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Freshwater 2012 - Asnuntuck Community College

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FR ESH WATERAPOETRY JOURNAL2012


FRESHWATER20121


Freshwater2012Founding EditorEditorsAssociate EditorAssistant EditorsCover PhotographEdwina TrenthamRoberta HoffGay PaluchEilish ThompsonDeborah MatuskoBrie QuartinKarrie SponaasVictoria OliverFreshwater is published yearly byAsnuntuck Community College, 170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082.http://www.acc.commnet.edu/freshwater.htmCopyright 2012 by Freshwater.ISSN # 1521-0286Single copies $7.00 including postage and handlingFreshwater’s fourteenth issue, to be published in May 2013 is open tosubmissions from August 15, 2012, through December 15, 2012. Send up to fivepreviously unpublished poems and a brief biographical note, with name, address,phone number, and e-mail address on each poem. E-mail submissions must beWord attachments. One submission per submission period. An e-mail address isessential for electronic notification and re-submission of accepted work. By mail,include stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope. Poems will not be returned.Submit toFreshwaterAsnuntuck Community College170 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 06082orFreshwater@acc.commnet.edu3


Editor’s NoteIt is impossible to imagine putting together an issue ofFreshwater without the dedication and hard work of mystudents, and this issue is no exception. Once again, mydeepest gratitude goes to long-time Editor Gay Paluch, awoman of passion, perception, and incredible dedication, and apoet of rich imagination. Editor Roberta Hoff ’s joy in readingpoetry, coupled with her extraordinary gifts as a poet,continued to illuminate all class discussions, while her warm,perceptive acceptance letters forged deep connections withpoets published in this issue. Editor Eilish Thompson, also apoet of rare gifts, brought a delightful energy and commitmentto her third semester working on Freshwater. She too offeredgreat insight during the reading period, and her quirky view oflife and language, coupled with her enormous intelligence andwonderful sense of humor, made working on the layout of theissue pure delight. Associate Editor Debbie Matusko is ablessing, no other way to put it. Her comments on thesubmitted poems were consistently perceptive, she wrotecourageous, insightful poetry, and she took on countless taskscheerfully and efficiently, from proofreading to stuffingenvelopes to designing flyers. Finally, her thoroughlyprofessional maintenance of our website and her confidentwork in formatting the issue went above and beyond allexpectations. Working with Assistant Editor Karrie Sponaascontinued to be a joy, in no small part due to her amazingartistic ability, her pleasure in trying out new skills, herwillingness to take on the most mundane of tasks with totalenthusiasm, and her delight in responding to poetry, whilewriting some fine poems herself. One of the real pleasures ofworking with Assistant Editor Brie Quartin is how quickly andeasily she became a valued member of the editorial staffbecause of her keen, intelligent eye for good poetry, herpleasure in honing her own deeply appealing voice as a poet,her wry sense of humor, and her ability to take on any task witha calm efficiency.5


As always, my deepest thanks to Elaine Folkers for beingconstantly and cheerfully on call for any and all computeremergencies; Falcon Press for the delight they have taken overthe past thirteen years in bringing out each issue; and DuncanMorris for his ongoing support. Finally, I am abidingly gratefulto President Martha McLeod and Dean Barbara McCarthy forbelieving in Freshwater and its importance to Asnuntuck.Edwina Trentham6


Bert J. NitchFreshwaterLazing along between the muddy banksIts hide scaled with wind, and scathedBy Puritan charity. Once, it had a name.A voice. One could hear it in the rockingStones. In the hwait song of the birds.In winter, the ice could be suckled,The fish eaten raw, and my Father pluckedArrowheads from the cold water.7


ContentsTwentieth Annual Asnuntuck Student Poetry ContestWinners and Cover Award ........................... 1Ruth Bavetta Looking into the Eyes of the World .............. 4Carmen Germain Evensong, Mosquitoes .................................. 5Sylvia Forges-Ryan Snapshots of Dominica ................................... 6J. Tarwood Sky King ....................................................... 8Rosanne Singer Grief ............................................................. 9Jonathan Greenhause A Reverse Parabola .................................... 10Barrett Warner Afterlife ....................................................... 11Jim Richards Horses for Hire .......................................... 12Dick AllenThe One Moment WhenEverything Was Perfect ......................... 13Rhett Watts Dancers in Pink ........................................... 14John PopielaskiPriming a Flying Rafter Nearthe End of August .................................. 15Darren C. Demaree A Welling Motion ....................................... 16Ace Boggess The Self-Pity Song ...................................... 17Elizabeth Kudlacz Sorrows ...................................................... 18Gaynell Meij Ask, and it shall be given … ....................... 19Jack Lindeman Father’s Day .............................................. 20Barbara Batt How Grandfather Taught Me to Behave .... 21Brie Quartin Hands At Rest ............................................. 22Steve Parlato My sister Cathy says, “I swear ................... 238


María Luisa Arroyo This Year, My Son ...................................... 24Katharyn Howd Machan Stark Awake at 4 a.m. ................................. 25Lana Orphanides Your Hair, Mine ......................................... 26Simon Perchik * .................................................................. 27Rachel Larensen How I Almost Drowned at Two .................. 28Donna Pucciani Meltdown .................................................... 29Joan Hofmann Spectral ...................................................... 30Elizabeth Kudlacz Ephemeral .................................................. 31Jonas Zdanys The House in the Distance .......................... 32Melissa Carl Long Wide Night ........................................ 33Pat O’Brien Palm trees notwithstanding ........................ 34Chuck Tripi Advice to Younger Men .............................. 35James Doyle Too Many Eyes Out There .......................... 36Eilish ThompsonBetter Luck at the Pearly Gates(Better Change Your Ways) ................... 37John Stanizzi Communion ................................................ 38Sarah Brown Weitzman Even Then ................................................... 40Allison Zaczynski Lover’s Scars .............................................. 41Lindsay Illich On Watching You Eat a Clementine ........... 42Janet Greenberg (In a dream: I see ....................................... 43Dennis Saleh Shorebound ................................................ 44Don Barkin Nieces on the Beach ................................... 45Amanda Francis Painting Smiles Is an Art ............................ 46Steve Parlato Stuffed Bells ................................................ 47Edward A. Dougherty Kool-Aid and the Story of Art ..................... 489


Nancy Goodrich Real Poets: A Plaintive Cry ........................ 49Jean Esteve What the River Isn’t .................................... 50Susan Johnson Roomier Digs ............................................. 51Barrett WarnerMaine Is Not the Place toGrow Bougainvillea .............................. 52Steve Straight The Language of Trees ............................... 54Joseph Murphy As It Is ........................................................ 56James Doyle Rice Fields .................................................. 58Hannah Watkins Vultures ...................................................... 59Jonas Zdanys The Invention of Zero ................................ 60Contributors ..................................................................... 6110


Twentieth AnnualAsnuntuck Student Poetry Contest WinnersandWinner of the Fourth Annual Cover ContestFreshwater is proud to announce the winners of thetwentieth Annual Asnuntuck Student Poetry Contest, whichwas open to students from the twelve Connecticut CommunityColleges, the Connecticut State Universities, and selectedlocal high schools. This year’s judge, Connecticut PoetLaureate Dick Allen, selected six winners. Following are hiscomments on the prize-winning poems, published in thisissue.First Place: “Real Poets: A Plaintive Cry” by NancyGoodrich (Manchester Community College)This allusive poem has a splendid whimsy to it, along withsuch wonderful specifics as “Earl Grey steeping in handthrownteapots” and a poem appearing beside a “blue dinner plate” asthe poem tries “to edge out the eggplant parmesan.” In askingwhat “real poets do?” it answers the question with a versetriumph. “Real Poets” is a poem that delights in showing how,often, a “real poem” arrives out of the details of everyday lifewhen that everyday life is apprehended with true mindfulness.Second Place: “Painting Smiles Is an Art” by AmandaFrancis (East Windsor High School)Sometimes the best poems are focused on a small actionacutely observed. This is such a poem, a poem of paradoxicallyjoyful rhyme that belies the sadness of the perhaps mistreatedor overly pushed. Quietly and quite terrifyingly calmly, thepoem shows how art can hide the truth about those who seemto have no choice but to attempt to please others.1


