his approach
to love he said
was that of a farmer
most love like
hunters and like
hunters most kill
what they desire
he tills
soil through toes
nose in the wet
earth he waits
prays to the gods
and slowly harvests
ever thankful

- Suheir Ammad

Lamoni, Iowa

The factory siren tells workers time to go home
tells them the evening has begun.
When living with the tall man

whom I didn't love, I would wander
the streets, dreaming of Italy.
Trekking the handful of avenues

with him, he would say look there
between pink cobblestones,
there's manure like mortar.

The sweet smell of it Wednesday nights,
the night before auction,
when the misery of cows greets me

heading home through town.
Lake quiets, tired of my lies.
When will I tell truths again?

The siren. My love is home.
Nights, we stay in and X the days.

- Deborah Ager

I sent you one of each possibility.

the letter didn't arrive from a stranger,
who staggered as if drunk, dropped it
without a thought. I saw a friend
on his way to you, watched him walk it
away, two sheets of folded white paper,
waving, white flag at the end of his arm.

the electronic mail arrived, sudden and
harmless as a garter snake, appearing
in the garden I picture behind your house.

I left my voice for you, bottled as it said
a few thoughts: wondering how you are
(my letter talked about people complaining
into the cold spaces we leave our voices,
I told you my suggestion, if your voice melts
like new snow, add another layer)

waiting to hear from you, I finally imagine
the messages alive, sending a report
back from where the three of them gathered.
there was no house - they kicked at the dirt
where a campfire had burned, one turned
to another, said something was right here.

- Alex Boyd

In a cafe, once more I heard
Your voice - those sparse and frugal notes.
Do they not say that you spoke your native Greek
With an English accent?

Briefest of visions: eyes meet across the cafe;
A man of about my age - eyelids heavy,
Perhaps from recent pleasures.
I begin the most innocent of conversations.

Again I see that image;
Ancient delight of flesh
Against guiltless flesh.
Sweeter still, in its remembering.

Most innocent of conversations: once more, I am mistaken.
He leaves; the moment lost - and to forego
The squalor of this place, I read again your lines; those sparse and frugal notes.
In a taverna, you found beauty, long ago.

And when you draw, with your slim, swift pen
The image of that memory - time's patient hostage;
Then how can I forget him, that boy whom you could not forget,
Or that music, in a foreign language?

- Andrew Crumey

Oh, she was sad, oh, she was sad.
She didn't mean to do it.

Certain thrills stay tucked in your limbs,
go no further than your fingers, move your legs through their paces,
but no more. Certain thrills knock you flat
on your sheets on your bed in your room and you fade
and they fade. You falter and they're gone, gone, gone.
Certain thrills puff off you like smoke rings,
some like bell rings growing out, out, turning
brass, steel, gold, till the whole world's filled
with the gonging of your thrills.

But oh, she was sad, she was just sad, sad,
and she didn't mean to do it.

- Daisy Fried

I could not decipher the living riddle of my body
put it to sleep when it hungered, and overfed it
when time came to dream

I nearly choked on the forked tongue of my spirit
between the real and the ideal, rejecting the one
and rejected by the other

I still have not mastered that art of storm-riding
without ears to apprehend howling winds
or eyes for rolling waves

Always the weather catches me unawares, baffled
by maps, compass, stars and the entire apparatus
of bearings or warning signals

Clutching at driftwood, eyes screwed shut, I tremble
hoping the unhinged night will pass and I remember
how once I shielded my flame.

- Yahia Lababidi

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