Sunday, January 15, 2023

JOSE HERNANDEZ DIAZ—"EL BOXEADOR" (Issue 25)


EL BOXEADOR

I’ve been a boxer since I was five years old. I grew up on the 
southeast side of town. No one really wants to live here, except us 
Mexicans. My father always wanted to be a professional fighter, 
but he mostly just watched it on the weekends, with a beer. He 
worked as an industrial mechanic for 35 years. That’s how he paid 
for my boxing training. When he saw I didn’t care much for tools, 
he taught me the right hook. He said, “we are Mexican fighters. We 
rarely use the jab. We are undersized but our hearts are made of 
iron. We get in on the inside, like Canelo fighting those tall light 
heavyweights. We come from an Aztec warrior class. Boxing isn’t a 
sport, mijo,” he’d say, “it’s a religion. The boxing Gods don’t forgive.”



ABOUT THE POET 


Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire 

Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry 

Review, Bennington Review, Chestnut Review, Crazyhorse, Georgia Review, 

Huizache, Iowa Review, The Journal, Los Angeles Review, The Missouri Review, 

Northwest Review, Poetry, Southeast Review, The Southern Review, Witness 

Magazine, The Yale Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading 

Anthology 2011. He teaches creative writing online and edits for Frontier Poetry.




ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.

Monday, January 2, 2023

LAUREN K. WATEL—"THE JAILS" (Issue 25)


THE JAILS


The jails, they’re full of prisoners. Why are they full of prisoners? 

Because everyone’s doing drugs or selling them. Why is everyone doing 

drugs or selling them? Because they’re bored and desperate. Why are 

they bored and desperate? Because they have no work. Why don’t they 

have work? Because the jobs went away. Why did the jobs go away? 

Because the bosses put in robots. Why did the bosses put in robots? 

Because robots don’t ask questions. Why don’t robots ask questions? 

Because they don’t have minds. Why don’t they have minds? Because 

the scientists haven’t gotten that far. Why haven’t the scientists gotten 

that far? Because the government won’t fund them. Why won’t the 

government fund them? Because they’re funding the army. Why are 

they funding the army? So we can fight. Why should we fight? Because 

we have enemies. Why do we have enemies? Because we’re always 

interfering. Why are we interfering? Because we’re better than they are. 

Why are we better than they are? Because we’re free. Why are we free? 

Because we waged a war to worship our own gods. Why did we wage a 

war to worship our own gods? Because we felt oppressed. Why did we 

feel oppressed? Because they put us in the jails.




ABOUT THE POET 


Lauren K. Watel's poetry, fiction, essays and translations have appeared in 

The Paris Review, The Nation, Narrative, Tin House, Antioch Review, 

TriQuarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Slate, Colorado Review, 

Birmingham Poetry Review, Poetry International, Ploughshares, and the 

Collected Poems of Marcel Proust, among others. She was awarded a visiting 

artist residency at the American Academy in Rome as well as a Distinguished 

Fellowship at Hambidge Art Center. Her work has also won awards from Poets 

and Writers, Moment Magazine-Karma Foundation and Mississippi Review

Her prose poem "The House She Lived In" honoring Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg 

was set to music by Pulitzer-winning composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and 

premiered at the Dallas Symphony



ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

JENNIFER MANTHEY—"THE FIGHT" (Issue 24)

THE FIGHT


My son’s principal calls on the day
of his first fight. First grade.
A boy pushed him out of line,
and he pushed back. Pushing then hitting—
they are six. A white boy’s father
might say, good for you,
standing up for yourself.
My husband says, there are injustices
coming all the time. Sometimes you have to be
the bigger man. He is six. He cries
in bed, I’m a bad boy, and I hate
America. I hate what I can’t stop
it saying to my son. Outside our window,
a dog passes on a leash and our dog
goes crazy with barking. I don’t
bother to stop her—her nose and teeth
crashing at the glass.




ABOUT THE POET 


Jennifer Manthey's poems have appeared in places such as Crab Orchard Review, 

Best New Poets, Calyx Journal, Prairie Schooner, and Palette Poetry. She teaches 

writing at The Loft Literary Center and North Central University in Minneapolis.




ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

JAMES DAVIS MAY—"DEPRESSION IN SAINT-MÉLOIR DES ONDES" (Issue 24)


DEPRESSION IN SAINT-MÉLOIR DES ONDES

The donkey my daughter loves
cannot reach the flowers that grow
in the film of soil the ocean breeze
has lifted to the roof of the barn.

We don’t know what they’re called
and speak too little of the language
to ask the farmhand their name,
though we can tell they’re delicious

by the way the donkey cocks its head
to two o’clock toward the roof
and strains its prehensile lips
to almost reach them, an effort

that looks like remembering
a word you can almost remember
how it nearly touches the voice—
“It’s on the tip of my tongue,” we say.

And I don’t know what to say
to myself, or the man I become,
inside those days and nights of hurt
I cannot argue my way out of.

I know it won’t be enough to say,
“Remember the orchard over there,
its plums and cherries, and apples
just forming from the blooms.”

Not enough to remember the tides
we hear beyond the meadow, how
they leave the beach cracked
like ancient porcelain. Not enough

to repeat the Auden lines I muttered
to myself last night at the restaurant
when I felt the depression coming on,
eerie as a suspicion of being watched.

“The lights must never go out,”
I said, “the music must always play.”
And it almost worked: the intoxication
of asking for and receiving the tray

of oysters gleaming like an ornate clock,
then the bouquet of mussels,
and the baked sea bream symmetrical
as a well-wrapped Christmas gift.

But I’ve learned that you can love
pleasure and still want to die
while absolutely not wanting to die,
a situation that requires, if nothing else,

some patience, the precise gentleness
the donkey grants my daughter’s hand
as she offers the wanted flowers
to the mouth that destroys and loves them.



ABOUT THE POET 


James Davis May is a 2021 National Endowment Arts Fellow in creative writing 

and the author of two poetry collections, both published by Louisiana State 

University Press: Unquiet Things, which was released in 2016, and Unusually 

Grand Ideas, forthcoming in 2023. His poetry has appeared in Guernica, The New 

Republic, Plume, The Southern Review, and other journals. He lives in Macon, 

GA with his wife, the poet Chelsea Rathburn.




ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.

Monday, December 5, 2022

BRIAN SATROM—"MULBERRY TREE" (Issue 24)


MULBERRY TREE

Someone playing flute, the music coming from
an open second-floor window,

sky overcast, and we’re in front
of a mulberry tree,
its leaves wet. I need to memorize

the kind of tree it is, a way
of hanging on to this moment.

It’ll be on a test, the one in which I’m likely

to forget what the tree’s called and so
start to lose my connection to the memory, maybe
to memory altogether,

the first loose thread unraveling.
Flute music woven through the branches

and our conversation.
I wonder who even plays flute anymore
but I’m grateful. Love will be

on the test too, or is it the test itself? Love

when the answers
aren’t easy. Love when it’s not all new.


ABOUT THE POET 


Brian Satrom is the author of the poetry collection Starting Againpublished 

by Finishing Line Press in 2020. His poetry has appeared in a variety of journals 

including Cider Press Review, The Laurel Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, and 

TAB, which nominated his work for a Pushcart Prize. His work has also featured 

on Verse Daily and Vandal Poem of the Day. After completing his MFA at the 

University of Maryland, he lived in Madison, WI, and Los Angeles before settling 

in Minneapolis. His website is BrianSatrom.com.



ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 


We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an 
opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of 
poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.