Two Poems by Patrick T. Meighan

Broken Echoes

A child may manage
To sing
A small birdsong
On a small branch
Above a grave
Clamoring
With bone and ash
Within a flock of
Tombstones.


We’ll Make Fine Corpses

An old man’s skin blossoms
with faded tattoos, his wrinkles chisel into dust.
His flesh full of prayers sloughs
To join the dead
Unannounced
as ghosts steal the moon’s lies,
Tracing askance geometries of light.
How lovely the dead must be.

Patrick Meighan lives the life of a nomadic adjunct, teaching poetry, journalism, and composition courses at New England College, Saint Anselm College, and Manchester Community College. His poems, reviews, and translations have appeared in online and print journals, and his second chapbook “Poems for a Winter Afternoon” was published in 2018. He is the co-editor of “Images from Ruin,” an anthology of 9/11 poems and art, and his first chapbook “Jurisprudence” was published in 2014. He earned his MFA in creative writing from the low-residency program at New England College in 2013.

Three Poems by Carlene M. Gadapee


“Yet, If I Picture the Face of Jesus, I Can’t Shake the European Blue Eyes”
after Shane McCrae

I know it to be false              this image Godhead
with flowing blond locks     sad blue eyes, searching

the face should be of a man whom I know is Semitic     I look around
no one else seems troubled

it’s not at all like the wan, somber, bearded face
of someone who is deeply disappointed        or
pained by a loss I didn’t cause      this face makes little sense
in the sense that it’s not historic, but
it’s the one I grew up with, framed, burning heart
looking like it might burst             that open heart
surrounded by flames scared me

when I first heard the phrase heart burn all I could think of
was this picture on the wall            electric blood glowing

I wonder aloud: what do you see in me?   There’s a silence
a long pause             

my own burning heart          is it sacred

too?  


Nana Cleans Out Her Desk

Old, scarred, and scraped, chipped veneer flaking
from corners rimmed with dust and broken, beaded
edging. There was treasure: pens and pencils,
paperclips, old metal curlers, red elastic bands. Tiny
pearl buttons rattled in the center drawer alongside
dark wheat pennies and brass fasteners. The only drawer
off limits was the bottom one, stuffed with old bills,
punched time cards, a few letters, and flimsy
air mail envelopes, the ones used for overseas.

Nana sorted papers, sitting on the worn rug, making piles.
She checked razored-open envelopes, one by one,
each as empty as the last. What she was looking for:
Support money.
Just in case.
She might have missed some. I didn’t know
what abandoned meant, I didn’t know about divorce.
When I think of loss, it looks like empty envelopes.





1984

I didn’t tumble down the stairs, my wrist caught in the grasp
of a boy-man I’d just met. Get to know you a little, let’s get out
of this crowd seemed reasonable. Inexperienced, a little more
than a little drunk, too easily led. I remember a muddy parking lot,
sheets of rain, oily grit in my hair. Blurry streetlamps weakly
illuminated the bumpers of the cars, rusty rocker panels,
my friends’ reaching hands. Are you okay? Here, eat this.
Give you something to throw up. I didn’t throw up.
Self-disgust doesn’t come up that easily.
(My fault?)
Did I know how I got there? Yes, a car load of us went.
Did I know where I was? No, I didn’t drive and
It was dark. Do I remember the date? The guy’s name? No.
Did I ever see him again, anywhere? Everywhere, nowhere.
No. I don’t remember, sorry, I don’t remember. I remember
the gravel, and which was rain and which was tears.


Carlene M. Gadapee is a high school English teacher and community college adjunct instructor in northern New Hampshire. She shares her small New England home with her husband, a bossy Chi-pin dog, and a few beehives. Carlene is a devoutly sports-addicted bibliophile and her work has been published in the Aurorean, Postcard Poems and Prose, the Northern New England Review, and Sojourn (UT-Dallas).

Emma Sattler

Emma Sattler is a printmaking student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, living in Boston. She will graduate in 2021 with her BFA in Printmaking and a minor in Creative Writing. You can follow her artistic endeavors on Instagram at @emma.prints. 