Third Place: “Better Luck at the Pearly Gates (BetterChange Your Ways)” by Eilish Thompson (AsnuntuckCommunity College)This is a poem of strong and forceful admonition, one whichboth hides and reveals its origin of intent. We overhear a lifeand death struggle and charge, written in terza rima, with theDante influence added to the Hopkins enjambment. We’re leftwondering at how, at the time of any crisis, “the carefree smileothers wear” can be “like flowers on a casket.” Shadow andambiguity may be part of this ambitious poem’s intent.First Honorable Mention: “Lover’s Scars” by AllisonZaczynski (Asnuntuck Community College)In this carved poem, we intensely see another’s body. Theintensity of seeing is what communicates the acceptance andlove the poem’s narrator has for the subject. Here’s a“fishhook” that’s “like an angry initial,” and a “bubbled”“ivory knot” as well as the “sienna rectangle.” It’s a poem inpraise of hard-won imperfections on a “welder” (the term maybe symbolic, too), a praise of outer scars that may well signifyinner ones.Second Honorable Mention: “How I Almost Drowned atTwo” by Rachel Larensen (Asnuntuck CommunityCollege)What a re-reading impulse there is to this poem, its soundsdeliciously alliterative (“slip /silent splash sudden . . . sunlight”and “fingertips,” “fascinated,” “fishes,” “floating”). The readeris drawn underwater, sucked in, almost drowns like the child.The poem’s participles swim us deeper until we finally emergefrom near terror into pride. How very good the poem is on thetongue, with its captivating child’s voice.2


Third Honorable Mention: “Hands at Rest” by BrieQuartin (Asnuntuck Community College)To use familiar phrases, this is a very straightforward, brutallyhonest, plain-spoken poem, its lines solidly and surely laiddown, mainly in strongly accented dimeter. The poem’s meteremphasizes the anger. The poem’s physicality and woefulscorn is in observing “hands tied [my italics] in prayer” forotherwise they would do more evil. For some actions there maybe, from victims, no forgiveness.Freshwater is proud to announce that Asnuntuck CommunityCollege student, Victoria Oliver, won the Fourth AnnualFreshwater Cover Contest with her beautiful photographtaken in Shenipsit State Forest in Stafford Springs,Connecticut. Her photograph is featured on the cover of thisissue. (This award was made possible through a grant from theAsnuntuck Community College Foundation.)3


Ruth BavettaLooking into the Eyes of the WorldThe days go by—white squares tornby blackberry thorns.The detour over the bridgeobscures the road,a morning moon thruststhrough clouds.The postman’s losthis way, the shopkeeper’s diedof an ancient lust.And tomorrow,dear staring heart,you will liein the porch swingsinging.4


Carmen GermainEvensong, MosquitoesImagine lifewithout them,this Big Bang of insects,free in the blood feast,your meat-swamp bed.Freight trains roiling the countryside,mad little nightmaresthe better to sip you, my dear.Try to fool them, butinches from your eyes theysing on slight legspraise for the belly swelling,the miasmaabout to go outinto the world.5


Sylvia Forges-RyanSnapshots of DominicaAnd here you see the neongreen of the banana trees thatshaded us (but not enough)on our hike, and right therethe yellow green row of royalpalms that pinwheel and hissin the sky before a storm.Here's the tree, no name, whose trunkbears thousands, no, millions,of sharp black thorns. And this one'sthe rampant mangrove whose rootslike tentacles splay themselvesagainst the dank stone wallsof this ruined fort. Here's tangledvine so strong you might hangfrom it. And this they calla strangler fig, tough enoughto kill mature Bwa Mang trees(there's one gripping the riverbank we saw before). This is whatbreadfruit looks like, bumpy, greenand round as a balloon. Near itin the mud, a land crab! Did Isay we found one clatteringbehind our bed? And here—butturn it right side up—a snakeglints a warning on the stairs,surreal, leading nowhere,of a stone manor house, oneof many, they say, burned to itsshell, what's left nearly devouredback to bush. No roof or floor,just an interior gone6


wild with ferns and vines. Here'sheliconia again, its red and yellowblossoms reminding usof lobster claws. This is oleander,beautiful, both the yellow and the pink,but all its parts we've heard are toxic.The fragrant ginger lily too. One leafalone's enough to kill a grown man.Yes, bush medicine, they call it. Brewrazor-edged lemon grass for fever.For sick babies, sweet-broom leafand love bush. For abscesses, cobwebswith salt and rum. For other ills,spiritweed, soursop leaf, treeof life. And for impotencethe men swear by bois bande. Here'sthe bamboo grove that gives a humancry in the wind. Here, orchidsparasiting on a mango tree,the fruit so sweet, but how it stuckbetween our teeth! Oh, this? The pathto the sea where Caribbean andAtlantic meet. But you don’t get a sense of howsteep it is, how exhilarating our fear.And how strange, on our climb, wemust have seemed to the childscavenging through sea trashat the bottom of the cliff,our camera's bright red eyesignaling toward that unmovingstonehearted sea, to which wesmiling tourists turn our backs.7


J. TarwoodSky KingAfter that morning rushfor Big Gulp coffee,he mans a dronewith his wired Washington room,plasma screen his houndto drop death neatly around.Impervious, orders heard,prayers never, couldn’t hebe our kind of god?8


Rosanne SingerGriefWe are returning from a northern place,horned beasts confused in a temperate zone.Where are the trees to ram our tusks into,air to hold our raw bellows? Your facesshow how completely the order and graceof living have abandoned us. Aloneis safest in this war between humanand animal, until we resurface.This will happen to you. Inner landscapecatches fire and the space between peoplewill not contain you. There is no ravineto bury our noxious odor, mufflethe unrecognizable sounds that escape,until that time when we again burn clean.9


Jonathan GreenhauseA Reverse ParabolaRío de la Plata, Argentina, 1977Into the sea, he cried, & we plummeted to the sea.Into the clouds, we thought, but he could no longer hear us,for he was in the clouds,but we had descended to the sea,diving beneath the surface to search for reflected clouds we’d seen,our bodies dozing among aquatic cumulous& sleeping for hours while anchored to the murky bottom,our arms crossed& our thoughts fixed upon what seemed to be eternity.Having fallen victim to the Dirty War,we were now strange inhabitants of the sea,where eels electrocuted us, territorial sharks took bites of us,minnows reflected our forms in their silver sheen,& sea anemones—in their poetic justice—mispronounced us.Into the sea, the milico had cried, but we were already there,so we traced our way from its watery breath,rising in quick ascent as the ocean’s mirrored skin approached& peeled back its placid surface,immersing us in sunlit air,our protracted flight returning effortlessly into the sky,a hundred feet, then a thousand,& up towards the blackness of the airplane’s open doorwhere the man in uniform grasps our soporific forms again& cries, Into the sea,& once again, our parabolic souls take flight.10


Barrett WarnerAfterlifeDid I tell you how muchI liked the maple candyyou sent in December?Or was I too unhingedby the French mare'spremature signs of spring—her eleventh foal insideonly the size of a cat—to imagine howthe air must have tastedwhile the sugarbush sap boiled,turning from the color of spitto morning sky,the same green-gray-amberDegas painted at Longchamps,the clouds whorlinglike the mare's lastbornwhose busted vertebraemade him hurt everywherebut in his lovely eyesas he raced towardsa barbiturate finish,angels wearing jockey silksleading him to where the partof us that never dies can gallop,and on our lipsthe taste of maple.11


Jim RichardsHorses for HireHorses are enough to make me worry about the world,their necks thick and heavy, full of blood,their bellies so big I want to be in them.Their ears are enough—skin without bones—the first time I touched one I could hear with my hand,my arm, and into my shoulder blade.Their manes make me violent in the heart, the hairtangled and coated with dust—good dirty.When veins rise on their long faces,when their black eyeballs, with heavy lids and lashes,look out at me with unnerving sadness,when that sound climbs out of themlike a scream buried in graveland their round lips erupt with wet thunder,when they raise their tailsand make shining orbs out of apples, oats, and grass,when sweat streaks their sides in the sun,when they smell like saddles—it is enough.And when one walks to me, like this one,its bridled head hung low, as if it were ashamedof making the boy on its back so happy, it’s too much.12


