Audio

Only the Surface Breaks

By CALLY CONAN-DAVIES

 

Breaching beyond
the break wall, opening
the open sea like a long polished wound,
baffling the wind
with a force mustered from currents
where free is
two things—
unfathomable as the drowned book,
barnacled as if born and raised
between Aphrodite and the devil’s thumb

a whale heaves out a whale-tail
flaunting sunken love at the sunned earth

Only the Surface Breaks
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Baby Was Not Fine

By MINDY MISENER

Right before Baby finished ninth grade, Jerry (Baby’s dad) announced that Baby and Carla (Baby’s older sister) would work for him that summer. Baby thought it was a great idea. She would much rather landscape for Jerry than work at one of the three pizza/sub joints in town, or at a basketball camp for kids, which was most of what of her teammates were doing.

Jerry was six-three (two inches taller than Baby) and had a thick mustache and a laugh that rattled fine china. He’d built the house they lived in. In church he sang the loudest and the most out of tune. Six nights a week he did a hundred push-ups. He never took a sick day. It was true what everyone said, that Jerry was the most hardworking, honest man in Waldo County, Maine. The other thing people said was he didn’t suffer fools, but Baby was not one hundred percent sure what this meant, so she couldn’t say if she agreed.

Baby Was Not Fine
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Land Not Theirs

By MADISON DAVIS

We are driving through downtown Columbus, away from the Greyhound station. I spent fifteen hours on a bus traveling from New York City to visit for Christmas, a holiday, my mother reminds me, that is not even about Jesus anymore. This is a thought she has reiterated over the years, yet it never prevented her from partaking in the holiday during my lifetime. The absence of a decorative tree and gifts reflected a lack of money, not a rejection of the commodification of religion.

Land Not Theirs
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Offstage, Christ

 By KRISTINA FAUST
Winner of the 2018 DISQUIET Prize for Poetry

At the meal with the earnest centurion and the woman full of pain, he wanted to say the lamb was delicious. It surprised him to love it as much as he did the blinking gaze of the newly sighted, but to say so didn’t suit the narrative that was running through his fingers like water.

The bed they’d given him for the lonely night was more than adequate for a man. Besides, he was now nearly sentimental about the roughness of linen and the funk of straw.

Offstage, Christ
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We Used To Call it Puerto Rico Rain

By WILLIE PERDOMO

The rain had just finished saying, This block is mine.

The kind of rain where you could sleep through two breakthroughs and still have enough left to belly sing in the ambrosial hour.

Blood pellets in the dusk & dashes of hail were perfect for finding new stashes; that is to say, visitations were never announced.

A broken umbrella handle posed a question by the day care center.

We Used To Call it Puerto Rico Rain
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Buscando un árbol que me de sombra

By SAMUEL MIRANDA


In conversation with A Hill in the South Bronx, by Perla de Leon

Estoy buscando un árbol que me de sombra
Porque el que tengo me lo van a cortar
                                  Coro de bomba

This building stands,
the last tree to be cut down
in a garden of brick and steel
made desert of rubble and dust.

Buscando un árbol que me de sombra
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Handwork

By TINA CANE

Lucid dreaming is not a job     but a steady occupation

 

I do not have a big dream     they are only little dreams 

                               and right now I cannot think of one

 

My father read the paper      while my mother scrubbed the floor

I pay a woman $100 a week to help me keep my house clean

Handwork
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