The Sheaves of Grain, Submissive Now, Bend Low – a poem by Leonor Scliar-Cabral

The Sheaves of Grain, Submissive Now, Bend Low           
      translated by Alexis Levitin
 
 
Beyond the sea famine had spread like fate.
Jacob, tense, made the situation clear:
 “Before all’s gone, before it is too late,”
 His anxious children gathered round in fear, 
 
“To Egypt we must go to purchase grain
From Pharaoh’s stored up wealth. For word has spread
His viceroy, whose wisdom has won fame  
Declares his will to give the starving bread 
 
From Pharaoh’s stores. Young Benjamin alone
Will stay with me. The rest of you should go 
To bow for me to Egypt’s foreign throne.”
 
Kissing the arid crimson earth, unsown,
The sheaves of grain, submissive now, bend low
At last, before their brother, still unknown.

 Leonor Scliar Cabral is one of Brazil’s leading linguists. She is also a poet who still loves traditional forms, such as the sonnet. Her book Consecration of the Alphabet consists of one rhymed sonnet for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The book was published in five languages in Brazil, with my translations into English.         

Alexis Levitin translates mostly poetry from Brazil, Portugal, and Ecuador. He has published forty-six books of translations, the best known being Clarice Lispector’s Soulstorm and Eugenio de Andrade’s Forbidden Words, both from New Directions.

Translator’s note: The Book of Joseph retells the Biblical story of Joseph in a series of sequential sonnets. Leonor’ challenge is mostly technical: how to tell the tale in perfectly rhymed iambic pentameter sonnet form. The challenger is even greater for the translator into English, a notoriously rhyme-poor language.

The Northern Wood – a poem by Tony Lucas

THE NORTHERN WOOD
 
 
There was a crack that ran right through 
the landscape, where the trees stood bare 
- a solemn flaw that winter cold exposed.  
 
Frost spread its stars across the wall; 
she fingered their strange patterns, bright 
in the sombre morning.  Mindful  
 
of how some took for granted her belonging 
she had stayed on, content with their 
accommodation, though aware of never 
 
being quite what they believed she was.  
A shift of light had changed the music.
Resuming her uncharted way, she saw
 
how green persisted under the naked trees 
and hoped their dark deposit of dead leaves 
would soon be webbed with snowdrops.
 
 
 
 

Tony Lucas has lived and worked in inner South London for many years.   Hs work has been published both in the UK and America, with the most recent collection of his work, Unsettled Accounts, issued by Stairwell Books in 2015.

Such Things – a poem by F.C. Shultz

Such Things
by F.C. Shultz
 
Whatever is
like a timely sunrise;
meditate here. 
 
Whatever is                                                                                             
like a spring doe;
linger long here. 
 
Whatever is
like a shared tricycle;
turn these over often. 
 
Whatever is
like a swaddled firstborn;
consider these.
 
Whatever is
like a steaming cobbler;
marvel here.
 
Whatever is
like a crayoned scribble;
ponder here. 
 
If there be any
open-armed apology;
dwell here. 
 
If there be any
open-handed surrender;
dwell here. 

F.C. Shultz‘s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ekstasis Magazine, The Show Bear Family Circus, and The Joplin Toad. He is the poetry editor for the Webb City Sentinel and his debut poetry collection was recently published by Pub Hound Press. His website is fcshultz.com.

Rising – a poem by Margo McCall

Rising
It’s too loud in this cacophonic cave
echoing with old lovers’ cries
too bright with the light
of passing smiles,
the dazed glory of dazzle,
all razzle and righteousness,
arms and legs of a thousand
bodies thrashing against
Despair.
 
The journeys taken,
Never taken, wrong turns
Fording mountains to 
The inner realms
The outer realms
Realms, a silver thread
Straining and pulling
Tight, all gossamer, all
Shiny with light.
 
Below, the vibrating undercurrent
Of eternal sweetness,
Thrum of hummingbird wings,
Morning breeze ruffling the curtains,
A pie cooling on the ledge.
The battle will be fought
And refought –no winners, only
Scarred participants 
Dragging themselves up,
Rising to live and fight
Another day.  

Margo McCall‘s short stories have appeared in Pacific Review, Heliotrope, In*tense, Sidewalks, Rockhurst Review, Toasted Cheese, and other journals. Her nonfiction has appeared in Herizons, Lifeboat: A Journal of Memoir, Pilgrimage, the Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other publications. A graduate of the M.A. creative writing program at California State University Northridge, she lives in the port town of Long Beach, California. For more information, visit http://www.margomccall.com.

Thought’s in a name – a poem by JBMulligan

thought's in a name

God is the name for something God is not.
The smoky veils of prayer, the naked light
dancing on air, the trembling hand of thought – 

nothing can keep a truth which can't be caught,
which waits beyond the clutch of appetite.
God is the name for something God is not.

