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No Counting Sheep without Feeding Them, Too

By Stephen Cushman Poetry

Sleeping pill dependence may prompt referral to laboratory overnights (Polysomnography, would you look good on me, electrodes attached?) and wee-hour waking may be a sign of depression, it says, but what could depress when neither son of Zebedee needed hypnotics, white ones like these approved by the Air Force in support of mission readiness, to…

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Fourth Week, First Contemplation, Second Prelude

By Stephen Cushman Poetry

Your place, not mine. Vessels for water, of course. Maybe one for wine. Bread, smoked fish, honey in an earthen jar. Basins for ablutions. The bed you share with pleasure to ponder. And somewhere for prayer, rug, bench, stool, shelf beneath the shell collection, keepsake chips of Egyptian glass, Silk Road cloth, a dark blue…

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Atheism’s Easier

By Stephen Cushman Poetry

Abstain from staring too long at the sky. Stick to screens, little keyboards; block out birds with private earbuds; never hear the wind breathe harder. Watch TV. Always drive. Try to avoid a night outside in ladled moonlight, glowing broth. Eschew solitude; cut back on silence; call up someone just to gossip; send lots of…

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The Window

By Melanie Rae Thon Poetry

I am not washing the window. I am not looking. I am not afraid. I am not dancing. I am not washing the window no matter how dirty. I am not buying bread today or milk or eggs or honey. I am not washing the window, ash and rain streaking. I am licking the pane…

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The Good Samaritan Speaks

By Melanie Rae Thon Poetry

Why do you call me good? Everything is good: me, you, the boy waving the gun: I hear him now, crying in the arroyo: I saw the car rolled and tried to help, but the boy with the gun was afraid and fired: the rattlesnake is good, the saguaro, the rabbit: the blood of strangers…

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Broken Cup

By Margaret Gibson Poetry

I’ve forgotten how it broke, the great cause or the petty cause that cracked the handle into three pieces and left me without a cup for morning coffee. In the cabinet, there were others of white porcelain, with steeply elegant lines, cups that matched their saucers. But my cup was Mexican, squat, and as round…

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Blessing

By Margaret Gibson Poetry

I know a woman who, when she hears wise words uttered, turns her palms upward. She’s as likely to place her hands on my shoulders, to comfort. None of it for show. Palms upward, she’s a basin. Palms downward, a wellspring, rain. May we be basin and well to each other. May we be rainlight…

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A Good Death

By Margaret Gibson Poetry

May you die as did that good man William Blake who, shortly before, broke into singing; before that, called his wife an angel and drew her, not just her face, but her whole and spiritual body. Closer to it, he said he would forever be near to care for her. After that, and after the…

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The Key

By Alice Friman Poetry

The thing about nature is it doesn’t need coaching. Fire flares true, first strike out of a match. Infant waterfalls sing like experts. Acorns squeeze out oaks, each leaf a born breather. Even Darwin’s mutations. Paragons. Every one a prima donna, a first fiddle. _____________So is it not strange— child of nature that I am—to…

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Enormous Holdings

By Alice Friman Poetry

All this day: a gift of abstraction. The trees sway with it, murmuring box this up, this fifth day of this fifth month, as if to say, You’ll need it when you’re gaping like a fish for kindness, for this day gave you emptiness and the permission to feed yourself by choosing not to fill…

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