Poetry | August 2022 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

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Poetry | August 2022

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Singer, singer, right now, in my tummy, there’s a movie theater.
Even on my neck are chairs
��"Berry Gocker (5 years)
Gmail
“Once you grab your stuff
We are going to become strangers,
You will never see or talk to me again.”
The algorithm suggests my responses��"
“Okay, I will”
“What are you talking about?”
“What do you mean?”
��"Shelby Lintel
Don’t Be Afraid
of the bee in your ear
or the bird’s slow circling
and those many other things too
mountains that seem too far for to climb
rivers too fast to cross
truth that refuses to wait
love that waits too long
paper cuts and catastrophic failure
not being brave
losing your children
burying your dog
whispering to one who doesn’t listen
listening to those who don’t speak
seeking but not finding
crying without tears
looking foolish, feeling small
losing the argument
fielding the blame
grieving the consequence
dying alone, far from home
don’t be afraid
of the shadows
the sorrows even
the despair of
disappearance
because fear is no North Star
despair not a destination
as we walk ourselves home.
��"Kemp Battle
P.C.
Adam, at his P.C., says,
“Eve, what’s in your hand?”
She says, “It’s an Apple thing
You wouldn’t understand!”
��"Evan Pritchard
For S and J
Sometimes��"if I find myself in the right spot��"
I can carry my kids
in my breath.
��"Leah Brickley
Communion Photograph
I am a poet, not a prophet;
My work is in my hands.
When pleas for forgiveness
Climb up my throat like bindweed,
I swallow.
This wilderness was placed in me
To range, to roam, to be healthy and real,
And there are ways to speak to God
That aren’t apologies.
My prayer stands on both feet.
She kisses her mother goodnight
And asks her grandfather to tell stories.
I keep her white dress in the attic.
Someday, when she comes in from the yard
With her skinned knees and asks me,
“Will I be good?”
With that first sorry paleness
Blooming underneath her freckles,
I’ll smooth her tangled hair and answer.
��"Emily Murnane
Prayer
Like moth’s eyes glowing dimly
beyond the screen door,
I saw in the piecemeal way of the world
and not with angel’s clear sight.
This half-life of love
is become too long,
the heart’s homing lost,
the lamb sacrificed.
Tiny bridges, too crystalline
and fragile to stand,
all fall and shatter down
in a tinkling rain,
and the roads through the mind
are dammed.
O Angels, will you stand by me
as you did that time at sea?
I’ve lost my course and chart
and courage,
the thousand unshed tears
at last are blinding me.
A reign of transcendent stillness,
the white promise you spoke to me.
��"Augusta Ogden
The ‘A’ Word
Uncensored tongue
spews words unkind;
don’t react, she thinks,
let them pass through you.
She learns to be quiet
and, most times,
receives in silence
the infrequent blow.
He doesn’t remember their dialogue
of two minutes ago.
“How old am I” he asks.
“88,” she says.
“When do we go home?” he asks.
“We are home,” she says.
“What should I wear?”��"and then
“No, don’t tell me what to do!”
She backs off.
Routines get mixed up in his mind;
she helps him sort things out,
tries not to be “the teacher.”
“Do I shower now, or eat?”
“How old am I anyhow?”
“88,” she says.
She knows he is not the cellular rot in his brain;
she needs to remember how they were before.
“Where do I sleep tonight?” he asks.
“Here, with me,” she says,
turning down the covers.
“Are we married?” he asks.
She looks up, startled,
then smiles.
“54 years,” she says. They both laugh.
She turns out the light.
“I love you,” he says,
pressing his hand on hers.
“I love you too,” she says
as the tears come.
��"Lyla Yastion
Willie, Mickey, and The Duke
Enough said?
Yes. Absolutely.
Enough said.
��"George J. Searles
Frogs Dreaming in Late Autumn
A fractured white sky.
Leaves falling on crystal pond:
No more dreams till spring.
��"Thomas E. Callan
What Kind of Lover Are You?
My father will bring a deep-pocketed merchant
From the land of diamonds to marry me.
And, my lover,
Who is the lord of mountains is lost in his enterprise.
His disciples say, he has invaded the grooves of sandalwood.
His gatekeeper says, he has sunk into Mansarovar.
Is there anyone who can tell my lover about my wedding?
The scent of my jasmine wreath has faded.
My anklets have lost their melody without him,
And my body has morphed into a living corpse.
I ask,
“Shiva, what kind of lover are you?”
You left me on a heap of fire to burn alive.
��"Nidhi Agrawal
Far And Near
A Conversation Between Georgia O’Keefe & Galileo Galilei
“Look out there, so far, a star��"
The waning moon is a scimitar!
Enceladus and Europa each have an ocean
Planets and comets in orbital motion
Is the universe finite, yet without ledges?
If you travel too far will you fall off its edges?”
“What heavenly bodies do I see?
Here on earth, they’re right before me!
Look up close at this iris, so near...
Pistil and stamen, sepal and beard
The shadow of your lunar eclipse
Gently cloaks my petunia’s lips.”
“I’ve swung from the Milky Way’s chandelier
Until it became abundantly clear��"
The rhythm of the pendulum
Gives existence its eternal hum
And nothing at all in the firmament
Can ever be fixed, will never be permanent.”
“I have no interest in physics equations��"
I prefer to caress the terrain’s undulations
The shapes of the petals and anthers I render
Are often mistaken for parts of my gender
I do not endorse these interpretations
But can’t control others’ imaginations.”
The night sky is smeared with silvery speckles
A sunflower’s cluster of earth-colored freckles
Cosmos the universe, Cosmos the flowers
Asterids, asteroids, meteor showers
Galaxies spiral inside of a rose
A Jimsonweed closes, the universe grows.
��"Barbara Lipp
Exquisite Corpse
The full moon hung in the night sky like a backyard paper lantern. The man slumped over at a picnic table cluttered with beer cans that glinted in the moonlight. He raised his head at the sound of a trash can being knocked over in the distance.
She meant to throw a kiss to someone and hit herself in the face!
Should she be worried?
Looking back, she discovered every boyfriend she ever had had state of the art audio speakers.
All the oozing pathologies.
She misses the complete certainty that social contact was impossible during the spring of 2019. The world was as rich and mysterious as ever, just no people.
She feels awkward being in the room, thinking she should have waited in the other. The man, an attendant, sitting on the floor in a corner asks if she would like to be a leaf in his theatre production.
They turned around slowly, warily, not knowing the source of the peculiar sound.
A childhood memory from this time of year.
At her grandparents’ house there was a stream and a little pool filled with tadpoles and frogs. She and her younger sister would spend all their time down at the stream. She was afraid of frogs and maybe because of that fear was excellent at spotting them. She was excellent at catching them but never saw them. She remembers time after time making a deal with her sister; she’d show her the frog on condition she wouldn’t chase her with it. Deal, and of course she’d always catch the frog and chase her. She knew not to trust her sister but loved spotting the frogs.
She seduces people at such a young age. She is beautiful to watch and suddenly you glimpse the pathology.
A man sits in a chair next to her and says they have a strong possibility. She jogs away barefoot running really fast now that she is vulnerable. She is supposed to go somewhere but doesn’t know where. She thinks of a playlist of subjects to write about and decides she is her own subject.
He answered, “my funny palindrome. A man. A plan. A canal. Panama.”
They didn’t understand what was happening. Frozen with indecision and a frisson of fear, the youngest spoke. “I really need to pee!”
Everyone wants to live to 80…no one wants to be 80.
��"Verna Gillis, Linda Fite, Mara Kearney Loving, Kathleen Anderson

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