Dick AllenThe One Moment When Everything Was Perfectwas the moment behind you,the one that looked like a pencil mark on a stucco wall,that sounded like the single peck of a chickeninto the shadow you just leftfor you’re always leaving shadowsor dragging them behind you like criminal mishapsand when you turn around to confront them they mock you.Shadowland. Shadowplay. Shadow puppets.“The day was filled with shadows.”“Who knows? The Shadow knows!” The one momentwas an oar blade descending, a finger snap, an eye blink,the flick of a light switch, a jaw clench,one taste bud awakened,a necklace clasp, a pinprick,the little cry of “Oh!” that’s never repeatedin quite that way, even when caught on film,so treasure it, say collectors,put it into a locket and wear it everywhere.Become a collector. Take out your scrapbook at night.The world is gray. Quiet might not be its name.13


Rhett WattsDancers in Pink(oil painting by Degas, Hill-Stead Museum)They loom largeclustered peoniesfill the foreground with unavoidablepink, hot as the present moment.Tutus are gaudy against softer shades ofcheekbone & silk flower,pale behind the ear before the ballet.& isn't it like that? The present momentsharp in relief, crisp as crinoline netting,or the aching toe packed in the pointe shoe?So luminous the stage-lit sheenof clavicle & décolleté,it's easy not to notice how the body lovesthe restive weight of shadow.Cool in blue-greens, other dancerswait in the wings, furtive as the future, the past,blend into painted shrubbery whileone pearl earring centers the eye, calls itback to black ribbon about the throat, back tothat loud pink, sonic before the first note sounds.14


John PopielaskiPriming a Flying Rafter Near the End of AugustA wrinkled lip in sympathymeans zero to the butterflywho touched down brieflyin the quart-sized canof primer that I heldas guardedly as one canin the middle of the woodswhere no one in my tribewould hear me fall.I clamp my yellow teeth downon the speckled handleof the paintbrushand descend, regrettinghow the civilized collideso easily and oftenwith the natural.What remedy I have to offermakes descending sillierthan staying on the ladder,brushstroke after brushstroke,singing Que sera, serawithout much ironyuntil the first beer of the eveningbeckons, promisingto do a little somethingwith the sorrow that sobrietyrefuses to assuage.15


Darren C. DemareeA Welling MotionCracked eel, black,old heart, here for me,low-speaker, preciousto lose, more preciousto gain, ribbonof the family lake,for a moment, somewherewe said “Uncle!”to the mounding loveof our beautiful,beautiful girls. Looseloon, left behindin the bringing,I can still see your pathbeneath the dark drink.16


Ace BoggessThe Self-Pity Songmisery is not absenceof these things:chocolate milkshakeswimming poolbig car like a rolling yachtwoman’s tenderness beneath a cyan camisolemisery is awarenessof the absence of these thingslips lacking sweetnessimage without skinthe prayer sans a god to grantbeing-for-othersto that lonely king who rulesfrom isolation of his cavewhat retinas scan & mind createspoison the diamond water with dustI am thirsty &in this desertI find no comfortbut the dread of beautycontempt for the beautifullaughing as eyesin the back of my headwill weep17


Elizabeth KudlaczSorrowsEveryone has a sorrow. Lookin the damp darkness of your pants’ pocketor the left sleeve of your husband’s threadbare shirt wheremy mother carried her sorrow, tucked up and handy. Somefolks have so much sorrow it spills out of purses, pockets,even houses onto curbs filled with the emptinessof fish bowls, the helplessness of three-legged tables,the poverty of rusty cages and threadbare rugs. Sometimesa cardboard sign hand-lettered “free” is propped atopit all as if we don’t have enough broken mirrorsof our own. I’ve had sorrow so large I had to payto have it hauled away. The whole town of Groton saw it,driving by that maroon and green plaid, overstuffed sofa, sacredsite of first seduction, covered in cat hair those years afterwhen they comforted me. It sat street-side for weeks,a cruise ship run aground, before the big city truck cameclattering. Now my sorrows are packed in heavy duty bags,hidden even from lean men who toss theminto truck’s maw with youthful nonchalance. Still,there are nights when sharp claws of beastly shriekspierce the skin of darkness. In frank morning light,I have stood wearing freshly ironed linen,on pavement still dewy with dream, transfixedby the pungent reds, oranges, yellowsof my broken piñata of sorrows.18


Gaynell MeijAsk, and it shall be given . . .Beyond the doorthere is a streaming,meandering vibratory forms beyondparticles, beyond waves, shadowsof this cosmic form have blossomedon my skin and burst timelessfractal fireworks to brightenmy meditation mind.My imagination cavortswith photons glimmering aroundedges of an openingdoor. Morphine tamperedpathways led my father to ask,Why can’t I push the door open?Holding his hand, sitting thighto thigh beside him on the bed, I said,I heard all you need to do is knock.Sitting still at this longitude, solarmorning follows star flecked night.Some deaths bring a grace that flingsheart’s spaceopen,and doors.19


Jack LindemanFather’s DayAfter all these yearsI still cling to my broomtrying to sweepthose scattered pieces of youback into my mind.What destructive mailed fistshattered your faceinto a permanent scar?What insane retributionriding the coneof a whirling tornadobroke up your torso?The leaves of your skinhave celebratedtheir autumnal ritualand winter is the skeletonof the man who’s left.Yet there are wordsspoken by youin my mouth today,a convincing phrase.You grope with my armsfor some remembrance of yourselfthough still faithfulto that other world.At least you believed in yourselfwhen no one else cared.The earth is good,you always insisted,and I keep running into your shadowreaching for an explicit hand.20


Barbara BattHow Grandfather Taught Me to BehaveHe cut logs with the screeching band saw,and hung pigs from the peakof the barn, stroking his wild beardas the smoke from his pipe circled,and blood ran into the waiting pail.He laughed as my new friend, steppingbackward from the cows, sat in the ditchthat drained the stalls, thick with brown liquid.In the afternoons, he listened,on the big radio in the hallwaybetween kitchen and sitting room,to strange singing in a languageI could not understand. He rarelyspoke to me, but watched fromthose tall, pale eyes, until I feltsuspended in his sight.The day the too proud roosterknocked me to the ground,clamping razors to my backand drilling my neck with a sharp beak,I was afraid to cry, but caughtthe quick movement of his hands,the steps to the upright stump wherehe split wood for the kitchen stove,the flapping bird, frozen for an instant,beneath the flashing axe.21


Brie QuartinHands At RestThe first timeshe tasted bloodcame from the backof her father’s handflashed strong acrossher mouth becauseat six she daredspeak out of turn.Later at his casket’s sidehis hands tied in prayeracross his chestshe’d bite down hardupon her lipto keep herselffrom smiling.22


Steve ParlatoMy sister Cathy says, “I swearshe thrives on pestilence and peonies.”In Mother’s kitchen, waiting for the call,we’re studying the Living Section; she’sposed—plastic-smiling—on a blossomed wall.On paper, our mother states, “I believeflowers are like children,” (some crap to dowith nurture) and Cathy goes, “Gotta loveMrs. Green Thumbs! Look how her garden grew.”They pinch—the photo garden, my sister’svoice, Mother’s platitudes—like when that beestung my infant lip back in the stroller:a day’s pain, lifetime sensitivity.We’ll bring peonies to the hospitalafter drowning stray ants in Mother’s pool.23


María Luisa ArroyoThis Year, My SonThis year, my son, old enough to feelhow our home is sanctuary to each of us,wants our own Thanksgiving traditionfree from being definedby grandpa’s medical conditionsand full of the familiaras we walk around barefoot,accept each other’s silence,and speak to each other without harm.This year, my son, fifteen,wants the weight we feel to bethe roast chicken stuffed with sage sausage,wants the dark circles we seeto be the rings our glasses makeon red tablecloth and not under my eyes,as work and his grandpa’s illnessesstartle me, vomiting, out of sleep.This year, my son wants me to breathe.24


Katharyn Howd MachanStark Awake at 4 a.m.she sees the ice on her windowpanesmake silver of the night’s fake lightand hears her husband sleeping deepin dreams of their dying daughter.How to count a thousand sheep?How to hum long breathless tunesmuffled in a flannel pillowon a bed a century old?Instead she sits up on the edgeand fumbles for her dark brown scuffsand creaks her way out through the doorto new December silence. A poemhangs taut and stiff out therebut she does not try to touch it.Time now only for hot teain a cup of china roses.Motherhood is an open handwith thin fingers flat and useless.25


Lana OrphanidesYour Hair, MineThe day after your death I cut my hairunaware of the tradition of ancient mournersbut thinking somehow to honor you, begin anew,or, become someone who had not been therewhen you died, looking just as before, onlysurprised by death’s swiftness against such a warrior.But I am changed as if passed through a sieve.Each molecule, crust of skin, shard of bone altered.I would weave wisps of your hair into mine,take your kindness and your strength, carry theminto battle and fly like the great grayhawk who visited me unexpectedthis morning as I sat among your thingslistening to the earth and the sweet grass sing.26


