Tag Archives: July 2019

Soft Rain through an Open Window
by Trent Busch

What I know today is no more
than what I knew at ten,
clouds in a blue sky, until
language comes to explain:

so it is the image that
starts words, the way the rising
of the sun awakens a house
and puts the coffee on.

What I knew then was ribbons
in the hillside dawn, soft rain
through an open window,
that for every bird that fell

there was a sleight of hand.
What I see today is a ridge
and a boy below a tree.
A crow flaps low toward

the night. What he believes
comes from the image that
he sees or the image
someone, his uncle say,

has seen and changed to mean,
as clouds are seen, as these
words came to be: image
of a boy beneath a tree.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Trent Busch
Although he grew up in rural West Virginia, Trent Busch has lived in Georgia for many years now.  He own a small place out in the country where he has a workshop and builds furniture.  His recent book of poetry, not one bit of this is your fault, was published by Cyberwit.net in 2019.

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Hurricane Autumn
by Autumn McClintock

Known already as a kind of weather, it’s unlikely
a hurricane will share my name.

Wind in both of us, a drumming down.
Some time since I considered throwing a car

through a window or twisting train tracks into a swan.
I like a personal calamity, slow wrecking

over years. Until with a sudden whirling around
I find the path razed from my plowing through.

But I was holding violets, I say
to my face-up palms. Heart-line veers off an edge.

Dear girls who grew up to be mothers,
I do not love enough your children. Dear mothers,

be warned, you will one day leave behind a child
something like me. Children, be hurricanes just once.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Autumn McClintockAutumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Poems of hers have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Account, Cimarron Review, Denver Quarterly, Permafrost, Sonora Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and others. Her chapbook, After the Creek, was published in 2016. She is a staff reader for Ploughshares.

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Review of Judith H. Montgomery’s Litany for Wound and Bloom

Review by Amy Miller

Litany for Wound and Bloom
Litany for Wound and Bloom
Judith H. Montgomery
978-0999833414
(2018, Uttered Chaos)
$19, paper

Judith Montgomery’s latest full-length poetry collection is about life. Literally, life. From the cosmos of pre-birth, through the mysteries of child-rearing, to the inevitable letting-go as children venture into the world alone, Montgomery works the lens of her magnifier to focus in on moments that are startling when seen in such clear detail. This is an electron microscope of a book.

From the first poem, “What Were You, Before,” the book asks, What is body? What is essence? And how to they determine our fate? Next comes a series of poems about infertility, a long battle replete with technology, hope, plans, and near misses—but also with an omnipresent sense of “othering,” as if infertility sets this woman outside of the rest of our culture, in a place that’s dark in every sense of the word. Then, when conception finally happens, light literally returns to these poems, the speaker now allowed back into the world. Montgomery is making some subtle, dystopian comments about how women are viewed through the lens of their bodies, and worse, only as bodies that continue the species. And yet—for these poems have their paradoxes, as does life—there is an unwavering tenderness toward babies, whether real, imagined, or lost, as in “Baby Blue”:

Check       for blood     they said. Call

us if. Call us when. But no spotted

cotton. O sweetrunt     Katy Kate

don’t make me         choose—

I have to lose you, loose

you     have to

The book’s second section, “Word,” ranges through time and geography, tracing families: a mother fading into dementia, an aunt lost to a fever, a parent lamenting her murdered son. Many of the poems ekphrastically describe paintings and photographs, focusing Montgomery’s sharp lens again on the body: scars from a mastectomy, a mother bathing her disabled daughter, or the constraints and restrictive clothing dictating the guise of female acquiescence in “Her Silence Is”:

Floating

rib removed, the more closely

to corset her waist. Breath.

Is handcuff. Straitjacket. Gag.

The last section, “Witness,” explores the world’s particular dangers for children—illness, accidents, warfare—in a litany of a mother’s worst fears. The poem “Bearing/Bearing Down” signals that even at a baby’s birth, safety is already compromised:

…expelled,

sent out into the fallen unprotected world…

…exile marked

by cord and cuttery, first of many leave-takings

dimly rising on the horizon—

Two poems that form the crescendo of the last section, “A Blessing” and “Five Ways to Wear the Balaclava,” show the extremes of that inevitable leave-taking: In one, parents make a desperate decision about their teenage son, whose life is threatened by his own mysterious mind; in the other, a mother knits a scarf for her son who is leaving to invade another nation, to go to war with other parents’ children.

How, indeed, do we send our children out into that world? Why do we bring them into it, knowing what we know? Montgomery is smart enough not to answer these questions. But in these graceful, searing poems, we sense that virtually every parent has faced these fears and chosen to bring up children anyway. In that regard, Montgomery seems to be saying, parents are never alone; they have all of history keeping them company.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Amy MillerAmy Miller is the author of The Trouble with New England Girls, which won the Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press. Her writing has appeared in Gulf Coast, Permafrost, Rattle, and ZYZZYVA, and her most recent chapbook is I Am on a River and Cannot Answer (BOAAT Press). She lives in Ashland, Oregon.

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