The Natural World
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
Not everybody feels religion in the same way. Some it’s in their mouth, but some it’s like a hope in their blood, their bones.
What’s on my mind lately: How to survive the winter alone with a roaming catamount who needs a snack. I asked advice from the guy who plows our driveway. “What should I do if I see it?” He stuck his head out of the truck window: “Don’t act like food.”March 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
7:17 — Wife yells, Oh, God, look! Dusk now, harder to see. What? I say. Bear! she says. To right, where riverbank gives way to pasture, large beast lurks in shadow of tree. Dark, terrible beast, now moving slightly toward us. Large, dark beast says, Moooo.February 2023
Our biggest fear was dogs. Ronnie and I looked up dog facts like maniacs. Can dogs smell through plastic? Does the USPS use drug dogs? How do you trick drug dogs? How effective are drug dogs? Are drug dogs a scam that the government uses to justify illegal searches?January 2023
It’s Sunday at noon, and the open-air / vendors are planted in their usual spots — picklers / pressed against the outer edge while growers / forest the pathways with kale, collard greens, / and patches of lavender.January 2023
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?
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
Where do those lost socks / go? The ones that vanish / between washer and dryer, / submerge in suds and never / surface again?December 2022