Brackish by Eshani Surya

On a catamaran, I think. At twelve, I knew nothing of boats, but I knew my father’s new wife minded being my new mother. Shoving off from shore, we ordered goldenrods of French fries, rimmed with salt and served with pillowy mayonnaise. I ate a full plastic basket while, on an open sea stop, the family snorkeled among the silver fish shoals. The family: my father, his new wife, and a friend’s daughter they’d brought along too. She deserved a trip, my father’s new wife said, this gapped tooth, vivacious girl, smarting from her mother’s newest love affair. My father’s wife didn’t mind playing mother to her.

The captain brought me another basket of French fries out of pity. I ate one after another, trying to dull my cramps with fats and salts like I’d heard helped. My pad chafed, wet against my baby pubic hair, but no one had taught me much of tampons. My father’s new wife said I could use one if I wanted. It was an option. But mine slid in and then out, slick with remorseless blood. So I would not swim, even for the sea turtles and the stingrays in ominous drift and the fields of defiant coral, because I imagined the blood from my pad dissolving into the water and into shark nostrils. I imagined myself bitten and sinking, my pad an anchor in my suit, dragging to me the sand to be embalmed. It frightened me.

On their return, my father and his new wife shared a beer with a lime stuffed into the top. My father’s new wife’s new daughter dabbed salt off her lips once she’d stolen one of my fries. I wondered who’d taught her to be a woman already, as she tanned expertly with my father’s new wife and complained about a chipped manicure and commanded my father’s attention with her complimentary jokes. Seeing the empty fry basket, my father ordered another one, but somehow it didn’t feel like it was for me.

After the catamaran my father was sullen with me for being sullen all day and all night. In bed, I stuffed the blanket in my mouth and cried. The salt stung my skin. The blood in me stung the way only resentment can, with the pounding recognition that a person’s suspicions were right the whole time. My father’s wife left the room, but my father dragged the blanket from between my teeth, the spittle leaving long silver tentacles of grief in the air. He said, I don’t know what’s wrong with you, and then said the same for years afterwards.

 

Eshani Surya is a writer from Connecticut. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming in [PANK], Catapult, Paper Darts, Joyland, and Literary Hub, among others. Eshani is a Co-Flash Fiction Editor at Split Lip Magazine. She holds an MFA from the University of Arizona in Tucson. Find her @__eshani or at www.eshani-surya.com.

In Which I am Dreaming About My Ghosts Again by Beth Gordon

The ones who stand as tall as windmills: who glow like wolf breath across the field: the ones with runners’ bones & beating hearts as loud as a parade. The ones without constraints: embalming fluid: marble names: the ones who speak the language of television without hymns poisoning their veins: my ghosts who never died. My ghosts who never died: the ones who escaped the cemetery of my heart: the ones who packed a suitcase with photographs sliced in half & left my eyes behind: my ghosts who meet in dark bars. My ghosts who meet in dark bars: the ones who floated in my womb like goldfish: like stars: like hurricanes in a coffee cup: like zinnia seeds swept downstream: my hungry ghosts: my hungry ghosts. The ones as full as a pantry: the ones who swallow good bread & ripe tomatoes & sugar as sweet as a train: the ones who smash plates into blades: the ones who carry bouquets: the ones who twirl like ceiling fans: the ones with my love on their lips & fingertips. Daisy chains: my ghosts: my ghosts: my necessary ghosts.

 

Beth Gordon is a poet, mother, and grandmother currently living in Asheville, NC. Her poetry has been published in The Citron Review, Passages North, EcoTheo Review, RHINO, Barren, Pidgeonholes, Pithead Chapel, and others. Her full-length poetry collection, This Small Machine of Prayer, was published in July 2021 (Kelsay Books) and her chapbook The Water Cycle was published in January 2022 (Variant Lit). She is the Managing Editor of Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art and the Assistant Editor of Animal Heart Press.

Ornithology by Jocelyn Royalty

I saw the Yellow-crowned Night Heron for the first time when I was on bedrest. I’d come down the stairs too fast because Cupcake had been pulling me like she always does, and I fell hard on my leg. My knees aren’t what they used to be. The doctor gave me a big brace and told me to lie down for a week, and the girl next door had to come walk Cupcake for me. She’s real nice—all “good afternoon Ms. Davis,” and “is there anything I can get for you?” But there is nothing she can get for me.

