Carol Louise Munn
Seeing Jesus was no surprise to me.
The other kids were shocked,
but every solid bit of me
knew he'd show up. I didn't want to die or go
to heaven right then, but I did want to see
his face. After being saved at seven and washed clean
in the blood of the lamb, I'd floundered,
my life looking downhill from there
until spring revival when the preacher said
listen to the spirit of the lord and I heard.
The voice in my body said Jesus would return
on Friday; I told my friends so I wouldn't be alone.
We sat on concrete steps facing the tetherballs
where I saw him first, a walking dark spot
cutting through scrub oak and mesquite
behind the monkey bars, moving closer until we
could see his tools hanging from a pouch on his hip,
bandana tied around his head, soda can
in his hand. When we yelled hi he waved back
before jumping the fence between our school
and the house going up next door, never spilling
a drop, a leap more smooth and steady than any
we would have imagined from a man with a can.
CAROL LOUISE MUNN has been the recipient of many awards and recognitions in regional and national poetry contests. She lives in Houston, Texas and teaches at St. John's School. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Georgia State University Review, So to Speak, and Fugue. Carol's work has also been widely anthologized in regional anthologies.
Fourteen Lines, Resisting
Once upon a Wednesday there was a sonnet who
did not care to squeeze into fourteen lines
because it felt like a tight skirt or blue
jeans she'd have to lie on the bed to fasten.
She didn't want to talk about my mother either
or how difficult it feels to send my one son
on a plane to visit his older sisters,
given the winter weather and terrorism, guns
on the streets of Philadelphia, or how he might lose
his wallet. This sonnet insisted I find
a pastoral scene, whirling birds, a river. She said choose
a pasture lassoed by yellow cottonwoods, the kind
of poem people forget when it's over, not the other
kind about missing a teenaged boy or somebody's lost mother.
Lisa Zimmerman has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize. Her most recent poetry collection is The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press, 2008). Lisa teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
My father raises his hand to signal "enough,"
but I'm still pitching, and the ball spins
off my fingertips–a breaking pitch
with so much stuff on it my imaginary batter
is too baffled to swing, so much stuff
the angels whistle, the crows near
the garbage cans take off in a flurry
of caws, and the mosquitoes burst in midair,
so much stuff my father, fear
in his eyes, hits the pavement,
behind him glass shattering.
Above the garage, Mrs. Golub, who runs
a vacuum cleaner over her wood floors every two hours,
yells out the window,"I told you something
bad would happen if you let that kid play here."
And Miss Lamar pushes her long
nose into the screen, "See if my car
has any glass on it," and Mr. Gorelick,
who sells silk ties to posh men's shops,
shouts, "Clean up the mess, boy."
I hear the cars on Clayton Road,
their tinny horns, the wind shaking
down leaves, the sound of the breaking
pitch trembling the wires that cross
from neighborhood to neighborhood, echoing
in shells strung from my best friend's
doorway, the white horsehide glinting
in the sun, a flash of light,
a prophecy of greatness.
Shaking his head, my father comes toward me,
his tightened fists warning me that I'll be sorry.
"Helluva curve," he mutters, "helluva curve."
JEFF FRIEDMAN's fifth collection of poetry, Working in Flour, was published by Carnegie University Press.
In five days Raul will die from falling
On a knife blade held in the fist of
His good friend Paulo will hold him
In his arms and cradle his
While Raul's eyes express surprise
At the possibility—no, it is
The impending reality—yes, that life
Is quickly leaving his body.
And Raul's mind must race
To keep up with his soul's
But that will be five days hence. Right now,
Raul and Paulo and the rest of their crew
Are slogging through the crowded mall,
Adjusting loose waistbands, step step;
Shifting Sox headgear, three four;
Dragging trains of Nike laces
Among the threads of frayed pant legs,
As passers-by shift and pivot around them
One, two, onetwothree.
GARY WITT practices law in Denver, Colorado. "Foxtrot" is part of a larger work, Exhibition Dancing.
Nothing collapses so easily
in the fist than this,
the onion skin that crinkles
like the sound of the word, creation.
It is the twig that bows
in the wind & sweeps over the forearm,
or the peach that brushes
against the child's cheek,
& these are found in pages,
as if among a feathery crowd
of angels jostling in awe
toward the next wonder just ahead.
It is all the round syllables,
the talk of the world
trying to fill us with sense
MICHAEL GESSNER's published books are Earthly Bodies (Pudding House Press), Surfaces (March Street Press), L e t t e r s (BlazeVOX) and Artificial Life (BlazeVOX). Michael lives in Arizona.
Debra Pallone Parks
There is no mercy,
and no open window. Poor fly.
I rub your enameled wings,
watch a nova flare from the center
of your solitary rubinite eye.
The other, filled with whatever
my grandmother could find
when she saw the empty gilded socket
(because who can bear a world of broken, empty things?)
(who wants a single dim vision of the world?)
and though half your dazzle is gone,
she loved you enough to save you
with this ordinary river creek stone.
DEBRA PALLONE PARKS is a photographer/poet living in North Florida. She has been writing poetry for nearly thirty years. Some of her publication credits include Penumbra Poetry Contest 3rd place and Avatar Review. She is working on a collection of poems called At Odds with the Moon.