Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 5, is now online. Yeah, you heard right…, Issue 5. We’re shifting our new volume year to begin in April starting in 2017. For now, enjoy a special BONUS issue to Volume 18 with new poems by Laura Falsetti, Sara Henning, Elizabeth Onusko, Alyssa Jewell, John A. Nieves, Hayden Saunier, Wendy Drexler, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, Alina Borger, Sarah Carleton, Allyson Jeffredo, Wendy DeGroat, Charlotte Covey, Judith Montgomery, Carmen Germain, and Christopher Citro. Stay tuned later in the month for new reviews by Jeff Whitney and Barbara L. Estrin.
What would life have been like had someone walked alongside you, friend, met you on the other side of you and all around you, suspended you, weightless by the boughs of the earth so that you could fill yourself on the ripest pears, gather them in glazed bowls, let the ground honey your blood— I thought of you growing steady like the eclipsing moon, shaking off all the red from the atmosphere.
The human body can only hold so much before it begins to rock and bend something away from itself. It will lash out. It will spill itself into shapes that resemble the round, lonely corners of ice caves and tide pools, pink spikes of starfish bleeding into the blackest ash you ever knew, and you will wonder where you went wrong.
See how they move, these apparitions like rainfall. Slowly, we are learning the names of all the dead we will ever know. We are storing them away in bathroom drawers, we are dropping them next to spare buttons, oyster shells, and river rocks plucked from the shore. We bump our knuckles up against them, smooth them over our thumbs.
Throw yourself into the water as if your life depended on it. See if you walk. Drink it in, even though the dogs fetch bones there, even though everyone else is clawing their own way out of the riverbeds and you felt someone drink from your waking. Breathe in the current, silver-white and borderless— it was always yours.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 5.
See all items about Alyssa Jewell
I keep my distance from the closets, the picture frames,
never wanted to know their contents yet thought of them: black
and white linens, tin smiles, all the glittered hayfields. We know
each other by the spaces in between the floorboards, reach around
the electrical to touch, and when the cords spark a little, well,
we ask why we even bother. Look at the alternative, I say, peel tinfoil
from the frosting jar, light spiraled candles and float them flickering
downriver. I painted a canvas in gold flecks as a way of talking a little while
about the year, then watched it fall from plaster walls like a tight snap
of the wrist and so hung it again with precision, with all the ginger and sour
these beautiful, cracked fingertips could give, then walked away.
This is how loneliness begins and how we know the hollowness
of the hills, the steel floored grocery stores, shopping carts rolling
toward the curbside, toward skeleton trees that invite us to drift among them,
to move with the emptiness of a hand trying to cup the wind, but instead
I pluck the juniper, prefer pink houses tipping sideways on street corners, families
swinging in doorways, in window frames, pumping their arms and legs
toward cirrus feather skies and a light that slices through the gardens and
laced in rusty vines, the still good grapes for ice wine, the still good grapes
for a still life painted in shadows, painted in oil, in yellow and green and
The best way to know a subject is to taste it, fall into it headfirst
like Michelangelo sleeping away midnight on marble, knowing it well enough
to retrieve human form out of infatuation and love for proportions of shoulders,
the luminescence of stone turned to cloak but not cloaking the sorrows of the heart:
preservation of the miracle that anyone ever lived through the sham
of here and now and did so with tips of noses, ear lobes, and brows
set bold, palms open in an honesty about want, a lap as a cradle,
as a grave, a gaze fixed on most anyone, never abandoned or shying away.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.
See all items about Alyssa Jewell