Claire McQuerry – Claire McQuerry is
Kelli Russell Agodon – Kelli Russell Agodon is the author of two books of poems, Small Knots (2004) and Geography, winner of the 2003 Floating Bridge Press Chapbook Award.
Janet Norman Knox – Janet Norman Knox’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and have appeared in journals such as Red Mountain Review, Diagram, Rhino, Diner, Seattle Review, Cranky Literary Journal, Pearl, Adirondack Review, Can We Have Our Ball Back? and in the anthologies Pontoon 6, 7, and 8 and Red, White, and Blues (Iowa University Press). Her chapbooks were finalists in the Concrete Wolf 2006 and Red Mountain Review and New Michigan Press 2005 contests.
Poem for the
It was Sunday's last run, day nearly
gone, she drifting alone on the platform
at Varenne (beside Rodin's Penseur
in bronze), sad in her raincoat. And I don't
know why I should recall her now, except
that faces have stopped making
sense, have turned to floating debris
at the end of a tunnel's dark throat.
I've become like the catfish or any
skimmer of murky depths whose
a glimmer of scale amid the shiftings
of dark particulate. It's the perpetual
unlight that makes you work
your gills, crave a cigarette against
the tightness that is not caused by lack
of oxygen, but absence of sky. Charonne,
Voltaire, Ambroise- aretes like beads,
jabber down a rosary of track in profane
prayer. And the morning crowds
that ebb to afternoon trickle, swell
with evening's rush, and the doors that sigh
and close with a shudder, the capsulate fluorescence,
leave always the same impression:
dark coats, pale cheeks, dirty walls. Until, after
a time, desire dissolves to one
insistent dream-le reve le plus beau-
June. Mademoiselle in her raincoat
beside me. We sun ourselves at ,
and, even in summer, our toes freeze in floating
light. Shallows of a glacial lake.
I Stay Up All Night and Grieve for the Future
You make me vegetable curry
and I am too hungry to taste it.
You love my garden.
I plant a fence.
There are lentils on your shirt
and while the untouched roasted
garlic is the moon, the moon
is the unsaid Gaelic prayer
I whisper when you are sleeping.
Let me be your absentminded lover,
the split wishbone
confusing broke for misery. I sing
in your dreams- Ar n-aran laethuil
tabhair duinn inniu-
and when your hands open,
I look from your emptiness-
everything and too much, half
a fig and you give me more.
I sew poverty to my blouse
and blame you for providing
the thread and needle. You stitch me
a new shirt, the pockets are full
of spices. I open my lips and your breath
fills me. Tonight it is enough.
Kelli Russell Agodon
Note: Ar n-ardn laethuil tabbair duinn inniu is Irish Gaelic for "Give us this day our daily bread" from
"The Lord's Prayer."
The Beauty of the Husband in Fall
When you called to ask me
to give you more time I was sure
we were new lovers breathless
with chance unsure unsure
afraid when one button unthreads
itself through its hole a wrist
a forearm wanting
to run from the room avert
eyes or danger or making
mistakes and now you bare
your need for patience
to change adjust to what
need in running
a family because
I can only bear
seeing one part of your body
again for the first time.
Janet Norman Knox