Shrapnel Maps

I wasn’t raised to trust or believe in chance. I was raised to believe nothing happened except by merit of the effort one put into the task at hand, the work one consciously and deliberately put toward a goal. And with enough work, one got what they had justly earned. Chance had no place in […]

Now It’s Dark

Written in a time of loss and disaffection, the fatigue in these poems is insidious. The poems do not owe to a single event—not COVID-19 or Trump or random brutality or exploration of personal loss. But the effort to cognitively self-create requires intensity of purpose, greatly like making a poem from a world that comes […]

In June

In June Photo by Shiva Shenoy A wood duck cuts a slick path through the lily-padded pond crowded thick with growth. This morning a deer hung his low-slung throat towards the water, sipping shallow wet, pulling tangled masses of green into his mouth. I think, what a bright day god has given, what a way […]

Bekhudi

Bekhudi Photo by karlnorling After Agha Shahid Ali   So now the spring stirs up its sugared mania Diyas of camphor so vast, my knees give way Unspooled, silken light in my veins This forest sluiced, misted with You Vacant temples calling then uncalling my name I blow fire at embalmed doors, drink from clear […]

Dunce

The poems of Mary Ruefle have often felt like delightful puzzles: slippery, full of surprise, and rich in irony, much of it self-directed. In her most recent book, Dunce (2020), she pokes fun at her own authority as a writer. “Vow of Extinction” finds her listing all that she now refuses to put into her […]

Atomizer

Scent evokes memory. Such strong associations with smell have prompted perfumes, the pinnacle of scent, to be banned or discouraged in mass gatherings as well as in small spaces. Elizabeth A. I. Powell’s poetry collection Atomizer, its namesake those decorative glass bottles that house expensive perfumes and permit a small amount to be released in […]