Table of Contents
Lisa Hiton | “Sodomite”
Romeo Oriogun | “The Unsung Shore”
Patrick Riedy | “Ice Fishing”
Corrie Williamson | “Kissing the Good Green Earth”
By Lisa Hiton
what is fastened by
the lover to the body
then fortified by
having been fastened to
be copious, be deep
and can this have been
between only men
or could they be women
or have been feminine
imagine the world to be
this too: copious, deep
water, just like a great lie
still on the top when riled
beneath, and heaving
at the tide change when
below the surface static,
unmoving murk of post-rain
we had once been yoked:
in action, though below
amounts of igneous rock
fortified, so one could walk
through the water
in whatsoever form
it may take, intrusive body
lined orb divined
for even the righteous
whosoever, by what term,
to anyone else
The Unsung Shore
By Romeo Oriogun
“songs sung by captured Africans
still echo on our seashores, listen”
Within the forgetfulness of the mind,
a ship arrives, proclaiming the violence
of ship maps. I wait for the unravelling
of its meaning and in that moment
of loneliness the shoreline sings, those captured
toward slavery are still singing the night,
are still here, still waiting for boats to turn
toward land, away from ships, away from ledgers
of the slave master. The land, inheritor of our pain
speaks in the wailing of winds. All the dead in me
are always arriving, all the dead in me are waiting
by the seashore, I do not know how to sing,
I only walk toward them; I only walk into water.
By Patrick Riedy
Groping at vapor shrouded
elevators and Erie’s eastern break
I sense you before me, comfort
of cement, rock, planks’ jutt into water
I dare not approach. All’s
blanketed near Cargill; sound
asleep, now a half century. No
more wheat, I repeat, only dredge
when ice fisherman, like you, dad,
popped tents and silently sat,
waiting for a catch. Who does that?
What must go through your head?
Granted it’s one way out the house,
reckless. I imagine little fulfillment
besides booze and smoke
without your boys as witnesses.
I remember I’d fight heavy
lids until your return,
how many and how big,
amazed at possibilities offered.
When you packed and left
with auger, skimmer, jigs—
alien gear I knew nothing of
and am too fearful to learn—
memory fogs. Who you went
with, How long you’d be gone,
I recall a weekend, but could be
wrong. Nevertheless, I waited.
No older than six.
You, near break wall,
Kissing the Good Green Earth
for Jennifer Boyden
You lamented the absence of a human sound for longing,
like the loon has, like the wolf. I think of you reading
to your donkey the day he died, the passage where Odysseus
kisses the soil, how the beast moved away from you,
stood quietly in the clover, then returned,
wet your wrist with its bark-gray snout. The vet
was on his way.
Recounting this story, I saw
how you knew, beginning it, that it would leave you
weeping. You smiled, went on with the telling. You
didn’t say it but I imagined you fed him something
sweet, then, a squat crystal cube, an apple, and leaned
in to catch the music of it, the thin sound like silk
of the inner lip against your palm, the rasp and
crunch of life’s sugar dissolving, seeping, as you bent
your fingers backward, tight together, to avoid the teeth.
Lisa Hiton is a writer from the great state of Illinois. Her first book of poems, Afterfeast, comes out at Tupelo Press in October. She is the founder and co-director of Queer Poem-a-Day at the Deerfield Public LIbrary. She’s a poetry editor at the Adroit Journal.
Romeo Oriogun was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He is the author of Sacrament of Bodies (University of Nebraska Press). His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, McNeese Review, Bayou, and others. He currently is an MFA candidate for poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Patrick Riedy was born in Buffalo, NY and lives in Providence, RI. He has an MFA from Brown University and teaches creative writing in Connecticut.
Corrie Williamson is the author of The River Where You Forgot My Name, a finalist for the 2019 Montana Book Award, and Sweet Husk. The recipient of the PEN Northwest/Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency, she spent nearly eight months of 2020 living off-grid in the woods. Recent work has appeared in The Southern Review, Ecotone, and Boulevard. She lives in Montana, where she’s at work on a new manuscript: Your Mother’s Bear Gun.