When the night heron first tapped on my window, I thought I was dreaming. I’d never seen a bird that big up close, and never a heron this far into the city. He had a ragged mess of feathers, kind of like an ugly mop. He wasn’t pretty like he should’ve been. He knocked his beak against the glass, his head turned to the side to get a better look at me. I thought about opening the window, maybe letting him fly in but I’d heard about bird-borne illnesses, so I just laid there until he flew away. His wild and ancient body dissolved into the flashing lights of some pizzeria on Wooster Street.

As soon as the girl came to walk Cupcake the next day, I had her bring me the phone. It was a landline, because I won’t get a cell no matter what the service companies say, so she had to stretch the cord from the upstairs den to my bedroom. It just barely reached. I couldn’t breathe for a second when I finally got the receiver in my hand; when I realized there was no one that I could call. My mother was dead. My daughter was in Rhode Island with her new wife, and she didn’t want to hear from me. I had never had a husband. The apartment felt like a church that no one had gone to in a very long time.

I called Mara from book club. “Mara,” I said, “You won’t believe what I saw last night.” Mara didn’t know me all that well, but she came over right away. She brought her laptop and sat on my bed, and we researched herons together. That’s how I found out I’d seen a Yellow-crowned Night Heron.

“Huh,” Mara said, pointing to an article from the Audubon Association. “That’s funny. It says they nest way up in trees. Over water, too. Not a lot of trees in downtown New Haven.” I heard a little doubt creep into her voice. Don’t say it, I begged silently, but the words were already coming out of her mouth: “Are you sure that’s what you saw?” I made her leave after that. I knew what I’d seen. It was impossible and that was why it mattered.

He visited me again that night. I put my hand up to the window and he craned his neck slightly to meet my palm. We were only a few millimeters of glass away. “I’m not crazy,” I told the Yellow-crowned Night Heron. He shivered in the smog. “You’re far from home, aren’t you?” I asked. I told him about when my daughter was in fourth grade, and she read only field guides. She could identify any plant or animal. We would walk in the park, and she’d pull me to where the knotweed lined gravel. “Persicaria,” she’d say. I remembered that one. It sounded like “precarious.”

The Yellow-crowned Night Heron visited me for the last time on the Fourth of July. I worried about him all day, about how the fireworks might scare him or set fire to whatever high-up nest he’d built in a storefront. But he was unscathed when he appeared at my window, his throat pulsing with the same mild anxiety it always did. The house was empty and I opened the window. Cupcake was still on the foot of the bed as the night heron stepped inside. The night heron laid down under my arm like my daughter did when she was very small and we watched TV together.

When I met my daughter’s father, I was only sixteen. He was a basketball player at the high school, and he knew every state capital and could hawk a loogie farther than any of his friends. He liked to throw stones at my window like we were in a movie, but it always woke up my parents. We snuck out a few times anyway and had a lukewarm summer fling before he left for college.

The night heron stood up. He took long, wide steps off my bed and towards the bedroom door. My bedrest had ended the day before, so I followed him, hobbling a little on my bad knee. He turned his head quizzically at the knob, and I opened it for him. We then walked downstairs to the front door together.

He stayed at my side, as we stumbled out the front door and into the heat-black night. The sky was red-white-blue chaos. I followed the night heron to Union Station, careful to keep my eye on him amongst the cyclone of mini-skirted girls and drunk men waving sparklers. He led me down the escalator, into the cool underground where a few people waited in line for coffees. There were no windows here. That had always scared my daughter. She said the domed metal ceiling made it her feel like the inside of a Xiphius gladius. I thought it was strange that he would want to go there, somewhere dark and subterranean. I followed him anyway.

He and I found the back corner the station, behind the caution-taped entryway to platform 10. All my life, platform 10 had been closed for maintenance. At some point, maybe, the staff had forgotten about it entirely, or they’d given up on it, and now it was in limbo: not demolished, not repaired. The Yellow-crowned Night Heron flapped his wings a few times. He glided upwards a foot or two, and I saw what must have been his nest. It was wedged haphazardly into the railing, a salad of telephone wires and newspaper bags and scraps of cardboard. I sat down under it, and he perched on my shoulder.