Simon Perchik*Alone in the womb it was your heartlistening for night after night—even then two ears were not enoughfor coming around to hear out the riversthat would become her breasts, eachholding on, calling the other—with both handsyou make a cup from a thirstolder than clay and darkness, drinkthe way all arms are filled with dirtwith fountains and promise—not yet bornand already a tongue shows throughreaching across as the doomed touchstill warm from moonlight and longing—before you had a mouth you bathed this darknessover and over as if it too could drinkfrom kisses :these teeth, the sunit once was and long agolost its shoreline and footing.27


Rachel LarensenHow I Almost Drowned at Twobump or slipsilent splash suddenquiet like downy quilts and clean sheetsbright with sunlightlike fiery logs breaking and sparkingsoft like puddingangel with golden halospread eaglefingertips wavyfascinated by another worldof fishes and slime shinealways, thereafterdiving towards that worlddrugging towards that worldsleeping, sexingunderwater blissfloating, smiling, flyingLook how long I can hold my breath, Daddy!28


Donna PuccianiMeltdownfrom a photograph by X WoodsI never heard the crack.I never saw the first fissureas the temperature rose above freezingfor the first time in months.The clods of ice wanderlistlessly on dark industrial waterslike lost sheep. They watch each otherdecay in the oil-slick river,then swallow the poison themselves,tokens of their own disappearance.Once they were whole,a wool-white vestiturethat clothed the river edge to edge,the seamless fabric of winter’s sorrowful loom,unmoved and unmoving, drapedlike the bedclothes of a dying womanfor whom hospice cannot patch togetheranother life, whose fingers pluckthe linens in brief spasms.The frozen anti-shroud unravelsday by toxic dayas thaw brings certain death.Now the flock of chunkshas morphed into unrecognizable shapes.Say your prayers, little lambs.Join the jigsaw river.29


Joan HofmannSpectralStanding in the Bonaventure River is no mean featif you have no shoes on: this gin-clear waterstings to soothe. Cold laps toes to claw-clench,joints strain to marbles unfeeling as I peer downtransfixed, look beside and between ten numbed nubsinto steady eyes of smooth oracle-pebbles wheresilenced truth rests near salmon pools dark and mysterious.I recall yesterday’s cast brought one to surface,a lip-hook from a former fisher hung like a sneer:a mark of near-miss, like the skin mass by my right ear.30


Elizabeth KudlaczEphemeralSanguinaria canadensis.The bloodroot of my childhood roseout of snow-blighted leaves in the woodsbehind the house, their starkwhite petals scattered bybreeze no more thana heavy sigh, cut rootspilling red saplike blood.“There is blood,”our ninety-year old mother said,stumbling out of the bathroom, worn face whiteas a hospital gown. It was May,when lily of the valley were in bloom,a planted patch of long green tongueslapping up house eaves’ cool shade—favorite flowers, carried carefullyin her bridal bouquet.We couldn’t believehow quickly the old housesold this Spring, just asthe lilies’ new leaveswere unfurling, just afterbloodroot’s last petallet go.31


Jonas ZdanysThe House in the DistanceThe light in the windowof the house in the distance,the dry touch of the old dooryou scratched your initials on,cold sparks gathering together againin the blue unraveling of the year’slast January sky, ash to ashin the slow light of the old room.Cold and blue, cold and blue—the light of the full moon risesout of its little box and follows melike a nail bending under accumulating ice.I float past on a colorless wind,turn once and once again,the snow from the light of the houseon the flat of my hand,the wishbone of unencumbered cold.This is how we arrive,as glass bleeds in the windows,as moonlight leans in doorwaysand memories stack flatin the clear night under the cellar stairs.I slip up and out from the shadowsof our last address, whisper and burn.I fall and fall away.I fall away.32


Melissa CarlLong Wide NightAwake, under two quilts in a cold room. Midnight becomes the spaceinto which breathing scrapes itself into sound. The body says it:hollow, hollow, the body’s word hour after hour in the dark,the body waiting for the mind to dream or disappear.The bedroom objects have small sorrows of their own—curtain slightly torn, mattress dented, clothes leftto wrinkle on the floor. The radiator hesitates and ticks,a struggling Morse code tapped slowly out.Thoughts lose their sentences like leaves fallingfrom leaves, sycamore love letters meant for burning.Pointless, this staring at the wall as though it might relent,sigh beneath its paintings, take its wallness elsewhere.The mind follows itself to the window, skims the glass.Glass. It’s a word with a cut in it. Brittle. Hard. Like the huge,nearly-winter moon, that ship whose cargo is a corpse.Like the sandbox in the neighbor's yard, the mild contentsand plastic buckets now necropolitan. The heart slips, viscous,along such stark apartness—this is what a prayerwas meant to save—something like a heart swallowing itself whole.33


Pat O’BrienPalm trees notwithstandingthe torrential rain they failed tohold above our huddled selvesromance me yet.No trip south is withoutdesire rekindled. My auntfrom whom I lied my wayinto the raging nightis dead. Long dead.Still, her complicated glancepeers beneath every treewith something that seemslike forgiveness. She knewhe waited down the street.Or so it seemed when Ireturned in disarray.Drenched. Smiling.When she pretended to sleep.34


Chuck TripiAdvice to Younger MenUnlikely, that a naked woman in the desertlongs only for a place to lie down.One in twenty thousand chancesshe has waited there for you.One in sixty thousand times desire knowsits destinations, gives itself directionthrough the waves of heat arisingvisible from those untouchable sands.If you go, go quietly, bring water.Bring a lasting shade, a cooler breeze.If you should leave again, leave water.Leave a lasting shade, a cooler breeze.You will carry her with you.Ten thousand years, the arid winds,yet to blow the sands away.35


James DoyleToo Many Eyes Out ThereWe know—spent the first half of our livescounting. And over the eyes:wigs, brains, ears, brows. How to displaceall that ugliness. Start over? We stayedinside, but thoroughfaresdead-ended at every window, midnightmarriages, walls cracking, futures yowlingto come in. We rearrangedfurniture until we wore out the combinationsand the house started repeating itself.Okay, then, the secondhalf of our lives microscopic, swimmingforward, into the retinas, such a largeand gelatinous world,slower and slower, never even a moment’srest, sluggish, overgrown, where nothingis named. Adam’s armsheavier than mine, barely able to move in place.36


Eilish ThompsonBetter Luck at the Pearly Gates (Better Change Your Ways)Swear on Your sacred words it wasn’t that I ignored my heartin that minute it took to cave into the dark of remorse,backbone curved into a shadow puppet,neither my sense. Logic, deformed, was the partof me not to be overwritten, tyrannical, not caring for thechoicemy spotless record begs of me: obedient, aside from it.I’m aware of the rules, yes, heard of prior cases, similar. Court,Yours, here, emits a peculiar light; off-white, just perhaps, butcoarseto touch; apathy deals the lightning bolts that cast myjudgment.Pray: if untimely death is so reprehensible a sin, then God,kindly cartme away to live in virtue, in love with a different course.The carefree smile others wear, tangible truth, is like flowerson a casket.37


John StanizziCommunionWhen the avenue was cleanedby whirlybirds of seedsin a polished city with sparkling windows,I’d sit in a bucket full of water on hot September days,or lie on the cool linoleum floor betweenmy grandmother’s big brown shoesand stare up into the mysteryof snaps and nylon under her dress.She was an excommunicant,and Tony the nice man with a wife and childrenwould be there most days,sitting at the sunny table and speakingso softly I couldn’t hear.My grandfather was gone by then,and his red-headed daughter was put on a bus to somewhereby her red-headed mother Jenny the prostitute,and whenever my grandfather did come aroundhe’d always wipe the corners of his eyeswith the backs of his wristswhenever he talked to me.The only thing my grandmother ever neededshe couldn’t have,until the day at Masswhen I drank the Blood of Christkept it wet on my lips,and took His body cupped in my hands,back to her in the pewwhere I nudged her,opened my hands to the great disobedience,and nodded.38


No she said as I kissed her mouth,Blood of Christ,broke His body,ate half,put the other to her mouth,Body of Christ,salvation’s relief shining throughthe guilt in her face.39