Two Poems by Simon Anton Diego Baena


AL-ANDALUS
 
I go far         inland
away from the coast 
of gulls       a trail
 
the wolf dare to follow
the calligraphy          in the stone 
shaped          like dried 
      curving rivers
 
                an echo of some 
voice                           I trace back 
                                           to the beginning
 
           before the first word
 
like a poet reaching 
      for the stars
 
                  by midnight
    the throat:            a desert
 
washed 
    with wine
 



THE GOSPEL OF NO ONE
 
Read closer: a man hikes back and forth
his path ends where he begins over
again he whispers to himself
another psalm made of ash:
More bombs have fallen this year
more fire
more casualties
the harvest is only a memory now
the man hopes for a miracle, searches
the earth he believes his god
and the grain are both out there somewhere
but the days just come and go
like cigarette smoke
and the wound, yes!
His wound shaped
as the moon is enough
to enter


Simon Anton Diego Baena is a poet. His work has appeared in The Cortland Review,Fifth WednesdayThe Bitter OleanderCider Press ReviewCatamaran Literary ReaderOsirisSanta Ana River ReviewChiron Review, and elsewhere.

Two Poems by Jesse Lee Kercheval


Ghost Parent

Forty years has passed
more time than was necessary
for me to dream I am sitting beside you
and happily holding your hand. 
You tapping my head is if you were
testing a melon.
Saying, Sounds hollow—must be ripe.
My father, I think now, though then I would have thought
Dad or Daddy, words that never come
to me now.
 
I wake up
imagine I am walking with you
down to the water
along the sand beach a block from my house
in Montevideo, though this one
is on a continent you never set foot on—
or I don’t think you did. You were stationed
in Panama, which is in Central America
not South America and is over 3000 miles away
from Uruguay.

But I pretend you are here. 
Ask you what you think of the cruise boats
and container ships that hover on the horizon
I imagine you asking about my children
though I cannot really imagine what you would say
about either of those things.
I tell you we are all mostly happy, working hard.
 
In this waking dream, I hear you say:
Don’t worry, keep walking, I’m right beside you 
and you are, my imaginary father.
We’re never alone after all.  


I have not been Loud

enough. Have not
raised my voice
raised my hand

Now I shout
STOP!!

& everyone in the meeting
stops. Power point
frozen
projecting only silence

no one reading off
each bullet point  
each agenda item

Yes, someone says
Stop. &
switches the computer off
Someone else turns on the lights

One by one
we leave the room
without a motion
without debate without a vote
without adjourning

Outside it is still winter
but the sun is
brilliantly
cold

 Jesse Lee Kercheval was born in France and now divides her time between Madison, Wisconsin and Montevideo, Uruguay. She is a poet, fiction writer and memoirist, author of the poetry collections Dog Angel and Cinema Muto, winner of the Crab Orchard Open Selection Award, as well as The Alice Stories, winner of the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize and the memoir Space, winner of the Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her poetry collection America that island off the coast of France won the Dorset Prize and is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. She is also a translator whose translations include The Invisible Bridge/ El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia. She is the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Paige O. Roberts

Amputation

“Frenchie is losing her mind,” Mom says, plopping our three-legged cat onto the couch.

“Why?” Frenchie hops across the cushions onto my lap.

“She’s won’t stop licking her stump. She’s licked all the fur off of it!”

“Maybe she just likes licking.” I laugh at Mom’s hysteria, and rub Frenchie’s whiskered-cheeks with my thumbs. She turns and licks my fingers with her scratchy tongue. Mom shakes her head and walks out of the room.

I scoop Frenchie into my arms; flip her over to cradle her against me. The bald stump where she once had a back left leg rests against my palm. I rub it gently with my thumb and forefinger. It’s velvety like a horse’s face. Frenchie purrs and stretches as I run my other hand along her belly.  

“She’s fine,” I mumble, and slide her off my lap.

She perches herself next to me, ears twitching while dogs bark from the TV. Leaning into herself, she starts to lick the furless area.

“Stop it,” I stick my hand into her soft belly to intervene, but she just stretches her neck further and licks around it. Over and over, she licks until the newly healed skin turns back to raw.

Maybe Mom is right, that she’s losing her mind. Or maybe it’s just a compulsion she can’t control; some overwhelming need to self-sabotage, just to feel something where there is nothing. I’m sure she remembers the limb, maybe even the car that took it from her. Or maybe, it’s not that complex. Maybe it’s as simple as one minute it was there, and the next it was gone.

