“what the dead know by heart”

“what the dead know by heart”

by Donte Collins

lately, when asked how are you, i 
respond with a name no longer living

➢ ➣ ➢

Rekia, Jamar, Sandra

➢ ➣ ➢

i am alive by luck at this point, i wonder
often: if the gun that will unmake me
is yet made, what white birth

➢ ➣ ➢

will bury me, how many bullets, like a 
flock of blue jays, will come carry my black
to its final bed, which photo will be used

➢ ➣ ➢

to water down my blood, today i did 
not die and there is no god or law to
thank. the bullet missed my head

➢ ➣ ➢

and landed in another. today, i passed
a mirror and did not see a body, instead
a suggestion, a debate, a blank

➢ ➣ ➢

post-it note there looking back. i
haven’t enough room to both rage and 
weep. i go to cry and each tear turns
to steam. I say

➢ ➣ ➢

I matter and a ghost
white hand appears
over my mouth

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The Lake Isle of Innisfree

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

by William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

~ ~

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

~ ~

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

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Carousel

Carousel

by Jaya Savige

Dense night is a needs thing.

~ ~

You were lured

     in a luminous canoe

said to have once ruled

     a lunar ocean.

~ ~

     The 2 am soda pour

of stars is all but silent;

only listen

~ ~

   sedater than a sauropod

     in the bone epics

it spills all the moon spice,

~ ~

     releasing a sap odour

          that laces

     us to a vaster scale

          of road opus.

~ ~

A carousel of oral cues,

these spinning sonic coins.

~ ~

A slide show of old wishes.

~ ~

( HINT: I was just admiring his brilliant use of anagrams, Do you see them? )

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To Catch a Fish

To Catch a Fish

by Eloise Greenfield

It takes more than a wish

to catch a fish

you take the hook

you add the bait

you concentrate

and then you wait

you wait     you wait

but not a bite

the fish don’t have

an appetite

so tell them what

good bait you’ve got

and how your bait

can hit the spot

this works a whole

lot better than

a wish

if you really

want to catch

a fish

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A Little Closer to the Edge

A Little Closer to the Edge

by Ocean Vuong

Young enough to believe nothing

will change them, they step, hand-in-hand,

~ ~

into the bomb crater. The night full

of black teeth. His faux Rolex, weeks

~ ~

from shattering against her cheek, now dims

like a miniature moon behind her hair.

~ ~

In this version the snake is headlessstilled

like a cord unraveled from the lovers’ ankles.

~ ~

He lifts her white cotton skirt, revealing

another hour. His hand. His hands. The syllables

~ ~

inside them. O father, O foreshadow, press

into heras the field shreds itself

~ ~

with cricket cries. Show me how ruin makes a home

out of hip bones. O mother,

~ ~

O minutehand, teach me

how to hold a man the way thirst

~ ~

holds water. Let every river envy

our mouths. Let every kiss hit the body

~ ~

like a season. Where apples thunder

the earth with red hooves. & I am your son.

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The Graves

The Graves

by Joanna Klink

So here are the strange feelings that flicker

in you or anchor like weights in your eyes.

Turn back and you might undo them,

the way trees seem to float

free of themselves as they root.

A swan can hold itself on the gray ice water

and not waver, an open note upon which minor chords

blur and rest. But it was born dark.

The shore of that lake is littered with glass.

How you came to be who you are

was all unwinding, aimless on a bike,

off to retrieve a parcel that could only be a gift,

and felt, as a child, the sea

weave around your feet, white light rushing in with the surf.

What lived there?

 ~ ❇ ✾ ❈ ✾ ❇ ~

                              —Joy, dispatched from nowhere,

and no need to think about your purpose,

and no fear that the sun gliding down

might burn the earth it feeds. Black habitat of now

in which decimation looks tender.

Sometimes the call of a bird is so clear

it bruises my hands. At night, behind glass,

light empties out then fills a room and the people in it,

hovering around a fire, gorgeous shapes of wind

leaning close to each other in laughter.

From this distance, they are a grace,

an ache. The kingdom inside.

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