From here, we could just make out the shape of a girl who could have been my daughter. She was talking angrily into her iPhone as she climbed the stairs to platform 8. “It’s not that you didn’t listen just this once,” I heard her say through the fog of the robotic voice announcing the next train to Boston. “It’s that you never do. It’s like I’m walking through this world shouting and shouting, and you’re somewhere underwater or something. But calm down. I’m coming home.”

I stroked the night heron as I watched the woman’s patent leather boots click up the stairs, watched her depart into the mouth of the station. The heron wrapped his neck around my head, and I knew his eyes were closing. I could feel his feathered chest slow against my face. We were falling asleep.

 

Jocelyn Royalty is a junior in the creative writing program at the University of Maine at Farmington. Previously, she attended the ACES Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut where she focused on creative writing and interned at The Yale Alumni Magazine. Her work has recently been published in The Oyster River Pages, The Rockvale Review, Club Plum, and The Allegheny Review, and she currently interns for the Burlington Writers Workshop. You can find out more about her publications and awards at jocelynroyalty.blogspot.com.

Before Kaddish by Elisa Karbin

While you bucked and brawled
against the nexus of your last
near-morning, the feuding

cells of you were already in decay.
Under the always-on striplight,
diffused to a deep fade between

the poles of this world and the next,
the frenzy of division cut its last
course through you.

Your body practiced
calling itself forth. A dry run
of the inevitable—the soon-expected

specter’s reluctant rise
in the tongue-slacked
rasp of this blue-burnt hour.

While you were dying, electricity
melted from minutes,
an unruly volta of the last synaptic

symphony’s wild refrain.
This, the veil that lifts,
that invents itself for you.

 

Elisa Karbin is the author of the chapbook, Snare, and poems that have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Diode, CutBank, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, and West Branch, among others. She earned a PhD in poetry from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she was also a Tinsley Helton Dissertation fellow. Currently, she serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor in English at Marquette University. She has two cats. Find more info. at www.elisakarbin.com.

When Everyone is President by Maryann Aita

What if everyone is president except for one guy named Steve? And all the presidents would make executive orders and veto each other, and they’d spend so much time debating each other that Steve would get to live his life and eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches whenever he wants? All the presidents would be in charge of things like debt and healthcare and equal rights, and Steve could watch all the movies that were made before everyone became president. Then when he gets bored of those, he could make more movies. While all the presidents are busy arguing about being the most president, they’d approve his Arts grant so he could buy equipment and write a script and hire some of the lesser presidents to act in the movie for him. His landlord would be president now, and so would all the farmers, and grocery store managers, and people who trucked the food to the stores, so he wouldn’t need any money. But Steve is starting to realize he would have to convince some of the lesser presidents to go back to farming or he’d have to learn to farm, which really would get in the way of his peanut-butter-and-banana-sandwich-eating. That’s not a life change Steve wants to make. All Steve wants is to not have to make so many choices all the time and maybe to not have to pretend to be happy all the time. But all the presidents wouldn’t make Steve happy either, and eventually they’d have to ask Steve about things like elections and that’s everything Steve doesn’t want: choices. Maybe what Steve really wants is a little bit less responsibility and places to be and reasons to wake up and reasons to shower. Maybe all Steve really wants is to just disappear.

 

Maryann Aita (sounds like ATE-uh) is a writer and performer in Brooklyn, NY. Little Astronaut, her debut essay collection, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in Spring 2022. Her writing has appeared in PANK, which earned a Best of the Net Nomination, as well as The Porter House Review, The Exposition Review, and perhappened mag, among others. Maryann is the nonfiction editor for Press Pause, a journal with zero social media presence. She has an MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and lives with three cats.

