Celebrating National Poetry Month

by Lesle Lewis

The Water Moves the Sheets

Every time I think we’re done, you continue speaking.

A toy in the pond greens.

Your failings become attractive.

They are catatonics.

They are hurdle-leapers.

In that bed and those boards, what does the B stand for?

The two sides of a lake?

For you then, because you’re closer to death.

What happens to us?

Your voice saying my words.

The water moving the sheets.

Our worries melting in water, becoming more water.

That’s how tired we are.

You said all.

I said bad.

All we say.


Lesle Lewis’ newest book is A Boot’s a Boot. She teaches at Landmark College and lives in New Hampshire.


by Lesle Lewis

In the Inn

I didn’t and didn’t sleep.

I hung between random events and a linear life.

Guests walked their dogs through the big room lobby.

You told me the earth moves and I told you it all moves.

Kids swished by in ski pants.

Drinkers clinked glasses in the bar.

This adds up.

It’s like a robot of love, an old boyfriend, I mean really old.

The clerks talk sports.

Then the director shoots himself.

Mathematical proofs prove abstractions.


Lesle Lewis’ newest book is A Boot’s a Boot. She teaches at Landmark College and lives in New Hampshire.


by Lesle Lewis

In 100 Years

We are ready for contemporary composers to put our minds on one sound fading and one growing.

Through the woods, their musical consistency runs as a brook, not so dense as to be unwelcoming.

In fact, it’s tempting.

It is just one damn thing after another, and aren’t we the lucky ones?

Yes, we certainly are.

And our suffering is too slight to draw from or to mention, but we do.

We’re falling down stone walls.

Visions of deco metallic, curvy moonward moods, and gentle considerations of what was spoiled by the mother now end.

We can climb over or under any barbed wire and swim in any pond.

Somewhere rural we live our lives radically condensed.


Lesle Lewis’ newest book is A Boot’s a Boot. She teaches at Landmark College and lives in New Hampshire.


by Ruth Baumann

The Lovers (VI)

Sunday, breakfast light 

through a cicada wing.


Leave anything on top of a love note 

& it becomes an extra love note.


You mean there are strains of attachment 

known as freedom. You mean 

there are self-portraits with two bodies 

& neither one holding a shadow.


Mostly you mean 

a torpedo unleashed sugarsweet 

across the beach 

of a world mistakenly 

seen as all water & 

how right. 


Ruth Baumann is an MFA student at the University of Memphis and former managing editor of The Pinch. Her chapbook I’ll Love You Forever & Other Temporary Valentines won the Salt Hill Dead Lake Chapbook Contest and is forthcoming in 2015. Her poems are published in Colorado Review, Sonora Review, Sycamore Review and others.


by Sarah Levine

In the House of My Body Something Must Burn

Heart you giddy dirty bird 
quit knocking your cage 
with a storm’s breathless whistle.

Heart kick the windows out 
to ride every swallowed lightning 
bug through this body’s streets.

Heart be good 
be loud be red 
say yes to the milk man

When he invites you in, 
when he bites your cold 
lip turning you into

a pack of dogs that outrun 
the squawk of a hen 
house set on fire.


Sarah Levine lives in Western MA and received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Work has appeared in Best New Poets , Green Mountains Review, PANK, and Fourteen Hills, among others. Levine’s chapbook Her Man came out in 2014 with The New Megaphone Press.


by Vanessa Couto Johnson

Yonic

When I eat 
oysters you look 
instead at a platter of ice.

All wetness 
is not equal. 
All pots start 
moist. Tell

the potter what you are. 
Mathematician and the numb 
buildings we enter. Holding

glass with a proof, a shape, 
an open. Yonic, 
word you 
taught me

while filling cannelloni, 
my hunger in a rented 
cottage for the weekend.

Before that, 
Ireland was the first 
place I was licked 
well enough.

A first naked 
oyster on a small 
harbor town. Cows 
on jade hills. Salty luxury.

I have a motherland, 
which a wax 
is named after 
but I do not participate.

I could have been born 
in the state of Amazonas, 
where my mother went

to an all-girls school 
and considered nunhood. 
Where the body is fed 
on fish, fruit and myth.

She brought 
me to visit. 
A child learning 
a tongue.

And my mother 
herself is named 
Yone. A word almost 
no one knows

how to say. Their mouths 
pause, open, and assume. 
Yone wanted to be 
a mother. Years until I

came to be. I know desire 
but do not make 
another exist. The force

of an egg on countertop. 
As though a breakfast 
is enough, as though 
the rest of life

a bed I can invite you into. 
To have you near my mouth, 
where I keep

welcoming the taste of any 
created,

especially animal.


Vanessa Couto Johnson’s chapbook Life of Francis was the winner of Gambling the Aisle’s 2014 Chapbook Contest. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Qwerty, The Destroyer, BORT Quarterly, Two Serious Ladies , and elsewhere. She currently teaches at Texas State University, where she earned her MFA.


by Adam Hughes

Driving Through the Blue Ridge, Talking to Myself

Stars surround this mountain, a necklace

of teeth, tomorrow promises rattling
of spears. If I close my eyes, the stars the stars

the stars are empty, like the galeprayers of mariners.
Tonight the moon crests these ridges masquerading

as clouds, peaks through these clouds masquerading
as sauropod backs. Light leaks through the colander

of heaven, and the darkness hides distinction. If tonight
were to whisper to us, would it sound like rumblestrips

on the side of highway 64? Like grainy spurts heard
on radio stations programmed hundreds of miles away?

We all seek harbor. The anchorage the anchorage
the anchorage is full of seabirds. The sky is full

of shading, shoals of clouds/ridges, migratory,
darkness where hours before the sky was the belly

of a coho. One night like tonight I’ll be dead. The Milky Way
will have one more pilgrim on hajj. I’m more aware

that one morning the eyes of all my loved ones
will fill with the emptiness of a tide-tossed trout

and these same stars will cross these same ridges
and this same mountain dressed as a witch doctor.

Tonight I am full with an emptiness
only the setting of stars can fill.


Adam Hughes is the author of Petrichor (NYQ Books, 2010) and Uttering the Holy (NYQ Books, 2012). He was born in 1982 in Lancaster, Ohio. He still resides near there on a farm with his wife and daughter, two dogs, four cats, and five horses. He works as a drug prevention specialist with high school students.