Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Sound of Sugar....Liz Kay


Midwife—The Witch Dabbles in Healing

The boy came on a summer morn, shouldered
his bloody way out while the woman groaned like a cow.
He nearly fell into my hands, sticky, still warm
from the womb. I pressed him to his mother’s breast
to shush his cries. All the while, the blood swelled
out of her, as from an animal cut clean. Her hand
at the child’s head grew languid and dropped
to the bed, and the infant lost his grip, slipped
into her limp arm, squalling at the nipple beyond.

I brewed a tea heavy with ergot and oak bark, spooned
it through her lips, but still she bled. I knew some piece
of the caul must have stuck fast inside her.
I scraped it free with my fingers, massaged
her belly till I felt it start to tighten, fed her what I could
of the afterbirth until she roused enough to spit it out.
Awake finally, she wept over the child, put him back
on her breast. I gave her stew made of lamb
and when they had both eaten and she slept, I took
the boy from her arms and breathed him in, memorized
his scent. Hansel, she mumbled from her dream. I turned
my back to her and licked him clean.


About the Poet:
A founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and the journal burntdistrict, Liz Kay holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska, where she was the recipient of both an Academy of American Poets Prize and the Wendy Fort Foundation Prize for exemplary work in poetry. In 2008, she was awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for excellence in lyric poetry. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Nimrod, Willow Springs, The New York Quarterly, Iron Horse Literary Review, Redactions, and Sugar House Review.

About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors
from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Sound of Sugar....Joel Long



Let The Living Return To The Sea

Last night we watched a baby octopus
on video with a child. It had washed
ashore the border of tide, white water
the water’s distance from air. Living thing
moved a line of coral foam, undulating
tentacled legs, water retreating to its mouth,
gliding its spectral torso over glazed sand.

We come to this town to bury the dead,
but dinner, we hear two births will come,
and the dead take turns at quiet instead.
There are photos, printouts from ultrasounds—
mothers and mothers to be for the first
pass images around the table. One niece
has a baby inside that could be an octopus,
bulge of light rounding like a head—it is a head—
a shadow that will be eyes, but the hands
wave flippers in ink and legs like a tail
in the gray sea, the precise hope for fingers,
toes, and bones. The miracle brain inside
space the size of a pearl begins to steam,
begins the vision.

The other niece is showing,
stomach swelling beneath her blue dress,
the child inside her with limbs, hands already
brought to its mouth, a face becoming its face,
one of us. In the photo, we see ribs, translucent
skin over ribs, hips hiding—we will know
in weeks, she, he, sex blooming the waters.

Another child has been watching the octopus,
has put on the mask of a monster, climbs the back
of Auntie’s chair, his red hair no brighter than fire
he puts into space. He knows the small thing
in the darkness comes for him, sister, brother,
love, this self coming, sacred book illustrated
by the monk who studies shells and moth wings,
saints and all their signs, angel, bird, ox, and lion,

and we know the cells find their way to hair,
fingernails, eyes that change the muted world
into forests inside the brain, octopus pulled
back into the entire sea by wave, pulsing heart
of all water, drawing it inside, pushing against it,
propelling its body through distance that lasts,

the bright coral, clown fish, eels, above water,
sky wrapped around the globe and the mind
that writes it all down in grief, in joy, Being
itself, brief and infinite, raspberry, sparrow.




About the Poet:
Joel Long’s book Lessons in Disappearance was published in 2012. Knowing Time by Light was published by Blaine Creek Press in 2010. His book Winged Insects won the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and was published in 1999. His chapbooks, Chopin’s Preludes and Saffron Beneath Every Frost were published from Elik Press. His poems have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Ocean State Review, Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, Rhino, Bitter Oleander, Crab Orchard Review, Bellingham Review, Sou’wester, Prairie Schooner, Willow Springs, Po­ems and Plays, and Seattle Review, and anthologized in American Poetry: the Next Generation, Essential Love, Fresh Water, and I Go to the Ruined Place. He received the Mayor’s Artist Award for Literary Arts at the Utah Arts Festival and the Writers Advocate Award from Writers at Work.


About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.