See What They Want
She was there. No
she wasn’t. You claim
it was the heat.
I swear the breeze
cooled me taking a break
from all my pulling
so I could enjoy the drift,
the calm quilt of the sea.
I saw what I saw.
It was a trick of light
you insist. It’s tricky
when the sun plays
with indigo and white,
skips and ripples
from dazzle to squint.
But she gazed at me.
Men see what they want
to see you laugh
and like mist, disappear.
Matthew Murrey: "My poems have appeared in many journals such as Prairie Schooner, Poetry East, and Rattle. I received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and my first book manuscript, Bulletproof, was selected by Marilyn Nelson as the winner of Jacar's 2018 Full-Length Book Contest. I am a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where I live with my partner. We have two adult sons. My website is at https://www.matthewmurrey.net/"
On Gentle Sway of Water Strewn...
On gentle sway of water strewn,
the sultry light of summer moon
so beckons by its flickered beam
the dare of often haunting dream --
exploring love at water's edge
from vantage of its fabled ledge
where leap must be of faith inspired
discounting fear of being mired
in doubt that would dispel the joy
of conversation soft and coy
enticing hearts to fond embrace
to which in time they might well trace
the passion later proving grown
from moment sea and moon had sown.
Portly Bard: "Old man. Ekphrasis fan."
Summer Joy Stalled on the Bay
It could be Kathryn Mae at the end of the pier
in white, in more than a night dress
caught by a breeze.
She stares down, something in the way
the oarsman turns to her,
something in his expression.
She raises her voice, says, “I remember you
when my husband and I were drifting,
that July afternoon on the bay.
You came by, circled around, said,
‘You look hot, want to buy a beer?’
We hadn't brought a dime.
I never wanted a cold one more
than that day, stalled
with a couple of weakies tied
over the side, but you wouldn't give
us any credit. We promised to pay,
told you where we lived on New Jersey
Avenue just across from Smitty's Bar,
that we were good for it.
But you just roared off. It’s been years,
and I can still feel the way that beer
would have tasted as it slid down my throat.”
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO. Her collections include Faces of Fishing Creek (Middle Creek Publishing, 2018); This Town: Poems of Correspondence with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017); So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015); Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014); My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino (Dancing Girl Press, 2013); and George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2012 award). With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Granted residencies in poetry from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), she is one of eight members of the Boiler House Poets who perform and study at the museum. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.
Life, you are leaving me behind,
all swift current and shifting light--
my end decided at my conception with only modest
variation possible. Who mans the oars? Must
anyone? Ashore, the younger ones still fight
and speak of making a mark, of not squandering
time—as if it came down to will, one decision
or another—and not happenstance, the collision
of marbles through a set of gates, landing,
as they must, according to probability, most,
like me, beneath the hump of ordinary, no outlier--
neither grand nor terribly unlucky. I’d rather be here,
unremarked, my keepsakes lost but lost
to me alone. Life, you leave no wake,
just a small shadow and heartfelt ache.
Devon Balwit lives scarily close to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The author of Risk Being / Complicated and A Brief Way to Occupy a Body(among others), her individual poems can be found or are forthcoming here as well as in journals such as The Cincinnati Review, apt, Grist, The Sugar House Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Timberline Review, Fifth Wednesday, The Free State Review, Rattle, etc. For more, see her website at: https://pelapdx.wixsite.com/devonbalwitpoet
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