Sarah Brown WeitzmanEven ThenEvery Sundayhe hung life-sizedat the end of my pewlong and whitebut for the blood at his headhis right sideand where he was nailed to the wood.A blush of lipstickno nun could scrub awayhad seeped into the porous plasterwhere women worshippers kissed his feet.Each time I put my mouthabove the spiketo his cool hard footI thought of real fleshand when the others bentfor the benediction or to be blessedI followed insteadthe arc of his ribsthe line of his limbsthe sculptor shaped so wellthat even then, O lord,even then I was lostin the beauty of men.40


Allison ZaczynskiLover's ScarsI want to memorize the scarsof your welder's armsthe thinly carved fish hookhorizontal on the creamy undersidelike an angry initial;the ivory knot—raised criss-crosses bubbledacross your left hand;the thin silk-like thread,tucked just above the knuckleof your thumb;the sienna rectangle, imperfectslanted across your right forearmlike a branding.I trace them allto become versedin the storiesof your body.41


Lindsay IllichOn Watching You Eat a ClementineThe way your mouth tendsthe pith with such sweet patiencemakes me want to give youthe valentine of my body scan,a skiagraphy of bone and tendon.I watch you peel it,can’t help but think the rinda signature of loss, your coffeespoon’s bravura, the averof morning so still it writesitself, like the typewriter birdwhose tree outside becomesa conference of birds, the clearingwelter of your throat, organson paper, my iliumunfolding in your patient hands.42


Janet Greenberg(In a dream: I seea sunset pausing on its haunchesat the end of a long road. A gull flies outin huge fluid freedom from the face of a cliff,pulling our chins aloft. I fill my lungswith salted air, my bare toes teasethe sand, still warm. Your bronze legs scissorthrough the surf. Beach plums coaxed from dunegardens scent the cottage snug between the mounds.Day lilies fringe its silvered porch. The ocean sighs,her inhalation draws the curtains out and liftstheir lacy skirts.) Your soft breathstirs my mane. A loosened tendril streamsacross my sleeping face, embedsitself within your beard. I brush the rovinglock aside, our legs unbraid, andas the sea exhales, we drifttoward dawn.43


Dennis SalehShoreboundBlank wind Tentative skyPensive gathering of cloudsA silent ringing in the airitalicizes the horizonSomething like a canvasBut no artist No intentThe sea makes its wayto the beach head downLowered as thoughthotful PreoccupiedThe sea says nothingBut again and again44


Don BarkinNieces on the BeachA thousand years ago or sothey wheeled down the beachin a glittering of cartwheels.I didn’t think they could possibly reachthe hunched toes of boulders at the end.Since then, one has teetered intoan early marriage, while the youngeris still wheeling free as a spare tirethat will go into a lazy spin andfall on its face in a dead clap.Pierced by their parents’ divorce,pierced by his drug use, pierced by herplatinum resolve to get on with her life.Plus all the usual confusion of youth.We fly all day to see them at Christmas,hugs and grins, but nothingso perfect as that sparking fire-wheelof arms and legs and sunburstof flung hair. One was as lankas a thoroughbred, the younger thickand springy as a pony. They did reachthe end of the beach, and the calendar flippedto a new year, and kept on flippingin time with the rush of the shuttling tide.Then this Christmas quit with a wintry sceneof snow tinted blue by the shadeof woods, and a snowy path somewhere.45


Amanda FrancisPainting Smiles Is an ArtWe painted smiles on our pretty little faces.We stitched ourselves up in all the right places,Careful to disguise any last traces.We smiled like pretty little faces do.We lied about the things we knew were true,Lied to ourselves, to them, and you.We painted the lies.We stitched up the traces.We saw to disguises,Faced with disgraces,Lost among those with painted faces.Just for you.We painted smiles on our pretty little faces,And smiled. Like pretty little faces do.46


Steve ParlatoStuffed BellsHe’d watch her kneadinglumps of meat, raw eggand rice, long hands strippedof gold, pink chuckshredscaught beneath her nails.The jade bells would stand,wax bowls packed—a fistfulper—fingercleftsmolding vertebraealong curving spines.In the stove, they’d sizz,foil-shrouded, as shespooned hot broth overtheir skulls. Darkeningto avocado,like the range-hood, theircharred membranes, slipping,liquefied. Below,red coils would flicker,as the peppers bled,her Pyrex fillingwith bitter juice.47


Edward A. DoughertyKool-Aid and the Story of ArtThat whole cult-thingin Guyana gave Kool-Aida bad rap. We feedon sugary storiesthen get stung by the tart.Art, someone said,must be tragicto be true to life.Get in line, I guess they’re saying,and bring your cup.What about the summer heat,the golden inflatable pool?What of the balloon-headedneighbor boy who squealsuntil his voice rises so highit disappears—his shouldersglisten, his mouth gapeswith drenched joy, and his lips,a red moustache above them, are blue.48


Nancy GoodrichReal PoetsA Plaintive CryWhat do real poets do?You know,The ones whose poems appear on creamy pagesShelved with Tennyson and Shelley?Do they wake in the morning,Earl Grey steeping in handthrown teapotsGazing at snowy trees,Metaphors blowing softly through their brains?Do they forget to feed the meterOn the way to the toy storeFor that princess wandBecause they’re working on a sticky line?How do they get the laundry doneWhen their childhoodsStream back to themIn similes midst years of therapy?Are their husbands patientWhen a newborn poemAppears next to their blue dinner plateTrying to edge out the eggplant parmesan?Do they drive over the bridgeCareful to stay in the narrow lane,Struggling to put fog and Chinese classical musicIn the same stanza?How do they do all the stuff—Taking the dog to the vet,Painting their toenails Revlon Red—And still have room for all the words?49


Jean EsteveWhat the River Isn’tA river’s not philosophy, no one I knowhas slumbered on the river bank deep in river dreams to wakeanswered, and with all an answered-man’s aplomb.No, the river is a lizardand likewise mum.The sea, if it’s a jackpot, is not about to say so.No one I know rode wavesof ocean coin and ocean dollar bills. Not richthe ocean is a jellyfishflattened and transparent on the beach.The sky is not a battlefield where evil gets its dueand youget studded with medals for your valor.It’s blueblankets, rumpled sheets, some scattered pillowswhere baby skies are built.Virtue never stayed penned inside the pretty home.White curtains just laundered and fluffedin a fluff-dry machinebillow in the soft windthat sneaks through the kitchen door left openwhen virtue took it on the lam.Your house, dear, is a bingo gameplayed with utter concentration.This then is thefundamentalenigma of environment.50


Susan JohnsonRoomier DigsA hermit crab scrapes by exchanging shell for shell.A novelty brought home from the beach, one takes offacross the kitchen looking for roomier digs.Where is my nerve that would let me clamberover table tops out of a childhood of sleeping bagsand bunk beds? We like our comfort. And honestlywould you ever follow a rabbit down a hole?Wouldn’t it be dark and dirty? Full of spidersand turds? A gull chooses the largest eggs to sit onfor the same reason Grandfather chose the biggestpiece of pie. Still we admire those dog packsthat pack for trips abroad to broaden their horizons.Though it’s always the same horizon ridingthe same planet with the same bats hoisted abovethose of us scratching at the surface, a surfacethat never gives. But what makes you tick?In all your life have you ever touched a cow?We pilot past osprey nests, fish nets and red knotsas swans arrow across the estuary, billowing sleevesof wind. Reverse me, please. Let me roll downthis wave through rocks broken by riversbefore my mind becomes a big old sealthat rises to periscope the scene beforeslipping back into the soft waters of the bay.51


Barrett WarnerMaine Is Not the Place to Grow Bougainvilleain spite of lakes and loonsand strawberries big as your skull.Mine is like an octopus,thorny arms reaching,a yoga of pink and red.There are so many more tactfulmen than I—any one of themwould have dug out a birch canoe,carved hearts in the varnished paddles.For you, he would have said,the water, the birds, for you.Instead, I bring a tropical plantto our lakeshore cabinas if to say I'd ratherbe in New Orleans with its horns,crayfish and accordions.The word Bougainvilleais almost one-fourth of a haiku.I imagine her sunning herselfsurrounded by Japanese poetry.That plant will die in a fewweeks, she says, and then we'll allhave to deal with your grieving.I'm bounding one step ahead,planning the funeral, storing ashes.When flowers die do you send people?52


