My Family

By Nancy Miller Gomez

I used to keep old black-and-white photos in my wallet.
They weren’t people I knew, just snapshots of strangers

fished out of a shoebox at a junk store: dark-eyed men
in bomber jackets leaning against muscle cars, or sitting

astride a tractor wearing khakis and an undershirt, a pencil
of mustache above their lip. Women with cat-eyed glasses,

dressed up in feathered hats for a night of gin rickeys,
arms draped across each other’s shoulders and angling

for the camera. Even in grayscale I could see their cheeks
were rouged and their lips were slick with lipstick.

Read More

Cultural Appropriation

By Nancy Miller Gomez

a mi esposo

I appropriate your tongue,
your lips, your teeth, the smooth
inner skin of your cheek.

I appropriate your rolled r’s,
and soft v’s, the way you say
wolf without the letter L

(the plural of which is wooves).
I claim the patch of hair
in the small of your back,

Read More

Siren Song

By Nancy Miller Gomez

A songbird mimicking the sounds
of emergency sirens has been
caught on video . . . —CNN

A starling has taught himself to sing
like an ambulance. Now the air is filled

with emergencies. Whee-o, whee-o, high and low,
a fire truck rides out of a mockingbird’s mouth.

Grackles impersonate police cars. They dive-bomb
the precinct parking lot, bashing their beaks

into the rearview mirrors of their rivals.
The magpie knows a lovely air raid. Now

she trills like a helicopter, next a chain saw,
then an AK-47. The quail stop, drop

and cower. Take-CO-ver they cantillate.
Whee-o, whee-o, high and low. Juncos,

pass to Vireos. Catbirds steal the flow.
The chickadees have gone on lockdown.

They bore like bullets through the bleeding bark
of the cedars. Crows reload from rooftops.

Read More

Watching the Wind

By Roger Mitchell

Featured Art: Wind by Mikhail Gordeevich Deregus

Lift a small shovelful of snow
without a shovel
off the stubborn blanket of it
in the field
and throw it completely away,
quickly, too,
so quickly you couldn’t find it ever
on your hands and knees, calling
out its name,
puff of purest cloud, smoke
of frozen fire,
wind’s breath, you,
with no shovel
and a handful of white air.

Read More

After Petrarch

By Emily Wheeler

A romance developed in my sixtieth year,
which gave me hope, perhaps inane,
surely extreme, especially in my verse,
and affirmed principles of affection and cheer.

My lover was tender, our love serious, useful.
It was as if in the afternoon, gray, crepuscular
an angel had arrived! And we both so secular!
Of course we never spoke of death, its easeful

nest, or the unlikelihood we’d ever alight
together in the tall trees or, quivering,
fly off at the same moment, but that was alright,

because, whenever new or found or at least not lost,
desire adds a drop to the earth’s thousand rivers
and briefly greens the grave, its bed of moss.

Read More

“When We Talk About Mountains, We Talk About Memories”: a Conversation with Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour

New Ohio Review editor, David Wanczyk: I’m speaking today with Kari Gunter-Seymour, a 9th generation Appalachian, and the current Poet Laureate of Ohio. Her new anthology, I Thought I Heard a Cardinal Sing: Ohio’s Appalachian Voices, will be published in March 2022. Kari, welcome. Can you tell us about the project generally and more specifically about your hopes for what it will bring to light about Appalachian poetry?

Kari Gunter-Seymour: I would love to do that, David. My hope is that people will become aware that Ohio is part of Appalachia. Because some people don’t know, and a lot of people forget that a quarter of the state of Ohio rests in Appalachia proper, and there are pockets of Appalachian families throughout Ohio, even in major cities throughout Ohio, that still practice those teachings and learnings from their Appalachian heritage and their culture. And so this book is all about bringing notice to that.

I think of us as being Central Appalachians. With roots deep in South and North. You know we had those who came up during World War II and the Great Depression to find work. To seek out the steel mills. We have to remember there was lots of coal and iron mining in Ohio early on, too. And so this book is specifically my dream of being able to give these voices an opportunity to sing. Because they’re different. We’re a little bit different. We’re more of a mixing pot, I think, here in Ohio, because we are, as we’re finding out, Central. We’re not necessarily North; we’re not necessarily South, but we’re a really good mix of it all.

Read More