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From C.D. Wright:

July 8, 2020

How summer’s children turn
into fish and rain softens men

How the elements of summer
nights bid us to get down with each other
on the unplaned floor

And this feels painfully beautiful
whether or not
it will change the world one drop

Lake Echo, Dear


From Marissa Davis:

July 4, 2020

seven-year shedding & taking & being this dust

& my children & your children

& their children & the children

of the black bears & gladiolus & pink florida grapefruit

here not allied but the same perpetual breath

held fast to each other as each other’s own skin



From Elise Paschen:

April 30, 2020

A flare of russet,
green fronds, surprise
of flush against
the bare grey cypress
in winter woods.

Cardinal wild pine,
quill-leaf airplant
or dog-drink-water.
Spikes of bright bloom–
exotic plumage.

Aerial, Wild Pine

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From Gabrielle Calvocoressi:

April 27, 2020

the city will open its mouth and cry

out. Don’t worry ’bout nothing. Don’t mean
no thing. It will leave you stunned

as a fighter with his eyes swelled shut
who’s told he won the whole damn purse.

It will feel better than any floor
that’s risen up to meet you. It will rise

like Easter bread, golden and familiar
in your grandmother’s hands.

At Last the New Arriving

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From Joseph Fasano:

April 24, 2020

Once, the body says. Once
I knew a woman

whose madness took the shape of infinite music
filling her body

until nothing was left to her, and she became
water, fire, a palace where her ghosts could enter,

departing and hollowing her
at will. It was not grace,

exactly. And when
they left, for good, and left her

with nothing, she became
the same song that the world would have sung

without her.

St. Vitus’ Dance

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From Mary Ruefle:

April 21, 2020

Women who lie alone at midnight
obeying the laws of physics
Women who let their dreams curl at the end
Women in a monastery of flamingos

Women who die alone at midnight
contributing to the end, to
lost time, to the rain and flies,
seeing the bird they saw trapped in the airport
surviving by the water fountain

Women in Labor

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From Katie Condon:

April 18, 2020

The light

every shade of gold. Gold. I’m
greedy for it. Light is my currency.
I am big with dawn. So hot & so

pregnant with the fire I stole.
By pregnant I mean everything
you see is of me.

Big with Dawn

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From Danielle DeTiberus:

February 23, 2020

No, my Judith knows
to roll her sleeves up outside the tent. Clenches

a fistful of hair as anchor for what must be done.
Watch the blood arc its way to wrist and breast.
I have thought it all through, you see. The folds

of flesh gathered at each woman’s wrist, the shadows
on his left arm betraying the sword’s cold hilt.
To defeat a man, he must be removed from his body

by the candlelight he meant as seduction.

The Artist Signs Her Masterpiece, Immodestly


From Joan Naviyuk Kane:

February 20, 2020

She could write about the year
she turned to heat and haze,

to laze: immurmurat-,
imauraaqtuŋa. Of cannula
and silver nitrate. Of petiolus

and achene, about to begin again.
Of greens as they green. Of a man

aged, eskered. Of a confined gleam—
to hereby dissolve and hold for naught

the soil / gravel / silt groaning
as the tools of our penultimate glacier,

a glacier I might pronounce like grief.


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From Heather McHugh:

February 17, 2020

For beauty’s sake, assault and drive and burn
the devil from the simply perfect sun.
Demand a birthmark on the skin of love,
a tremble in the touch, in come a cry,
and let the silverware of nights be flecked,
the moon pocked to distribute more or less
indwelling alloys of its dim and shine
by nip and tuck, by chance’s dance of laws.

In Praise of Pain

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