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Friday, August 28, 2015

Cloud II

Love Like Rocks                                                    Stephen Massimilla
Respect the rocks, the way they hold
themselves down, though from the point
of view of geese, the nimbo-

cumuli (their bulky white counter-
parts) drift like icebergs at sea
in the sky. Below

these sunset-catching cliffs, tiger-
lilies also face fire, stalking
and lolling around

unpainted pickets. Lawns
ruffle their pheasant feathers;
uncatchable quarry, snakes

in the blades blaze by. Since hiss
they must, upon proving too loose
for muddy trousers, they hint

now near, now thither, while all
is always about to give, given to
darkling cliffs of shifting
cloud. O

God, my love is my rock,
my weight, said St. Augustine,
my Venusian even on deserted

nights, super-sub-urban,
like bright orbits bound by them-
selves to plunge, however small, however far. 


Last Will                                        Hayden Saunier

When I am ash, as is my wish,
take a stone out to the field for me
and leave it near the meadow wall
where it won't jam machinery.

Nothing cut or polished. Something
tumbled down the stream and smoothed
with sand will do, the sort of stone
that's been there all along. It's just

that in the field tonight, I stopped
and stood beyond the cedars
in the hedgerow's coils and twists—
the heart-shaped lump of a wasp nest

suspended from a maple branch above
my own dark shape—and the moon's
unclouded eye fell on us all so equally,
it seemed as good a place as any I could be.

The Storm                                                                                Jennifer Moss
Where one mind stops,
another begins.

Where cutlery shines on plates,
a voice lowers.

One length of forgiveness,
round and round like a child's game
in the dust.

Outside, the rain formalizing.

When we leave we are replaced.

Shaky clouds in lightning,
my shadow alive on the floor.

Then the small passage for sleep.

How green and spidery the sky.
In its net, the dead bees of memory. 


Habitus                    Thom Satterlee

Language, he asserted, was a habitus... What precisely
he meant by habitus is not explained, but the context in
which the word is applied to language would suggest a
sense of "clothing... "
— Anne Hudson, "Wyclif and the English Language"

All morning he read from a thick volume
propped on a stand. He read and he read,
and when he closed his eyes
he continued to read
until the words took off their clothes
and laid them down on a hillside
that vanished whenever a cloud
passed between it and the sun.

All his life Wycliffe had wanted this:
the words undressed and he going to them,
a child to a fair, burning to see
if Faith wore her hair in a braid,
whether Why held out its hands, palms up,
and where Simony put his coins
when he stood naked in the light.

But no: Wycliffe had got it all wrong.
He was not going to see the words.
They were coming to him
with their arms loaded with robes
stacked so high he couldn't see their faces,
and before he knew it, invisible hands
began measuring him with ropes
stretched between his wrist and his chest,
from his hip down to the ground,
around his waist and around his neck.

The fitting took all day. He tried on
Son and Friend, Scholar, Reformer,
Heretic; he slipped into Priest,
wore also Doctor Evangelicus
and Morning Star. Some robes
hung too loosely; others pinched his neck.

In the end, he had to wear them all
and learn the sadness of being a word —
only one surface to show the world
while he lived underneath the layers
and listened for the barely audible
sound of his own heart beating.


Gone                                                      Malena Morling, from Five Points
          The world
is gone
      like the exact
shape of a cloud
          or the exact shape
of a hand waving
      in the sunlight
from across
          a crowded
to another hand
          that waves back.

Come to think of it,
      everything up to now
is gone.
          And I have also
already left
      even though
I still ride
          the train
through the outskirts
      of the city.

And I still sit
          by the window,
the filthy
while what is left
          of the demolished
      go past
and the empty
and the transitory

It's amazing
          we're not
more amazed.
      The world
is here
          but then it's gone
like a wave
      traveling toward
other waves.

          Or like
the delicate white
of the Dogwood
          that float
as if there were
      no gravity,
as if there were
          no moments
isolated from
      any other

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