Waiting for You by Martin Willitts Jr.

Waiting for You
(American Sonnet)

Just like a good steady rain,
handwritten by the blue jay’s flight,
the edges of the world need you.
I am aware of the heartbreak
behind the rain’s curtain.
The river banks swell, the ground
is saturated, run-offs follow
a downward slope like arpeggios.

The clouds are squeezed tight.
Rain crunches on roofs, abundantly;
but like love or pain, it cannot last forever.
There is no sound inside the rain
that is not you. A heart is breakable,
but the door is unlatched, waiting for you.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

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Editor’s Note: This poet’s exploration of the limits of the sonnet form continue in this poem. Emotional imagery is highlighted within the form’s fourteen short lines and octave/sestet relationship.

Apricot Wood by Robert Okaji

Apricot Wood

I built a frame of apricot
wood. This was for you. The clouds float
through it even as I sleep. You wrote
once of wild herbs gathered and brought
to a lovely girl, an offering not
of passion but of some remote
desire to hear a word from the throat
of the Lord Within Clouds. I thought
of this as I chiseled the wood.
Last night it rained. I listened to
it from my bed by the open
window, hoping that the clouds would
not leave. This morning two birds flew
by. It is raining again.

by Robert Okaji, first published in SPSM&H

Editor’s Note: This poem demonstrates what I think of as a “new form” sonnet. The rhyme is embedded within the sentences, leaving the enjambment to function much as it would in a free verse poem. Because of the lack of iambic meter, the form of the poem allows the surreal quality of the narrative to function as it should: dreamlike and scattered.

Landlocked by Jessica Goodfellow

Landlocked

Turns out I was wrong—the words landscape and escape don’t share a root.
Instead escape is from the French for the cape you shed in your pursuer’s hands
as you flee, while landscape first was Dutch, for the being-ness of land, a word
from the dyke-builders, culling land from sea: landship, like friendship and kinship,
in the Masters’ dark caves of thick paint. Nor, after all, are landscape and escape
opposites, antidotes, the solace I’d held on to. Turns out you can’t slip off the earth
like a cape, can’t flee for someplace else unseen and scape-less. Could the opposite
of scape, then, be space, that ever-expanding realm in which everything moves

away from everything else, flees, while I am still here, still life. The scapegoat
in the wilderness shares its root not with the landscape it roves about in, abandoned,
fled from, laden with the sins of others thrust upon it like a cape, but instead is rooted
with escape, though whose? Even when I die, dirt is where they’ll bury me—land
is where I’ll rest, or be said to rest, shrouded in its surface, my last-grasped cape my body,
the sin-bound scapegoat I am tethered to, as space moves cleanly and facelessly away.

by Jessica Goodfellow, from Mendeleev’s Mandala

Jessica’s blog

Editor’s Note: Repetition is the name of the game in this poem. Realization hinges upon the multiple meanings of the words escape, landscape, scape, and space. It anchors the poem’s narrator within a mental exercise that leads to the realization of non-movement— landlocked.