Monday, May 9, 2022

SAMANTHA SAMAKANDE—"SELF PORTRAIT" (Issue 23)

SELF PORTRAIT

a lake of a window
whited out by the finishing
December        coming out the rear
of the worst blizzard to drop
by the east coast in years         the yawning
door     a snare of a mouth        collecting
lookers like the white gunks
at the corners of lips     becoming
spectacle in a paper gown
the gauzy shade of a dollar store
shower curtain              so many priests
in white robes charging in to format
my sins            chart them        take my
confession with my temperature
Were you trying to hurt yourself?
Why were you trying to hurt yourself?

ritualized         the thwack of a stethoscope
urgent against my rib cage and the throbbing
underneath       systematized     the chatty
machine and its long-winded
appendages     see-through and skeletal
and plastic      holding my hands and arms
at needlepoint             the itch on the belly
side of my palms        the tickle on the inside
of my elbow I am forbidden
to scratch or bend and the wail
of the machine when I do
the light and loose kind of faded
my mind is      the brilliant anger
bringing me back to my own body
the aching       unsoothable       the pressing
hard on my chest to find it
smell it like you touch the back
of your ear and smell it
the filmy afterbirth of grief        and I
right on the rim of dissolve

 

ABOUT THE POET 

Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean poet currently based out of Bloomfield, New Jersey, where she resides with her husband. She is a graduate of Allegheny College and is a junior editor for F(r)iction. It is her lived experience as an immigrant that made her a poet, an observer, and a daughter of many tongues and in-betweens. Her work has appeared in Pif Magazine, Hobart, and Gordon Square Review. In 2020, she was the second-place winner of Frontier Poetry’s Award for New Poets.


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, April 25, 2022

ROS SEAMARK—"THE CREATION OF THE WORLD" (Issue 23)

THE CREATION OF THE WORLD

Brushing my teeth in a South Station bathroom is the closest I come
to being myself this morning. The buzzing florescents illuminating
my body bent here over the sink, my hands flashing under the faucet
is not a faithful copy of dawn like I am. I am so faithful. I am the sky’s
dog. At 6:03 a.m. I look in the mirror and I see words scratched into
the weather. I spit, and it’s clouds.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

Ros Seamark is a queer poet and translator from Central California.

 

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, April 11, 2022

JEREMY ROCK—"ON THE DRIVE DOWN" (Issue 23)

ON THE DRIVE DOWN

Behind the washed-out boards of a roadside
stand and those empty shacks with windows so thin
the glass becomes part of the room, lawn signs

remember lost elections, their letters uncollected
and warped with moisture. I’ve resolved never
to meet these houses away from the road for fear

they’d try to keep me, so I hold an even sixty-two
in a fifty-five and watch the pawn shops fade
to vulture feathers around pits of old rain. This trail

is seamed between homes, crosshatched the way
snow melts striated from a hood and I see, by the lights
lining the water, a bridge emerging as if it was just being

formed. I play the good moth and lope along, morning
wearing over me in dull blue streaks.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

Jeremy Rock is from Frederick, Maryland, and is a graduate of Salisbury University. He has work published in Ninth Letter, Waccamaw, The Shore, Stonecoast Review, Cider Press Review, The New Mexico Review, and elsewhere.

 

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, March 28, 2022

IBE LIEBENBERG—"THINGS THEY WANT AFTER FIRE" (Issue 23)

THINGS THEY WANT AFTER FIRE

to the dog I found under a bed

Hands offer
compressions

to swollen body.
Mouth around

blackened nose
expires. The taste

of failure stains
the hole dug

beside a tree for you.
At the station,

in my room
I shovel through sleep.

Like a bad obituary,
plagiarize me better.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

Ibe Liebenberg lives in Chico, California and works as a firefighter and a lecturer at Chico State University. He is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and is currently enrolled in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. He has been published in The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture, Chico State Universities Multicultural Echoes Literary Magazine, and The Threepenny Review.

 

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, March 14, 2022

KIYOKO REIDY—"PORTRAIT OF MY BROTHER WITH HIS HABIT" (Issue 23)

PORTRAIT OF MY BROTHER WITH HIS HABIT

After Nick Flynn

Though the internet claims
it takes twenty-one days
to form a new habit, I am here
to tell you it takes only a single
moment of choice, then a lifetime
to unmake—powder
falling up through a slip
of sunlight into his nose or a loose
handful of pills, dead white
bugs in his palm; without sense
of where his body began or how
it could end he bent
the world to his will: like a cartoon
he traced his wants onto air
and they solidified, he drew windows
on his arms and they filled in with stars,
black holes the size of a needle’s
point, tiny mouths with
their unremitting hungers, and all
the while I went on assuming
the worst, though what I imagined
was the worst was not, and even
once he told me I couldn’t really
imagine—a body of doors swinging
loosely on their hinges, the twenty-one
days coming and coming again, an army
of days that were all the day
he was going to quit, the day he’d
rewind, walking backward
through every opening he’d made until
he stood at the entrance
to himself, the first door
of this life I couldn’t imagine,
and finally he’d slam it shut,
all the other doors behind it
falling like dominoes.

