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Poetry 2  Spring 2020




       by John Grey

The slow stream curls

into a golden rind

with icy edges,

descends like

cold wind from the north,

the mountain,

the half-green, half-bare forest.

Twilight blurs

white branches,

green needles,

gleaming water,

bedstraw light,

no part disconnected,

not even a woman on a black horse

who canters the road to dusk,

clip-clop, clip-clop,

echoes into night.

Color floats on shadow,

brief elation,

tree trunks, now bright, now dim,

as dark moves in,

sun parts ways,

another trance left unprotected.




     by John Grey

Light is here

though at 4 a.m. it is nowhere to be seen.

The window is oblivious.

There is no detail anywhere.

I roll over and your body moves

a little closer, bears its own kind of light

when you sleep beside me,

its illumination shared by the curve of your back,

the torch of your breathing.

I've been dreaming.

Scenes exit my head voluntarily,

are replaced by sounds and feelings,

like the ocean,

its dark outspread wings

flapping on the sand

or you, the gentle back and forth

of your head on the pillow

like you're enjoying your subconscious.

Though nothing is visible, I adore this blindness,

the world between my thumb and forefinger,

the rest beyond the edge of what I can know.

Yesterday is burned out.

The coming day is lighting its fires elsewhere.

Your presence embraces me.

For all that can go wrong,

you are the immaculate fallback,

the woman with the flashlight face,

a bright bulb of throat,

that incandescent history.

I roll over in the glow

that sunrise will eventually strive to duplicate

So part of the world cannot be seen.

For all I know, it doesn't even exist.

But there's still a light to be had.

It fills my body.

And it's a dependable light.

It may not help with ordinary vision.

But it makes perfectly clear what I know already.


Bio:John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in Blueline, Chronogram and Clade Song.


After You Set Sail
      by   James  B. Nicola
the sea began to rise, the winds to rage
into a swirl and, likewise missing you,
I shivered, as if cowered by a view
of rocks whipped by the violence, wet and worn.
On such a day, in an Aegean age,
the furies made the elements recede
to foam out of which Beauty raw was born;
then, perched above and smitten as the strands,
literature, as the roar became a rote,
and Homer, watching from the sparkling sands,
thought to commemorate the coil, and wrote.
You see, to hope of futures now, I need
such pasts, and dreams that Something might come of
such coil, like Beauty’s aging bastard, Love.
Bio:James B. Nicola’s poetry and prose have appeared in Green Silk Journal; the Antioch, Southwest, Green Mountains, and Atlanta Reviews; Rattle; and Barrow Street. His full-length collections are Manhattan PlazaStage to PageWind in the CaveOut of Nothing, and Quickening: Poems from Before and Beyond (2019). His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. A Yale graduate, he hosts the Hell's Kitchen International Writers' Roundtable at Manhattan's Columbus Library: walk-ins welcome.