after the winter

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After the Winter
Claude McKay

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

mebble

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Not sure why/how all the words got cut off. Sigh.

Mebble
Taije Silverman

Then happiness became an egg that broke
across our table. Fragments of shell
through which yolk pooled to placemats:
bright goopy gold that filled loose napkin folds
as if all I could wish for from luck.
My three-year-old pulls himself up alongside
to mash peas on his tray and meow at my hand
and command time to follow and stay. Can I have that
for a minute, is what he asks now about my wallet, 
or a ball, or an eraser, so he can bring them like a word
between his lips. Will you stay with me for a minute,
is what he whispers every evening, and then whispers,
One more minute while he stares at a bar on his crib
till his eyelids collapse. The minute is a smell of smoke.
A texture of leaves in a barrel of flame, the rasp
of a match in late sun. Just one, but the days pass
in cages for clouds, or for wayward balloons…
a minute’s the sound of the egg as it breaks
but its fragments still cleave to the origin shape.
That’s a mebble, says my son, about everything.
We sit at the table and count out the ways, our three
lucky stars, our ten lucky stars, we add them to how
many snowflakes it takes to transform the back yard
to a shell. We wanted the mebble, the mebble 
was over, the mebble was all we now had.

Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

mood ring

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Mood Ring
Jaswinder Bolina

Inside me lived a small donkey. I didn’t
believe in magic, but the donkey
was a sucker for the stuff. Psychics,
illusionists, arthritics who’d predict
the rainfall. That was the year I had trouble
walking. I over-thought it and couldn’t
get the rhythm right. The donkey re-taught me.
“This foot. Yes, then that one. And swing
your arms as if you’re going to trial
to be exonerated of a crime
you’ve most definitely committed.”
Next, trouble sleeping because
I’d need to crank the generator in my chest
so frequently. Seeing I was overworked,
the donkey finally hauled it out—
it looked shiny and new, a silver dollar—
and tossed it into a flock of birds
who had to fly a long way to find safety.
I knew then I was a large and dangerous man,
what with this donkey living inside me,
but felt futile. One day, during
a final lesson on breathing,
the donkey asked what kind of jeans
I was wearing. I said, “The somber ones.”
“Poor kid.” “So will you be staying on
for a third year, donkey?” “No. I think
I should be leaving soon. I think
I should go and await your arrival beside
the crumpled river.” “Yes, I suppose
you have many important matters to attend to,
but maybe one day I will come and join you
for a drink or, perhaps, for a brief nap.”



Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

ballad

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Ballad
Sonia Sanchez

	      (after the spanish)


forgive me if i laugh 
you are so sure of love 
you are so young 
and i too old to learn of love.

the rain exploding 
in the air is love 
the grass excreting her 
green wax is love 
and stones remembering 
past steps is love, 
but you. you are too young 
for love 
and i too old.

once. what does it matter 
when or who, i knew 
of love. 
i fixed my body 
under his and went 
to sleep in love 
all trace of me 
was wiped away

forgive me if i smile 
young heiress of a naked dream 
you are so young 
and i too old to learn of love.




Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash

absence

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Absence
Claribel Alegría

Hello
I said looking at your portrait
and the greeting was stunned
between my lips.
Again the pang,
knowing that it is useless;
the scorched weather
of your absence.

Translation

Ausencia

Hola
dije mirando tu retrato
y se pasmó el saludo
entre mis labios.
Otra vez la punzada,
el saber que es inútil;
el calcinado clima
de tu ausencia.

Photo by Rúben Marques on Unsplash

lightly

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To Go Lightly
Ángela Hernández Núñez

In innocence, eternity is possible.

But I have loved in haste,
with the attentiveness of objects that fly away.
I find myself saying, close the doors.
I find myself saying, love you ought to leave.
I find myself touching lines in the stone.

I think about the women who waited,
not for Ulysses, but for ordinary men.
Those who laid siege to cities,
beyond the great width
of their own hearts.

I have loved after and during the storm.
I carry a burden of light:
it turns the air to ashes.

Translation

Andar ligero

Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 10.33.13

Photo by DDP on Unsplash