Tag Archives: volume 18-3

by Nancy Meneely

in the middle of an hour
behaving well, a sinkhole
opens under me. It wasn’t;
then it is. It is the sorry
sibling of the startling joy
of mornings when the cat
does sidestrokes through
the flood of sunshine on the floor
and there is quiet just enough.

My undermind, it seems,
is racketing around some store
of not quite sensibility, happens on
what might develop shape
as someone gone, an hour
of laughter irretrievable,
the painless pervious bones
that hold me up, my daughter grown
and pulling out from underneath
my self’s hypothesis.
The shapelessness is only deep.

So good it’s never more than blinks
before I snag a handhold
at the swallet’s lip. Sometimes it’s you,
sometimes the book awaiting me,
the prospect of a change
in furnishings, the table here,
the footstool maybe there,
improving everything.
A conversation in the other room
can make a woven, sturdy bridge.
Or I can simply balance
on the edge until the sinkhole
puckers, disappears.
I have not yet studied how to fall
toward what I can’t describe.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

SinkholeNancy Meneely’s poetry and prose, including a number of poetry book reviews, have appeared in a variety of publications and newspapers, and one poem was performed recently by the East Haddam Stage Company. Her book, Letter from Italy, 1944, published by Antrim House, provides the libretto for an oratorio of the same name composed by her sister, Sarah Meneely-Kyder, and performed in April 2013. A film by prize-winning documentarian Karyl Evans on the making of this oratorio premiered in 2014.

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Your Mask is a Gift
by Gabrielle Freeman

Let’s meet tonight. I’ll be Wonder
Woman, & you can wear your Batman mask.
I’ll take the rocker with the broken
slat if you take the one missing
an arm. Gift me with story, & I will gift
you with wine. Let’s drink until our hearts

forget we’ve been apart, forget that hearts
are just two-fisted vessels of muscle, wondrous
pumps. I will raise strong arms, turn, display my gift
for spontaneous costume change. Your mask
will not quite hide your eyes; I have missed
them. Without you, I have been broken.

It’s cliché, but each time we part, I break
a little more. My big, powerful heart
grips the empty space where you are missing
& drinks it in. I’ll lasso you & wonder
how I’ll let go. If I’ll be able to mask
the truth. Tell me the one about the gift

of a dark night, of the stolen gift
of stars, of conversation broken
only by the crime of sunrise when our masks
fell back into place. When my heart
clenched like a fist. I will wonder
at the texture of your cape, at your belt missing

bolas & batarangs. Proof that I miss
most of your life. We will drink to the gift
of time. I’ll tell you the one about the wonder
of life breathed into clay, of that which was broken.
You’ll tell me the one about hearts
and distance, about necessary masks.

Let’s meet tonight. Let’s drop our requisite masks.
Let’s fly away. Let’s go missing.
Let’s listen close as our fisted hearts
beat open. Let’s drink deep and gift
each other with nothing less than broken
roles & a shared sense of wonder.

Tonight, I greet your mask as a gift
because missing you unmasked breaks
my heart. My wonderful, fist-fighting heart.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Gabrielle FreemanGabrielle Brant Freeman won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition. Press 53 will publish her first book, When She Was Bad, in 2016. Gabrielle earned her MFA through Converse College. She lives with her family in Eastern North Carolina.

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Emergency Supplies
by Chera Hammons

This is an end-of-the-world kind of love.

You know, a grab-onto-something-because-
the whole-place-is-coming-down sort of situation.

When all of the volcanoes erupt at the same time,
and the sun supernovas, you’ll still be hottest.

When the nukes go off in billowing fungi,
we’ll close our eyes and imagine the earth
climbing up a mountain in clouds,
like a Sherpa going to visit his gods.

Even while we huddle in the shopping mall
listening to zombies scratching at the cinderblocks,
I’ll think about how you’re the one I want to die with.

And if you get infected, that’s okay too.
You can corrupt me, and we’ll still have things in common,
pretend we’ve just grown old, developed peculiar tastes,
and don’t get along with our kids anymore—
you’ll complain to withering houseplants
that our children never call us since we tried
to gnaw the arms off their dates.
That’s why they stopped coming around.

Anyway, let’s grab a couple of beers and watch
things blow up on the evening news.
If you’re not busy later, we can look for a cave together,
outfit it with spring-sprouting sofas,
drag a dented dishwasher in front of the opening
so no one will know when we hide in it.
We can live a long time on canned tomatoes,
waiting for all that we’ve saved to run out.

Let’s get buried under the last breath
of the world that no one could survive long in.

Let’s be bothered by endings for the last time.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Chera HammonsChera Hammons is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing program at Goddard College. Her books include Amaranthine Hour (winner of the 2012 Jacar Press Chapbook Award) and Recycled Explosions (Ink Brush Press, 2016). She is a winner of the 2016 Common Good Books Poetry Contest judged by Garrison Keillor. She lives in Amarillo, TX and serves as a member of the editorial team at poetry journal One.

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