ABOUT THE POET 

Kiyoko Reidy is an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University, where she also serves as the editor in chief for the Nashville Review. Her poems and nonfiction can be found in the Chestnut Review, Red Rock Literary Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Trampset, Driftwood Press, America’s Best Emerging Poets, and elsewhere.

 

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, February 28, 2022

M. CYNTHIA CHEUNG—"WITNESS" (Issue 23)

WITNESS

Shards of bald cypress
wreck the sky. Each night’s
turmoil of feral hogs stiffens
in mud. Behind the metal
grate, the trapped boar
swells and surges, all
hackles and fever, tusks
bursting the leaf litter.

The game warden’s rifle draws
a line between his eye and ear.

This is how I imagine
ice splits granite,
or the way Newton’s
second law translates:
the sudden posture
of a force accelerating
into nothing but mass.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

M. Cynthia Cheung is an internist who trained at the University of California, Los Angeles, and currently practices hospital medicine in Texas. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Journal of the American Medical Association, Zócalo Public Square, Hawaii Pacific Review, and The Ekphrastic Review, among others. She was previously a finalist for the Michael E. Debakey Poetry Contest, and is on the judging panel for 2021.

 

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, February 14, 2022

OWEN MCLEOD—"LOVE'S THERMAL SERVICES" (Issue 23)

LOVE’S THERMAL SERVICES

The most important things?
Grass long and weedy, wheels
of abandoned bicycles, Saturn’s rings,
fruits that can be washed and dried,
ears, lightning, singing, glass jars
filled with cut flowers, gold, green,
select industries, certain cars, pencils
and the scent of their shavings.

What’s the problem?
The destruction of air and earth
and of the summer camp where you hid
in the woods beautifully, beautiful, sinful—
your little heart foaming
like a cake of pink soap.


ABOUT THE POET 

Owen McLeod teaches philosophy at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. He has this recurring anxiety dream in which he is alive.


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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

KATE NORTHROP—"JITTERY NOCTURNE" (ISSUE 22)

JITTERY NOCTURNE

Outside after a bad dream —no stars,
no canopy of leaves— just streets
 

and down those streets, like large
flat rocks in the middle of a stream, my neighbors’ houses.



But sometimes, walking around, straight ahead
on sidewalks, I correspond with arguments

swimming at the heart of houses, and move parallel

to their interiors: old clothes, crates,
canned peaches —everything

sinking to the bottom of the bottom of houses.



Rain, starting slowly, thuds

the metal bottom of a boat— a sound you know in the middle
of the night in houses. And there’s a current pulling

at the boat, the movement of debt— we do not

own these houses.



Often I am brushed on the leg —right in the kitchen!—
by a fish, yet my sisters trust the integrity of houses.

Lately I’m happy to be having the sex I am having
most often now, inside of houses.

Those tiny, inquisitive sea horses, flickering
here and there— how they addressed us we will remember in houses.



Later, like an allowance, the moon comes round: fat, white

Later the moon floods
the alleys, empties the rooms of our houses.



How I know I am not happens most often in houses:
creaking the floorboards, slowly breathing in houses.

 

ABOUT THE POET

Kate Northrop is a recipient of the Jeannette Haien Ballard Writers Award and fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her recent poetry collections are Clean (Persea Books) and cuntstruck (C and R Press). Northrop is a contributing editor at The American Poetry Review and teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Wyoming. She lives in Laramie, WY.

 

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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

MARIA ZOCCOLA—"FLANNERY O'CONNOR AND I GO BOWLING" (Issue 23)

FLANNERY O'CONNOR AND I GO BOWLING

a lane is also an aisle. a ball is also a weight.
i bought her a ninety-cent fountain drink
that in her hands morphed into a pitcher of light,
a pitcher made of light full up with light,

light inside of light, sharp pulsing brightness
of a birth or a blow. when she drank
a blaze ripped down her throat in one straight line,
and in her stomach i saw cells take the light

to all corners of skin, all specks of blood,
each small grain of bone. god hovered
in place above the pin machine, opening
and closing his mouth. i touched her palm

so i could hear him, the roar of his voice
sweeping down the boards, tumbling and crashing,
keeping careful score. wouldn’t it be best
if we were different people, i said,

but she told me the self comes back
like a sleeping bulb, like a bowling ball,
returned from tunnels under the earth,
delivered for us to throw away again.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

Maria Zoccola is a queer Southern writer with deep roots in the Mississippi Delta. She has writing degrees from Emory University and Falmouth University. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, 32 Poems, The Massachusetts Review, Colorado Review, Southern Indiana Review, Salamander, and elsewhere.

 

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.