Tag Archives: Volume 21-2

How to Walk Like a Quadruped
by Jennifer Bullis

Post horse-kick

to the knee, post-election, I still take to the trail on foot.

An hour a day in the woods,

two miles tops, is as far as my bad leg goes.

After a while,

the good leg goes, too, from carrying the extra load.

When you inject

trauma into a system, more trauma spins off, ripples out.

Another problem

with my uneven motion is its downwardly kinetic potential.

On hills, on stairs.

Seemingly small sidewalk cracks. Roots across the path.

The doctor says I have, beneath the bruising,

chondromalacia of the patella, which apparently is Latin for the cartilage

of my kneecap bears me considerable ill will.

Ice helps, plus rest, patience, and retraining my legs

to walk straighter.

If physical therapy works, I’ll resume longer hikes.

If it doesn’t, my knees

will stay mean as my old, sore horse. But the mind, that knapsack

of jumbled dread

and resistance, needs its wanderings. The bipedal walk is a two-beat gait,

the arm-swing a vestige,

a memory of archaic forefeet’s contact with the ground.

To move like a quadruped,

you call that shadow-beat back into being. Add hiking poles:

add two spindly steps to each stride.

I read in Ada Limón’s “Downhearted” that “the heart wants / her horses back.”

Mine sure does. I read

that the new president mocks, among others, the disabled.

What would he say

about me with my dual-cane propulsion system, boosting the step

of whichever leg hurts worse?

Would he put me down like an old, sore horse? My horse

sure wants her heart back,

stilled as it is of its swagger and spooking, its racing and rage.

Another problem

with my uneven thinking is its downwardly kinetic potential.

But I read that a little kindness

goes a long way. When you inject compassion into a system,

more compassion spins off, ripples out.

I like that, ponder gentleness as pushback. What is the motion

of shoreline against the surf?

Of knee against a hoof? To move like a quadruped, you call

that shadow-muscle into being.

Add four-leggedness, add two kind deeds to counter each blow.

Memory of contact with the ground.

Hours a day in the woods. As far as my old, mean, sore heart can go.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Jennifer BullisJennifer Bullis grew up in Reno, earned a Ph.D. in English at UC Davis, and taught college writing and literature in Bellingham, Washington, for fourteen years. Her first collection of poems, Impossible Lessons, was published by MoonPath Press in 2013.

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by Jeff McRae

When Bret turned 50
I thought of my aunt
dead in her bed at 71,
alone in the gulley
where leaves rained
down from the hill.
She was 50 and I
was 23 in 1996, when
Charles and Diana
divorced, the first sheep
was cloned, and Peter,
Paul, and Mary were still
recording. Since 1966,
when they did Dylan’s
Blowin’ In The Wind
and Denver’s Leavin’
On A Jet Plane, she
sang along—all through
college and a whole
unmarried life. 30
years on, when they
sang about AARP
we laughed over
our dinners how
funny it was, some
15 years before
the tornado blanketed
the wrap-around deck
with trees, two months
before I moved out
like all her roommates—
25 years teaching
second graders and
she argued in whispers.
After she died—almost
two Mays ago,
my mother, 18 months
younger, read decades
of her journals and
then destroyed them.
Liz wrote over and
over about the wind,
she said. It comes
from nowhere, scatters
the leaves, and disappears.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Jeff McRae is a writer, jazz drummer, and teacher. His poems have most recently appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, The Woven Tale Press, Cloudbank, Burnside Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Vermont.

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Achilles in the Fence Row
by Daniel Bourne

Not the catalpa trees, but the worms themselves, not the worms
but the neighbor girl who slipped them through her lips, feeling their dry skin,
who also kept toads in plastic easter eggs and checked on them daily,
their growing stink something she could understand as the days grew longer
and her mother disappeared in a car and did not come back.

Not the fencerows, but the fencerows bulldozed into islands
in the middle of the field. The haven of groundhogs, the tidal lagoons of their litters,
flowing outward in the sprouts of young corn, their greenness nibbled
into the brownness of dirt. Suddenly our dog would launch out and I
would grab my baseball bat. My dad did not keep guns, so my job
was to get between the whistle pig and its burrow
there in the broken trees, to use the swing I learned for little league
to keep our farm from drowning.

Not the sinner but the sin, they said in church. Always the hate was hated.
Not the fact my father died of cancer, but the fact we lost our farm.
Not the fact we finally burned those hills we made from the trunks of oak
or locust, but the fact that in such burning you can’t
avoid to stomp the flames. Two embers
crept into my boots, their fangs planted into my ankle. Two scars
I carry to this day.

Not the story you’ve heard forever, but the story I tell you now.
The story where I mourn my father
never had the chance to mourn for me. Better I was a drunken teenager
dying on the road. Better I had leukemia with teddy bears
scattered on my grave. Not the story where I top him, where
I write poems about his death. He should be the one left standing,
his hard trunk declaring protection of our land.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Daniel BourneDaniel Bourne was raised on a farm near the Little Wabash River in southeastern Illinois. His books of poetry include The Household Gods and Where No One Spoke the Language, and On the Crossroads of Asia and Europe, a collection of translations of the political poetry and essays of Polish poet Tomasz Jastrun.  His poems and translations have also appeared in such journals as Ploughshares, Guernica, American Poetry Review, Field, Salmagundi, Plume, Colorado Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and Cimarron Review. Over the years, his stays in Poland have included a Fulbright Fellowship for translation in 1985-87 and a graduate exchange program between Indiana and Warsaw University during Martial Law in 1982-1983.  He teaches at The College of Wooster, where he edits Artful Dodge. See more at https://danielbourneblog.wordpress.com/

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