by Chelsea B. DesAutels
Featured Art: “Panel No. 1” (Leaning on a Parapet) by Georges Seurat
The night before, we’d eaten fried walleye
with tartar sauce in a big white tent and passed
the quaich filled with Irish whiskey to our loved ones
who sipped and said blessings. There was music.
You played guitar. I went to bed early, happy.
You joined me later, happy. The next morning,
we woke to snow and gray skies. All morning long,
I cried and heaved and my mother and bridesmaids
whispered, afraid I was having my doubts. I wasn’t.
I was rupturing—a violent fissure between
my wanting to be good at loving and wanting
everything, like a river island suddenly shorn
from the bank and flooded by ice melt. Over my dress,
I wore a fur stole that I’d found two summers earlier
in a roadside antique store. We’d been road-tripping
through the northwoods, you behind the wheel,
me gazing out the window at Lake Superior, a body
displaced by thousands of shipwrecks. Read More
by Emmy Newman
Featured Art: Southern France by Simona Aizicovici
I am accidentally thinking
about snail sex when we start. Mouths open.
Tongues. When snails have sex
there is a slightly gruesome amount of suction.
First, a tingling graze of eye stalk on eye stalk.
Then a lack of movement. Wet flesh. Fireworks. Read More
by Emily Sinclair
Featured Art: Pandora by Odilon Redon
We knew that we wanted a change, my husband and I, although we were unclear about how—or, more accurately, where we’d make it happen. The change was coming because I had, once again, a feeling of anxiety and inauthenticity. It comes on periodically and when it comes, I think that I am not living the life I was meant to lead—that, in fact, I am leading the wrong life, and I start fantasizing about the right one. So in the spring of 2017, we cleaned out our basement, fixed what was broken, touched up the paint, and put our Denver house on the market. We were leaving.Read More
by Kay Keegan
KK: In your essay “On Beauty,” the narrator observes that Michel de Montaigne inadvertently uses the concept of beauty to stitch together his vast collection of essays. When you were writing Sustainability: A Love Story, when did you discover that love would be one of the most prevalent themes in your braided collection and how did that influence your writing on the environment and sustainability as a result? (Or, was love a constraint you gave yourself at the beginning of the drafting process? Why?)
NW: I have to admit, I mean “love story” almost as tongue-in-cheekily as I mean Sustainability. Read More
by Kenneth Hart
Featured Art: The Bathers by Roger de La Fresnaye
Couples who fight in front of you. Couples
who call each other every hour. Couples
who show up early.
Couples who are business partners.
Couples who say “Absolutely.”
Couples who met in rehab.
Couples who sleep with other couples.
Couples who make out in front of you. Read More
by Donald Platt
Featured Art: Stained Glass by Simona Aizicovici
I am texting you
some trivial message like “Am at grocery. Where are you?”
the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator,
my iPhone. But when I sign off, saying “Love you
Siri translates it as “Love you excavation work.” I send the message
by Chrys Tobey
Featured Art: The Visit – Couple and Newcomer by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
I hunted deer for you. I scratched your back with stone tools
and we swaddled each other in fur from sabre-tooth cats
and laughed as we said, burp me. We’d say things like, You know what
they say about a large cranium. I’d chase a woolly mammoth
just because you thought it was sexy. We’d snort chamomile
and talk about how after we’re dead others will ponder our
big toes and our inability to ice-skate. When we were Neanderthals,
you’d make me necklaces of shell, and because this was a few years
before the Pill, we had a kid, but because this was also a few years
before the Catholic Church, we eventually mastered when to pull out.
When we were Neanderthals, we had no buses to take, no offices
to be at, no flights from Germany to wherever. I was never
lonely. You’d run and hide in the woods and I’d try to spot you. We
thought the stars were ours. We thought the earth was square.
We thought the sky was a song, and then the Homo sapiens came. Read More
by Mark Cox
Featured Art: Still Life by Ben Benn
After seventeen years, I return home to my ex-wife,
without the cigarettes and bread,
without the woman and children I left her for,
older, empty-handed, and yet
to the same clothes
still in the same drawers,
as if nothing has changed. Read More
by Tracey Knapp
Featured Art: Life by Simona Aizicovici
All those times I crossed the bridge to see you
and not one lap dance. We haven’t held hands
since that time in the rain forest, chanting Lord
knows what in Sanskrit. I saw my first wild boar there but
even he took off for the brush. Someone always ends the
moment. Another call dropped on your iPhone,
the cosmic forces at work. My dog sighs and stares
at my flip-flop from his pillow. At work, the office is
separated into orderly earth-toned cubes. Read More
by James Lineberger
Look at this, this
petri dish. Here are stem cells
as heart cells. Look. The heart cells
are beating. The cells do not
know the difference. They think they are hearts. Read More
by Dennis Sampson
Featured Art: Crouching Nude in Shoes and Black Stockings, Back View by Egon Schiele
It took him a lifetime to figure out
he hadn’t the slightest idea
who she was. Rereading
Milton’s Paradise Lost one night,
he elected to set things right. He would recall
what had never dawned on him
in an epithalamion of all their vows,
her face as gray and drawn and haunted now
as that which miraculously appeared
to Milton in his sonnet “Methought I Saw.”
He’d been blind
by Elton Glaser
Who would plant, in this stony ground, narcissus and love-lies-bleeding?
It’s too late to be young among the primitives. Winter withers the stalks.
The air reeks of it, decay and the odor of innocence gone to seed.
The time for riots and tattoos is over. Who dances the Dazzle now, or the Swerve?
Long before the armada and the asp, Antony must have tired of Cleopatra,
Those heavy breasts, that midnight skin, a name that thickened in his throat.
In the heat from eating an incandescent pepper, there’s neither passion
Nor apocalypse, just tongues in hell, just retching and the runs.
What honey comes from old drones? Forget the hoodoo and the holy water.
Pray only in Jerusalem, at the Church of Our Lady of the Spasm.
Love’s no trick of ecstasy, no lightning strike in the mind. Each new child
Struggles out, bloody and stunned, one more last chance to get it right.