Tag Archives: Volume 19-1

The Crash of the Shuttle Columbia* as Recorded by a Thermal Tile
by Maggie Rosen

We are surprisingly lightweight,
reusable, some made from sand.

We would crumble to the touch
without the coating

so fragile

so silent

thousands of us,
designed to protect from the void and the heat.

Hours spent holding us in place as the cement cured:
the risk of problems outweighed
by aspirations –the fatigue of need.

Our reinforced carbon took a hit from foam,
debris during launch.

We felt near to death then, and even more as orbits occurred
suns set
chatter immigrated through invisible wires.

What is there to say? The temperature rose inexorably and we failed.

One fell in northwest Texas,

before the disintegration.

Can we blame her? Tiles are shallow,
not poets or engineers
when the wing’s leading edge rises to 3000 degrees

even heroes evade
release themselves of purpose.

*February 1, 2003

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

Maggie Rosen
Maggie Rosen lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. Most of her professional work has been as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. Her chapbook, The Deliberate Speed of Ghosts, was published in 2016 by Red Bird Chapbooks. Learn more about her work at maggierosen.com.

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Irwin Conducts The Birds
by Michael Mark

The woman beside him sighs,
she must go to support group.

Her hands climb up
his waving arm and tug,

like a kite string,
and guide his left hand

to her cheek.

The birds continue singing around
his right arm—dipping

and rising above his head.
They pause at the swipe

of his pointed finger, then go
sotto voce

as he turns his palm

Music is last to go, she sighs,
just after—she stops—manners.

She turns to me now. For forty
five years he opened every door.

She stands, gives a partial smile,
then raising her pitch

tells him to sleep well, kisses
his cheek, lets go

of his left hand. It drifts up
to the birds, as she waits

for the attendant, who watches
through the window,

to push the button,
open the door

and let her out.


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

Michael MarkMichael Mark is a hospice volunteer and author of two books of stories, Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has recently appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cutthroat Journal, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Prelude Magazine, Rattle, Spillway, The Sun, and other nice places. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net. michaeljmark.com

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by Wendy Drexler

—for Julia and Robert

I want to give you a poem with a pond in it,
and if you see a heron glide down,

to fold the blue smocking of her wings,
swishing silence, remember her
when you stand at the edge of things.

There are blueberries to ripen over you,
orioles to weave their pure paired notes of song,

tadpoles to skim and flex their tails
the color of bark and rain.

And if a willow topples into the middle
of the pond, welcome the host
of ants and aphids who’ll tunnel through.

Try to forgive what others might call
fallen, or lost. Turtles will clamber up

from hard winter, bronze on their backs,
to doze in repose beside each other on warm stones.

Be with each other as gentle as that.

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

Wendy DrexlerWendy Drexler’s third poetry collection, Before There Was Before, will be published by Iris Press April, 2017. She is the author of Western Motel (Turning Point, 2012), and a chapbook, Drive-ins, Gas Stations, the Bright Motels (Pudding House, 2007), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her website is WendyDrexlerPoetry.com.

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