We offer up ourselves: it can't be bought,
nor dragged forth from despair, nor from delight
dancing in air on trembling wings of thought.

We cup our hands... and clap.  What have we got?
We peek through fingers, but it's taken flight.
God is the name for something God is not.

Desire's the daughter of the future:  what
we have we hold; what was ours once, seems slight,
dances on air in trembling forms of thought.

Tomorrow finds the dawn and pushes out,
so makes a broken mother of tonight.
God is the name for something God is not,
dances in trembling air, in thoughts of thought.




JBMulligan has published more than 1100 poems and stories in various magazines over the past 45 years, and has had two chapbooks: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, as well as 2 e-books: The City of Now and Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation). He has appeared in more than a dozen anthologies. 

Genealogy of Blood – a poem by Sue Watling

Genealogy of blood
 
Clear skinned virgin,  
cusp of change, 
 
mother, counting the days,
no, yes, no, please,
 
and here I am, cheeks creased 
like the back of your shirt, 
 
we are charms on a bracelet of age,
all red, red, say it again, 
 
red for danger, red for stop,
wild women, poisoned fruit, 
 
colour me red so I can be seen,
talk to me about blood.  

Sue Watling is a writer and poet living on the north bank of the River Humber in the UK where she has an allotment and keeps bees. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suewatling

Longing for Rain – a poem by Gershon Ben-Avraham

Longing for Rain

“Bestow dew and rain for blessing”
 —from Winter Amidah

I stand at the corner, resting 
in the shade of a locust tree, 
at the height of summer, longing 
for rain. A breeze blowing in from 
the Negev doesn't cool but rather 
chafes my sunburnt skin—sweat rolls down 
my face, stings my eyes, tastes of salt.
My splotched shirt sticks to my wet back. 
It's merely time, and only time, 
I know, that stands between now and 
then, when glorious rains will fall 
in bucketfuls. And the rain-soaked
soil will send earthworms up for air.

Gershon Ben-Avraham’s writing has appeared in journals and magazines, including Amethyst Review, Big Muddy, Gravel, Image, Jewish Literary Journal, Poetica, Psaltery & Lyre, Rappahannock Review, and Tipton Poetry Journal. His short story, “Yoineh Bodek,” (Image) earned “Special Mention” in the Pushcart Prize XLlV: Best of the Small Presses 2020 Edition.

The Woman in the Lake – a short story by Elizabeth Enochs

The Woman in the Lake 

Hattie sits at the kitchen table breaking crackers in two before topping them with pimento cheese. Her mother assumes it’s a phase — like the summer Hattie refused to eat anything with a face — but Hattie’s eaten crackers this way since she bit into weevil larvae at a church potluck two springs ago, and she’ll eat crackers this way for the rest of her life. Hattie’s had a stomach ache for days and doesn’t really want to eat anything, but her mother insists because that’s what good mothers do. 

Today is the day Hattie and her mother will walk down to the church where she ate the weevil crackers. They’ll both wear black dresses and black shoes. They’ll arrive right on time and sit in a pew near the back. 

When it’s all over, Hattie and her mother will walk up to the front row, say they’re so sorry and offer hugs and cheek kisses to everyone who’s crying. Hattie will turn and look at the body, lightly touch the woman’s cold hand, and quietly mutter a few words that no one will hear over the piano.

They’ll walk to someone’s house then and eat casseroles and pie. Hattie’s stomach will stop hurting and she’ll drink glass after glass of pink lemonade until sugar and pulp coat her teeth and tongue. Her mother will drink coffee. Later, all the kids will end up playing hide and seek in the woods behind the house and all the parents will end up drinking amber liquor from crystal glasses. Hattie will run until her French braid comes undone, and she’ll snag her brand new dress on a thorn bush in the woods — her mother won’t notice the tear until she’s doing laundry the next day, and even then Hattie won’t get in trouble. Before they leave, Hattie’s mother will wash all the crystal glasses and put away all the casseroles and pies. She’ll offer more hugs and cheek kisses, more I’m so sorrys, and then Hattie and her mother will walk home while the sun is setting. 

But right now, Hattie’s snacking and drinking juice from an old jam jar while her mother drinks coffee and smokes on the front porch. Right now, Hattie’s thinking about the story of Lazarus and holding her aching belly with the hand that’s not holding crackers. She’s remembering a Sunday school class from a few weeks ago about prophets and the power of prayer, and she’s wondering about the best way to pray for the woman the sheriff’s department found when they dragged the lake. 

Maybe I can bring her back without even touching her, Hattie thinks. She’d only touched one dead body before, her grandmother’s, and wasn’t eager to do so again. Maybe I can just say the words in my head and that’ll be enough, she thinks. After all, that’s the way her and her mother usually say grace. Or maybe, I can touch her while I’m saying the words in my head, and that’ll be enough, Hattie considers. I should probably touch her and whisper the words at the same time, just to be safe, Hattie decides. It’s the option she dreads the most, but she settles on it, thinking it’s the one most likely to get God’s attention. 


