Poetry Recordings

Exotic Pets

By CAL SHOOK

 

The first time Ellis saw the girl, she was sitting on the front stoop of his building. She had a mop in one hand and a broom in the other, like she was using them to guard the place. The packages of Charmin stacked beside her looked like they were at attention too. She can’t be more than five or six, thought Ellis. And instead of climbing the stairs and passing her to let himself inside, he stopped, took off his Yankees cap, and with a smile said, Hiya. Hey kid. Hello there.

The girl did as he expected and gaped at the wine-spill of a birthmark on the left half of his face. She sniffed her runny nose up and blinked through her too-long bangs. Her mouth made a little frown and she said, Hi. My mom forgot the Windex.

Exotic Pets
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Dey

Winner of the 2021 DISQUIET Prize for Poetry

By STEPHANIE DINSAE

 

The pidgin form of ‘to be’1 

A young child, I was privy to hearing this word
in my household, around my uncle and his friends 
reminiscent of his schoolboy youth.
A part of a pidgin I could never participate in
for fear that the broken English might
have too much of an essence, might
tarnish my own English.
They would not let me code switch
thinking the pidgin would overtake me

Dey
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My Body as the George Washington Bridge All Lit Up at Midnight

By ALEXANDRA WATSON

 

434 wires unlock the land
double-decked suspension
hot for incandescence
a 14 lane corridor
top exposed
stiffening truss
to come over

limbs sling across the chasm
100 million self propelled cells
carbon hardening soft iron
opens all 29 tolls
bottom enclosed
can’t afford
unanchored

My Body as the George Washington Bridge All Lit Up at Midnight
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Appetite

By DAN ALBERGOTTI

Emerging from her cocoon without a mouth,
the luna moth climbs onto a stem to unfurl
and dry her wings. She’ll find a mate tonight.

There will be no kiss. There will be no taste.
There will be no speech or song. After midnight
the still, silent couple will join like drops of rain.

Appetite
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Three Sunrises to Ouranopolis

By NICHOLAS SAMARAS

 

I rode a slow bus out of blackness.
Five a.m. in northern Greece.
The language, blurry and mumbled.
I paid pastel money for a bus
ticket to Ouranopolis whose name
means “City of Heaven.”

Three Sunrises to Ouranopolis
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Misdirection

By AMALIA GLADHART 

For years, I have tried to describe the light: the dry, dry gold; the purple peaks of our horizon; the long-armed valleys sliding off the peaks. Craters tinseled after frost, glaciers before the recent years of drought. Late-afternoon glow over brown dirt walls, valley floors blasting green with sugar, and the black volcanic rock of the single mountain without snow. Light like liquid gold against the brown, radiant gold drizzled across the ridges. 

And then I try to name a lack of light, the mist that isn’t gray and isn’t white and isn’t rain. Light through fog, light instead of fog, fog instead of light. The sparkle of dew along a leaf, even when it seems there isn’t any light at all. Light, and not-light, that you can get lost in. Light that misleads you, leads you on. The flicker of a flashlight through tent walls. 

Misdirection
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