The strange process of self-making
marks the floor.
She’s letting him cut her hair.
She’s playing at what she looks like.
He’s timidly trimming the ends.
She had washed it for him beforehand
while he watched.
Now’s she talking to his nervous fingers.
By her jawline he holds them, wondering
how, in midair,
now, and there, her hair on the floor.
Mollie Chandler, an MFA student in poetry at Lesley University, is currently working in the corporate world of downtown Boston, but I hope to go on to become a teacher and workshop instructor.
Mollie says “poetry matters because it is the conscious creation of meaning, a way of moving through the world– with attention and feeling. That’s why integrating poetry into the daily experience is important, and all I can hope for is that someone wants to put one of my poems in their pocket.”
It got bad; pretty bad; then not
so bad; very bad; then back to bad.
Jesus, let’s let things not get even worse.
A weird fall. Nearly ninety
one day, leaf mold making our house
all red eyes and throats. Don’t think
about Thanksgiving, but hope
for a decent Halloween. Everywhere
gas-powered leaf-blowers growling—
Christ, let’s let things not get even worse.
First appeared in The New Ohio Review
Just after the downpour moves on, and it’s
still a swamp of viridian and emerald
indoors and out; and the central power grid,
iffy at best, still sputters and spits;
and the citizens, alert, still hunch
by their wavering flames, tensed for the flinch
between each white shock and its thunderclap
(relaxing, a bit, as quiet widens the gap)—
it’s then this German-folktale kind of calm
seeps in: brown of the briar rose, a bone-
meal wariness, the green tone of once upon
a time, a woodman and his wife wanted children—
and soon children came. That’s the time
to pray whoever loves you escaped harm.
From Goodbye to the Orchard (2004)
Steven Cramer is the author of five poetry collections: The Eye that Desires to Look Upward(1987), The World Book (1992), Dialogue for the Left and Right Hand (1997), Goodbye to the Orchard, (2004)—which was named a 2005 Honor Book in Poetry by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and won the Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club—and Clangings (2012). Recipient of a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artists Fellowship, he founded and teaches in the low-residency MFA creative writing program at Lesley University.
You were born on a cloud-clogged night
to the ring of your own tintinnabular cry,
you were fed thread by thread by your mother.
You learned to love in another country
—and the wind with its thousand hands
took what it could, and through star-clogged eyes
you watched dawn shake loose its skin—
and the saffron sun rained marigolds
as you gave yourself thread by thread to another.
Oh, body that is swept of its senses—you
learned to love with your brain and breath.
Your children will be born into the fog-clogged
years when you’ll mend your mother like a doll
and bury your father, whose mind has unspooled
thread by thread to a child’s. Cupping each word
like a stone, you’ll wear your language like a family
heirloom. And your marigold chest will burn
when your grandchildren are born on a dream-clogged night
—you’ll begin to dissolve thread by thread into the cross-stitched sky
first published in The Acentos Review
Gloria Muñoz is a writer, educator and translator whose experiences include writing for print and online publications, teaching writing at universities and NGOs in the U.S. and India, and co-directing educational outreach programs with nonprofits serving low-income communities. As a first generation Colombian American, Gloria’s work explores the intersections of identity, space and cultures. She is the recipient of honors including the Estelle J. Zbar Poetry Prize, the Bettye Newman Poetry Award, the New York Summer Writer’s Institute Fellowship, and the Think Small to Think Big Artist Grant. Gloria teaches at Eckerd College, she is the editor for Images and Voices of Hope, and she is a co-founder of Pitch Her Productions, a nonprofit production company dedicated to the advancement of women in the film industry.
Are these green grapes with seeds?
How can I discuss the social implications
of my latest flic with all that acid
churning? I need the perfect hydration
fructose combo of Turkish plums.
This ice is crushed, it melts too fast
and is not cold. My hair should be more
funky at the back. No! Not retro!
Red socks — I need them for my breathing
the color, grounding — you know chakra center
in my feet. Are you all idiots? Where’s Lydia?
She knows the immaculate disheveled look.
There are three hundred people out there
who are already forgetting they love me.
Kimberly Simms is a teaching artist, mother, poet, and young adult author. She is a first generation American with a Masters in English from Clemson University. She was recently chosen as the 2016 Carl Sandburg Writer-In-Resident. www.kimberlysimms.com