She backs down. The air and waterare too nice here, the midday sunwarming her bare cajun loins,all too nice to menace the worldby arguing over the impossible.Where do you want to put it? she says.Over here, I say, by the banana tree.53


Steve StraightThe Language of Trees“Supposedly, a special plant flowersonly on Midsummer Eve, and the personwho picks it can understand the language of trees.”When I discovered it in my flashlight’s beamdeep in the island’s woods at the base of a giant white pine,an impossible orchid that had to be the cure to something,I heard with the first whiff of its earthy perfumewhat sounded like the chatter of saplings nearby,and when I held it to my nose came the awarenessof an invisible music that has been playing all along.I realized then that we have all heard hints before,like foreign words that come from similar roots,the quaking aspen in a breeze like a flockof Japanese women giggling behind their handsof pale leaves, the sharp cry of an old limbbeing amputated by a gust of wind,the sighs of spruces sagging under the weight of snow.As I inhaled my comprehension sharpened,and I could make out discussions of climateand weather, the sacred work of squirrels,and what seemed to be a kind of religionbased on lightning. A cedar told the storyof being astonished by the texture of a bear,a birch at the edge of the water described the moonlit view.The dead at their feet were cherished as if alive,ants and beetles slowly working theminto mulch and then to soil.54


I can’t say I really understood all I could hear,perhaps because human evolution is in the teething stage,or I was just getting used to sixty-seven words for bark,but even with all the trees around me the woodswere quieter, the conversation gentlerthan you might expect, and I noticed the older,taller trees, their bark darkened and thickened,said hardly a word, as if they understoodhow language fails usand spent their days listening to the wind.55


Joseph MurphyAs It IsA wave shimmers loose from a shell’s gleam,As if to coax these wordsToward open water;As if meaning could be priedFrom sound; shaped by another’s lipsAnd heard.As if it weren’t madTo gather images as others do shells,Pressing them forward,Line after line.As if those images had the strengthTo wield, carry; to reachPast the brain’s hollow; to emergeThrough a willow leaf’s surgeOr a worm’s skinAnd whirl back alive through one day’sDog-eared page.As if that page could burn in the beak of things,Breathing or not;Plumb the source of a dream; measureOne night’s width.As if that dream were to shake me awake,Offer images chippedFrom the breadth of another’s sleep.As if those images could wriggle up,Surface within my reflection;Change the way I imagine.56


As if it were enough to witnessThe world as it is,And still wish to set a sea-shaped finOn dry land.57


James DoyleRice FieldsRice water curries the fingerscording stalksin knots of ten for export. Monkswhitewash the marsh, a suddenlightfall, cloudof flamingoes solid on two legs.Prayer wheels spin. Yaks in caravancarry bowls of riceover the Himalayas. The breathing infant,wedding rice, death-bed rice. A motherarranges calipersat the table to measure syllables,ricepaper delicate and brazen with calligraphy.Her family meditatesbefore eating. Plates steam the windowsills.The swollen rice fields run white with fog.Swampwater lapsthe ankles of women walking the rows.58


Hannah WatkinsVulturesThe doe runs, desperate,chasing away the vultures,kicking at the crows,circling the fieldon frantic feet.Shadows of the birdsstretch across the lengthof her delicate body,dark wingspansin this setting sunlightand fly across meadowgrass laid flatby growling machines.The longer I watchthe vultures returnand return again,the louder the voicesbecome, harsh rebukesto the crying mother,telling her to respectthe tearing teethand leave behindher broken baby.59


Jonas ZdanysThe Invention of ZeroOn the table, wind.The left hand pressed against the outside wall.Footsteps across the cobblestones.The pale rider on a dark bicycle.Wax that will not melt.Blood in the corner of the mouth.The holy fire of night birds healing.The lost salt of living.The small chains of the century fallen to silence.The cold dew on the cross posts of the gate.Statues of mist as the fog lifts.The eyes of women hiding in the dark.The third knock.The sun today set on the wrong horizon:black and white, certainty from uncertainty,a search for what we have not yet lost.And I am everywhere, rising like a sudden shouton the brink of a world in which I play no part.I turn, a shadow between generation and death,the final shape and substance of the narrow orbitof the closing north, the self-intrusionof the assonant emptiness that betrayed me to dust.Under this hesitant step,in a world cleanly divided,I stand triumphant and immortalat the center, the circumference.60


CONTRIBUTORSDick Allen is regarded as one of America’s leading poets. Hisseventh collection of poetry, the Zen Buddhist-influencedPresent Vanishing, was published by Sarabande Books inOctober, 2008. It received the 2009 Connecticut Book Awardfor Poetry. Allen’s previous two collections, The Day Before:New Poems and Ode to the Cold War: Poems New andSelected, also were published by Sarabande Books. He hasreceived a Pushcart Prize, National Endowment for the Arts,and Ingram Merrill Poetry Writing Fellowships, among otherawards. His poems have been included in The Best AmericanPoetry annual volumes six times. Allen’s new poems haveappeared recently in or are forthcoming in Poetry, RATTLE(along with an extensive essay on Buddhism and Poetry),Hudson Review, American Scholar, The New Criterion,Gettysburg Review, The Georgia Review, The CincinnatiReview, Atlantic Monthly, New England Review, andPloughshares. He and his wife, poet and fiction writer L. N.Allen, live near the shores of Thrushwood Lake, in Trumbull,Connecticut. In 2010, Allen was appointed State Poet Laureateof Connecticut (2010-2015), succeeding John Hollander.María Luisa Arroyo, a Massachusetts Cultural CouncilFellow in poetry educated at Colby, Tufts, and Harvard, haspublished individual poems in many journals, includingCALYX: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women,PALABRA: A Journal of Chicano and Latino Literary Art,The Women's Review of Books, and Centro Journal. MaríaLuisa, whose first collection of poems, Gathering Words:Recogiendo Palabras, was published in 2008 (The BilingualReview Press, Arizona State University), enjoys facilitatingpoetry workshops; her latest ones include "The Power of Code-Switching: Poems Don't Have to Be 'English Only'" at theNational Split This Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC,and "Ekphrasis: Writing Poems in Response to Local Art" inMonson, Massachusetts. María Luisa also enjoys performingher work nationally, including in Puerto Rico and in thePalabra Pura Series hosted by The Guild Complex in Chicago.61


Don Barkin has published poems in Poetry, The VirginiaQuarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, NorthAmerican Review, Harvard Magazine, The Louisville Review,and other journals. A collection of his poems, That Dark Lake,was published by Antrim House in 2009. He is also the authorof two poetry chapbooks and has twice been awarded artistgrants by the State of Connecticut. He lives with his wife,Maggie, and his daughter, Eve, in New Haven, Connecticut.Barbara Batt has a Master’s Degree in Early ChildhoodSpecial Education, and is retired from the ConnecticutDepartment of Mental Retardation. Her poetry has beenpublished in Whatever Literary Journal. She has receivedawards from the Connecticut Authors and PublishersAssociation, and the Connecticut Poetry Society.Ruth Bavetta is a lifelong resident of Southern Californiawhose poetry has been published in many journals, includingNimrod, Tar River Review, RATTLE, North AmericanReview, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Rhino, Poetry East, andPoetry New Zealand. Her work is included in the anthologiesTwelve Los Angeles Poets and Wait a Minute I Have to Takeoff My Bra. She loves the light on November afternoons, thesmell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed. Shehates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.Ace Boggess currently is incarcerated in the West Virginiacorrectional system. His poetry has appeared in HarvardReview, Notre Dame Review, Poetry East, RATTLE, AtlantaReview, Santa Fe Literary Review, New Mexico PoetryReview, and other journals. His books include The BeautifulGirl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003)and, as editor, Wild Sweet Notes II, an anthology of WestVirginia poetry (Publishers Place, 2004).Melissa Carl is a teacher of history and Gifted Programinstructor, whose poems have been published in Off the CoastMagazine, Amoskeag: The Journal of Southern New62


