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Falling stars off of a tree by Vlad Alvarez

My father is from Montevideo, Uruguay, and I never met anyone from his side of the family besides my abuela, whom I spent a handful of hours with when I was five, and never again (she died when I was seven). His bloodline is riddled with telenovela-worthy drama—decades-long affairs, biological and non-biological parentage, turbulent poverty, alcoholism, anarchists, all topped off with a violent and oppressive military coup d'état that sent him fleeing the country to post-Franco Spain, where...

Illustration by Matt Manley of man looking through a square frame.

          What else do we have except story? To say how we love one another. To offer comfort. To prepare for grief, for suffering. To try to remember joy.
          In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh. And what were those words? Mostly the language of the body. Breast and thigh, curve of back, ankle’s stem and neck’s graceful turn like the limb of a willow nudged by the wind.
          We were young, only twenty-three when we...

Midwestern

Sometimes poems start with nouns. Could we even go so far as to say all poems begin their at-first fragile lives with the solidity of nouns? In the dark we move, and that moving matters when we bump into something or when our bare foot, warm from the bedclothes, comes down flesh against angle, onto a Lego block. Through the day we touch nouns: a pen, a handlebar, a coffee cup, our ear, a book’s spine, our beloved’s spine; or we long to touch, dream of touching, imagine touching,...

A candle tree

Jeannine Hall Gailey’s Poem “Repeton In Winter” Appeared In Nar Issue 301.4.

While writing my newest book, Field Guide to the End of the World, I was careful to balance its darker themes – including mass extinctions, conspiracy theories, ecological disasters, and plagues – with lighter influences, from Cupcake...

Human shadow

Felicia Zamora’s Poem “A Long Road Never Takes Us” Will Appear In Nar Issue 302.1.

What brings you to the page? The incessant lull of the image? Perhaps the habitual pace around the desk, in taunt of your time? The spark of unexplainable inspiration that requires you to bolt toward any mechanism of capture to get it down? The guilt...

Freaky Dance Party Illustration

The lines/images that trigger my poems rarely stick as the entrance to the final product of my poems. Something that interests me about “Tips for Your Quarter-life Crisis” is that its first line has always been its first line. Well, the first line actually used to be “Don’t feed your kale salad to the wolves,” but when the poem went through a workshop, one of my peers pointed...

The North American Review would like to wish everyone a very special Happy Halloween Weekend. Today we have a poem featured by Anne Barngrover from issue 300.4, Fall 2015.

ventura

...

On April 1, 2009—while driving to teach—I heard an NPR story about thousands of children stolen, just after birth, during Franco’s dictatorship. This was no April Fool’s joke. I listened to this broadcast and others that emerged over time. It was incredibly systematic: Parents were told their infant had died, the newborn was then sold to a more politically suitable family, the hospital offered to take care of “funeral plans”, birth records were destroyed. Of course, this news story...

WAKE: WORLD, ARRIVED

Reality, divided into light and matter.
A moment travels from the universe’s birth.

A massless noun converts into light, then reverses.
This, the moment when the universe begins

to shine. Mother’s voice whispering by the crib,
brushing with my first series of particulars.

A probability turns true, tips and flashes
slicing the light into particles it daringly

hails through. Father, teaching me to...

Radar

When the bats tore from our attic through the dilute dusk,
we on the lawn watched them satisfy their summons,
the adults explaining natural radar, a human deafness
we would grow to accept. They rode like the sheets
on our pulleyed laundry line, parallel to the meadow,

lofted by a ditch of wind or my expectation
they drop down to us. This radar, we were told,
was like love, sponsoring naked, eggshelled wills
as they advance into...

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