Richard Shaw is a poet residing in the Connecticut River Valley of Massachusetts. A former dancer and choreographer, he spends part of his time as a Rolfer®, aligning, balancing and making more spacious the human body.
for Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2009)
My house tonight
is a bathysphere
on a deep sea expedition
down into the Bach Cello Suites
we plunge steadily
as surface light disappears
and the pressures build
our small porthole beams light
that can be seen from the ocean floor
The No. 4 Suite has just begun
the high-wire act of its opening bars
they pirouette unfettered
notes cascading loose-limbed
in perfect harmonic progression
hovering over an invisible net
it’s the maestro’s late recording
the one where he’s holding
as much loss between his arms
The ocean floor ripples
from the vibrating strings
barnacled ribs of old shipwrecks hum
as the slow sarabande
echoes through the deep
bouncing off the bottoms of continents
through emerald sea light
eyes open since the Pleistocene
a giant manta ray sails
coursing through whorls of sound
while synchronizing the slow riffling
of its great wings
These deep sea contemplations
transform each time they are played
even in my small sanctuary
in the middle of the night
with the candles guttering
and the pines shushing like waves
an old gnarled hand
nimbly balancing a bow
pleads out chords
the way an oyster meticulously
buffs a rough grain of sand
into the opal of rising moon
David Greenstone is a trial lawyer and a poet. He insists there is no contradiction. His poetry has been published, or publication is forthcoming, in Poetica Magazine, The Blue Lyra Review, and The Mizmor L’David Anthology. David is also co-author of the book Appropriate Apothejims: A Collection for Life, which was self published in 2014. David was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where he still lives with his beautiful wife Joanna and their three precious daughters, Caroline, Olivia and Emma. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1995 with a BA in Government and Philosophy. He obtained his JD from the University of Texas School of Law in 1998.
The first part of every trip is spent complaining,
If it’s not the car, it’s the drive, or who sits where or why do you even care.
And the drama turns up a notch as the house just wasn’t what we expected,
Not enough rooms, or not enough space, or too old or too quaint or too whatever.
But after about 15 minutes, none of it even matters.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that peace breaks out. It’s just that the volume turns down.
And I can see now the memories of their childhood.
Repeated back in endless photos of dancing on the beach and fighting at dinner
and all three of them stuffed together in one tiny room that desperately needs a paint job.
This is not my memory. It is what will be theirs.
These moments spent together when the world was kind enough to allow it
Before the other more painful memories drew near.
In the third line of this poem, lehekuiselt (nom. lehekuu) could be translated simply as “May.” But its root meaning (lehe, leaf + kuu, moon, month) is “the month of leaves.” Similarly, in the last line, the root meaning of küünlakuu, February, is “the month of candles”: (küünlal, candle + kuu, moon, month).
Aleksis Rannit (poet) was born in 1914 in Kallaste, Estonia, and served as curator of Slavic and East European collections at Yale. He is the author of seven poetry collections as well as numerous essays on poetry, art, and comparative aesthetics. His selected poems, Valimik, appeared shortly before his death in 1985.
Henry Lyman (translator) has published his translations from Rannit’s work in Poetry, The Nation, and other periodicals, and in two selections brought out by The Elizabeth Press. A collection of his own poems, Late Fire, Late Snow, was published by Open Field Press in 2016.
Winter with no trees.
as a month of leaves
would bless a month
of quiet candles.
vaikinud küünlakuu auks.
Stevie Edwards is the founder and editor-in-chief of Muzzle Magazine and senior editor in book development at YesYes Books. Her first book, Good Grief (Write Bloody, 2012), received the Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze in Poetry and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her second book, Humanly, was released in 2015 by Small Doggies Press. She has an M.F.A. degree in poetry from Cornell University and is a Ph.D. candidate in creative at University of North Texas. Her writing is published and forthcoming in Indiana Review, TriQuarterly, The Offing, Ploughshares Blog, Nano Fiction, Redivider, Yemassee Journal, Baltimore Review, The Journal, Rattle, Verse Daily, Nashville Review, and elsewhere.
Bury me in a sexless parka and floral smock. Maybe khakis and clogs. I ask a man for a stick of gum and he asks, How does it feel to want? I guess a lot like it feels to run on a treadmill. I guess an electric hurting. I guess I need more support in my sports bra. Maybe an albuterol prescription. Maybe Obamacare. I’ll give you a thousand dollars to never touch my hair. That’s not true. I don’t have a thousand dollars. I like my hair too much to shave it off like my youth wants. I like the idea of my youth too much to quit birth control, online dating, contact lenses, shaving my shins, skirts above the knee when the spring tries at sun. I give my knees to the driveway to feel what gravel can do for me. The answer’s not that much. A nick on an old night scar. No blood running away from me. No me running into the wet wind. Nothing wet running inside of me. I am all callous and motor. All calcium and rawhide. Not the girl in the music video licking her cherry chapstick. Never be the girl if you can help it.