Patrick Donnelley

Four Teachers

…I acquired some mastery with the flavors
of up/down, charm/strange, top/bottom, etc.—
with every encounter jerking me back
to a beginning of not-knowing, and always
private, guarded, spiny, never touching…

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Lauren K. Carlson

LEON Literary Review
Scientists At Fermilab Close In On Fifth Force Of Nature

Under the gas pumps, and charging
            stations, Dollar General, the mail

room at the post office, under traffic
            lights, crab grass, vacant lots, flower      shops,

a terrible potential, like the piano’s lowest note, struck,
            amplified and groaning, searching our waste inundated world…

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Mark Elber
The Splitting of the Adam

In the annals of dumb luck 
a sperm and egg collided,  
forty weeks down the road not taken Adam emerged

mist mingled with dew, clouds spilled their buckets 
hooves were heard and beaks broke into song
dawn’s rays nudged petals open…

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Malinda Meadows

Erik McClean
Cleaning Out the Refrigerator

The mouth of June is wide, petals of cream-peach roses
parachute down stone walls, and the radio wants to know
what have you made of yourself in the first half of the year?

I reach behind the bottle of Chablis, the half-used milk,
save the hard wedge of parmesan from the bottom shelf
of oblivion…

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Amanda Shaw

Copyright LEON Literary Review, 2023
Love at 24

And that’s it: the ear attuned
to silences, a locked canal
leading to the throat. Sore,

I try to speak, it just gets
worse. But also, sometimes, soaring—
a vision of when the love was new…

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Hannah Torres Peet
Designing Heartbreak

I know you do this for the drama: the penultimate heart-jerker of my journey,
the death of my steed–no, my companion for this hero’s journey you’ve designed
for strangers–…

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Katie Bowler Young

The anthropologist wanted to share a family story
he wrote about potters in Chulucanas, in a valley in Peru,
two days away from home. I sent pocket money
to Juan Pablo,
 he says before I ask what it meant
to Juan Pablo’s father for his family to appear in a book…

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Lizzy Beck

Texas Review Press
A Landscape Painting Inside Me, Lizzy Beck Reviews Sarah Audsley’s Landlock X

…The self that multiplies. The self that becomes. Audsley’s collection explores—in the most multifaceted, complex, open-hearted, and probing ways I can imagine—the poet’s identity and personal history, including her identity as a Korean American adoptee, as a rural New Englander, and as an artist… 

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Daniela Naomi Molnar

Texas A&M University Press
Daniela Molnar: my Gender floats on salt : Body as Place in Flux in Sebastian Merrill’s GHOST :: SEEDS

Sebastian Merrill’s powerful, elegant debut, GHOST :: SEEDS, offers us the opportunity to share a complicated, beautiful place with the wide, manifold consciousness of a speaker who is many speakers at once. Likewise, the place this book makes is many places at once, reminding us of the teeming hauntedness of our world, the way all places are dense with histories and mythologies. It reminds us that time is thick and fluid, a medium we’re always wading through…

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Janet Belding
Dissecting the Atmosphere

The kitchen windows are milky and slightly askew.  Dead mayflies hang off the pocked screen.  I never seem to have the energy for plucking wings out of torn mesh or scrubbing aging glass. Pointless really, when the view is that of the house next door…

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Mallory Rodenberg
Heavy Metal Home

I can’t tell you what it meant.
The rooms,
the music playing inside them.
The linoleum stained
and too expensive to replace…

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Jane Donohue

Copyright Nicole Mordecai, 2023
Amalgam Grammatics

         I find my tongue fingerprinted, whorls woven by me and mine,
forked 50 different ways for tone and cadence,
                     vocabulary and dialect.
            Humming “Oh my god,” the way Lizzy says it, bouncing
sacrilegious syllables on a cupped tongue…

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Elizabeth Galoozis

Copyright Nicole Mordecai, 2023
Don’t Be A Stranger

Be something more interesting,
a ghost, maybe. An earworm.
Materialize in a dream to kiss me on the nose
without showing your face…

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Brook J. Sadler
Polyphemus Moth

Your unseeing eyes are as gorgeous and false
as the biggest of lies. Rimmed charcoal black,
as seductive as Cleopatra, they stare back.
You spread your wings flat like an oriental fan
laid aside. You are as quiet as the owl is wise.
You have already lived so many lives,
molted five times, each instar a miracle…

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Jacob Sheetz-Willard

Copyright Nicole Mordecai 2023
Poem for Paul Valéry

I can’t stand to write another poem about clouds
(gray-blue, a little loose at the edges) when there are
wars going on without my acquaintance, so many
newspapers and loves, self-portraits of Chagall
I haven’t looked at up close…

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Dane Slutzky

Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash
Kindest Regards

I hope this email finds you well. I hope it finds you
healthy and safe from harm. 

I hope this email finds you wrapped in a warm blanket 
wearing hand knitted socks, whether you got them as a gift, 

or from a thrift store, or made them secretly under your desk 
during zoom after zoom…

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Victoria Korth

Passager Books
Victoria Korth: Narrative Wading in a Stream of Consciousness, Headstone by Mark Elber

Headstone, Mark Elber’s debut collection, winner of the 2022 Henry Morgenthau III Poetry Prize, leaves a feeling of joyful uplift and verve. At nearly 100 pages it bears no end-stops, but rather seems to pour out. Although the title implies something fixed, an end-stop in itself, this volume is about living memory, it embodies a long-seasoned urgency, the author’s intense need to speak both to those he loves and about those he loves…

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Jim Henle

Jim Henle reviews Trish Reeves’s The Receipt

Trish Reeves has written a book that ranges across history, questions faith, affirms human solidarity, and asserts the poet’s right to explore beyond the bounds of the visible.  Her poems often begin with a moment, present or historical, and wind their way, through explorations and leaps of imagination, toward an unforeseen outcome…

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