Creative Spiral by Alexis Findarle
by Jane Blue
My mother built things in her spare time.
She could have been an architect but she was a writer.
In 1954 she flew to Japan, the only woman on the junket.
My lanky, mannish mother. On Waikiki for refueling
a man took a glamor shot of her in a two-piece batik
bathing suit, pale journalist’s skin, cat-eye glasses.
She looks like she needs a cigarette. In Tokyo
she stayed at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel.
Carbons sent back to San Francisco read “fabulous.”
Carved pilasters of black lava stone, cantilevered terraces.
He was known for his prairie houses, clean roof lines,
repressed chimneys. Suppressed
grief written all over my mother’s face on Waikiki.
Earlier in the century the architect opened an office in Japan.
At home his studio overlooking a pond in Wisconsin
burned and savaged, the arsonist hatcheted
Wright’s lover and her children to death. His life
always hung in a balance between renown and tragedy.
Everyone’s life hangs in some kind of balance.
The Imperial Hotel stood after the legendary earthquake
of 1923, phoenix in the razed city, swaying
on its floating foundations. In the carbons my mother
interviews Tonao Senda, 35, so lately
the enemy: “I looked up and I could see the B-29.
The firelight was shining on the underside of its wings.
It was beautiful,” he said. Paragraph: “Tonao Senda
did not love the Americans.” The Imperial Hotel
was demolished in 1968, as was my father. After two
weeks in Japan my mother, reinforced steel,
went on to Kyoto, Nara, Osaka and home.
Trinity by Francis DiClemente
by Patricia Hickerson
little Grandma my bones
cry out to you
the dark deserted morning
after a night of cards
he threw his keys on the bureau
swayed against the bed
the window glass icy
snow in the gutters
road a blank
your small figure neat and cold
a cotton nightgown
your dream of love
those you could have married
the one you married
your second cousin from Alsace
the one you thought
you’d be safe with
he threw his keys on the bureau
you and the boy will be better off without me
your old bones
lose their grip
on the chairback
fall sidewise La de La d’oo
drool into the satin pillow
a century ago
by Lisa Anne Jones
Rugged pine reaching out of moonscape granite.
How do you make a life of rock and air?
Maybe we are all wild seed,
manicured into bonsai and boxwood.
We think ourselves houses, heavy on the ground,
capable of shutting out the weather.
Meanwhile wild winds push a thought
no one wants to hear,
their whispers a tenacious vine reaching
through the wood of windows,
busting them open, until it's all vine.
Like a strangler fig on a palm tree,
saying over and over open your eyes,
see me, see where my skin turns into you.
Photograph by Danyce Thole
by Ocean Vuong
How do I explain
to the small boy beside me
the difference between
flowers and humans?
That these seeds will crack and sprout
the same way they do
in his bright pictures.
That we are not pictures.
That something infected
with the variability of life
will bear the flawless
reflections of beauty
each time the leaves expand
to collect the heat
we leave behind.
That each pod contains instructions
to dance in the wind
and possess the petals
that stroke our breaths.
This is why we plant them
to remind us of perfection.
That to press a finger into soil, we
are not too far away.
I want to tell him it is October.
In four weeks when his face lights the window
to hope for their height
they will have frozen
before the bloom.
And he will have to live
ached in their stems.