Tag Archives: Volume 14-2

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.

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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.

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Sublimation,
by Janice Greenwood

One thing becomes another. For instance
a spiderweb and a mosquito turn
valences of water into a dance
of silk and spindle. These, in turn, spurn

the visual apparatus in order
to capture butterflies by accident,
exposing failures of vision. Failures?
Psychologists seek an antecedent

to thought. When the patient says, I am not
thinking about a red shoe
, a red shoe
appears anyway. Everything is not
a penis, but everything might be a shoe.

If the shoe fits the foot, then wear it thin.
Come love, crawl in; be the worm in my gin.

 

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

Janice Greenwood studied poetry at the University of Florida and at Columbia University, where I was a Benjamin T. Burns Fellow in poetry. Her poems have appeared in ARC Poetry Magazine, DIAGRAM, New England Review, Southeast Review, Western Humanities Review and elsewhere.

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