May

Memory Foam by Andrea Cohen

Why stop there?
I want memory

underwear and a memory
chair. The stair

should be a memory
stair, wherever I

appear should remember
me, and you, when

we first meet, since
you’ve been laboring—

I guess—like the rest
of us, as a memory

apprentice, can step
inside my undulations.

Come, remind me
why we bend.

First appeared in Furs Not Mine (Four Way Books, 2015)

Andrea Cohen’s poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Her previous poetry collections include The Cartographer’s Vacation, winner of the Owl Creek Poetry Prize, Long Division, and Kentucky Derby. She has received a PEN Discovery Award,Glimmer Train’s Short Fiction Award, and several residencies at The MacDowell Colony. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA, and the Writer’s House at Merrimack College.

***

Italian Deli, 1983 by Vincent Francone

The brine of the olive barrel
gave me my first taste of true salt.

I was drawn to and repulsed by
the sight of eels and the carcasses
of recognizable animals

behind glass like atrocities
chopped and sold
to old Greek women and my grandmother
with her basket of perfect bread.

Vincent Francone’s work has appeared in Rhino, The Oklahoma Review, Spectrum, and other print and electronic journals.  He won 1st place in the 2009 Illinois Emerging Writer’s Competition and will attend the 2016 Summer School workshop at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry.  His memoir, Like a Dog, was published in the fall of 2015.  Visit www.vincentfrancone.com to learn more or say hello.
On why poetry matters, he states, “I read poetry because I am not religious, yet I find in the best poems something akin to spiritual fulfillment.  Poems are often odd, more often bad, but when they connect, the experience is transformational and nourishing.  Reading poems is a risk, but what’s life without risks?  And the risks pay off well enough to make them worthwhile.
***

 

After the Transplantby Jehn Johnson

 it’s that never knowing—
living under the weight
of the body’s secrets

it’s the breadth of possibilities
betrayed by expressionless faces
of the professionally detached
and the way my throat truncates my inhale
while I dissect every nuance
searching for a clue

it’s discovering close call feels like
clenched jaw and knotted stomach
as I lie awake wondering
what else inside you
is plotting to inflame

it’s post- MRI dodged bullets
and a sense of
just a few more moments bought

Jehn Johnson lives in the desert in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. Her poetry and essays have appeared inSilver Apples Magazine, The Tincture Journal, The Fractured Nuance and others. Her ever-expanding website is atwww.UnapologeticPoetess.com.

Jehn believes poetry is important because she has never found a better way to express herself and communicate the non-stop inner dialogue she lives with. And she can’t be the only one.

***

 

To a Cappuccino by Jen Karetnick

Feather-brained, cool-headed –
you pretender. I see right through

your frosted, salon style. Your roots
are hissing cockroaches, Old World

climbing fern, jaguarondi,
seeded among the community,

riling the natives. Underneath,
it’s clear, you’re a tall order

of river water that boils and burns
just like the rest of us.

From Brie Season (White Violet Press, 2014)

Jen Karetnick is the author of three full-length books of poetry, including the forthcoming books American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, May 2016) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, September 2016), as well as four poetry chapbooks. She is the winner of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize for Poetry and runner-up for the 2015 Atlantis Prize and 2016 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize. Her work has been published widely in journals including Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, december, North American Review, Poet’s Market 2013, Seneca Review, SLAB, Spillway, Spoon River Poetry Review and Valparaiso Poetry Review. She works as the Creative Writing Director for Miami Arts Charter School and as an award-winning freelance dining critic, lifestyle journalist and cookbook author.

“Poetry matters because sometimes, it’s the only way for those who have been silenced, in whatever manner — by self, state or circumstance — to speak. And to be heard.”

***

Diminished by K.A. McGowan

If she comes back from Disneyland,

I want to tell her that desire

is ninety percent of the crime;

that we’re both guilty

of not staying madly in love

with each other.

It’s not too late to read old love letters.

How the heart swells to the size of the sorrow.

That you can bleed or burn or fall

when you wish upon the wrong star.

 

Born and raised in Scranton, PA (The Office), K. A. McGowan lives in Cajunland in Louisiana. He writes poems and songs and plays the guitar left-handed. His two chapbooks are Rubric and No Passengers.

Why does poetry matter? Because many poems–like black balloons and some perfumes–smell like survival.

 

                                          

 

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