Hampshire University, Third Wednesday, The Writer’s Eye,cellpoems, CircleShow, In Posse Review, Melusine, and TheFledgling Rag. She has published additional poems in anumber of anthology collections, and she has read her work onpublic television and at various venues in Pennsylvania,Maryland, and North Carolina. Melissa is also a member ofMENSA. She shares her admittedly messy existence with herhusband, son, dingo, goldfish, and hermit crabs, but notnecessarily in that order.Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio, with hiswife and daughter. His poems have appeared in numerousmagazines, reviews, and so forth. Twice he has been nominatedfor a Pushcart Prize.Edward A. Dougherty is author of Pilgrimage to a GingkoTree and Part Darkness, Part Breath, as well as fivechapbooks of poetry, the latest of which is Backyard Passagesfrom FootHills Publishing (2012). Granted the SUNYChancellor’s Award for Scholarship and Creative Activities, helives in Corning, New York, a small city defined by hills, theconvergence of three rivers, and a glass company you mayhave heard of.James Doyle has written five books of poetry. The most recentis Bending Under the Yellow Police Tapes (Steel Toe Books).His poetry has appeared in many journals, has been featured onVerse Daily, Poetry Daily, The Writer's Almanac (GarrisonKeillor), and American Life in Poetry (Ted Kooser), and hasbeen reprinted in many anthologies, including Prentice Hall'sLiterature: An Introduction to Critical Reading, used inuniversities across the country.Jean Esteve lives on the Oregon coast with spaniel-sorts,walks, swims, writes. Her poems have appeared twice before inFreshwater, and she has new work coming out in Mudfish andPearl as well.63


Sylvia Forges-Ryan has published her poetry in AmericasReview, Caduceus, Colere, Dogwood Review, InquiringMind, Insight, Journal of Italian Americana, SensationsMagazine, Shambala Sun, Tricycle, The Merton Seasonal,and the Yale Anglers’ Journal, as well as in numerousanthologies. She is internationally known for poems written inJapanese forms, and many have been translated into otherlanguages. Editor of Frogpond from 1991-1993, she has beenthe recipient of numerous awards, including a fellowship tostudy poetry in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is co-author of Takea Deep Breath: The Haiku Way to Inner Peace.Amanda Francis is a sixteen year old junior at East WindsorHigh School. She has a passion for writing poetry and shortstories, with hopes to pursue this art in the future.Carmen Germain’s work, These Things I Will Take with Me,has been published by Cherry Grove, and poems have appearedin Natural Bridge, The Madison Review, and Freshwater,among others, including a Google Earth project of Washingtonstate poets, A Sense of Place. Carmen lives part-time in theKispiox River Valley of Northern British Columbia, whichinspired “Evensong, Mosquitoes.”Nancy Goodrich was born in September, 1946, became aphotographer in September, 2007, and became a poet inSeptember, 2011. She lives in Portland and is a student atManchester Community College.Janet Greenberg is an adjunct professor of Literature andComposition who was awarded the Susan Saniel Elkind Prizefor Poetry. Her sonnet “Relative Truth” was published inKalliope: A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art. Janetwrote her first verses in the second grade and, decades later,studied poetry with Edwina Trentham in the MALS Program atWesleyan University. “My writing process involves walking,”Janet explains. “I become my own metronome, and on a goodday, meet the words I need along the way.”64


Jonathan Greenhause is the author of the chapbookSebastian’s Relativity from Chicago’s Anobium Books(available at www.anobiumlit.com) and is a Pushcart Prizenominee. His poetry has appeared or will soon be appearing inThe Believer, Cream City Review, New Delta Review, TheSouth Carolina Review, and Water~Stone Review, amongothers. He works as a Spanish interpreter and lives in lawfullywedded bliss.Joan Hofmann is a Professor of Education at Saint JosephCollege in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she is a facultymember in undergraduate and graduate programs in the Schoolof Education. She teaches courses such as Creativity, Writing,and Nature and teaching writing to students with disabilities,and has directed the Academy for Young Writers for overfifteen years. Her work has been published in WordArt 2009and WordArt 2011 at the Canton Gallery on the Green(Connecticut), in Interpretations, the literary magazine ofSaint Joseph College, and in Where Flowers Bloom, ananthology published by Grayson Press (2011). She is in lovewith the natural world, and is often sky watching or riverwalking.Lindsay Illich is an Assistant Professor of English at CurryCollege in Milton, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared inGulf Coast, Coachella Review, Rio Grande Review, ClareLiterary Journal, Boxcar Poetry Review, and, most recently,Improbable Worlds: An Anthology of Texas and LouisianaPoets, published by Mutabilis Press. Email:lindsay_illich@hotmail.com.Susan Johnson has her M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the Universityof Massachusetts Amherst where she currently teaches writingin the Isenberg School of Management. Her poems haverecently appeared in Comstock Review, Off The Coast, PinyonPoetry Review, Third Wednesday, Bluestem, Karamu, andothers. Her first book Impossible is Nothing was published thispast spring from Finishing Line Press. She lives in SouthHadley, Massachusetts, with her husband and two cats.65


Elizabeth Kudlacz is a full-time scientist and part-time poet.Born and raised in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, shecurrently lives, works, and writes in Groton, Connecticut.Some of her haiku and poems have appeared in journals,including Cicada, Aurorean, Connecticut River Review,Caduceus, Bellowing Ark, and Freshwater, as well as invarious literary anthologies.Rachel Larensen is currently a student, attending AsnuntuckCommunity College in Enfield, Connecticut. She has been aprofessional chef for thirty-five years and only recentlydiscovered her love of writing poetry. She was born in the townof Warsaw in Western New York, to a family full of artists.She credits her grandmother, Ruth Mandeville Robinson, forinstilling a love of poetry in her from an early age. This is thefirst time she has been published, and she is thrilled. Rachelresides with her husband, Steven, and their two cats in Enfield.She has two adult sons and three grandchildren, with whom shewill share her love of words.Jack Lindeman has published two chapbooks of poetry,Twenty-One Poems and As If, which was nominated for aPushcart Prize. He also edited The Conflict of Convictions(Civil War writings) and published Appleseed Hollow (a bookabout living on a farm). His new book, Lincoln: The BlackMan's Advocate, is scheduled to appear soon. His poems haveappeared in many magazines (most recently in Blue Unicorn,Commonweal, RiverSedge, Kerf, and White Pelican Review).Katharyn Howd Machan was born in Woodbury,Connecticut, in 1952. Her poems have appeared in numerousmagazines, anthologies, and textbooks, including The BedfordIntroduction to Literature, and in thirty collections, mostrecently Belly Words: Poems of Dance (Split Oak Press, 2009)and When She’s Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & QuillsPress, 2009). A professor in the Department of Writing atIthaca College in Central New York, she was named TompkinsCounty’s first Poet Laureate in 2002. “Stark Awake at 4 a.m.”is part of a chapbook-in-progress titled H.66


Gaynell Meij has been a geologist, became a naturalist, andwas impacted along the way by deep ecologists and mystics.She has travelled the path of rational-analytic mind to sensuousmatter and is now immersed in the blending of these ways,learning what it can be to give voice out of “deep presence.”She is blessed to have a daily life that includes stillness andopportunities to observe and wander.Joseph Murphy is a professional editor and writer who livesin Michigan. He has had poetry published in a number ofjournals, including The Tower Journal, Poetry Quarterly andThe Sugar House Review. Murphy is also a poetry editor foran online literary publication, Halfway Down the Stairs.Patricia O'Brien is a member of the Guilford Poetry Guildand the Connecticut River Poets. She's facilitated poetryworkshops, including at York Correctional Institution hospiceprogram. Pat's been published in various periodicals, includingCT River Review, Embers, Pulp Smith, Fairfield CountyMagazine, Poet Lore, Caduceus, Red Fox Review, NativeWest Press, Connecticut Review. Pat’s in the process ofcompleting a book of her poetry, In the Middle of Things,which will be published by Antrim House. She's won severalprizes, among them from the Trumbull Arts Council, Embers,and the Acton Public Library. She resides in old Saybrook withher husband, John, and not too far from their three sons, theirlively families, and loved ones.Lana Orphanides has been published in A Letter AmongFriends, Southeaster Gale, and Freshwater. Her work is alsoincluded in a book of poets and painters, Spring: Rebirth andRenewal, and in a chapbook, Sea and the Sound of Wind. Shehas done many readings throughout Connecticut, notably atThe Mystic Arts Café, The Hygienic, and as a poet and artist atthe Hoxsie Gallery exhibition, “Poets and Painters.”Steve Parlato, a writer, illustrator and college writing teacher,has been published in journals including MARGIE,67


