they will not be delayed
stare down the tick
or will be extended
summer’s tufting breath
i opened my hand
where are you?
come here now and kiss sky
cerulean pale cornflower whips
these clouds only wisdom
drink with me and dance
jig waltz rondo mazurka polka
adagio or allegro anything
this place is safe
nothing but goodness
can envelop us
my arms are open
but quickly before they aren’t
by Heidi A. Howell
Working loosely in the range of experimental/ language/Black Mountain/ NY School traditions, Heidi A. Howell has published poems in online and print literary magazines, including s/word, Psychic Meatloaf, The Eastern Iowa Review, Otoliths, la fovea, What Light, So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Language and Art, and the Washington Review, which nominated her work for a Pushcart. She holds an MFA from George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
clump of gay
pulled on bouquets.
by Gerard Sarnat
Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts and authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016) which included work published by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, Margie, Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Voices Israel, Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Tiferet plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast and Tipton Review. “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids and four grandkids so far.
All your friends have older brothers–some in jail, some in Vietnam. But Nancy’s brother is a cop. He works nights and sleeps days, so he’s always snoring in the back bedroom when you play at her house.
Nancy is a tomboy. She likes to play Matchbox cars. She always chooses the cop car and makes the scary siren sound–rrrrrrr rrrrrr–as she rushes the black and white car marked POLICE across the worn carpet.
You’re not a tomboy. You want to choose the turquoise Bel Air convertible so you can pretend you’re Miss America being driven down the street in a parade. But you always choose the ambulance and follow the cop car across the carpet, because when there’s a murder, somebody’s got to clean up the mess.
One day Nancy’s mother goes to a wake and leaves you in the house with just the cop brother snoring in the back.
Do you want to see my brother’s gun? Nancy asks.
You don’t really. But you know it’s polite to say yes.
She drags a chair over to the wooden cabinet in the front hallway, climbs up, and takes a pistol out of a leather holster.
She points it at you.
You stare into the dark hole of the barrel.
You better put that back, you say, or else–
Else what, she says.
Else I’ll tell your mother, you say.
She shrugs and puts the gun back in the holster.
You don’t tell her mother. Or your own mother. And you keep playing Matchbox cars just like before. But for weeks afterward when you go to bed and mumble now I lay me down to…, you hear Nancy making the scary siren sound–rrrrrrr rrrrrr–before you fall into the dark barrel of sleep.
by Rita Ciresi
Rita Ciresi is author of the novels Bring Back My Body to Me, Pink Slip, Blue Italian, and Remind Me Again Why I Married You, and three award-winning story collections, Second Wife, Sometimes I Dream in Italian, and Mother Rocket. She is professor of English at the University of South Florida and fiction editor of 2 Bridges Review.