Category Archives: CPR Volume 22, Issue 1

CPR Volume 22, Issue 1, April, 2020

by Susanna Lang

Controlled Burn

I’ve seen park workers
chivvy the flames as if
herding a flock of beasts
that half remember their wild
past, and if I did not see them
on this strip of open ground
it’s clear they’ve foraged
here, the dry grass flattened,
soil blackened, its slender limits
outlined beside the walkway
where someone has chalked
Te amo Dios in green.

And the ground has been made
ready, the first nondescript
shoots pushing up, columbine
and bluets coming soon, then
milkweed and coneflowers
in July, winy asters before frost.
Acércate a mi prays the chalk,
be with me; and the flames
draw near, the prairie blooms.


Late Snow

Tufts on the magnolia
petals, white on white
like the gulls struggling
under the wet weight of it,
street sign blanked out
at the corner. One gull
stalls a few feet in front
of my windshield, achieves
lift just in time. I had already
begun to put sweaters away,
count daffodils and hyacinths
in gardens along the river.

Later a wren slips through
a basement window to find
an alien landscape, free
of snow but also of branches,
insects, navigational guides.
It spins its slight weight in
circles till I push the window
wider and make a path
back into the familiar cold.


Spring Cleaning

My neighbor takes a hose
to his front steps, clearing
the litter of maple blooms
that fell in the last storm.
I cleaned a little myself—
brushed off the bench
so I could sit under the maple
to read, listen to the cardinal
trill from the highest branches.
But I did not sweep the deck,
wanting to feel that resistance
under my feet. Each year

my husband plucks miniature
trees from his flower beds
while I secretly wish
that one would escape him
until it’s too late, a new
body raising its arms
over our heads, speaking
to us in whispers, making
its home alongside ours.



Till last summer a dam
made the water fall a few
feet at this confluence but
still a great blue heron waits
for the tumbling water
to deliver lunch and a dozen
gregarious cormorants
ruffle their feathers
to catch the spray. Nothing
but rain for days,
air and ground saturated,
Virginia bluebells

cupping a deeper blue
against the mud. The river
clambers up the underside
of bridges, suckles the green
of low-hanging branches.
Everything opens its mouth
wide, thirsty for more
light, more drink, more
of whatever makes us thrive.


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

Susanna LangSusanna Lang’snew collection of poems, Travel Notes from the River Styx, was released in summer 2017 from Terrapin Books. Her last collection was Tracing the Lines (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2013). A two-time Hambidge fellow, her poems have appeared in such journals as Little Star, Prairie Schooner, december, Prime Number Magazine and Verse Daily, as well as an earlier issue of Cider Press Review. Her translations of poetry by Yves Bonnefoy include Words in Stone and The Origin of Language. Among her current projects is Self-Portraits, a chapbook collection of ekphrastic poems focused on women across the arts. She lives in Chicago, and teaches in the Chicago Public Schools.

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by Dianne Stepp

Siletz River, 1948

My dad thinks the river is his, or he is the river’s.

He ferries us upstream on the tide most weekends after the war,
his knee on the tiller, that half-moon sailing from the quick of his thumb

as he slips his tackle into the current.
He lifts one finger to his lips to say silence in the boat,

and the bank slips by, an open window to another life—
muskrat, voles, the dark mouths of their burrows.

Alders and willows dip their leaves into the stream.
Around a bend, a startle of wings, the cries of the kingfisher bird.

The morning’s mist rises over the river’s silver face
and I take it in, filling my lungs with the sounds the river breathes.

The river opens a space for us as we go,
the vee behind the boat fanning to show where we’ve been.

My dad motions me to the bow to watch for snags and deadheads.
Teaches me to flag with my arms,

and I become first boat hand,
my mother keeping watch over my brother playing with his toys.

At the riffles I remove my shoes and pull the boat across the gravel bar
so we can reach his favorite holes upstream.

Tackle, rod, reel, line, lure. Coho, cutthroat, blueback.
The river becomes my life’s lexicon.

Gull, heron, jay. The thrash of spawn.
Riffle, sandbar, salmonberry. Minnows in the shallows.

Meander. Loop, bend, bank, the trill of a creek.
This is what my dad will give me.

Until I wrote these words, I didn’t know it.


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

Dianne SteppA retired counselor, Dianne Stepp lives with her husband in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies including High Desert Journal,, Comstock Review, Clackamas Literary Review, and Cries of the Spirit. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program in Poetry, she is a recipient of an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship and author of a chapbook, “Half-Moon of Clay.”

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I Have Entered
by Janelle Adsit

like water—what it was—to enter—unprepared—the tide moves left—there is nothing to bring to it—I could not gather your things—some things broke instead—a phone crushed in your hand—we are always found holding—the body changes the water that holds it—the waters spill out and drown into what we call river—I once was standing next to you—not preparing for another posture—my feet in contact with the ground—now I am all emergence—I am untucked—the suck and swallow of this that I am in—I climbed a tree with you three days ago—I was all knees—it was all arms—you unfolded where it unfolded—now you are the drawing based on skeletal models—the branches in directions they couldn’t exist—this is how it is in the mind—we draw unsteady things—the desire I have for clay beneath my feet—as if I could draw you up from the riverbed—as it you were ever vessel—the clay vase our mother shattered—the current is never ours


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

Janelle Adsit is the author of the poetry collection Unremitting Entrance (2015) and the chapbook “Press Yourself Against a Mirror” (2015). She is also author of Toward an Inclusive Creative Writing (2017); editor of Critical Creative Writing: Essential Readings on the Writer’s Craft (2018); and co-author of Writing Intersectional Identities: Keywords for Creative Writers (forthcoming, 2019).

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