PQ Poem

4th of July, Pittsburgh

Six years ago it was Chicago, a party at Jeff’s. Nate was still alive. It was the night we made out on the train. I locked myself out of my apartment and had to call Eddie the Maintenance Man, drunk, to let me in, prayed I had $40 in my…

Latin Mass

A hawk taloned to a light post above the frozen pond. Two boys shovel a rink.

Poetry

I too dislike it the mystified truisms the dusty puzzle-​prunes the theatrical exaggerations: “the brutal crescendo of woodworms”–

Assisted Living

“Every simile’s an insurrection” (unknown) Her phone is like a cordless baby. Her children are a blur of programmed digits. Each week she learns new rituals to survive, from toothbrush

When I Am Empty

When I am empty I think about you staring back at me in the pouring rain— the family picnic in the Upper Peninsula,

Blending Image and Word

Ekphrasis first began as a rhetorical form used by the ancient Greeks. Defined by Webster’s as “a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art,” it remains one of the oldest forms of artistic analysis, dating back to Homer’s description of Achilles’ blacksmith god-​created shield in The…

Miraculous

I found the miraculous in the dim lamp that hung above your head, swinging.

Homewood Cemetery

My husband and I walk its paths at dusk in the lessening light when heat and humidity ease.

Walking

My first walk is also my first memory— On the purple carpet, in the living room Of that bungalow in the suburbs built For the soldiers who returned from the war.

For James Wright

You write about shyness the shyness of daylight along the Ohio River like a girl brushing her hair in a boarding house looking for privacy— in one of your poems morning arrives naked uncomfortable shivering in the valley offering only a glimpse of herself to ironworkers electricians millwrights carpenters for…

Avalon Creek

Slung over one sturdy branch hung low but high enough

Sleeping Apart

Sometimes he decides to sleep in the spare room & there is a part of me glad. He wants the TV on I don’t. We both snore & bother each other with it.

Zen or the Art of Trying Harder

When the yoga instructor tells me to relax, she uses the word Vinyasa, and that almost helps, as I unfold the jigsaw puzzle of my body, the old house of my bones, creaking.

Jack Gilbert (19252012)

When I was 18 years old and knew next to nothing about poetry besides Bill Wordsworth and Ed Poe, my composition teacher passed a photocopy of one of your poems out to our class and it changed my life. I knew I hadn’t ever read a poem quite like it…

I Knew I Wasn’t Poor

I knew I wasn’t poor, because I had a choice: buy tampons or birth control pills. I shoplifted. When I opened the oven door, splitting the closet-​sized kitchen in half, my only plan was heat. The ice smooth on the inside of the windows, the no money to pay the…
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