Stop Asking Me How I’m Doing by Bear Weaver

I cough up a cancer poem so y’all will shut up
about writing as healing. Like there’s anything
romantic about your body breaking your heart.
My surgeon sends me to an oncologist he calls a
snazzy dresser. He means gay. My gay oncologist
recommends cannabis and I ask if he knows any
strains that stop time. A trauma survivor advises
me to integrate this experience with my sense of
self. I think I don’t know what that means but just
now my self was a lizard tucked under a rock in a
screaming hot tank, occasionally scuttling out to
bask on a log and hope the lamp fries it. My guts
and I are hollow. They blew up the seed bank so
there goes the last of my schemes to resurrect my
grandmother. Also, I lost all my nose hairs. Did
you want me to include that in the weekly update?
My dad doesn’t know how to regulate around this.
Surprise. He’s always forty-one flushing pills fifty-
one begging yet again for absolution. He’s burnt
himself down to the bowels a thousand times and
yet. I stare at this poem for twenty minutes and
finally understand survivor’s guilt. But he won’t
do either of us any good dead. Also, I love him.
Thanks for the money, folks, and most days I want
you and everyone else to fuck off. How’s this for
meaning-making? Everything I’ve ever written is
a love poem and so is this needle. Amanda, all I’ve
got for you is this: My sense of self says the guts of
me will always be seventeen and too young to die.

 

Bear Weaver was built by Florida’s Gulf Coast, as were their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. They are currently writing, residing, and cancer-surviving in southern New England, but can be found tweeting and lurking @WvrBear.

Never Again by Kate Maxwell

You know either you or your household vermin have a drinking problem when your first waking sight and smell is the almost empty wine glass on the bedside table. You stare at the fat, drunk cockroach, belly up, in the crimson sediment debris. There’s half a salami sandwich next to the glass. Stench of stale red wine, luncheon meat, and cigarette smoke, triggers your gag reflex as you lie still and wait for stomach acids to settle. Then you run a nervous palm across the other half of the double bed. Just in case. Oh, thank God. It’s empty.

Underwear, shoes, pants, and a blue silky garment you can’t recognize, are scattered across the room. You raise up to elbows in slow motion. Swing your legs out gently to the floor. Maybe you got away with it. But when you stand up the room spins. Dizzy, probably still drunk, you take one tentative step after another to the bathroom. A mantra starts repeating in your head, Never again. Never again. The same words you chant every morning, after somebody asks the night before, “One more?” and you’re having a laugh, having fun, and figure one more can’t hurt. Or two. Or four.

You’re always shocked that skin turns grey so quickly. Prodding your lumpy face at the mirror, you notice the pink ribbon tied to your wrist, dragging the remnants of a burst pink balloon. Flashes of dancing, toasting champagne to the bride with a laughing blonde, a raucous best man speech, and possibly a swim in the fountain. The last bit’s blurry. It could have been a movie you’d seen.

That’s when you notice her in the reflection. She’s on the toilet. Mascara-smeared face, hair standing up in all directions, like an electrocuted raccoon. She’s shy now apparently, and holds her arms about her naked body as she raises eyebrows and a weak smile. Stupidly, you give her a little wave, glance down at your own flaccid form and catch her embarrassment. Sarah? Sharon? Susan! It’s Susan. Cousin of the bride, same freckles, and blonde hair. You vaguely remember that she’s funny and works at the bank. Surely, that can’t be right. One of those facts must be wrong. So now you’ve had the bride and the bridesmaid. Just as you’re berating yourself for the thought of collecting women like a suit of cards, you cringe at another sudden playback scene: on your knees, snot drivelling undying love for the bride while she and her mother extricate her white gauzy veil you’re trying to use as a handkerchief, from your drunken hands. Oh, Fuck.

After a few awkward laughs and fumbling apologies, you, and the cousin both decide the morning cannot be faced. There’s no use even trying to be coherent or cool. You bring two glasses of water back to the bedroom, hand her the paracetamol box, as you both lie down, groaning. She’s found her pants but no bra. Semi naked woman beside you, and you just can’t be bothered. You both sleep.

Later, while you’re waiting for the cousin’s Uber, you share a tender moment: releasing the now thoroughly inebriated roach from its glass pleasure house into the courtyard. It’s dead. No wait, it’s managed to get a few legs working and zigzags into the weeds. You can almost hear it hiccupping and muttering, Never again.

 

Kate Maxwell is yet another teacher with writing aspirations. She’s been published and awarded in Australian and International literary magazines such as Cordite, Hecate, fourW, Meniscus, Blood and Bourbon, and Fiction Kitchen Berlin. Kate’s interests include film, wine, and sleeping. Her first poetry anthology, Never Good at Maths is published with Interactive Publications, Brisbane, 2021. She can be found at kateswritingplace.com.

