He was looking down on us as we drove from base to base.

In his 87th year, my father says he wanted me to have it before he died. He’d hated how susceptible I was, how I disappeared into that landscape. Yet he packaged it, and mailed it across the bleeding miles. Among bombers, missiles and Cold War, the soldier in him tried to snap her out of her own, dreamy world—and never gave up trying in all the years she lived in his house. He feared the dangers sure to come to anyone not on real ground and especially for the ever-after of a daughter who did not do as the Bible said:

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Love not the world nor the things in this world.”  But I did.

Bought on a lark in the village near a waterfall, down the mountain from Nikko’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines—we knew its flaws, even then. Perspective askew, and it’s a marsh, yet no mist veils the distance, no mud or muck grabs your shoes as you stand beside the water. But I was bound to it in the dark, bleak winters of biting wind and lake-effect snow, of too far north on a too-long stint in stuffy, sealed-up houses, where looking up from a book, I felt the velvet summer air, sensed the way everything, even my skin, gathered light as if it were holy, smelled the fragrant intimacy of green in the full flush of summer, knew the seasonal dominion of this world, real and imagined, beyond damnation.

 

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

Brenda Yates
Brenda Yates is from nowhere. After growing up on Air Force bases stateside and overseas, she settled first in Massachusetts, and then in California where she lives with her husband.

See all items about Brenda Yates

Visit Brenda Yates’s contributors page.

Dissecting Owl Pellets in Fifth Grade, by Kristin Mason

The most common prey of a barn owl,
the teacher tells us, are mice and voles,

sometimes a rat, rarely a small rabbit,
but the pellet she lays on our worktable—

regurgitated bones and fur, everything
indigestible—is smaller than any of those.

I picture my mother, dead a year now,
and wonder how much of her skin

is left, how small she’d be in her coffin
if she were only bones. My partner, Dwayne,

tweezes the owl’s prey free, and I reconstruct
the skeletons—one, a partial vole; the other,

a complete shrew—on a sheet of white paper.
I marvel, roll each bone in my hand

like a precious stone before I glue it down,
the vole’s ulna and broken radius, the shrew’s skull

cracked down the center, its sharp
and tiny teeth. When we’re finished,

Dwayne and I argue over who will take
the project home—my rock beats his scissors.

My stepmother gasps, Throw that away!
But that night, while she and my father sleep,

I sneak downstairs, dig it out of the garbage, and hide it
in my closet, inside the largest drawer of my empty jewelry box.

 

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

Kristin Mason received her MFA from the University of Arkansas in 2012. She currently lives, writes, and teaches in Fayetteville, AR, though her heart is in Tulsa.

See all items about Kristin Mason

Visit Kristin Mason’s contributors page.