mind on the line, ear to the note’s
approach, the hand must needs be
steady, body too―eye blind,
to all but time’s inscribing
one slip of the tongue, the world’s awry,
away over the hill she went,
the words said, and the damage done,
the cry too slight, too lame, too late
someone somewhere’s talking
call them, tell them to come,
one day, when no-one’s home
say, the walls will listen
to what there is, or was
or will be still, to tell
to be seen here
from where the poem is
the pale way, to the sense
that something is
that some place, in sight, might
be lying in wait
to be spelt out
the sound of your feet then
there in the street
that time night-time
step on step on the stone
it has not stopped
the lone way home goes on
the same feet sounding
stone by stone
Ray Malone is currently living and working as an artist, writer and translator in Berlin. He has published in so-called small magazines in the U.K. in the 60s, and occasionally since. In recent years he has dedicated himself to working with minimal forms.
After midnight you set out, some on foot,
others hiding in the back of an old pick-up
truck. Fate is the string on a paper kite, caught
in a strangler fig tree. Tangled, useless. Root
stems grafted together, merging each time they touch.
Noble and strange. Twisted. Overhead, a crescent
moon, sharp as a sickle. Its hook like blade could
lop your ear off. There are holes in the wall.
But you have to know where to look.
America. Where you cut lawns and give mani-
pedis and mop floors and change old peoples’ diapers.
Sleeping six to a room. Eating food from the dollar store.
If they catch you, they send you away. Hope is the
skin on a copperhead, it sheds and grows back.
The truck rumbles below your ribs. Someone moans.
Stink of fear and piss. The wind tumbles through the
acacias. Your mother’s brother has a cousin outside
Kansas City. You don’t know where Kansas City is.
The figs on the trees not yet ripened. Color of blood
and sadness, hard as the moonlit stones.
Sol ‘it’ ude /~/ n.1. The state or situation of being alone. Blue feather dizzily falling. Leaves no one bothered to rake. The empty chair you used to watch TV in. Barren and stained, covered with a winding sheet. Thoreau had it wrong. Once the maple leaf loses that scarlet sheen, it withers and crumples, feigning death. Walden Pond was a kettle hole formed by glaciers in retreat. 2. A lonely or uninhabited place. Rural wilderness or desert, backwoods. The word beasts recline in the shade of the maples, licking their paws, dreaming of meat.
Beth Sherman received an MFA in creative writing from Queens College, where she teaches in the English department. Her poetry has been published in Hartskill Review, Lime Hawk, Synecdoche, Gyroscope, The Evansville Review, Silver Birch Press, Zingara, Rust + Moth, and Blue River Review. She is also a Pushcart nominee and has written five mystery novels.
I first met him when we were high school freshman. I liked the coltish limbyness of him, his pretend exasperation with the things I said. I knew he liked me too.
A decade later he called me because his mother was dying. He took me to lunch. I wondered if he could tell I still felt the same.
He asked me to visit so I brought a photo of him and me from high school to show his mother, proof I had the right to be there. She smiled from where she lay and said, “You’ve always been a good friend to him.” Even at that moment I wished for more.
I next saw him at the funeral, several hundred people there to honor her life. His brothers and sisters quaking in the pews, the father sitting off to the side by himself, looking like he was filled inside only with air. How those tall brothers carried their mother’s body in its box on their shoulders, stepping carefully, trying not to fold under the weight.
Later, on the train back to the city by myself, I kept thinking about my friend’s funeral suit; the stain on it I saw when he waved me goodbye. I knew we wouldn’t see each other again.
Ronit Feinglass Plank
Ronit’s work has appeared in The American Literary Review, Salon, Best New Writing 2015, Proximity, and The Iowa Review (runner up, The 2013 Iowa Review Award for Fiction), among others. She earned her MFA in nonfiction at Pacific University and is currently working on a memoir. More about her and links to her work are at www.ronitfeinglassplank.com.