Borderlands, Freshwater, Connecticut River Review,Peregrine, and Pirene's Fountain. Parlato’s young adultmanuscript won the 2011 Tassy Walden Award for NewVoices in Children's Literature; he is represented for fiction byVictoria Marini of The Gelfman-Schneider Literary Agency.Steve is blessed to have a wonderful wife, Janet, and twoamazing children, Ben and Jillian, who have taught him theimportant truths of love and family.Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared inPartisan Review, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For moreinformation, including his essay “Magic, Illusion and OtherRealities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his websiteat www.simonperchik.com.John Popielaski’s poems have recently appeared or areforthcoming in Post Road, Redivider, and THEODATE. Hischapbook Isn’t It Romantic? won the 2011 Robert PhillipsPoetry Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming from Texas ReviewPress.Donna Pucciani’s poetry has been published on fourcontinents in such diverse journals as International PoetryReview, Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pedestal, nebu[lab],Italian Americana, Journal of the American MedicalAssociation, Poetry Salzburg, Shichao Poetry, IstanbulLiterary Review, and Christianity and Literature. Her poetryhas been translated into Chinese and Italian, and has wonawards from the Illinois Arts Council and The NationalFederation of State Poetry Societies, among others. She hasbeen nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and currentlyserves as Vice-President of the Poets’ Club of Chicago. Herbooks of poetry include The Other Side of Thunder, JumpingOff the Train, Chasing the Saints, and To Sip Darjeeling atDawn.Brie Quartin is in the midst of a midlife crisis and has recentlytaken up poetry as an outlet for her angst. She will continue to68


update her bucket list to include passions long forgotten. Inkeeping with the spirit of this list, she took a cooking class inTuscany, signed up for harp lessons, and enrolled in a poetrycourse with Edwina Trentham this past September. She isanxious to discover who she will be when she grows up.Jim Richards completed a Ph.D. in creative writing andliterature at the University of Houston and now teaches atBrigham Young University–Idaho. His poems have appearedrecently in Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Texas Review, TheFertile Source, and Contemporary American Voices. Heserves as poetry editor for Irreantum, and lives in Idaho’supper Snake River valley with his wife and five sons.Dennis Saleh is the author of books of poetry, film criticism,and art design, and contributes widely to publications in theUnited States and abroad. His 2011 Feature in PsychologicalPerspectives (C. G. Jung Institute of Los Angeles), includes sixpoems, two passages from a novel-in-progress set in AncientEgypt, Bast, and an essay, “Poetry and Intention.” Other newpoetry is forthcoming in Blue Unicorn, Illuminations, Journalof Kentucky Studies, Oyez Review, Poem, Skidrow Penthouse,and Snowy Egret.Rosanne Singer is a Maryland poet-in-the-schools, travelingthe state to work with elementary through middle schoolstudents. She is also a poetry therapist who uses creativeexpression for healing wounded warriors and their families atthe Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda,Maryland, and with pediatric patients at GeorgetownUniversity Hospital in Washington, DC. Her work appears inAtlanta Review, Dominion Review, Baltimore Review, TheMacGuffin, Slant, and Asphodel, among other journals. Shereceived an Individual Artist Grant from the Maryland StateArts Council and a fellowship for Literature, Language andLinguistics from the Arts and Humanities Council ofMontgomery County.69


John L. Stanizzi’s books include Ecstasy Among Ghosts(2007), Antrim House Books (www.antrimhousebooks.com),now in its third printing, and Sleepwalking (2009) (AntrimHouse). His poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly,Tar River Poetry, RATTLE, Freshwater, Passages North, TheSpoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Connecticut RiverReview, Stone Country, Hawk & Handsaw, Gutter Eloquence,SNReview, and many others. In 1998, Stanizzi was named TheNew England Poet of the Year by The New EnglandAssociation of Teachers of English. His newest book, DanceAgainst the Wall, was published in 2012.Steve Straight is Professor of English and director of thepoetry program at Manchester Community College. His firstbook, The Water Carrier, was published by Curbstone Press,and his next book, The Almanac, is forthcoming fromNorthwestern University Press. For many years Straightdirected the Connecticut Poetry Circuit, and for many summershe directed the Seminar Series for the Sunken Garden PoetryFestival. He has given workshops on writing and teachingthroughout the Eastern United States and in Ireland. In 1998 hewas named a Distinguished Advocate for the Arts by theConnecticut Commission on the Arts.J. Tarwood has lived in East Africa, South America, and theMiddle East. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize andhas published two books, The Cats in Zanzibar and GrandDetour.Eilish Thompson is the type of woman to first imaginethrough imagery, the kind who pictures a better future throughart, pun intended. She holds a firm belief in the awe-worthyability of the arts to unite communities, nations, ethnicities, andegos. Eilish is currently a student at Asnuntuck CommunityCollege. She is a Springfield Public School 2010 Graduate, aproud member of the theatre group Teatro V!da, and has beentold her answering machine message is very bubbly.70


Chuck Tripi, a retired airline pilot, is founding partner of ThePaulinskill Poetry Project, a boutique small press and resourcededicated to poetry of the Upper Delaware River Region. Hispoems have appeared in California Quarterly, Confrontation,Hayden’s Ferry Review, Natural Bridge, and Poet Lore,among other journals and anthologies. He is an avid member ofthe Writers’ Roundtable of Sussex County, New Jersey.Barrett Warner lives and works on a farm in the Gunpowderwatershed north of Baltimore. His poems have been publishedin Nahant Bay, Northeast Corridor, Berkeley Poetry Review,California Quarterly, Nude Beach, Gargoyle, ComstockReview, Natural Bridge, and others. His chapbook, Til I’mBlue in the Face, was published by Tropos Press.Hannah Watkins is a sophomore at Saint Joseph College,where she is majoring in English and Psychology. Eventuallyshe hopes to use poetry in Creative Writing Therapy foradolescents. Her poems have been published in ConnecticutReview, Fresh Ink, and previously in Freshwater, as well asseveral college literary publications. She was selected as aConnecticut Student Poet for 2010-2011 and read her worksaround the state of Connecticut, including at the beautifulSunken Garden Poetry Festival. Currently, she is editing SaintJoseph College’s literary journal, Interpretations, and workingto increase interest in the arts and humanities at Saint Joseph’s.Rhett Watts has had poems appear in Spoon River Review,Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Ekphrasis, The Cape Rock,Defined Providence, Yankee, Peregrine, online in SlaperingHol (newsletter), and other journals. She has been a finalist in afew contests, and her chapbook No Innocent Eye is currentlyseeking a publisher. She has been nominated for a PushcartPrize in Poetry. Her work has been included in the books,Knitting into the Mystery and The Best Spiritual Writing2000. Rhett is an online bookseller and leads writingworkshops in Connecticut, where she lives with her husbandand cat. She received her M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont71


College of Fine Arts. She is also a visual artist who works inpastel and oil.Sarah Brown Weitzman has had work in numerous journalsincluding North American Review, American Writing,Potomac Review, America, Mid-American Review, and TheBellingham Review. Her second chapbook, The Forbidden(2003, Pudding House), was followed by Never Far FromFlesh, a full-length volume of poems (Pure Heart/Main StreetRag, 2005). In 1984 Weitzman received a National Endowmentfor the Arts fellowship. She was a finalist in the Academy ofAmerican Poets’ Walt Whitman Award twice, and was afinalist for The Foley Prize in 2003. Her most recent book, achildren’s novel entitled Herman and The Ice Witch, waspublished in 2011. A former New York academic, Weitzman isretired and lives in Florida.Allison Zaczynski is a graduate of Asnuntuck CommunityCollege and currently attends Central Connecticut StateUniversity. She was the third place winner of Asnuntuck’sNineteenth Annual Student Poetry Contest and winner of the2011 Asnuntuck Excellence in Poetry Award. She has alwaysloved writing and is very excited with all the places that poetryhas taken her.Jonas Zdanys, a bilingual poet and translator, is the author ofthirty-nine books, thirty-six of them collections of poetrywritten in English and in Lithuanian and of translations fromthe Lithuanian, most recently The Thin Light of Winter: Newand Selected Poems (2009) and Artistic Cloning: Poems byAgne Zagrakalyte (2010). He has received a number of prizesand book awards for his own poetry and for his translations ofLithuanian poetry into English and was the subject of anexhibit about his life and literary work at the National Libraryof Lithuania (http://www.lnb.lt/parodos/2/). He has taught atYale University and the State University of New York, servedfor more than a decade as the state of Connecticut’s ChiefAcademic Officer, and is currently Professor of English atSacred Heart University, where he teaches creative writing.72

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