On changing tides by Luke Evans

On changing tides

Out by the rails, the grass too tall to walk through,
but we did anyway, checking each other for ticks
afterwards. We itched like the blades
still scored our legs. She always had
such sensitive skin,
but I don’t.

The break room was our island of sun
beneath the skylights. She told me over slushies
what attraction was, its traits of irresistibility,
how it drags us out like a rip tide.
How we shoot the moon
to keep the rising tide from our shoes.
At some point, she sneaked in
a pun on hearts,
but I can’t.

Such a hard rain and so many worms on the asphalt.
I watched her in the gray-light, a parka
darkening her face, the car’s tires kicking up
droplets as she pulled away. Clocks
only scab the wounds, they never heal.
Packages come and go, zip codes change.
I watch the sky grow dark and light,
tirelessly, black and blue
again. One day she’ll see I’m gone,
at peace with the moon.
I’ll pack up my things,
take some lotion in case,
thinking she’ll know,
but she won’t.

by Luke Evans

Editor’s Note: The form of this poem perfectly mirrors the ebb and flow of the narrator’s emotions. Relationships sometimes (often) don’t last, but that doesn’t assuage grief or memory.

The Shapes of Clouds by John L. Stanizzi

The Shapes of Clouds

. . . . . . . . . . . . .Childhood is far away.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .War is near. Amen.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Yehuda Amichai
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Songs of continuity, land mines and graves #5

i

the lovers sit still along the broad river
. . . . . . . .clouds in passage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .massive cities
colossal animals. . . . . . . . .fictive worlds above
. . . . . . . .roiling transfiguration unnoticed mostly
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .except on long drives when you were a child
and someone played a game to pass. . . . . . . . . . . .the time

. . . . . . . .there’s a castle
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .there’s an elephant. . . .a king. . . .a dog
a tank. . . . . . . . .a ghost
and…..I don’t know what. . . .that is

 

ii

now there is war. . . . . . . . .in the air
. . . . . . . .indistinguishable. . . . . . . . .shapeless

it is spring. . . . . . . . .the cottonwoods have snowed

the lovers are old
. . . . . . . .grandchildren play along the broad river

they are in danger

we are all in danger

look. . . .look. . . .look at that cloud. . . .a child says
. . . . . . . .it’s in the shape of a. . . .…of a. . . . . . . . . . . .of…

by John L. Stanizzi

Editor’s Note: The concrete shapes of this poem reflect the ephemeral nature of clouds, yet also impart a sense of anxiety in keeping with the deeper meaning.

Seven Steps by G Hesslau Magrady

Seven Steps

It’s not
that he can’t
walk up the stairs.
He just wonders if he should.
He reflects at the fifth step. She
will be waiting at the table with
two hands holding the tea cup,
as if the cooled porcelain could
still give her warmth, as if his
embrace could, either.
The frayed edges
of his jeans
slosh
like mops,
heavy with the weight
of water while the toe of his boot
pushes the snow back
and forth.
With seven steps, she’ll see him then.
He’ll be seven hours late—
again.
Seven years of cooled porcelain.

by G Hesslau Magrady

G Hesslau on Facebook

Twitter: @GHesslauMagrady

Editor’s Note: At first glance, the visual form of this poem can distract the reader from its meaning. Upon rereading, however, the line breaks reflect the fear inherent within the character’s hesitation. The narrative extends beyond the steps and the tea cup.