Sunday, November 6, 2022

AIMEE WRIGHT CLOW—"BLACK AND BLUE FISH" (Issue 24)

BLACK AND BLUE FISH 

after Nick Flynn 

I take curtains off a west-facing window, fold them tightly, peer out into
the open. Not much to see: a dog, a house, a street. Paint a diagram on
the glass with a brush’s bristles fanned so the paint is not too thick, so
light threads through. I feel best with my phone tucked under blankets.
Walk to the store, where I meet a woman who needs just one cup of
flour. Sure. I bring her to my house, give her coffee and one cup of flour
while she tells me of the mountain she has just returned from, all its
height and weight, what a disjuncture returning, and back home she
found a fire had consumed all her old photographs and blankets, leaving
only a brick cocoon and an aluminum-rod bed. Oh dear. I blow over
steam and the dog outside barks. But what of you? she asks. Tell me of
you. I say, Nothing much here. But well, let me show you something. A
detail. Outside we peer through the painted panes as though we are
light. Her face settles, sinks, and she backs away slowly, holding the
flour to her chest. A swampy yard has overtaken my feet, so when I
try to follow, I find I cannot. I cannot leave my feet, so I survey the
yard, which reminds me of a stream. The road: the sound of boats.
The barking dog approaching bites at the swamp around my feet and
my ankles until I am free. I float up the hill as the rains begin, my eyes
still on the window. I don’t know what she saw, of course, what feared.
All the furniture from the side of the road; all the decorations mass
produced. From the outside looking in, I could be anyone, really. But
the bristled paint; the panes. I look away from the house to my hands
where the flour in the rain has become batter. I look down at my feet,
which are fish now. I look down to the yard, a river. I look to the house,
my boat, my home. I float. I go inside, unbury my phone from its bed of
rest. I wish to know what makes one one. I ask the internet. Who’s afraid
of? Battered fish sticks. Recipes for. Fear? It’s only a word. Run? It’s only
time. Take time. Rest. Your boat awaits. The dog barks. It’s bobbing
outside the painting. I open the window.




ABOUT THE POET 


Aimee Wright Clow is a writer and book designer living in Durham, NC with their 

cats, Bifo and Susan G. Their writing and video poems have appeared in journals 

including Salt Hill, The Bennington Review, [PANK], A Gathering of the Tribes, 

Can We Have Our Ball Back, Ghost Proposal, and The Lifted Brow. Their book arts 

project, A Brief Map of Albany, is available from Utilities Included.



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, October 16, 2022

STELIOS MORMORIS—"BARLEY" (Issue 21)

BARLEY


  Tournedos of barley

    crammed into thick honey 

laced with thyme, stubborn


  in the roof of your mouth

    and how it grows on you, 

after penitent flows of salad 


  of cucumber and olive oil.

    And how its crumble like sand 

reminds you of the 


  arid blanched cliffs

    of the Cyclades of your parents—

A few slippery kernels


  drop back to the paper plate. 

    And it's always the barley, 

nimble as beads


  from a snapped necklace, 

    whose misgivings you scoop 

in your hand under the sermon 


  for the dead at mass, 

    a palmful of religion

you raise your wanting mouth, 


  the barley graced 

    with powdered sugar 

to soften the blow 


  she was dead 

    while we ate in the pew 

together, children again, 


  crying and swallowing

    at the same time, 

while the altar boys 


  presided over a parade 

    of more tins of barley 

from chapel turned kitchen 


  stirring this mixture

    the sugar binding the barley 

brown to white, dirt 


  to dreams, consuming it down

    with red wine slipping 

from the gold spoon 


  along the cheek, worse

    than tears, whose trails

you still follow. 




ABOUT THE POET 


Stelios Mormoris is a resident of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, 
and formerly lived in Paris most of his life, working as an executive in the 
beauty industry. Stelios is currently Chief Executive Officer of Scent Beauty, Inc. 
He studied architecture at Princeton University, where he received his BA, and he 
received his MBA from INSEAD (Institut d’EuropĂ©en d’Administration des 
Affaires) in Fontainebleau, France. He has held positions on the boards of the 
French Cultural Center of Boston, ACT-UP, Historic New England, and The 
Fragrance Foundation. Stelios is also a contemporary artist, specializing in abstract 
oil painting: www.steliosmormoris.com. His interests range from rugby to sailing 
to gardening, while continuing his passion for reading and writing poetry. 
The Oculus is his debut collection of 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.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

LAURA RUBY—"WHAT TO SAY AFTER A CERTAIN KIND OF MAN BEGS FOR HIS LIFE" (Issue 24)

WHAT TO SAY AFTER A CERTAIN KIND OF MAN BEGS FOR HIS LIFE


“Mantids are sometimes called praying mantids or soothsayers
(Greek, manti = soothsayer) because their forelegs are held in
a supplicatory position resembling prayer. Nearly 2,000 species
have been described.”
 
