LYMPHOMA, AGE 14
by Katherine Davis
The pace changed in ninth grade.
Some boy had shot your collarbone
With his collection of marbles. The colors
Were obscure. Only surgeons saw them.
Even the aggies weren't given in a bottle.
Next were the scans for dark matter.
You were dumb. Didn't ask to see them.
Hell, you were frightened of mutant devils,
Toy soldiers in the war against you.
Caught with their hands up, some confessed
Their name and rank a starting point
For a chemical arsenal. Killing enemies
Plus women and children. Your survival.
O bitter taste, and terrible parachute.
You marched off the plane like a winner,
But the sweat stank in your boots.
Be sick like a grown man. Run through
The rancid acid, the souvenir teeth
On a chain bouncing on your chest.
Easy enough to pull out of gaping
Mouths that you pity as you pass.
Don't mumble: shout your prayers.
Private pain is useless as foggy goggles.
Gases from your lungs swirl into the general.
Stateside, no one wants to hear.
You are alone in silent panic.
Your loved ones must be relieved,
But they don't speak for fear.
So the pace picks up. What God
Maximizes the trial course?
Your heart is sore, made so
By the volativity of battle.
OAXACA BOY by Ruben Briseno Reveles
STROKE: FROM AN AWAKE DREAM,|
EYES WIDE OPEN
by Michael H. Brownstein
When you come back,
what kind of day will it be?
Which side of the street will we walk?
Who will hum? Who will bark?
: a dog in heat,
shun and shout
let it out
let it out
and in the distance
the scarred seed of cucumber trees
RED WHEEL by Stephanie Lakos
by John McKernan
Wants to burn
My first communion suit
Wants to melt
I first kissed Susan
Wants to slice
Every note & melody
Floating inside my skull
With Beethoven's Fifth
I won't let him
Even though every day
I draw another picture
Of my corpse inside granite
You are all here My friends Don't go
CEMETERY CHERUB by Brent Wiggans
by Jim Conwell
The walls of what was once a living abbey
rise up sheer to the open sky.
Inside the boundaries that these walls make,
Lie the graves of those who were powerful in life
Laid out neatly, in rows.
Beyond the walls there,
over at another wall that marks the field's boundary,
there is more ground full of human remains.
The unmarked graves of the paupers.
My great-grandparents lie there, somewhere
amongst others of their kind:
friends and neighbours,
strangers and even enemies.
My mother and her sister Lizzie, will return
with money in their pockets from their work in England.
wishing to mark the exact place with a stone.
They will seek out the old man who has charge of this ground,
Wishing that he will tell them the exact spot.
"Well missus," he will say "I don't rightly know, now.
Over there somewhere, be the wall."