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Poetry

STRIP MINE

A terrible, lunar beauty,
pale and sere
like leaves past withering
when we run along the edges,
slag bits broke loose and
rolled down the wash
to the bottom,
pebbles round
as dark marbles,
two halves of ancient bivalve clam
facing each other
in frozen contemplation,...

 

Some Music

Across the room, a group of 20-somethings,
winding down their pasta dinners,
discover you can fret your finger on the rim
making even cheap wine flutes complain.
At first, annoying, an assault on ears,
but later like the reel whine
when a line is cast and catches sun,
its bright wick whipped against a sky so blue...

One of the first pieces I accepted when I became nonfiction editor for NAR in 2008 was “The Malignancy of Beginnings” by Rafael Torch. I fell in love with this dark and gorgeous memoir of a man fighting abdominal cancer while his wife fought against, not a tumor, but an unwanted fetus growing in her abdomen. The parallels frightened me when I first noticed them: the husband fingering the lumps in his belly, moving them from side to side like golf balls. The wife...

"Faith" was written during a transitional period for me as a poet. I had recently left academia to take a full time position at my family's pest control business. As I worked to figure out how to write about roaches and bedbugs and the tenants at the public housing complexes where I spent most of my working hours, I found myself and my poetry shifting. Perhaps it was liberal...

lucindaI don’t believe I can talk about why I wrote the poem “Orogeny” without first explaining why I set myself the task of writing about mountains.  In some ways, it was a deliberate act. But in other ways, as it always is with poetry, it was about instinct and passion, about how the words felt as they stood to...

If You Awake After I've Gone

I cleaned the glass to the woodstove
with wet newspaper. I didn't mean to
use the comics or the front page,
but you didn't miss much—

Summary: The world’s problems
are still the same and Sally hit Linus
in the head with her lunchbox
because he threw away her valentine.

A salmon laid her eggs this morning.
She turned sideways and glistened
silver. If the big white rock was Nevada...

unnamed

I will start with all the history I can said in as few words as possible… this poem came on the last day of a...

Just out of graduate school, only a few reasonable publications under my belt, I landed a job at a small Lutheran College in the upper Midwest. That neither my wife or I knew that far, flat land of small towns, corn farms, and dying industry didn't matter. What mattered was that we were off on a new adventure, that we were starting this new, gainfully employed part of our lives....

My mother may have been the first American practitioner of feng shui. Before this ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing harmony to the home by moving furniture and other objects to create a balance – sort of an external chi thing – became popular among the trendy, New Age, upper-class, my mother was moving things around our home to restore balance and harmony. During the 1950’s when I was still in grade school, my...

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