Tuesday, January 28, 2020

LAUREN MALLET—2 POEMS (Issue 14)




AFTER READING ÁLVAR NÚÑEZ CABEZA DE VACA's NARRATIVE OF THE NARVÁEZ EXPEDITION 

I believe the arrows, incense, bones, blood. That the weather killed
more Spaniards than the arrows could find. The four men considered God,
and what the King might say if they were ever found alive. Has he lost
his other eye and In God’s name how. What ship would he send for them.
Its cannons tilting towards the gun port Windows. Or if their bodies were sewn
into canvas and piled on the quarterdeck. De Vaca, Castillo, Dorantes,
Estevanico. And then I think of how they continued to get by with their bodies.
Their gesturing for corn, husked ear gilded. Stones and dandelions in the field
have their virtues. I believe they ate the horses. What I don’t know is how
repeating ave maria ave maria ave made them curers, how the stitches on
the wounded disappeared with flourishes of smoke. All he had was clothing,
and then not even that. How did de Vaca remember the villages? Cuayos, Avavares,
Charruco, Mendica. Before explorer was the new conqueror. Before there were
shiploads more slaves than Estevanico. More than the Indian women traded
to enemies as wives. Before there was me believing the arrows, the hiss I want
them to have made as they broke through the clearings between the trees.


PARABLE OF THE NOMADS
 
But what of the smoke? the branches? the sparrow says.

Go ahead, the chipmunk replies.

As far as the sparrow can see
the brambles of almost-spring are
crowded by fog. Which is to see not far.

Move with care, calls back the chipmunk.
Enough to see ahead and too fast to look back.

Already, from the ground.

Not yet, from the air.

As far as I can tell the two are not saying exactly this.
Might have no way of saying such things.

Just another parable.

The neighborhood animals.
What I’ve just made them say.

They should tell it to me good,
the two of them together,

mouthing, these are your feet, this is the ground,
what you hear is the two of them meeting.


ABOUT THE POET POET BIO
Lauren Mallett’s poems appear in RHINO Poetry, Smartish Pace, Barrow Street, Sou'wester, Passages North, and other journals. She lives and teaches in Indiana. Read more at LaurenMallett.com.  

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW
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.

Monday, December 2, 2019

MICHAEL MARK'S "THE MIRACLE OF RAIN" (Issue 18)

 
THE MIRACLE OF RAIN

The lady in front of me is crying plums
and peaches into her shopping cart. She’s been weeping
produce since I got in line. First peas,


tight rolling armies, some drop
into her gusting mouth. Now, three kumquats tumble
off each cheek, bananas drip


from the tip of her nose. Does anyone else see this?
When she sobs dark bumpy avocados
I hear myself sigh, oh.


Those were on my list,
but the bin was empty. I reach under her chin
and catch a pear. A Williams, chartreuse,


arched stem, nicer than the Bosc I chose. I bite.
Our eyes meet. Cry a ham, I whisper.
She does. Cry a marble bundt cake. Still warm,


I ease it into my cart. Cry a wheel of Gouda.
I ask for 60 watt soft white light bulbs. They bloom
from her swollen eyelids. Just to see


if she can stand it, I order two Brazilian
pineapples. No one notices—not the cashier,
the other customers or the lanky stock boy


in a blue apron, mopping.




ABOUT THE POET

Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer and long distance walker. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Potomac Review, Rattle, River Styx, Spillway, Sugar House Review, The Sun, Verse Daily, and The Poetry Foundation’s American Life in Poetry. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net. MichaelJMark.com

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW

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.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

KAREN SKOLFIELD'S "DUE TO HISTORICAL ACCURACY, HAZARDS ARE PRESENT" (Issue 17)


DUE TO HISTORICAL ACCURACY, HAZARDS ARE PRESENT

—U.S. Army Heritage Trail, Carlisle, PA

Take another loop if you want
to jump wars, IEDs daisy-chained
in some cornfield’s center.

Thick middle of the M18 Tank Destroyer
guarding the only weeds
landscapers can’t reach.

