THE AUGUST, 2023 30/30 PROJECT Page 1

Welcome to the 30/30 Project, an extraordinary challenge and fundraiser for Tupelo Press, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) literary press. Each month, volunteer poets run the equivalent of a “poetry marathon,” writing 30 poems in 30 days, while the rest of us “sponsor” and encourage them every step of the way.

The volunteer poets for August 2023 are Emily Ahmed, Lucie Chou, Susan Dambroff, Sara Dudo, Ann Huang, Amy Jasek, Jules Lattimer, Tate Lewis-Carol, Anna Priddy (Anna will join us in October)Read their full bios here.

If you’d like to volunteer for a 30/30 Project month, please fill out our application here and warm up your pen!

Day 31 / Poem 31


A mesocrastic cento composed by Lucie Chou with lines by and from Emily Ahmed, Lucie Chou, Susan Dambroff, Sara Dudo, Ann Huang, Amy Jasek, Jules Lattimer, Tate Lewis-Carol, Anna Priddy


Day 30 / Poem 30

Caught / Emily Ahmed

I am a small fraud,
I don’t actually know enough
about myself or where I was born.
But can you believe I created
so many little things?
That I was my worst enemy and
lived to tell the tale?
That my soul took on this unaccepting
body, tried to create a song?

Encounter: A Cento after George Oppen / Lucie Chou

What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see this again?
—Rachel Carson

in the steadfastness             of the world

deer            nibbling           the moist       

luscious         solitary          word

letting the grass have sex

canopy of trees         hide and seek

your eyes            a vase as wide          as the field

the sun has dipped its brush in gilt

in the boat of          your  young             

lemony              tongue

wind-whipped heart

eyes green & sincere

my skin singing

                have you

                popped up beside me love

with the tip of a tendril

I can break my own heart 

as birdsong over us


rest my forehead against the planet

Source texts:

Ochirbatyn Dashbalbar tr. by Jessica Madison Pískatá,”Ode to Grass” 

Chard deNiord, “Thistle”

Hannah Fries, “House Plant”

Robert Gibb, “Rewilding the Yard”

Forrest Gander, “Forest”

J. P. White, “The Fig Tree in Lourmarin”

Anne-Sophie Balzer, “Invasive Species”

Tara Bray, “Lemon Verbena”

Barbara Crooker, “Credo”

Khadija Anderson, “Eaton Canyon Wash”

Erin Lyn Bodin, “Birch Tree”

gracias to the biodiverse commons of Plant-Human Quarterly & About Place Journal

Gratitude and Grace / Susan Dambroff


to this body 

that still works


that turn, pluck, and wring out


that spring, anchor, bend

carry me 

up the hill


Not the organ recital

of aging

but the tapping present

of fingers

an easy trot

across the keys


for the grace

of my swirling hips

my yawning mouth


 and ears

that witness

the singing sea

AUGUST / Sara Dudo

Reconcile with the earthdreams
that fill you with dread for being  
human and being
in your rest and rest
and watching the birds
while love falls
off the trees.

Wall of stone, old crab traps
graffiti in snow:

             shock lingers.

A swallowtail followed the car
I know it isn’t her
but I cannot look away as I keep faith
in the restless numerousness.

When I close my eyes: sage, sage.
The sage in sagebrush: salvus: safe.

         On any given hill,
         a choice of being.

Make love in an octagon, soon after
stand in the drive and catch
little specks of ash
sprinkling the sky:

         this is what it means
         to revisit an old home.

Stairwell hollers
jacketed fists punching out window glass
handlebars in frog thrills of night
cool air of slugs:

         I don’t know where
         I shouldn’t have been.

         God, show me the faulty
         globes from bulk day roadsides.

Now that the dust is settling
the difference between purging
and pouring comes to be
the will and the sound.

         In the desert,
         an army of whispers.

What may come between the tongue
of wind and monsoon
and rings of silent sun,

         an eruption of zinnias

blackberry awakening on the streets
of my youth, smell of drying herbs

on the table
filling the house as I cradle
a split thumb:

shock is not a fruit,
shock is a bag of soil
to plant new ground,
to waterfall a gorge of earth:
I told you it all starts and ends
with the ground. 

