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Still Life with Fruits and Bread

By Greg Miller Poetry

Pieter Claesz, 1641 Such an austere palette! Such an embarrassment. Such riches! —A flute of currant-red liquid, —-black and red currants in a silver bowl, rhyming red beads on the lacquered finish of the fork-and-knife set, a red —-and black string (the sole blood ——-coursing through this body, save a flush of the wall left…

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Stone on Stone: Israel, 1980

By William Wenthe Poetry

  I stood in the Jaffa Gate and played harmonica for tips. A cluster of men in Arab dress surrounded me, bewildered, smiling. They had never heard a harmonica before, nor could they see, behind my hands, this sound I held to my lips. The long cry of the muezzin, undulating among corbelled roofs, towers,…

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Japanese Wall Hanging

By Moira Linehan Poetry

The brush might absorb too much water. Not enough. His stroke could be too heavy or hesitant. The ink could blot. Refuse to spread. Spread in the wrong direction. The Japanese brush painter has trained for years to face this moment. On his knees, leaning back on his heels, today he pictures the heron, come…

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The People

By David Yezzi Poetry

This is the season of dried rushes and sodden leaf-matter in parks, when the lightly furred animal bodies of the people break out in sores and a mild but insistent contagion blooms in the chilly dampness. The lowered sun does not yet warm them, despite cerulean skies. The meat-headed race trundles along in groups, God…

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Anniversary

By Franz Wright Poetry

1. February 2, 2008: Learning the Rosary Birth is the first affliction but there is no birth. Birth is the beginning of endless affliction ending finally in dying but there is no death. This has never been explained to me in words, but mutilations. I watch you watching something from the window and smiling in…

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Parsonage with Two Maples

By Terri Witek Poetry

I. In unvarnished foreground, a cat offers his paw in a dingy splint to children who bend over it, one in a red, zipped-up jacket so the whole scene is drawn away from the fields, the church where someone’s arranging flowers in deep, dented vases (we can’t see any of this but her parked car,…

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The Name of God

By Anya Silver Poetry

Like a baker, swaddling the juice and heft of apples in pastry, I want my mouth to cradle the delicious name of God. Kissing the Torah, I breathe the dust that has lain on the name of God, imagine ink on my indrawn breath. I will dream myself into the body of a bee. I…

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Medieval Miniatures: The Entombment

By Dan Murphy Poetry

from The Book of Hours, 1440 The painter has left a whole corner empty, squeezed the painting into the top half of a diagonal. How gently they lay His body, His face crooked from pain. Nicodemus lifts Him below the knees. Joseph of Arimathea fixing the shoulders to rest, his chin holding Christ’s haloed head…

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Medieval Miniatures: Entry into Jerusalem

By Dan Murphy Poetry

Someone always climbs a tree When a saint arrives—half- Way marker of earth and sky: You can’t get there from here. But this is how we represent Desire for liberation, human form As flag announcing spirit through Flesh. That boy reaches for a bird or palm, The top part of the tree where branches break…

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Underwhelmed

By Jeffrey Thomson Poetry

Under the catastrophic dark, the comet splintering the sky with its ancient grief, under the splay-handed palms, under drinks glowering dark in globes of glass, under the tender humidity, the phosphorescent surf, under the calls of nightjars chuckling up from the ground, under the ticking aloe under the moon’s absence, under, under, under. Under the…

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