Mom returns to the living room, wide-eyed, she hoists Frenchie over her shoulder, buries her head into the soft tiger-fur.

I want to cut off my limbs, lay them in the white wicker bassinet, then wrap it in decorative cellophane and leave it on the doorstep like a package of fruit. Hit the doorbell and hide. Watch from the trees as Mom and Frenchie pick through the pieces until they choose their favorite to have for keeps.

Paige Olivia Roberts has a degree in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. She was the 2018 recipient of the Alumni Scholarship at Tinker Mountain Writer’s Workshop in Roanoke, Virginia. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Three Poems by Gemma Gorga / Translations by Sharon Dolin


Man of Little Faith

Today we’re releasing the still-intact light.
Words gleam like restless
fish waiting for the miracle
of their multiplication.

Life is a wonder of great fragility:

under doubt’s imperceptible weight,
destiny will be turned into
stone. And with the receding waves,
the beach will fill with dead fish.


Home de poca fe

Avui estrenem la llum, encara intacta.
Les paraules llampurnegen com peixos
inquiets en l’espera del miracle
de la seva multiplicació.

La vida és un prodigi massa fràgil:

sota el pes imperceptible d’un dubte,
el destí quedarà convertit en
pedra. I amb el reflux de les onades,
la platja s’omplirà de peixos morts.


Long Journey

Trains and poems are running by rail.
They run day and night. Little windows
for the light to breathe—every three  
seconds, three seconds. The speed
curls inside my ears like a long coiled
Siren’s tail. Swallow a word
to hear again. On the platform
someone who moves their hand,
someone, who. Trains full of merchandise,
full of passengers, full of livestock,
full of couchettes, full of the deported.
Unexpectedly, the tunnel closes
its eyes. Shadows shudder, unwieldy
as suitcases already filled with roots.
And this absurd poem goes off the rails,
speaking—it seems to me—about distance.


Llarg Recorregut

Per les vies van els trens i els poemes.
Van de dia i van de nit. Finestretes
perquè respiri la llum —cada tres
segons, tres segons. La velocitat
es cargola a les oïdes com una
llarga cua de sirena. Empassar-se
una paraula per tornar a sentir-hi.
A les andanes algú mou la mà,
algú, qui. Trens plens de mercaderies,
trens de passatgers, trens de bestiar,
trens de lliteres, trens de deportats.
Inesperadament, el túnel tanca
els ulls. Trontollen les ombres, feixugues
com maletes massa plenes d’arrels.
I descarrila aquest poema absurd
que parlava —em sembla— de la distància.




Phosphorus

I open the box and take out one after
another without pause. Igniting them is easy:
first, grasp them delicately between your fingers
before striking them against a rough surface for an instant—
such as the walls of night, reliefs of memory. Sometimes
I wonder where this love of mine for useless gestures
comes from, if it’s a sickness or else
a blessing: seeing that nothing comes
from nothing, to keep on insisting, in spite of everything,
to keep on burning the thin stick of words I take out
of the box delicately, one after another
without pause. Extinguishing them is as easy
as igniting them: just count to three and wake up.
The only thing remaining from this great luminosity
is a handful of tiny calcified cadavers, now scattered
across the blank page, and a strange phosphorus flavor
at the root of the soul, the exact center where language is born.


Fòsfor

Obro la capsa i els vaig extraient, un rere
l’altre, sense aturar-me. Encendre’ls és senzill:
s’agafen primer amb delicadesa entre els dits
i es freguen un instant contra un superfície
rugosa —com ara les parets de la nit,
els relleus de la memòria. De vegades
em pregunto d’on em ve aquest amor pels gestos
inútils, si deu ser malaltia o potser
benedicció: veure que res no serveix
de res, i seguir insistint, malgrat tot, seguir
cremant la fusteta prima dels mots que extrec
de la capsa amb delicadesa, un rere altre,
sense aturar-me. Apagar-los és tan senzill
com encendre’ls: únicament cal comptar fins
a tres, i despertar. De la gran lluminària
només en resta un grapat de petits cadàvers
calcinats que ara s’escampen sobre la pàgina
en blanc, i un estrany gust de fòsfor a l’arrel
de l’ànima, al centre exacte on neix el llenguatge.