Rain / Ann Huang

Shapes of rain and shade under my terrace

Shapes that cuddle their bodies in and ensue

Envisioning a place with their souls beaming

–expansive swaying legendary matching—

Allowing travail of mushy ponds, or swamps,

Possessed by their full glass of water and love

Above the ground:

Where are you going?

Why allow me bright-shape-full to

Dwell at your mushy place?

Rain and light house,

Who on earth cleaned your eyes?

You the underground of my


Faded Love / Amy Jasek

I remember the jukebox, how it would whine
out choices at the pizza place, vinyl
within belting out I Love Rock & Roll

I remember the once upon a time
the songwriter, my New York neighbor, still
a jukebox legend, black coat & beret

I remember all those honky tonk nights
George Jones & A-11, cowboys lured
in to dance to save their belt-buckled souls

I remember Dad’s loud records, china
cabinet-rattling, speakers peddling
legends, stereo tuned-in jukebox whine

I remember all the faded times brined
a soak of pocket change while laundry falls
around it, we danced to the beat with cokes –

the old recipe – syrup of those fine
days, young, running barefoot to flip vinyl
I remember b-sides, jukebox dimes
lyrics a mystery but belted out
popsicles, playtime, let the good times roll

Last poem / Jules Lattimer

Today the quarters 

splashed loud around

the laundromat. Today 

is about turning around. I’m out

of soap. The coffee kerplunked

everywhere, and it’s still

spilling. Before 9 my French 

friend took me on a 

promenade, we tugged 

our dogs around

the bristly sidewalks,

late-August thistle

overgrowth, pulled 

goat heads out of their feet. 

It was morning

she had a meeting. 

We were running out

of time. And quelque fois 

I’m in bed with my legs crookt

up. I think the universe

stopped noticing me.

I feel my home growing

crowded, filling up and 

smudged, performing as bunker,

no one invited and piling high.

It’s a different kind of reassurance, 

the kind with no bottom, the plastic

wrapper trapped inside 

the tumbleweed. Even from here

I see an insect creeping 

its way across the bookshelf 

by the spines, and when 

we’re in this house together, 

I suppose we’re both home. 

It’s in the room it’ll die in, 

and I’m shaking 

popcorn on the range.

Letter to a Young Poet / Tate Lewis-Carroll

I am glad I resisted
the temptation to write
sooner. I know you—
start anything, finish nothing.
Sleeping is an uphill…
and the bed is impossibly…
even when lying in it.
A rat in an endless
maze in a narrow
laboratory without a science.

Would it gladden you
to believe the bridges
through the fog drip
are built with poetry,
somewhere a road
is being paved straight
to you? Rather,
let it relieve you
to know poetry
is a bruised apple
in a bowl of plastic fruit.

Look, I’ve watched
you flounder at the edges
of your distraction,
to and fro between mirages
of fear, and said nothing.
I had wanted to go
somewhere I had never
wanted to go. I wanted
not to be there
so alone. 

It’s okay.
You need your mistakes
in their proper order
to make it
here. Here—
So go on. Get out
of bed. How will you ever
truly know 
without fucking things up 
and trying again?

Day 29 / Poem 29

American Autumn Approaching / Emily Ahmed

Why is everyone thinking of death
all of a sudden?
Article about human composting,
poems about the years left,
podcast about the planet,
if you’re lucky, you’re fleeing from disease
and the headlines.
I suppose it’s because it’s
nearly September and soon
the trees and flowers will sprinkle away
like ash blowing into the wind,
everything that has felt so alive this summer will die.
Why is everyone in love with autumn and afraid of death?
Apple picking, apple cider donuts,
that long vintage coat you bought last spring.
Dark bars, shady corners
where the lovers gather with their cups pressed close to their pumping chests.
No excuses needed to stay in
bed, to shelter from the rain and sludge.
Refuge in your floral sheets remembering
summer times, aromas from your kitchen, slippers on feet to fight the icy tiles.
Ending the endings that were overdue,
another season in life.
Why do we wait til everything dies to miss it,
til everything dies to do what we’d like?

