POEM BY JENNIFER A. McGOWAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELF PORTRAIT IN MERCURY
 


How quickly I roll away from myself, fracture
when I attempt to gather me up.  I can push
myself out of line with one finger, plagiarise

the design of the desktop, insert myself into any
small space, hide away from the light. But I still reflect,
measure rise and fall of an internal weather

once marked on my face and now retrograde,
defying the forces that roll me along,
try to elongate me, stretch me out of proportion.

Chasing myself around corners, I stumble,
drop to the floor, pick myself up, not quite in pieces,
not quite whole.  Forcing myself to conform, to confess:

smooth, perfect, these shapes are silver grace, 
are ease unrealised in me. And so they do not
paint true.  I herd them into a saucepan, lose interest.

Leftover poison maddens me. I must
always be a good girl, never suck or lick.

 

 


 

Jennifer A. McGowan obtained her PhD from the University of Wales.  Despite being certified as disabled at age 16,  she has published poetry and prose in many magazines and anthologies on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Rialto and The Connecticut Review.  Her chapbooks are available from Finishing Line Press, and her first collection is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing. Her website can be found at http://www.jenniferamcgowan.com .

 

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

 

POEM BY SARA BACKER

 

 

 

 

 

ACCIDENT

 

 

An antsy Audi

high-beams me

from behind

as if my crawling

three feet closer

to the Ford pickup’s

tail gate

will get us through

this bad trip faster.

We’re all trip-trapped

on a two-lane road.

The only motion is

jumping-jack wipers

and cascading rain:

overdose of rhythm

without meter.

 

All of us late,

running out of gas,

we begin to see

flashing psychedelics:

red, blue, yellow,

pink, orange cones

and vests, police

waving us through

stop lights, stopping

us through green.

We don’t know yet

we are the requiem

for a woman my age

whose wet left turn

crescendo slid her

underneath a twisting

tractor-trailer cab.

 

At the intersection,

we feel the same

horror at her random

demise, the same relief

for the minutes

that took her

and spared us.

We tally our demons

and angels, hoping we

are alive for a reason.

 

 

 

Sara Backer teaches at UMass Lowell, leads a reading group at a men's prison, and tramps around the woods in New Hampshire worrying about wildlife. Recent poems have appeared in Turtle Island Quarterly, The Rialto (UK), Gargoyle, Crab Creek Review, Carve, and Arc Poetry Magazine (Canada).  For more information and links to her online publications, visit www.sarabacker.com.

 

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

 

 

POEM BY SCOTT T. STARBUCK

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORGET MATH AND ENGLISH

 

 

What I recall from grade school

was a 747 with a kick start,

chicken with lips,

submarine with a screen door,

snake with armpits

 

all preparing me for

a President with honesty,

and news that risks truth.

 

 



Scott T. Starbuck was a 2014 Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the "Speak Truth to Power" Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference, and a 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island.  His eco-poetry blog Trees, Fish, and Dreams is at riverseek.blogspot.com, and his "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet" is at splitrockreview.org/news

 

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