Tag Archives: Volume 19-1

by John A. Nieves

It’s still gnat light over the porch

steps. The creak near the front of the board

you’d stand on and draw in

night had gone out,

had left its voice in the just-spring sounds,

in the not-yet-violent warmings. I almost

see the way you’d turn when I tapped

the glass. I almost hear you call

me to the door. The magnolia’s waxy leaves

send what’s left of the sun back

at me as smudges. The children in the yard

behind ours shriek backwards

from ten. I’m sure someone is hiding.

I’m sure the rags of their voices are

oiling the fear valves of one

particular heart. The dogs know this

and join in. The possum by the garage

pulls back and I want to ask you if you want

to come in. But the steps

are fully in my view and they hold

nothing but my attention.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

John A. NievesJohn A. Nieves won the Indiana Review Poetry Contest and his first book, Curio (2014), won the Elixir Press Annual Poetry Award Judge’s Prize. He is an Assistant Professor of English at Salisbury University. He received his M.A. from University of South Florida and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

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by Chera Hammons

What we fear may not come to pass. Though the wind this year has been violent,
and the sky rainless, the tree we planted in front of our house

because we imagined some kind of life there, some green hope,
some shelter from the weather and the neighbors, may survive.

As I drive to work, my car filters in the woody smell of smoke
from the grassfires beside the highway, and the sunrise is as red as it will be at the end.

In a spring like this, the topsoil blows away, and the ground is hard, unforgiving.
Just yesterday, my black colt came up lame, short-stepping and dragging a hind toe.

He knew only I could help him, but there was no blood, heat, or swelling tissue—
nothing to show me what hurt. A strained muscle, maybe. A stone bruise.

Today in Brussels, the planes are grounded, bright birds sunning on the tarmac
while the edges of glass shimmer beneath. This morning, people like us,

holding whatever they thought to take with them,
ran down the dark tracks in shadowed tunnels toward uncertain ideas of air and light

while smoke billowed behind them, quiet as the voice of a ghost.
None of them knew soon enough that they wouldn’t make it to work this time,

that they would be given new reasons to run, that their pasts would become the same,
would become more frightening than the darkness that lay ahead.

This afternoon, I’ll check the horse’s leg again (he is gentle, and won’t kick),
feel down the thin tendons that keep him on his feet, see if anything has changed.

I’ll haul water to the tree, prick myself with its needles, kneel to feel the ground around it.
I’ll worry, as I so often have, that I won’t do enough to make it live.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

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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Spring Comes to Tonawanda Street
by Sandra Kohler

Here on Tonawanda Street, the drunk
mechanic’s wife is launching rafts of pansies.
In other yards, tulips’ scarlet and gold,

azalea’s coral bursts, columbine, creamy
white rhododendron, creeping phlox, scent
of dogwood, drifts of lilac. Gingkos leafing

out: pale green fans, butterflies. Beneath
them, my dog, ball in his mouth, rolls in
the new grass. We start our walk in air

that feels like rain but isn’t, all imminence,
held breathy hush, a medium for growth.
Tonawanda, Waldeck; a few blocks further,

on Tremlett Street, the big neglected yards
surrounding big neglected houses, stands of
wisteria clinging to porches, roofs, tall old

lilacs reaching the second floor bedrooms,
where sleeping, you’d wake to their scent,
look out onto grass shadowed by seablue

swathes of grape hyacinth, clumps of white
star of Bethlehem springing up along verges,
rhododendron’s tropical abandon screened

by sprawling forsythia. A yard where in
one corner a skinny white magnolia, like
the shyest girl, breaks into blossom.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 1.

Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music, appeared in May, 2011 from Word Press. Her previous books are The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), and The Country of Women (Calyx Books, 1995).

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