Poetry

Drying Time

by Richard Berwind

Tobacco silos beat
In red dashes
Across car door windows

Indicating the closeness

Of destination.

They dry in Massachusetts

Heat haze highways
As green gardens
Flourish in soy and in

Sunflowers.

My grandfather used
To grow sunflowers like
He used to smoke cigars

But now his bones are too

Fragile to dig into the Earth.

I witness the garden shrink

Along with his body,
The rows emptying to

What he can manage

To take care of.

He passes down Amaryllis

Telling me it will flower
In the winter, and if the
Stems grow too long, cut them

Off, they will grow back stronger.

Maybe one day,
I can travel back north and

Show him a flower cultivated

Through renewal, but for now,

Tobacco rules my vision.

Deutschland

by Amy Jarvis

You are ambiguous—

a distance, an enrichment,

we travel across you caverned &

sprawling—gentle remembrance. The earth has greened

over (since all the horror here) & everything

has kaleidoscoped—

buried roots reaching & stitching—new beginnings.

Unspooling—the

act of sewing self into / brand new earth. A synonym for

rebirth—a renaissance of growth— a fist / unclenched,

this testament of youth.

everything is

brighter here, after cinders— 71 years of

sparkle / your future

iridescent, the

sky blossoming—blue & growing. If I stare

long enough,

it anthropomorphizes—an incarnation

of hatching butterflies. A pink lung breathing

after / years of ash & ache.

Thoughts on the Falls

by Jordyn Taylor

Annie Edson Taylor was
the first woman,
person,
to survive going down Niagara Falls in a barrel,

barreling, barreling, barreling,

down the monstrous Falls, she

escaped bleeding but survived, though

Joseph Avery wasn’t so lucky,
going over the Falls,
18 hours of struggle
gone in a slip,
barreling, barreling, barreling,
down, though
this time there was no barrel:
just a log and the water and the
Falls.

When you go to Niagara Falls, you are confronted with

sad stories and survival,
recordings and retellings,
horror and honor,

rapids and radiance,
boats and bodies,
mist and The Maid,
museums and memories,

tourists and travelers,
barrels and barrels and barrels,

Why is it always a barrel?

Giant Falls loom over you from either direction,

Canada or US,
doesn’t matter;
they’ll pull everyone in the same.

when I stand on the edge I can’t help but think of

falling over,
in my head, I don’t survive, but
Annie Taylor did, a
nd we have the same last name...

The last time I was here, I stood on the boat that was

in the center of the Falls,
Maid of the Mist,
blue ponchos making us blend in and

stand out at the same time,
I wonder if that’s how they pick out the people who Fall off but,

nobody Falls off the boat.
I am mystified, but
now I feel like capsizing.
I see a glimpse of someone Falling over the side but know

they’re not actually there,
what if we got stuck
what if we succumb to the Falls too,
what if we are just another story on a tape, but
there’s no barrel on the boat so now
there’s not even a
chance of
survival.

During the day, I see
rainbow(s) over the Falls,
beauty a thing of massive power,
they scream and thunder
I think they’re singing,
their beauty tries to mask the blood that seeps through its water

but it really is beautiful isn’t it?

At night,
lights project onto the Falls,
making them even more beautiful than during the day,

but why light up something that was already stunning?

I am mesmerized,
knowing that no one is going down right now,
just tourist gasps and
ahhh, they watch the colors and
oooh, they just changed and
wow, they’re gorgeous,
it really is beautiful isn’t it?

Watch the colors
barreling, barreling, barreling.
a tourist trap of natural beauty.
at least you don’t get fined for looking,

just for plunging down and
Falling,
just make sure you survive first.

Doors of Dublin

by Alyssa Bower

What the doors of Dublin don’t tell you

is that the streets
hum harmonious and indifferent,

inclusive of the world

but apathetic, nonetheless. They’ll push you through the sights.

You’ll swing trim corners and scuffle bridge slats,
dodging trippers just to stumble after
a busker on the quay and a beggar

twice as soon. Span Ha’penny and breathe Liffey; and then you’re

swept into hens on their way to the
Temple, bleeding green beads on to the
cobbles they misjudge. Sit for a moment

on a stoop and survey your street-corner throne.

Take in the trad, and make friends with the

knocker until you can’t hear any
longer and passerby exclamations turn into

the beckoning of home, anyway.

Estelada

by Alyssa Bower

My sister tangoes in Barcelona,
drink in hand, a musky, dark-haired

man trying to pull her attention
from the fuchsia sangria
to his wet and waiting lips.
She’s sweaty, bobbing relentlessly
with the pounding Spanish club beats.

