Tag Archives: volume 17-4

Without Fail
by Sarah Winter

1.
The days, burned clean by heat, gather
like cattle underneath the trees,
look around in calm and great fatigue.
We listen to the crickets’ hymn,
precious to us: sweet and bloodless.

Without fail, I try to say
the things I always try to say
every autumn: the first
call of the final jay,
indigo behind the static trees:
no new song.

2.
Summer comes
again again again,
like a swarm of flies
to a wound.

I am too red and thin
to greet its current incarnation.
I find my strength
is not renewed
like the eagle, doesn’t swell
like buds upon the ash.

3.
We came back to have our babies
in the place where we were children,

so that those dry beloved
banks would fill again.
We did not calculate how weary
we would be to hear the water,
to listen to the locust call from tree to tree
every seven years.

My daughter disappears behind the fence.
My hand no longer aches to write
across her skin the place
where we were children,
to have her know
the pines I climbed are gone.

The creek still passes in its place
though slate and shale have shifted and the water
now is not the water
I did not drink
for fear of parasites.

4.
I have heard that every seven years
each cell within your body is replaced.
The body you have now is not the same
body that was born,
that learned to speak
that first made love
in Africa that time when blue
storms stood above the plain.

But if this is true
then how do I still carry
this scar?
How is it that my skin
when it renewed itself
renewed the wound?

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.

sarah-winterSarah Winter received an MLitt in Creative Writing from St. Andrews University where she worked under poets Don Paterson and Kathleen Jamie. Sarah lives in Kansas City with her husband and two small children.

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To Love a Marine
by Danielle Mitchell

There is danger. There is the orange tea stain of his old vest, a day of missiles loaded & shed. A thousand creeds dropping over the tar sands. His body memory alive in the sleeves of his sleeveless shirts. A forearm ready with a Semper Fi crest. It won’t matter what my body does with his body, he will hold. His hands know rifle, mortar shell, newborn. His hands can fold five points into the corners of our bed better than my mother. As night comes, we can allow it to come. Let it deal us into its deck of fatal cards. He is not luck, but trade. Self-made & exact. Yes, his body is surrounded in bootcamp. Yes, he shouts in his sleep & flings his heft from bed, answering his own throat’s trumpet. But he returns & returns. He remembers the evenings he walked home through a Japanese field swarming with batlife—none of the other Marines knowing what to call the night that touches back. His shoulder flecked with the penumbra of wing, or my nimble lips in sleep. He touches back. Oh, how he is tender & bread. How he shows me I forget kindness. If there is danger it is not from him. It is mine. It is mine. It is mine.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.

Danielle MitchellDanielle Mitchell is winner of the 2015 Editor’s Prize from Mary and a recipient of the Editor’s Choice Award from The Mas Tequila Review. Danielle lives in Long Beach, California where she is director of The Poetry Lab. Catch up with her at poetryofdanielle.com.

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Fairy Tale
by Laura Cherry

Here’s the moral of the story
before it even begins: the youngest
brother always wins. The princess

always wins. The frog triumphs
only if not a frog. The swallow
may be dragged underground

and still revive to fly away.
The bare cupboard will reveal
your heart’s desire, your secret fear.

The ring you hold in your pocket
is not yours. The spell you suffer
may be cured by figwort, milkwort,

whorlywort, snapdragon, toadflax,
speedwell, mullein, but at a price.
Will you pay it sight unseen?

Will you weep to dislodge the shard
of ice in the eye, the ruby in the throat?
Will you pack your rucksack and begin?

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 4.

Laura-Cherry-SqLaura Cherry is the author of the recent chapbook Two White Beds (Minerva Rising), the full-length collection Haunts (Cooper Dillon Books), and the chapbook What We Planted (Providence Athenaeum).

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