Poetry: “Ward (Ollie/Ali in the Mirror)” by Adele Wegner

Ward (Ollie/Ali in the Mirror)

The doctors are filling out paperwork. Their notes, translations of our original words, are mangled into the computer system. And later extracted, pulled from an ear onto the torn red sofa, spluttering. Someone said, “You are not authorized to make these changes.” Behind closed doors.

Coordinates align—and click—beginning to uncoil the deep knots and strictures.

You step through the fluorescent foyer, metal gate, and into my place. Beside oneself: you are not what you see in the mirror, a silhouette looped in charcoal black and green. The lost tapes slowly, slowly spooling again, somewhat recovered.

Adele Wegner was born in Youngstown, Ohio and lives in Chicago. She is a writer and artist and works in the field of psychology and mental health. Her poems have been published in Columbia Poetry Review and Burningword.

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From the Archives: “The Architect’s Wedding” by Samantha Stiers

The Kremlin’s silks
billowed around my husband’s legs

like hot air balloons. I came gowned in Taj Mahal,
still pools reflecting my glide down the aisle.

The bedchambers in my depths glowed like jewels
while inside my groom, a general slipped poison

into the prime minister’s vichyssoise.
The pyramids of Giza looked delicious

on the banquet table, but crumbled like sand
in our mouths. If only we had split them–

we would have found chocolate
drizzled into hieroglyphs,

could have crunched pharaohs
dipped in candy sarcophagi.

Originally published in Winter 2011.

Poetry: “Terra Firma” by Jessie Li

Terra Firma

For my grandmother, who could no longer
speak, I made this prayer:

for the voice inside her to beat like the earth,
like the tulips outside her window,

swelling with life. For her to call me once
more to water the young bulbs together.

Instead, my grandmother
curled into herself, wanting nothing

but water, her body an unsteady bough
of pine, hewed for chairs and tables,

pianos that could only vent notes
withered and flat.

If only she could sing again, dirt-drunk
and living. I thought, if this earth

kept beating, she would never die.

Jessie Li is a student at Davidson College, where she majors in English. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, Rookie, Imagine magazine, NPR/WPSU’s This I Believe, and elsewhere. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Davidson and a Student Fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Poetry: “Carrying Grandfather” by Jessie Li

Carrying Grandfather

I didn’t know you, except once,
when I visited, and you peeled those

Chinese pears for me – slinking the
dulled, rusted knife across the skin.

You smiled, I smiled. I counted
your freckles, their withered yellow,

like faded marigolds. I remember wanting
to touch your aged, leathery skin.

Later, I didn’t know you, but felt
the weight of your bundled body,

coffin like a wooden glove, my own hands
gripping the trailing white ribbon.

Someone stumbled, jolting the boards.
A rumble. Then, silence –

the elders whispered of vagrant souls, those
who escaped their coffins, unable to find home.

Spirit unburdened, body intact. I turned away
from the cemetery, ribbon fluttering lone in my hand.

Then, I felt you, light as first snow
melting into my skin, and I carried you home.

Jessie Li is a student at Davidson College, where she majors in English. Her work has been featured in or is forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, Rookie, Imagine magazine, NPR/WPSU’s This I Believe, and elsewhere. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Davidson and a Student Fellow for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Poetry: “Justified Twitch” by Max Lewin

Justified Twitch

I made my mind
down by the river
of euphemism, most
playful species of meta
-phor. The river ran
me round fora for a few
years, pebbled my perma
-stonedness, taught me
to speak with rocks
-tarred, defeated eyes
minus groupies and the hard
stuff. You don’t get it
-chy, don’t get soma
-tically clipped waves when yr voice
boxing with the gauze man. Imp
-ossible to chip and too
-the away the ossificat
-ions of constitutional cons
-iderations: yr gonna need a big
-gots taste nd a narc
-issistic diet of hate for
-matted by expert wit
-ticists in the employ of demons
-trated partisans, arti
-sins of dis
-dain.

Max Lewin is currently pursuing an MA in Computer Science at The University of Chicago. He studied poetry as an undergrad at Vassar College, and is eternally grateful to his friend and teacher Josh Harmon for opening his mind’s page.

Poetry: “Ode to an Oldsmobile” by Max Lewin

Ode to an Oldsmobile

My dear boat, your windows
are caked with the sticky residue
of long since torn-off parking permits.
Your right side-mirror dangles by a wire;
I see the floppy white ear of a bashful dog.
Cassette plastic crunches underfoot,
shards of a misplaced Sun-Ra bootleg
whose magnetic music once resonated
through fragrant jellyfish clouds
curling infinitely inwards in the still air,
now a refractive dust rubbed into your fur.
As I over-steer around our favorite turn
pretending to be Hunter S. Thompson,
you indulge my fantasy with a frantic screech
as a filthy, forgotten jacket slides
over the maroon leather of your backseat.
After a night rain you grow crickets and smell of mold;
I know the smell is your affection.

We speak in the language of ship and captain.
I will sail you off the concrete edge of the earth.

Max Lewin is currently pursuing an MA in Computer Science at The University of Chicago. He studied poetry as an undergrad at Vassar College, and is eternally grateful to his friend and teacher Josh Harmon for opening his mind’s page.