Outside, the streets glisten
and shine in Euro-splendor,
moon rays cascading
across cobbled roads and stray balconies,

dripping off the Sagrada Familia.
Some alleys hide from view, strewn with

riot revelry. A man on a corner
sits draped with the flag of Catalonia.
He sleeps, even as my sister traipses

delightfully by, clutched by
the beauty of a city
she’s a stranger to.

Bustle

by Aiyona Hayman

after Paul Celan

the bustle moves us forward

           links   recht     links

 

genau
we’ve wrestled a step or few

the bustle moves us backward

           under immigrant pen

a-sher   becomes         ash-er

we’re hidden across migration

the bustle moves us

            genau

we ghost across country
             our tongues bustling

in our tired mouths

die Hauptstadt

by Aiyona Hayman

S-bahn soothes me
 screeching down trails in yellow

           I always pick            corner seat

Here: perpetually floating,   yet
           I still yearn to know      what I weigh

doors open once pushed,

                once das Licht        ist grün

As strangers in die Straße stare

      I travel in the night

approached for a kiss,
                     I sneak between a sliding door
& smell the flesh of crocodile drugs

                                       a rotting wheelchair,
                   ich liebe Berlin

 

S-bahn ringing like a singing bowl        

          through the pitch,

she cannot recognize
          her reflection in die Fenster

                    a wine weekend
chewing challah, cheeks full

         Adel says he would pinch them:

click            — - —        yes

& tick          — ° —        no

with a folded tongue
            behind teeth and judgement

my tattoos, my bare skin:

             totally haram

I wish to be celibate, but
         it is too late
your aura           doesn’t allow

          for abstinence

the first skyscraper was built in Yemen, out of mud

          what oxymorons to speak? my rhetoric wrapped

around pillar: beloved Brandenburger Tor

                   staring at green chariots I replay

your knees bending repeatedly

on prayer mat

    ich vermisse dich           zu sehr  

                ‘iinaa aftaqadk kathieran

you remind me that I am

          Ma shaa Allah

& this places Ein Stern

upon my heart,         so gelb

at the gate endlessly reminded

Mittwoch

by Aiyona Hayman

in the ink of ache
              body becomes charcoal

dissolved into empty space
              a Gropius-Bau black pond

installation suppresses joy

         yearning between pillars

a cavity is pressed into heart

           wallah,          du bist so suß

in hollows I find Sie
                   our insides

         radiated with laughter

habibi, help me not

           to misremember bitte

nicht ubereinstimmen

by Aiyona Hayman

our wounds
           will blossom

in the distance

but because

            we’re adults

we’ll work them away

we are/ where we’ve come from/ what we now miss/ displaced pair in flux with a flat tire/ if this

is true/ you are your Yemeni mother/ if this is true/ i am Appalachian alfalfa/ i am you/

zusammen/ we wallow/ mismatched

call me/ unqualified/ but what sense is derived from this?/ i dial/ for your smile/ pretend to be

more religious/ wallah/ ich bin ein Juden/ and Muslims can marry/ people of the book

Three Movements

by Aiyona Hayman

after Ana Mendieta

(I) 

The silhouette becomes a shadow of our flesh. In the reduction of matter, we are

consumed in black, reduced to an outlined curvature of what was once skin. 

Ana Mendieta pressed her silhouette into the earth. 

Her flesh caked in the sand her silhouette lives in 

& is washed away by shore.

 

Her body & mine are similar; shaping and being shaped by a soil sifted around us. A

perverse notion of what it is to be a citizen of such. 

(II) 

In my central Pennsylvania landscape, I am tethered like a silhouette to its outline, a

shadow to its host against the sun. Yet our silhouettes don't stretch like shadows & I am

pushing so hard into the Earth. 

My sisters’ silhouettes 

scatter like a first seeding 

fingers crossed, but not all will germinate. 

Ana Mendieta covered her silhouette in tar & feathers, a punishment of permanence.  

She managed to return to Cuba for her body, for her landscape. 

 

(III) 

Ana Mendieta's body was flung from a window. Carl Andre pushed her while the critics

noted how she fell. Her silhouette splattered and stained the sidewalk. 

 

Unlike the earth, her imprint was not welcome to live there. 

Even though, one would think 

that such a fall would produce 

enough pressure on such an impact. 

 

I envision my sisters' silhouettes among fields,  

rising from swaying cornstalks like hollowed husks  

& I hope they allow their bodies to travel with the wind. 

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