I’ve highlighted some great lines from the current issue of Sassafras – # 7 is huge (in no particular order):
You fold this sweater the way a moth
builds halls from the darkness it needs
to go on living
Simon Perchik – Untitled
The struggle to take root, to look up
as I do, in awe of the elder, pray they will be able
to avoid boot, bird and belligerent weather
A.J. Huffman – From Forest’s Path
Possible side effects include sticky-slick crayon
sketches on paper tablecloths and your mother, smiling, her hand
on her soap-bubble belly.
Allison Hymas – Warning
A woman had come in, hesitantly as if I might hit her with the broom I brandished. She wore a long red jacket and a black hat
that looked too expensive for this town and asked for books on alcoholics anonymous — she wasn’t the alcoholic, she assured me.
After fifteen minutes of her trying to catch the bird in her jacket while I chased it with the broom, I knew it was getting
ridiculous. And then, the bird vanished.
M.C. Kelly – Beware of Bird
You pat the mound with the shovel again. She was right. It turned out to be good practice. You cough, harder this time. Dry breath hits your knuckles. Inside, a light comes on.
Bennett Durkan – Good Practice
My son roared right back at them,
Eyes full of wonder,
I watched him instead.
Joe Wahlman – Autumn Waves
I didn’t know her, yet dedicated all my activities to her, let her borrow my senses, feel her muscles through my exercise,
fill her lungs through my breaths, see art at the museum through my eyes, taste wonderful food at an Italian Christmas through my taste buds.
Bahar Anooshahr – In her Body
We notice things: the steady speed of dust
Accumulating at our spines, your glances
Kevin Murphy – Shelf Life
The neighbor, she likes to grow vegetables in the warm,
leaving my headaches and my heart on the front porch.
I must insert each in the proper cavity.
Sun widens over in a massive thaw.
All land obeys like a shackled chain gang.
Amanda Tummirano – The Approach of Spring
Before he left, he turned,
and to all of us and to none of us
gave a slight, seemly bow,
as if to say,
Sleep well. I am here.
Bric Barker – 1281 Train to Andong
You roll over into a darkness that eases
upon your shoulder. Within
a manageable light, your two faces
discuss themselves: hammer or nail—
nurse or patient?
Britt Melewski – In Patient
Where we would walk
with shadows ignoring the coarseness
beneath our feet like barefoot nomads
yours, one step ahead of mine, so carefully
avoiding this unbearable existence of following.
Carol Lynn Grellas – Before the Pink House
Friends to whom I belong. Friends who I will wrong.
–Lynn Xu – Our Love is Pure (first in Octupus Magazine)
“This is a game isn’t it? You’re testing me somehow.”
“Interesting you would think that. How do you feel about tests?”
“I don’t care one way or the other,” I say.
“Suppose I pulled a gun from my pocket and said I was going to shoot you?”
“I’d have to think about that. Shoot me where exactly?”
“For starters, let’s say the leg.”
Allen Hope – Not The First Time
Beside the refrigerator is where Mom sits, in the dark. Even though it is only afternoon, the house does not let much light in. The leg holes of the underwear she wears on her head open up to pink curlers with pressed black hair wrapped around them; they poke through like antennas. The nightgown she wears is sheer. I can see the outline of her long breasts under it. They sit on top of her tummy; these are the biggest things on her five-foot frame.
“This is my house,” she says.
Melissa Valentine – Evidence of Him
Later that evening, before retiring, Mr. P. was cleaning his teeth in his bathroom. Midway he paused, and looking in the mirror with a mouthful of froth, he mouthed softly, “Wow, awesome!” and then, a little louder — “MAGIC!!”Kay Perry – Terri and Tonka
We sleep, clinging to the elbows
of spring, shackled to the warmth
of doors. Safety is any number
greater than one
Quinn Rennerfeldt – Low Bones
In July, chemo ended:
folded the same–
but I’d been rearranged
Carol Smallwood – Lunch at Wendy’s (first in vox poetica)
You are a stone chained behind my teeth, biting my tongue
until it is slashed into ribbons.
Does your throat swallow
broken glass when a shadow reminds you of me?
Carolyn D. Elias – Mother
I have felt the night quiver with heron’s wing
over the swamps, over wild pigs in a blackberry patch,
their snouts bloody & alive in the moonlight,
& I have walked on, dirty, alone, kicking to the grasses
the swollen bodies of possum, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, bobcat,
giving them no prayer, no peace-filled silence.
Joshua Poteat – Hitchhiking in the Dying South
the best way is to have these conversations
with your backs to one another
trembling from what you may hear next
Roger Bernard Smith – said
if we could hold still
long enough in the sheen
of morning light.
Carol Tyx – Tomatoes on Windowsill
“I’ll be wantin’ decaf too, sweetheart. Make sure it’s hot,” he wheezes. His eyes, level with my throat, are disturbingly blue, but one struggles to stay open. As I turn to assist The Golden Girls, who are making eyes at the pot in my hand, his snowy hand clutches my wrist.
“Ya know, I have a fetish for ponytails,” he says, licking each word. Oh my God. I am suddenly too aware of the end of my ponytail tickling the back of my neck. I breathe in the mixture of scrambled eggs and last night’s Old Spice.
Kelsey Damrad – Breakfast at the Ranch