iron in the blood


Psalm 2
Ante Popovski
studying medical sciences I am
excited by the fact
that man has in his blood

exactly the amount of iron
that would be needed
to forge sufficient nails

for one crucifixion. I wonder:
who will unravel Sanskrit
while we are journeying to the stars?

Each one of us, I think, is some future Christ
because with his own blood he can sign
his disappearance.

Photo 2013 Bernard Spragg NZ



[you fit into me]
Margaret Atwood
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Photo (c) 2011 Derek Gavey used under Creative Commons license.

“where I am unborn”


Stray Animals
James Tate
This is the beauty of being alone
toward the end of summer:
a dozen stray animals asleep on the porch
in the shade of my feet,
and the smell of leaves burning
in another neighborhood.
It is late morning,
and my forehead is alive with shadows,
some bats rock back and forth
to the rhythm of my humming,
the mimosa flutters with bees.
This is a house of unwritten poems,
This is where I am unborn.

Photo (c) 2011 Patrick Slaven used under Creative Commons license.



Into the Breach
Ocean Vuong

“The only motive that there ever was was to . . . . keep them with me as long as possible, even if it meant just keeping a part of them.” —Jeffrey Dahmer

I pull into the field, cut the engine.
It’s simple: I just don’t know
how to love a man
gently. Tenderness
a thing to be beaten
into. Fireflies strung
through sapphired dusk.

You’re so quiet you’re almost


The body made soft
to keep us
from loneliness.
You said that

as if the car was filling

with river water.

Don’t worry.
There’s no water.

Only your eyes

My tongue

in the crux of your chest.
Little black hairs

like the legs
of vanished insects.

I never wanted
the flesh.
How it never fails
to fail
so accurately.

But what if I broke through
the skin’s thin page

& found the heart

not the size of a fist
but your mouth opening

to the width
of Jerusalem. What then?

To love another
man — is to leave
no one behind
to forgive me.
I want to leave
no one behind.
To keep
& be kept.
The way a field
turns its secrets
into peonies.

The way light
keeps its shadow
by swallowing it.

Photo (c) 2009 Takashi Ota used under Creative Commons license.

are you thirsty yet?


I read this poem over more than a few times, being surprised by it again and again. Wanting to offer something small, delicious and sweet to someone during a busy afternoon, I sent the poem to someone in need of such a thing.

The sound of Catherine Wheel‘s “Delicious” doesn’t quite go with the flow of the poem. The imagery of the lyrics certainly does, though, which I suppose is why, for the second time in a week I thought of Catherine Wheel after many years of almost never thinking of them.

“You eat, you sleep, you breathe something delicious
You spill, you grip, you squeeze something delicious
You peel, you strip, you bleed something delicious”

Beyond which, Edwin Morgan, the poet, dedicated Glaswegian that he was, deserves to be everywhere.

The Apple’s Song
Edwin Morgan
Tap me with your finger,
rub me with your sleeve,
hold me, sniff me, peel me
curling round and round
till I burst out white and cold
from my tight red coat
and tingle in your palm

as if I’d melt and breathe
a living pomander
waiting for the minute
of joy when you lift me
to your mouth and crush me
and in taste and fragrance
I race through your head
in my dizzy dissolve.

I sit in the bowl
in my cool corner
and watch you as you pass
smoothing your apron.
Are you thirsty yet?
My eyes are shining.

“guilty by default”


Ruth Stone
You intimidated me. I was thrown into hell without a trial.
Guilty by default. It was clear the murdered one was dead.
There were only two of us. But no one came to lead me away.
A hundred eyes looked in and saw me on fire.
We loved him, they said. Then they forgot.
After many years I knew who it was who had died.
Murderer, I whispered, you tricked me.