Category: Poetry

The United States of Spring

By Claudia Serea

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Bring me the debris of the world,
the rotten,
the discarded,
the maimed.

Bring me the dried carcasses
left on the ground after winter.

Bring me your weak,
your empty shells,

And I’ll show you
the resilience of the plants.

I’ll show you how to come back
from under earth,
dirt on your face,

how to push
your way up
and stand
in the democracy
of the weeds,

as if disaster,
never happened.

As if we’re here
to stay.

– Claudia Serea

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Old Soldier

By John Grey

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You weren’t in a box
the army sent home from aboard.
Or those epics that Hollywood turned out.
You were simply a prime example
of knowing how to follow orders.
You were no housekeeper
but you could iron a uniform
so that no crease showed
and you sure could fold a flag.
You may not have known
where the bodies are buried
but you remember where they fell.
You bedded down in trenches.
You crossed a field
knowing full well that it was mined.
You polished your shoes while afraid.
You clung to your rifle when homesick.
In action, your thoughts were of home.
At home, your thoughts were of action.
You never complained.
Except about the rations.
You didn’t know he was just a boy.
You later learned to rationalize the fact.
You are framed in a simple black and white photo
on the dresser of a ninety year old woman
who lives in a nursing home.
You were buried with an honor guard.
You were like others
who were just like you.
Even when dead, you enjoyed their company.

John Grey

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By Heather Brager

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early before daybreak I wander through our house, the
floorboards creak to remind me that you died

I look for your silhouette, hear ice in your glass
and feel your hands sliding across my bare back and thighs

I may never feel that I was enough
our discord longed for the hours and days of
perfectly timed harmony
the line of your jaw and depth of your need
left me reeling every time, you shook your head and told
me there was no one quite like me

in the night I still wait for you, quietly
pushing away your last photograph

I try not to remember the way your voice sounded, and
regret that I couldn’t tell you about Jim Harrison

Heather Brager

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On Mercy Street

By Claudia Serea

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I was on a bus with some old ladies,
driving really fast
because the border was closing.

The bus pulled into an empty lot
surrounded by trees,
and the trees were blown to bits,
and I thought We’ll just have to run for it
to make it through on time

I ran to the store
to get some bread rolls,
and the store was blown to bits,
and I thought Oh, it has started,
I gotta get those rolls

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The Crane Fly

By Ruth Deming

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On my white windowsill
among dainty tea cups,
a ceramic bird house, a
blue and white vase from France,
lies something dead.

As he flew past, for it is an insect,
was he dazzled by these objets
d’art as he sought to free himself
from the confines of the house?

The crane fly is a beauty
has he procreated already?
He lies folded up like an
origami soldier,
diaphanous wings at rest.
A body so slender
you wonder how
all the parts fit inside.

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