~ highlights and recommendations from recent issues of literary journals ~
by Mark Danowsky, Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal
Jenny George – Mushroom Season
Everything has a voice,
even if low, diffuse —or outside
of human hearing.
Lisa Fay Coutley – Shelter: Michigan
Ben tells me it’s like any other house
except twelve men share two rooms
in simple bunks not unlike barracks
Jane Huffman – Chasteness, a Gesture
Love – too Vaudeville,
and lust, too literal –
Like “Starry Night”
is to “Self-Portrait
with Bandaged Ear.”
Aaron Smith – Blind Date
We know what we know when we know it,
I said to a guy on a blind date
Aaron Smith – Her Blue Body Everything We Knew
I wasn’t the same as these women
who pushed their way onto the page.
Harjo: She had some horses she hated.
Plath: If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two—
Clifton: what did i see to be except myself?
Men. Men had not written for me.
Imagine me, then, in West Virginia
needing someone to talk to.
Maryland Literary Review
Ace Boggess – Assigning a Value
Fear equals fear plus
the square root of consequences
divided by time alone.
Sahar Romani – Burden of Proof
After the towers, I never left
an empty grocery cart astray
The Rappahannock Review
Tanner Barnes – Hateful When You’re Sober
Hate, the alcoholic’s remedy to sobriety. I drink hate coffee
in the morning and a hate soda
when I need the fizz of a noon beer. No one ever tells you the truth.
Christopher Citro – Craters The Naturally Forming Basins
Mom said you’re on
your own. Not really, but she
hugged me less and less.
Jeremy Allan Hawkins – Florida
if you locate a sinkhole
in the house
soon the house
is in a sinkhole
The Adroit Journal
Donika Kelly – Sighting: Almost
Never mind the 600 stairs carved in granite
or my guide, a man with a mustache
and no concept of “almost,”
Rachel Mennies – July 16, 2016
If nobody has died, why do I grieve?
Robert W. Hecht – Villanelle
deep in the trees, young
coyotes hunker till their midnight song
sets aflame the skin of Jenning’s Pond
& tears my ears toward that direction
our cat unwittingly wandered
into teeth & terror and the great beyond
Rushi Vyas – Reincarnation
Fruit falls because of our gaze.
Gravity is an angry, unseen thing.
J. Estanislao Lopez – False Cognates
When I learned there was more
than one language, I raised a finger to my tongue
in wonder of what it lacked.
Rachel Zucker – Confessional
I mean really, what is it I don’t have that I want? I ask myself.
That’s the wrong question says ______.
If this is not a poem can I read it tomorrow at the reading?
If this is not a poem what is it?
A way to spend time with me?
A way for me to waste your time?
We voyeur each other & I perversify my proclivity to unprevaricate.
Tara Westmor – Burial
My hands still sting from the cuts and the dirt drying in them. How can I know
when to stop and when will I know the planting is fruitful, how can I understand
what it is that we planted and what survives?
Front Porch Review
Brett Dixon – Mass Ave
while others wait
in long shelter lines
he’ll have everything he needs
to keep warm.