June 2024 Poetry Feature: New Poems by Our Contributors

New poems by our contributors DAN ALBERGOTTI, KATE GASKIN, IQRA KHAN, and CARSON WOLFE 

Table of Contents: 

  • Dan Albergotti, “The Dumb Show” 
  • Kate Gaskin, “Newest Baby” 
  • Iqra Khan, “I Seek Refuge” 
  • Carson Wolfe, “Jack Kerouac Begs Me to Get an Abortion” 

 

The Dumb Show 
By Dan Albergotti 

They showed you the models. They warned you well
in advance. Levels and gasses and ice melt and us.
Storms and floods and fires and famine and us.
And now it’s here. And now you act surprised.

When I was studying Hamlet in college,
I wondered how Claudius could be so taken aback 
by the inner play’s events when the silent pantomime 
of the dumb show had already given away the plot.

My professor explained that the royals
would usually ignore the dumb show, would shield
their eyes, thinking such explanatory preamble
to the play itself was far beneath their station.

The dumb show was for the average folk, he said.
In the end, both Rosencrantz and Claudius are dead.

 

Newest Baby 
By Kate Gaskin 

We were at a long table, candles flickering in the breeze,  
outside on the deck that overlooks the bay, which was black  

and tinseled where moonlight fell on the wrinkled silk  
of reflected stars shivering with the water, and my brother  
was asking my sister if she was still seeing the same doctor  

for this newest baby, four months in utero, a celebrated baby  
who had come a year after an early miscarriage, and I was  

listening, drinking a bottle of cold beer and watching  
the candleflames move with the wind as it blew in from  
the ocean and skipped in ripples across the blackwater bay, 

and my baby was three months dead; she was in a tiny urn  
in my bedroom while my brother flicked a lighter on, off, on,  

off, and my sister said, yes, she was still seeing the same  
doctor, and I was at the table with candles and dessert plates,  
empty now, that had held thin slices of cold key lime pie; I was 

sitting there among my candlelit family, surrounded by rows  
of empty glass bottles, a breeze whistling across their tops. 

 

I Seek Refuge 
By Iqra Khan 

            in God from the accident
of apathy. The abrupt edge
of however. I seek refuge
for the falcon and the dove
from the bloodless skin
of sky. I seek refuge for sky
from the circumstance of stillness.

I seek refuge from unfulfillment
which I have found abundant
on the sharp and nourished chins
of empire. I seek refuge from taking. 
I seek refuge from the unsweetened
nourishment by that 
which the land does not offer.

I seek refuge from the synthesis
in synonym. ‘Islam’ means peace, means
surrender. The prayer mat is bruised
where my knees fall. What intimacy
effects supplication. Listen, the paradox
of this surrender is willingness—peace 
under God, surrender to none but God.

I seek refuge for the Word
from the economy of meaning
in this language. Jihad—struggle
against the basest self of all
my selves. Jihad, also the rock.
Also the fist. Also the chant. Also
innocence.

I seek refuge for my God
from the campaigns of apology.
From definition and determination
by the godless haptics of machine.
From allegiance and grant. I seek refuge
in rain and how the mushrooms mock
the bureaucracies of timber.

 

Jack Kerouac Begs Me to Get an Abortion 
By Carson Wolfe

It’s not even his baby.
And can’t he wait until I finish my shift?
Sulking on his bar stool, making 
the regulars uncomfortable, I know a guy, 
he pleads, I’ve sent a few ladies. 
I refill his shooter with house tequila,
palm the unmarked speedbump 
hushed inside my boyfriend jeans.
It’s the size of a lime wedge,
I say, impaling a fresh slice 
to the lip of his glass. 
What about that gig, bartending in Magaluf?
You’ll be stuck here. His voice, 
a whine. Why is it. These men, who want me
shucked clean, returned to eighteen.
The bouncer, watching from his post
muscles over at my nod, drags Jack 
out to the parking lot, where the father 
of my mistake to make has been waiting
with a pack of cellophaned B&H.  
He hands the silver box to Jack
like a keepsake, a rattle engraved
with its warning. Well? 
He seems to say, did she listen? 

 

Dan Albergotti is the author of The Boatloads (BOA Editions, 2008) and Millennial Teeth (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), as well as the chapbooks Of Air and Earth and Circa MMXX (Unicorn Press, 2019 and 2022). His third full-length collection, Candy, will be published by LSU Press in 2024. His poems have appeared in 32 Poems, The Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, Ecotone, The Southern Review, The Best American Poetry, and The Pushcart Prize, as well as other journals and anthologies. He has taught at Coastal Carolina University since 2005 and now lives in Tampa, Florida.

Kate Gaskin is the author of Forever War, winner of the Pamet River Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and Ploughshares among others. She has received support from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Vermont Studio Center and is a poetry editor for The Adroit Journal. Currently, she is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is also a writing instructor. 

Iqra Khan is a Pushcart-nominated poet, activist, and lawyer. She is a winner of the Frontier Global Poetry Prize 2022. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Southeast Review, Adroit Journal, Swamp Pink, Puerto del Sol, The Rumpus, Pidgeonholes, Apogee, Four Way Review, HAD, Palette Poetry, Baltimore Review, among others. Her work is centred around collective nostalgia and the aspirations of her endangered community

Carson Wolfe (they/she) is a Mancunian poet and winner of New Writing North’s Debut Poetry Prize (2023). Their work has appeared or is forthcoming with Rattle, The Rumpus, The North, New Welsh Review, and Evergreen Review. They are an MFA student of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and currently serve as a teaching assistant on Poems That Don’t Suck. Carson lives in Manchester with their wife and three daughters. You can find them at www.carsonwolfe.co.uk.

June 2024 Poetry Feature: New Poems by Our Contributors

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