Genre: Poetry

Irena Sendler Saves Ava

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

  September 19431   Ava sips apple juice— fizzy with barbiturates— to hibernate like a hedgehog and awaken in a new place, but the hedgehog chooses to stumble out of deep sleep for a new nest. Too young, Ava’s choice was made for her, because she giggles like the splinter of light forcing itself through …

Field Guide to Distinguishing Red Objects

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

    1. I prepare to teach my students about cochineal, about the red beetle Dactylopius coccus that lives in symbiosis with the prickly pear. The Spanish closely guarded its trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and kept the truth about the source of their carmine dye a secret. Scientists debated and peered through …

A Nocturne’s Value

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

  I informed the officer of the Intelligence Department for whom I worked that I found the work too great a strain and would prefer to . . . return to ordinary life. — Olga, MI5 agent during World War II   War uniforms are ill-fitting and moth-eaten— hanging like beckoning ghosts from the cramped …

How Many Hands Does the Trout Have?

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

    The last river that touched me shot down the mountain like a bullet through a ruddy duck. Impatient and entitled, water spilled into my mouth before a wave could swell. And, try as I might, I could not avoid the jumping fish. In my arms, in my lap, between lips too tired to …

Admit It

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

    At first echo, the sound might be a wind-whipped leaf. Acorns leaping from oaks, branches gently cracking. And for a moment, you will let yourself believe any of the above possibilities. Belief requires little aside from closing your eyes to the graying sky. Dismissing the chill of a drop on your nose. Refusing …

Sole Survivor

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

    The first year we married, I spent a great deal of time watching for frost. I stood alone, unraveling like silk—trying to avoid those tiny roots that worm into tiny spaces. What I am trying to say is the world is a stone wall crumbling & I am a quiet observer. There will …

Autobiography of a Private Investigator

Issue 5 | Winter 2020 |

    I More than the illicit activities I’m hired to observe, it’s the little things that stick with me about people who don’t know they’re being watched: the unsucked guts, the saggy tits, the disheveled faces, the limp way their limbs move about, the itching, the fidgeting, the lips moving in silent rehearsals, the …