At a Café in the Sea of Grass

Paul Pickering Across the street from a café in the Texas panhandle Where I drink black coffee, The Llano Estacado spreads flat to the horizon. A rumpled man in a brown suit keeps dropping coins In the payphone. Long distance, I suppose. He holds a memo pad. The car he drives belongs to another decade.… More

Meat

Bruce Smith His charge was to make something out of the contracting cool that glows and then goes vagrant, whole systems of courtships and compensations that get lost in a letter appealing to the dust and the red blue extremities of stars. His charge was to make something out of the over under story or… More

Don’t Move

Bruce Smith You can have a thought or avoid a thought by having a feeling when it’s dawn [human inhuman light] or a gun is drawn [here, elsewhere] and you put up your hands and get down and get small; don’t ever take one in the back. Or there’s music the birds authored, elegy and… More

Two Rivers

Daniel DeVaughn He built a frame of air, in air, and left behind the chimney-smoke rising to the Southern Cross, prayer-like, the tide roar breaking down-coast. The gulls’ cries faded as he sank into sleep, and in dream, another night, the Cahaba rose, banners of weed braiding round his body as he drifted over shoals… More

Worrying the Bees

Jessa Heath A red welt blossoms as memory— only it’s not memory, not exactly. What I call memory is merely an image ringed with potential, unverified: a purple clover in a field of grass, bee-stung, or the possibility of pain. The mind learns to spread white lies, and tethers second-hand stories to the particulars of… More

They were selling phoenixes

Chen Chen in the form of untransformed ash. In the middle of a Costco in Connecticut, I said Gimme. You said, Let’s do the most New England thing we can think of. Let’s go sailing in khaki shorts. I’ll bring the chowder, you bring our phoenix. Our phoenix would increase productivity by fashioning a new… More

Elegy

Chen Chen My shoes were growing more powerful with each day. I walked in the country of letters, its fields of eyes belonging to my lost sister— dark eyes that early closed, or forgot to open. I have not been back in some time, though often I walk to my office, daydreaming of that country’s… More

West of Schenectady

Chen Chen The sun sets like a whispered regret behind the hills or is that a mountain. Moths come to the screen door as if that was what they were made for. Moth for screen door. & vice versa. I don’t have time for their secrets tonight. I am making my loneliness small. So small… More