Table of Contents:
—R. Zamora Linmark, “Under the Influence”
—Kevin Craft, “Basin and Range” and “Or Later We Become Our Parents”
—Cole W. Williams “Gombe”
Under the Influence By R. Zamora Linmark
After watering the baby navel orange tree
rosemary and sage I left the garden before
the rain returned and sped to Ala Moana mall
after my brother told me nothing beats retail
shopping under the influence of grief
especially when everything from Spring must go
so wail flail your arms wildly like a child drowning
stomp in your black leather sandals for Gethsemane
but for Pete’s sake please pedicure first
you want your sorrow to be of first rate honey
equated with Achilles and not Manchego cheese-
like heels then hit Zara and buy that slim-fitted
charcoal-gray pants with matching coat
you’ve been dreaming of that varsity jock
letterman jacket with green sleeves and decal
in Greek one size smaller if available
a perfect motivator to wake up very early
in the morning load the Biki bike with your inflatable
board and oars and balancing between choppy
waters and gusty winds paddle from one end
of the beach to the next just a little after sunrise.
June 2023 Poetry Feature: New Poems by Our Contributors
In the mornings, I like to follow our border collie on his nose-to-the-ground rounds: out to the creek at the edge of our land; up to the vegetable garden near the foothills; across the back yard. Sometimes, the hair on the back of his neck stands up.
Our farm land in southern British Columbia borders a mountainous wilderness. My husband and I find curiosities on our property all the time: peaches picked from our trees; tunnels under our fences; grape cluster stems, cleaned of berries. Now and then, feeding our fascination with the unknown: strips of grass, chiseled out of the lawn, coiled like jelly rolls. What roams around here at night after we turn out the lights?
“Clouds are like cotton candy,” Obasan says. “I could reach up and grab a piece.”At this, she pretends to pluck a cloud out of the wide summer sky and drop it into her mouth.
We’re in the beach chairs in the backyard, afternoon heat washing over us. After a pause, Obasan continues, “My grandfather, he was a fisherman. And he used the clouds to tell what kind of fish he would catch that day.”
I point up at a grey mass that’s about to block the sun and ask, “What does that cloud say?”
Obasan says, “That one’s too big. Too dark. But sometimes, he would look up at a cloud, and it would be a big sardine day…”
From Happy Stories, Mostly by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, translated by Tiffany Tsao. Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Feminist Press.
Welcome to the Department of Unanswered Prayers! Here’s your ID. When it’s time to go home, put your badge in your bag and leave the bag in your car. Rather than tossing it in some drawer, I mean, or chucking it somewhere inside your room. Don’t worry. No one will steal it. And don’t forget to bring it tomorrow and the day after and all the days after that. You’ll need it to get past security and to access the main entrance, the department, the sub-departments, the letter storage facility, and the archive. It happens every now and then—someone forgets their badge and has to go home to retrieve it. What a waste of time and money. Remember, every minute you’re late will incur a corresponding reduction in your heavenly salary. Each minute you’re late also incurs a 0.33-point penalty, to be subtracted from your end-of-year point total. Don’t let it get so dire that you can’t redeem them for the leave you’re entitled to every fourth year, because if you’re short even a fraction of a point, you’re still short a fraction of a point.