—Timothy J. Gibb, Contemporary Insect Diagnostics
 
When I tell you you’re a snack I mean
for real. Look at you. You got the motion,
that roll and roll swagger. The way you swivel
your head and track me with those big red eyes—
you see what I’m not: the petal-limbed orchid,
the dancing devil’s flower, hands up. No unicorns
here, either; I’m just like other girls. And I’m not
a leaf or a ghost, I couldn’t hide if I wanted to.
I pray out in the open. I can leap like a cat, adapt

in mid-air. I can tear a hummingbird right out
of the blue, a different kind of honeyeater. Isn’t
that what you came for? You already lost your
head for me, though you’ll tell yourself it’s all
for the thrill, all for the kids. And when I turn
back for that first kiss, you’ll ignore every
warning, even the last: My God, look at you.
Look at what you made me do. 




ABOUT THE POET 


Laura Ruby is primarily a novelist with eleven books published, including 
Bone Gap (Balzer & Bray, HarperCollins, 2015) and Thirteen Doorways, 
Wolves Behind Them All (Balzer & Bray, HarperCollins, 2019), both National 
Book Award Finalists. Her short fiction has appeared in The Florida Review
Pleiades, and Beloit Fiction Journal, among other magazines, and she has 
poetry in Clockhouse Vol. 8 and forthcoming in Poetry Online. Currently, 
Laura teaches writing at Hamline University and is an MFA candidate in 
poetry at Queens University.



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, September 18, 2022

PHILIP SCHAEFER—"X NIHILO" (Issue 24)

X NIHILO

You’re akin to a kitten on fire. Your hair harpoons
black barb & lily irons without release. Release
me. Late at night the neighborhood ducks huddle.
I polish my nails with tar. I read the ceiling for progress,
purpose. You’re somewhere in this dark
Sistine Chapel dancing with an ice cube on your tongue,
a Molotov cocktail & the lit matchsticks your pupils become
when the sky goes blank with sin. I don’t want to be
in your room again. I bury myself in the spaces
between spaces with glue & a dirty cue ball. I land in every pocket.
I cannot escape the wet dryer sheets or the Polaroid of the treasure
map of your forehead. Tell me the one where the clay pigeon is tossed high
& the rifle is cocked & I’m the bullet & you’re the shatter & the sun
fiddles the song that creates beauty out of such a loud nothing.



ABOUT THE POET
Philip Schaefer’s collection Bad Summon (University of Utah Press, 2017) won 
the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize, while individual poems have won contests 
published by The Puritan, Meridian, and Passages North. His work has also been 
featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and in The Poetry Society of America. He 
recently opened a regionally focused Mexican restaurant called The Camino in 
Missoula, MT.




 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, September 4, 2022

NICK MARTINO—"OPEN HEART SURGERY" (Issue 24)

OPEN HEART SURGERY 


Bowing in their paper crowns, the surgeons
settle down for dinner
in the dining room of my father’s body.
A good son, I set the table: bone china, copperware.
The silver gently gleaming. I don’t know what to do
about the heart, that horn of plenty.
In the myth, infant Zeus breaks the horn
of the she-goat who nurses him.
Her name means Run to tenderness.
My father’s body is the book
of worship on the table, open
to a razor-thin page, warmed
by strangers’ hands. He is the winter apples
I offer our guests, an orchard—
red curtain I hide behind.
Ashamed, Zeus blesses the horn
with infinite abundance. This teaches me
to apologize with both hands: Dad,
I haven’t called you in thirty-three days.
I eat well. I know most days you eat alone,
at a bar downtown, watching whatever’s on.



ABOUT THE POET


Nick Martino grew up alongside the ocean of Lake Michigan. As an MFA 
candidate in poetry at UC Irvine, his work has been published in Volume 
Poetry, quiet lightning, and Foothill Journal.



 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.