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.