St. Jerome Writing (1605) by Miguel Murphy 

By Miguel Murphy  St. Jerome Writing (1605), Caravaggio   Memento mori as apology for assaulting the lawyer Pasqualone, earning him Papal favor! There, in his brow, not Lear, let’s say, but Hamlet, if he’d survived to annotate his latest on guts, tears, and semen: Some Notes on Treatment as Prevention, in which he’d snigger, Don’t eat the malus. pate. What appears His stylus, paused and feathered. Thumb, forefinger (he needs a manicure) that same hand in the anecdote removed thorn from lion’s paw, curing it. Sometimes, I can’t get in the catheter, said my friend angrily after the plane crash…

my week off by Aïcha Martine

By Aïcha Martine i ask for the room by the window   they say, honey, you know this isn’t a hotel, right? but kindly, like i just don’t understand things yet   i heard doctors don’t have a sense of humor, that if they do, it is phone-cord extra-twisted   so i don’t ask about the “cleaning fee” and the “checkout early” discount or quip, “send you a postcard when i’m out”   in fact i know not to ask for much i’m supposed to revel in the multiverses they show me and promise never to scoff at tenderness again…

I scared off my past self by Sean Cho A.

By Sean Cho A. and everyone else followed. It was December and the trees were bare and unrecognizable. I welcomed the Canadian geese to my back porch with stale rye bread. My past self used to howl for this and that but I tamed him with daily meetings, ugly proclamations, and long prayers.   My body has been silent in all the right ways: motionless as a January lake. The next task: make a list of people to make amends to. Family that gave me too many last chances, friends who by now could only recognize me by my voice.…

His Mother Locks Him in at Night by Matt Dennison

By Matt Dennison Don spends his days walking up and down the street, now, for the exercise, with a straight black cane to support his white Bermuda legs. He waves. I raise my hand from across the street. Between the passing cars he knife-motions the black threads stitched into his throat: lung removed. Points to hip, leg, and side: twenty-foot fall at the baseball game. Waves his cane all over: blood disease, manic-depression, slight touch of schizophrenia. Can’t sleep, cannot stay awake. He does not point out the thick purple splotches quickly covering his arms and legs, all that I…

Devourer by Elya Braden 

By Elya Braden  Devourer (2007), Dana Schutz   inspired by Devourer  by Dana Schutz What if people could eat themselves?                                                       – Dana Schutz, 2007   Before satisfaction, the abandonment of restraint. How long have I craved the particular salt of my own skin? My four-year-old thumb in my mouth, nesting in hunger’s soup. For years, tiny pricks and cuts bloomed red on my fingers’ ridges and valleys—clumsiness or a thirst for my own…

Caldas da Rainha by DM O’Connor

By DM O’Connor  we walk past pears and apples and grapes and broccoli all fruiting in their five o’clock last day of summer fields although I know tomorrow it will rain and the money will be gone I can’t help but count the passing which are mostly work vans or tractors pulling trailers and she says no one walks around here at the edge of town past a cafe and a church we enter a scooter shop the man is wearing a mask and dismantling a two-stroke carburettor and we go around the shop asking prices and remembering Formentera and…

Bear Lexicon By Eric Fisher Stone

By Eric Fisher Stone   What can be shown cannot be said. —Wittgenstein, Tractatus   His parents stepped off the trail to film a moose. Next dawn no one found the child except a grizzly sow.   She lost a cub that spring, nursed the three-year-old, milk thundering from her nipples’ dark gourds, his mouth   juiced with butterfat thick as moonlight. Midsummer, he forgot human speech while his surviving cub sister chewed   raw salmon, their stomachs packing fetid meat, raspberries’ lacquer gushing their teeth scarlet. By autumn   he mimicked bear huffs and grunts as wind sluiced pines,…

Book Review: Convenient Amnesia

by  Sara Grimes The sweetness of Convenient Amnesia, Donald Vincent’s debut poetry collection, took me to new heights before unsettling me in the pit of my stomach. Vincent catches us off guard by capturing breathtaking beauty before leveling us with the realities of twisted wrongs against the Black community. The first poem, “Lucky Charm,” sets the tone: “You knew about it but forgot like last week’s newspaper / headline. / I want to whistle whimsical feelings to white women, / Emmett Till’s charm.” Convenient Amnesia summons all the appeal and literary acumen required of it as a fierce debut book of…

Into the Afterlife

By Cliff Saunders

What happens when you die?
I think you’ll open at last
into the pain of oceans,
into memory and its horizon,

into music, music, music.
I can’t tell you when the lilies
will be glorious, when red flags
will be singing over the edge