That we won the Revolution:
a marvel, footprints bloodier
over every mile marched.

In the WWII barracks a moving body
triggers a voice that’s eager to tell
the favorite C-rations of soldiers.

Have I been separated from my unit?
In the parachute jump simulator,
I miss the drop zone twice.

My family’s in Massachusetts.
Dog walkers skirt the soccer fields
and a Huey’s blades bound by wire.

Within the WWI Trench Exhibit,
a visitor tries out the Aid Station,
surgical table the length of a child.

Those dangling legs.
He’s so good at being perfectly still.
Those who feel lucky

may guess their way to safety.
Barbed wire in a ring,
a mortar crater softened by erosion.

Two Pennsylvania children
zigzag the mock minefield,
triggering all the bells.


ABOUT THE POET POET
Karen Skolfield’s book Battle Dress (W.W. Norton) won the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was published in fall 2019. Her book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry, and she is the winner of the 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry from The Missouri Review. Skolfield is a U.S. Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW
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.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

JENNIFER STEWART MILLER, "THIS POEM HAS A HIGHWAY IN IT" (Issue 18)

 
THIS POEM HAS A HIGHWAY IN IT

and it speeds upstate toward—
is it home if you’ve never lived there?
This poem merges, changes lanes, and exits—left, past the outlet mall,
then right. Mobile homes edge the road—and staggering barns.
Corn stubble pokes up through snow. A school bus brakes,

and a stop sign pops out. Two boys shuffle off, cross in front
of the poem and disappear. There’s barbed wire
strung here. And a story. Stories, really. Three children
wrenched from their mother—dead, they’re told, though
alive in an asylum they never find. The one sister, 17,

she drowns in a summer pond. There are purple hills, tall pines,
and silos in here, and field after field after field, forget about
dreams. Also a Dunkin’ Donuts, grids of solar panels,
a Ford dealership. We’re upstate, so a prison looms in this poem,
and rows of prison guards’ pickups. Steam escaping

a prison chimney, a river running under a bridge. My mother’s
in here, my stepfather, too—how he hugs women and girls
too close. As if asking: are you my mother? A shuttered restaurant
flies past, a motel without a single car in the lot. The old armory
rises up, a red light against dusk, a left turn. The tumor

on my stepfather’s neck and jaw fattens day after day—the consequence
of little mistakes. Six white horses commune around a mound of hay.
Fields offer up lone machinery: tractor, hay baler, mower, plow.
A dark blue silo. A burned-out house. Haloed by naked trees,
a neighbor’s trailer blazes with light. There are humans

I love in this poem, a rearview mirror—the long, rutted driveway
glazed with ice and age. The house in this poem, a step up
from ramshackle, wasn’t built all at once, but room by room.
Hundreds of acres, forests and fields. Two old bay horses, three ewes,
a hen and rooster, a border collie, a silver tabby. The humans in here
were children once. Things happened to them. They made
choices. This poem, too, makes choices. It gets things wrong.
And some things can never be put right. But there’s
mercy in here, tenderness. We cross in front of the poem,
we disappear. The poem goes on.


ABOUT THE POET

Jennifer Stewart Miller holds an MFA from Bennington College and a JD from Columbia University. Her poetry has appeared in Green Mountains Review, Harpur Palate, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Raleigh Review, and other journals. She’s a Pushcart nominee, and when she’s not off biking somewhere fun, lives in New York with her family and congenitally-deaf Dalmatian, Daisy.

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW

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.

RUTH BAVETTA, "CODEINE" (Issue 18)



CODEINE

I ride a perfect pain until
it becomes a painting on a wall,
a faraway rasp, sullen, sunk
in a soundless lake,
until my dreams
become an intricate embroidery
of colored stones
sewn into my pocket.


ABOUT THE POET


Ruth Bavetta’s poems have been published in Rattle, Nimrod, North American Review, Slant, Tar River Poetry, Spillway, and many others. She has published four books, and has work included in several anthologies. She writes at a messy desk with a view over the Pacific.

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW

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.