The Females of Some Species are Larger by L Favicchia

My instinct is not to bite.
Instead I’ll show you all
my little square teeth,
point them out to you
one by one name them
then leave my mouth open
and breathe.

Enamel speaks a thing you can’t
understand—the grain of sand
churning in the oyster
who layers thick saliva
over and over until pearl
to numb the gnawing and is still
left with a tender lump inside—
one she is torn apart for.

Why isn’t the female larger
and more colorful? Give me
the terrified red veins
of the albino raven,
the deep flush and large forearms
of the orchid mantis, also afraid.
Let me have fiery long hair that stings
with the smell of burning oak.

When I skin myself, I skin myself
in front of a mirror to see
all that pretty muscle.

I rehearse what crying looks like,
in my wardrobe keep buttons
that close soft bobbled sweaters
and feel an increasing desire
to become mud, to lie

beneath leaf litter and hide
from grabbing hands
that would put themselves inside me,
playing dead to save myself
from the salt of their fingertips
that craves a wound.

 

L Favicchia is a PhD student in creative writing at the University of Kansas and is the editor in chief of LandLocked. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Post Road, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others.

Folding by Emma Smith-Stevens

Extra women were brought into the gift-wrap department for the holiday rush. Although they’d be gone after New Year’s, Mrs. Kay showed them the ins and outs just as meticulously as she had with us—the year-round staff, bustling in a stuffy rectangular booth in the back of Bloomingdale’s first floor, inside a mall in Boca Raton, Florida. She scratched her French manicure over the white underbelly of the colorful paper hanging from reels on the wall, demonstrating necessary lengths for various boxes. The crucial role of double-sided tape was divulged in a tense whisper, and the seamlessness of the wrap-job could not be emphasized enough. “You want it to look,” she’d say, “like it was dipped. Dipped like a caramel apple.” Mrs. Kay was generally loathed, but she seemed not to care. She’d twice been a finalist in The Orange Blossom, Florida’s most prestigious origami competition.

It was a few days before Christmas, and someone had brought in pastries. They were too sweet, glistening with a wet sugary glaze. The craters at their centers held fruit-filling the color and consistency of congealing blood. By 11:00 a.m., there’d been countless arguments, a customer had fainted, and we were running dangerously low on tape. At noon, I quickly ate my bagged lunch in the breakroom. With a few minutes to spare, I went back to my station to finish my gifts.

I wrapped a leather wallet I could see in my father’s back pocket, a plush white robe for my mother, a jersey with my 15-year-old brother’s favorite basketball player—at least, last I’d known—stamped on the back. I hadn’t seen my family in almost two years. The gifts were the kind you give to people whose tastes you don’t know anymore, people who have become more like ideas. The truth is that all my life in New York, up until age 19, I just hadn’t been paying much attention—to a lot of things, including my family. Two years ago, I’d bombed out of college my second semester and gotten arrested for driving under the influence of Xanax and cocaine. I voluntarily attended a rehab in Delray Beach, Florida, a city I hated, yet in which I remained as my parents had cut me off financially, waiting, it seemed, for me to become something better than a young woman who no longer does drugs. I was creasing the edges of stiff, holographic red paper with my thumbnail when Mrs. Kay emerged from the back.

“This is a personal wrap-job?” Her voice smacked the air, and customers turned to look. “You don’t see this line? We’ve got lines all the way to kitchenware. No personal wrapping today.”

Mrs. Kay didn’t seem bothered that none of us shared her reverence for what she had clearly elevated to an art, probably because she didn’t want any of us to be artists. She wanted us to be soldier ants, anonymous and durable.

During the week before Christmas, our store stayed open until midnight. Only once I’d been waiting outside for fifteen minutes did I realize that I’d missed the last bus. The other employees had already left with their clear, plastic theft-protection purses slung over their shoulders. The metal gates were being lowered when I got back to the entrance. A security guard let me duck under.

I was surprised to find Mrs. Kay still at gift-wrap, standing at the counter eating string bean salad out of Tupperware. She speared one bean at a time with a plastic fork, slowly, under the dim red glow of the exit sign. She bristled and glared at me, still chewing. She chewed for a long time before she swallowed. “You should go home.”

“The buses stopped running.”

“I’ll finish my dinner,” she said. “Then I’ll take you.”

