When he held it out, I ran / my fingers over the shredded / cartilage of the nasal cavity / and the sutures that fused together / the cranium, the tip of my finger / gone for a second when I poked it / inside a shadowy orbitMarch 2023
Ode To My Brother’s Face Tattoos
At twenty you’ve managed to erase / our dad’s face from your own, / blacked out his sharp cheekbones / with roses, marked each eyelid / with an upside-down cross to distract / from his glossy brown irises.February 2023
My son and I are sitting on his back porch, / early October, the gold locust leaves above his barn / giving the morning light something to shine in. / An unfelt breeze makes itself known / when the leaflets shake and shimmer.
— from “The Last Day, Again”February 2023
The Den Mother Has Her Say
Before we eat our snow cones, pet this dog. Don’t expect to earn a Wolf badge for your troubles. . . . Move slowly down the back, like you’re taking your fingers on a trip, until you get to the bulge on the haunch. Yes, it’s a tumor. Yes, it’s cancerous. Pet it like it’s nothing special, just part of the dog.February 2023
Prank calls, long-distance connections, secret messagesJanuary 2023
Selected Poems (And A Conversation)
As part of our ongoing celebration of the magazine’s fiftieth year in print, we asked Ellen Bass and Danusha Laméris to choose a poem by the other for this month’s Dog-Eared Page. We start with a conversation in which they discuss their shared history and why they selected the poems that follow.
The Big Picture
I try to look at the big picture. / The sun, ardent tongue / licking us like a mother besotted / with her new cub, will wear itself out. / Everything is transitory.
After my brother died, his wife was sure he was living / inside their cat, Rocky. He’s in there, she’d say, staring into / those blank, yellow eyes. Isma’il? Isma’il? Can you hear me?
Long after we divorced, long after you died of alcoholism, I still remember that day when I stepped out of the clinic, blinked hard against tears, sank into your VW Bug, pulled the door shut, and whispered, “I’m pregnant.”December 2022
An Aspect Of Freedom
What is it about a traffic stop and a city block and a sidewalk and a country road and a Bible study and a choir room and a vestibule and a playground and a living room and a bedroom and a bed and a driveway and a highway and a stairwell and a gas station and a suburb and a driver’s seat and a parking lot and a balcony and the door to one’s own home.December 2022
Ellie was a bedroom ghost: a dream-visitant, a gentle levitator, a classic cold-sweat presence-in-the-corner, but she felt under-sung. It’s not like the old days, she told us. They attribute everything I do to Ambien—December 2022
Of a fifty-year marriage, of an immigrant’s journey, of a terrorist attackDecember 2022