Gemma Gorga (b. 1968) has published six collections of poetry in Catalan. Her most recent collection Mur (2015) won the Premi de la Critica de Poesia Catalana. She has also published a book of translations by the Indian poet Dilip Chitre and co-translated a book of poems by Edward Hirsch. She is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature at the University of Barcelona.

Sharon Dolin has published six poetry collections, most recently Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). Her translation of Gemma Gorga’s book of prose poems Llibre dels minuts (Book of Minutes) received a 2016 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant and is forthcoming in a bilingual edition from The Field Translation Series / Oberlin College Press in 2019. She directs Writing About Art in Barcelona each June.












Three Poems by Khal Torabully / Translations by Nancy Naomi Carlson


[I cast anchor to keep a rendezvous]
 
I cast anchor to keep a rendezvous.
Give me back these statues that stand
at the counter of froth:
the grinding of hinges is glair
on the moorings of memories.
Like wet nurses lacking ovaries
at sweet cardamom counters,
the merchant of Venice was weighing men
for the great chromosome mishmash.
O sourti trader, what kind of basmati rice
did you hand me for fragrant cry?
 


Translator’s note: Sourti refers to a Muslim man from the port city of Surat in the Indian state of Gujarat.
 


J’ai jeté l’ancre pour rendez-vous.
Rendez-moi ces statues debout
au comptoir des écumes :
grincement de gonds est glaire
aux amarres des mémoires.
A l’instar de nourrices sans ovaires
au doux comptoir des cardamomes
le marchand de Venise pesait les hommes
pour le grand embrouillamini des chromosomes.
Ô négociant sourti quel riz Basmati
me donnas-tu  pour odorant cri ?
               
     
 
 
 


[Hang on to my cord]

Hang on to my cord 
drift in my ocean name
umbilical by measure
yourself a baptism of azure.
 
Hang on to an ocean sky,
my only lifeline after the rift:
o only boat
that adores me in my river mouth core.
 
By monsoon admission
my basin is barley millstone.
In my pure bread of mélange
my throat’s in a cargo hold of storms.
 
 

Tiens cordage mon cordon
dérive en mon nom d’océan
ombilical par mesure
toi-même baptême d’azur.
 
Tiens cordage eau du ciel
mon seul filin de la brisure :
ô seul bateau qui m’aime
en mon cœur d’embouchure.
 
Pour aveu de mousson
mon bassin est meule d’orge.
En mon pur pain d’un mélange
j’ai la gorge en cale d’orage.


[The only womb I could bring along]
 
The only womb I could bring along
if you even recall
was a stage curtain, white as a motri
(my receptacle of oracles, my coolie treasure).
The only womb I could caress
in the vast harbor of Port Louis,
(after a deluge of black graves),
a motri filled with dreams and rainy days.
 
The only womb you didn’t give me when I left,
the only womb you gave me of exile,
o I couldn’t bring it along and keep you alive.
 
 
Translator’s note: Motri comes from an Indian word that refers to a large bundle, usually of possessions and bedding.
 


La seule matrice que je pus transporter
pour autant que tu t’en souviennes
un rideau de scène un blanc motri
(mon réceptacle d’oracles, mon trésor coolie).
La seule matrice que je pus caresser
dans la grande rade de Port-Louis,
(après un déluge de tombes noires),
un motri rempli de rêves et de jours de pluie.
 
La seule matrice que tu ne me donnas pour partir,
la seule matrice que tu me donnas pour exil,
ô je ne pus la transporter sans te mourir.

Khal Torabully is a prize-winning writer from Mauritius—an African island nation located in the Indian Ocean, 1200 miles from the continent’s southeastern coast—writing in French and Mauritian Creole, whose work is almost completely unknown in the United States. Attached please find the following five translations from Cargo Hold of Star (Cale d’étoiles), to be published by Seagull Books in 2020: “[Hang on to my cord,]” “[I could walk across red holothurians],” “[I cast anchor to keep a rendezvous,]” “[The only womb I could bring along,]” and “[Malabar].”

Nancy Naomi Carlson  is a poet, essayist, film director, and semiologist who has authored some 25 books. Her translation of The Nomads, My Brothers, Go Out to Drink from the Big Dipper (Seagull Books, 2015), translations of Abdourahman Waberi, from Djibouti, was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award. Her translations have appeared in such journals as AGNI, The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Crazyhorse, The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, and The New England Review. My non-translated poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review.  www.nancynaomicarlson.com