Mrs. Kay drove a small tan hatchback. The inside smelled like astringent and potpourri. Although she didn’t smoke, there were cigarette burn marks in the fabric above the driver’s side window. Hanging from the rearview mirror was an origami crane, weightless on its thread.

I told her my address and we drove across the empty parking lot, out onto Federal Highway. We passed gas stations and apartment complexes, grocery stores and drive-thrus. Sex workers lingered by strip-malls like flightless tropical birds. Fast cars pulled long shadows across the road. At a red light, Mrs. Kay and I watched an SUV pull to the curb by a carwash. A tall, broad-shouldered woman lifted her leg like a flamingo. She lowered it into the SUV, pulling the other leg in by the thigh with her hands. “I share this car with my husband,” said Mrs. Kay. “One percent his, ninety-nine percent mine.”

We turned off Federal Highway and began traveling numbered streets. I was used to bus routes, but I could tell by the clotted, sour air that we were driving towards the ocean. I was about to say that we were going the wrong way when she spoke again.

“In our old house,” she said, “I had an origami room. Perfect for folding.”

The streets narrowed as the houses got larger, all of them decorated with Christmas lights. The primary colors of festivity gnashed against the Floridian pastels. Her face was slack, chalky under the streetlights.

“It was a simple house,” she continued. “Not like these. But in my room, there was a skylight, true natural light. Deep drawers for paper that slid right into the wall.”

The car slowed to a crawl. We were now passing mansions. House after house, there was clearly a competition being played out. Oversized nativity scenes towered over spot-lit lawns. Shrubbery was carved into snowmen. Palm trees glowed white, wrapped in crystalline illumination. “If a man loves you enough to buy a whole house, just because of one perfect room, wouldn’t you trust him?” she asked.

She turned a corner, pulled to the curb, and shifted into park. In front of us was a four-story mansion, awash in the light of halogen bulbs, surrounded by trimmed, black grass. The lights speared diagonally upward, through the mist. They projected harshly upon the massive home, which was exactly square. From top to bottom, it was encased seamlessly in pale blue fabric. Hugging the entire width of the building, between the second and third floor, was a broad yellow ribbon. At the center of the house, probably stiffened with hidden wires, the ribbon arched into a bow.

Mrs. Kay fingered one of the burn holes in the car roof. She took my hand out of my lap and laid it on the center console. Then she placed her hand over mine, intertwining our fingers with a firmness that hurt. The smell of astringent grew stronger and I breathed through my mouth. Our sweat mingled, the bones in my hand shifting under the pressure.

I could have been anyone. Anyone’s hand would have been good enough.

Finally, Mrs. Kay released her grip. She removed a tissue packet from her purse, wiped her eyes and blew her nose. Clearing her throat, she shifted the car into drive. The ocean got farther away, the distance thinning the air. When we arrived at my apartment complex, she reminded me to be early on December 26th. “Sales day,” she said. “Fifteen percent, whole store.” The origami crane quivered on its string, swayed by our breathing. “You’re the best of all my gift-wrappers,” she said.

I opened the car-door and stepped onto the pavement. In the darkness, a lizard flitted across my shoe. My fingers dragged along the bottom of my purse, searching for keys. As the wheels of Mrs. Kay’s car rolled over the gritty asphalt, I realized that I’d forgotten my gifts at work, the ones she’d scolded me for wrapping. After she’d reprimanded me, I’d stowed them beneath the counter. Between the seasonal employees and the security guards, they might already be gone. They were unlabeled and just anyone could lay claim to them.

 

Emma Smith-Stevens is the author of The Australian (Dzanc Books). She lives with her husband and two dogs in Brooklyn, NY. For more of her writing visit her author website and subscribe to her tiny letter, Notes From the Wonderground.

A Small, Private Sadness by Amorak Huey

Dusk dense with pending rain
& a cold front shoving its way across the water,

I want to believe
anything is possible

or I just want to be handsome.
I know how shallow

desire is & still
I want & want

& open the window
to let in the cooling sky

& this breeze hums your name
& the clouds slide over

& pat a space next to them on the bed
& the temperature falls

& out beyond the pines
a great lake churns & churns.

 

Amorak Huey’s fourth book of poems is Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress Publications, 2021). Co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and the chapbook Slash/Slash (Diode, 2021), Huey teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.