The screen door smacks shut when Hattie’s mother comes inside to tell her they have to get ready. Hattie sits very still while her mother French braids her hair, and when she’s finished, Hattie asks her for help with the zipper on her new dress. Hattie’s mom puts on a black dress of her own, gargles mouthwash, and applies lipstick the color of bricks before the two leave for the church, walking hand in hand.

That night, after Hattie and her mother have walked home from the wake, taken baths, and sipped hot chocolate in front of the TV, Hattie dreams of the woman the sheriff found in the lake. She dreams the woman is floating on her back, starlit and skinny dipping, smiling and safe. She dreams the woman swims to shore and slips into a white dress that sticks where it should flow, clinging to the lake water that’s failed to drip from the woman’s body. 

In Hattie’s dream, night turns to day while she and the woman are picnicking in the cemetery, and Hattie shows the woman how to look for weevils in her crackers. When Hattie and the woman finish eating they walk around, hand in hand, introducing themselves to all the dead who have risen. 

Hattie spots her grandmother sunbathing on a blanket with Hattie’s first pet — an orange cat with green eyes — and blows both of them a kiss. Hattie sees the girl who kissed her behind the white oak in her backyard and waves. The girl waves back before returning to her Nancy Drew mystery, using her gravestone as a backrest. Hattie sees a group of men wearing white uniforms with black neckerchiefs, laughing and drinking and throwing a frisbee back and forth while their caskets lie open in the sun. 

When Hattie wakes up she’ll look for signs that the woman’s back. She’ll bike to the cemetery to visit her grave; she’ll walk to the part of the lake where the sheriff found her body. She’ll try talking to God again. Years later, she’ll even Google how to do a seance — but the woman will only ever appear in Hattie’s dreams, where they’ll swim under the stars and share picnic lunches with those who have risen.

Liz Enochs is a writer from southeast Missouri. Her nonfiction has been published by Narratively, Leafly, Bustle, and many others. So far, her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Open: Journal of Arts and Letters, Remington Review, and The Raven Review. Often, you’ll find her in the woods.

An Angel is Reaching Out to You – a poem by Rupert Loydell

AN ANGEL IS REACHING OUT TO YOU
 
Angel reaches for the sun.
Angel reaches for the stars.
Angel reaches from the grave.
Angel reaches for immortality.
Angel reaches for heavenly light.
Angel reaches out to the children.
 
Angel reaches out in morning fog. Silently, it calls; more silent this morning. Whispering angel reaches out.
 
Angel reaches for your hand but touches your heart.
 
Angel is your confidante, a trusted shoulder to cry on and someone to laugh with 
'til tears roll down your cheeks. She's a heavenly gift that you'll treasure forever.
 
Within our Living with Angels membership, there is no expectation, no dogma. Just love and a common desire to reach for the best by partnering with the angels and committing to divine guidance.
 
Angel enables the most effective, efficient and scalable way to engage monitor and manage large, high-risk/high cost aging.
 
The rescue helicopter was like an angel from heaven.
 
Angels walk among us at this time of year
 
Angel's futility reaches an all-time high.
 
'No one could call you easy, Angel.'
 
Angel reaches for a pistol.
 
 
   © Rupert M Loydell
 
 

Rupert Loydell is a writer, editor and abstract artist. His many books of poetry include Dear Mary (Shearsman, 2017) and The Return of the Man Who Has Everything(Shearsman 2015); and he has edited anthologies such as Yesterday’s Music Today (co-edited with Mike Ferguson, Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2014), and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos (Salt, 2010)

Daniel – a poem by Wayne-Daniel Berard

Daniel
 
I don’t use “step”
as in “step forward”
or worse “step back.”
You are my bonus son
the prize I never quite
expected. Too old
for bedtime stories when
I married your mom let
me tell one now: once 
upon a theatre in the
middle of things they
held onto your ticket
torn in half 
movies had stages then 
and when the curtain fell
with credits fading in its
ripples a man would come
and announce the lucky
winner the bonus you
are he and all the lights
come up
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wayne-Daniel Berard, PhD, teaches Humanities at Nichols College, Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His poetry chapbook, The Man Who Remembered Heaven, received the New Eden Award in 2003. His non-fiction When Christians Were Jews (That Is, Now), subtitled Recovering the Lost Jewishness of Christianity with the Gospel of Mark, was published in 2006 by Cowley Publications. A novel The Retreatants, was published in 2012 (Smashwords). A chapbook, Christine Day, Love Poems, was published in 2016 (Kittatuck Press). His novella, Everything We Want, was published in 2018 by Bloodstone Press. A poetry collection, The Realm of Blessing, was published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press.