Tag Archives: January 2017

The Plural of Grief
by Alina Borger

Ekphrastic response to Untitled Work by Eliezer Sotillo

Her son’s pygmy frog floated near the top of its tank one Tuesday evening in fall. She had to explain the epistemology of it all (how do we know frog isn’t coming back), traditional Western toilet bowl burial rituals, and where the water goes.

Also, her mother’s long illness, the death she’d forgotten to keep expecting, and weeks later her father’s cancer. The please no prayers, the please not again prayers, the please, just please prayers she murmurs underneath her working and sleeping.

The productivity of it all still astonishes her, facing inward, concentrating entirely on something so deeply held only to let it go—like running long distance, like giving birth. Everything else pushed out of the way, face white, eyes closed.

Surprising, too, what returns. Even with a benediction on her lips, ready to take a breath, lift her head, move on, that damn frog sprang to life again, its legs pushing through unflushed water until she found the net and scooped him back out.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 4.

alina_borger_sqAlina Borger writes and teaches in Iowa City, IA. She is the author of Tuesday’s Children, a chapbook from Hermeneutic Chaos Press, and her work recently appeared or is scheduled to appear in Midwestern Gothic, The Mom Egg Review, and The Pittsburgh Poetry Review.

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Camera Lucida
by Sara Henning

I was there. I know.

—C.D. Wright, Deepstep Come Shining

Let me be witness, Lord,
not half-silvered mirror.

Let me know heirloom
from hazard, my name

from a legacy of hyssop
so filial my shoulders

tangle in sharp calyxes,
my heart confuses petals

for bruises. Suffer me
until shame is my only

angle of incidence. Let my
truth, graceless squall

that it is, hold you like
a lover. Instead of words,

watch shadows graffiti
my skin and ripen. Lay

your hands on my beautiful
braille. If you cannot

deliver me, forgive me
my trespass. The discreet

side of revelation still
calls me home.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 5.

Sara HenningSara Henning is the author of the full-length collection of poetry A Sweeter Water (2013), as well as a chapbook, To Speak of Dahlias (2012). Currently a doctoral student at the University of South Dakota, she serves as Managing Editor for The South Dakota Review.

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After Marina Abramovic’s The Kitchen V: Carrying the Milk
by Alyssa Jewell

for A

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.

Alyssa JewellAlyssa Jewell studies poetry at Western Michigan University where she served as assistant editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and is currently an assistant poetry editor for Third Coast.

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