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Painting by Gloria Alford
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Danusha Laméris

Nina

What was this sound----
        man or woman?
             It could have been
        wind
rubbing  branches
       against the window.
My mother laid down
         the furrowed disk, and up 
it lifted, this voice,
                    not angel
nor demon
        but something elemental
     that set itself deep
 in my marrow.
               Burnt sugar
makes caramel,
crushed grapes, wine.
            What sorrows, distilled,
this woeful cadence?
             I could close
my eyes
          and feel it pour over me,
                 something sweet
and perilous.
           Oracle. Harbinger.
                      Teller of things,
tell me
      what I’ll need to know.
                        You who went ahead
               and lived.

Silence

When Samy got sick,
he’d turn on the radio
the moment he was alone
Music. News. Even white noise.

He would have hated it here
the field shrouded in fog
only a smattering
of birdsong.

He was twenty-eight.
I’ve lived long enough
to count my dead
on both hands.

Some days
I sit and listen
to the tic of the clock,
the rustle of the nuthatch
gathering bark for her nest.

And just beyond, a silence
so pristine,
that if I hold my breath
here they are, again,
returned, shy deer
at the forest’s edge.

When Mary Wept

She would sink down
into the dirt
behind the house
wetness streaking
her face.
No other child like hers.

He ran wild,
always opening his mouth
before strangers.

Sometimes, at the well,
filling earthen jugs with water
she thought of the night
she birthed him

the dark smell of hay
filling her lungs
the swirl of stars.

How she had died, then,
disappeared into blackness,
and was born with him,

his crown breaching
the tight seal of her flesh.

What light!
For a moment, she was sunrise
breaking over the horizon.

She was mountains, rivers
a quiet swath of forest
the quick movements of birds.

But now, there was only the crack
of Joseph’s hammer
hitting dull nails
into a plank of wood

crows circling the carcass of a ewe,
dead that morning
the air hot and still
as held breath.

The child, where was he?

Danusha Lameris

Danusha Laméris’s work has been published in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Atlanta Review, and The Crab Orchard Review as well as in a variety of other journals, and she is a frequent contributor to The Sun magazine. Her poems have also appeared in the anthologies In a Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare, A Bird as Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, and Intimate Kisses.  She was a finalist for the 2010 and 2012 New Letters Prize in poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California and teaches an ongoing poetry group.

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Fiction
Alta Ifland
Catherine Segurson

Poetry
Danusha Lameris
Adela Najarro
Maggie Paul
Robert Sward
Ken Weisner

Nonfiction
John Moir

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