Sunday, January 24, 2016

Susan by Holly Day

I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
and slipped quietly out the door, defying
detection. Your bare back

was open to anyone and everyone coming in, bareback
riders slip in through the cracks of hotel security all the time, defying
even little girl sanctity. Yesterday, I dreamt of your death
how I would deal with it, wondering  if you survived the circus
of the imaginary midnight ambushes that haunted my mind, the
big sister duties I’d imposed upon myself stuck in
my head, driving me crazy--Why didn’t you call this morning? I had

this idea of how this would all work out, I had
it all planned out, but I can’t play everyone’s mother, not in
this life. I’m stretched too thin as it is. The
alarm clock rings in my head before true circus
time, and I can’t sleep for worrying about you, little girl—death.
Nobody is going to come when you scream. It defies
all logic, but it’s true. You left your bare back
open all night. Please tell me you lock your door now.
Please tell me
you’re all right.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sometimes by Cosmas Chivandire

Image (c) - Mgcini Nyoni
for Aundretta Conner Farris

Our mangoes are rich here
but in Istanbul,
time can fold in on itself like memories
tying knots with blood vessels,
one can appear as if in a dream today
and be gone tomorrow.
The dried apricots you eat
paint your hands a sapphic yellow
like a savanna locked in mid-step with a prairie
to look is to fall in love
like Gauguin out of Paris, sauntering
or Coltrane and Naima for something smooth.
I follow your native gaze to Antalya
as a penny for your thoughts (living off the measure)
in order to pilfer a story 
in which you give far more than you receive  
Denny, skulk off to the ramparts with me at midnight
and we will bribe a fisherman besides, 
Bulawayo is fine this time of year
sometimes, it rains on a perfectly sunny day 
and the old folks say that it is a monkey's wedding.
The streetwise local boy slash erstwhile pocket thief 
you save from a sure beating by the vegetable 
stands will call you Amai, meaning you are still 
the end and beginning of all things
and he will repay you in overripe mangoes.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Man with the Can by Donal Mahoney

Image (c) Carol Bales
Every morning
before the sun comes up
there’s a feral cat on our deck
waiting for a can of Fancy Feast.
It’s been that way for years.

It’s not always the same cat
because feral cats come and go
but barring a downpour of rain
or an overnight pile of snow
there’s always a cat
outside our door, looking
through the screen
waiting for service,
sometimes licking its lips.

The same cat can appear
at the door for weeks,
months, even years.
They’re close friends
with my wife but not with me.
We aren’t enemies but
the cats favor my wife.
I understand why.

The cats find our house, I think,
not because the cat underground
says the food’s good but 
somehow the cats know
my wife was a farm girl
that barn cats loved before
she went off to college and
took a job in the city.

I think they begin to believe
my wife is one of them
because almost every summer
she comes out in the afternoon
and sits on the deck and
the morning cat comes back
over the fence and hops up
on her lap for a serious petting.

Over the years the cats and I
have been acquaintances at best.
They know I’m the one who puts 
the can out before dawn
while my wife sleeps in.
But not one of them has ever
cozied up to me, the caterer,
or why not call it as it is,

the man with the can.
I have no problem with that
even if the best greeting
I can expect is caterwauling
on the rare morning I’m slow
popping the lid.