Meeting with Mr. Mud / Lucie Chou

with an endangered verb rescued by Galway Kinnell 


As torrents bore down
on my umbrella, thickening
din tamping my ears against
numb, insatiable silence,
I stepped along a lane
of oil-slick London planes,
slipping on serpentine
silver of crashed snails,
bits of slimy bark,
mounds of greenish mud.

Brilliantine of rain
grooming, soothing
the long tumbling 
hair of lily turf,
glitteringly dark
green tufts brooched 
with pale amethyst.
The scalp of earth
sparkling in rain.

By the curbside crouched
a splayed wet clod
rich brown as mud’s
very muddiest self,
a piece of earth’s ownmost
being, like a chip off the block,
a drop from the sea,
a breath coursing through air,
fire in flame.

But you take a big bite 
of yourself off that blocky
brick! You, Mr. Mud,
bleed the living and
leaping blood of this 
wet, semi-wild land.
Your rich brown skin
blistery, twitching,
slit with black eyes.
What resembled
randomly smattered
watered-down dirt
are your powerful
pumping plunging
thigh muscles, small
puddles of muddy
water the stretched
-taut membranes
of your determined
webbed toes. You pulse
around plane trees
rubbing your half-fluid
body upon sluicing
bark, then sparkle 
into earth, 

as thick
hair and 
rain closed 
over you,
Mr. Mud, 
master of

1963 / Susan Dambroff

on the train my mother unpacked cream cheese and jelly sandwiches,

I was safely white, tucked under my father’s arm, we moved through a sea

of placards, Jobs and Freedom, now the 60th anniversary of the March

on Washington, history repeats its lynchings, in Jacksonville three black man 

murdered in the Dollar Store by a white man,

swastika on his gun.

I have a Dream


Twice, the yelp of coyote
black bowl an underskirt of onyx.

             Dust twisters bend the high plains
             on either side of car window
             a desert wrinkled by road.

Bar of broken sunroof,
moonbeam in the eye, rustling pack
             howls above the butte.

Amidst the summer simmer
             of coastal chaparral
we glean berries hiding
             in glochid shade.

             Do you not hear this chime
             of bodies being
lacespine carving your path
to a year of falling

out of touch with
the oncologist.

Crimson and Colors / Ann Huang

You love what you father used to
Love, bright hospital light, cake-frost-like
Birthday cards. You love my scribbles,
The checker dress shirts and blue pashminas, part
Of your love hoped to be left hanging
In between the tall office windows. You saw
Arizona, a retiree spot,  your passion oozed out
Like an airtight cell. Mornings
You sipped dark coffee on disposable
Cups made especially from
Paper.  You coughed on the smeared
Ink of your lined notebook. WILL IT

You have left so many things
Intact, an ending, a quest, a
Chain, a lock, a clock, a shrine.
Poetry is more than one life.

Windmill / Amy Jasek

wind in the wheel, drawing up days like marks
on a calendar, a tick of time
moving on wide wings while memory arcs

motorless, dream-driven, silhouettes parked
for safekeeping.  the shadows incline with
wind in the wheel, drawing days with bold marks

half-light, half-life, gently growing the dark
that comes soon enough, arriving on kind
wings that spread wide above memory arcs

reckless traveler, movements bookmarked
for revisitation when summertime
winds leave the wheel behind, its days embarked

for the other side of the year, postmarked,
sent packing, with contracts drawn in the rime
of memory, wide as the farthest arc

everything begins on a sudden lark
calendar pages turning on a dime
like wind spinning a wheel, leaving its mark
on wings that beat on, riding memory’s arc

Waiting / Jules Lattimer

The last inhale of summer the clouds 

finally came. You don’t have to water 

the green when it rains like this and 

there’s a baby rattlesnake in an eight, 

driven-over by the school, flat 

as a flat-rolled penny. 

Pumpkin Spice Launch / Tate Lewis-Carroll

A decaffeinated crowd rallied in the café
with their watches cocked
at disturbing angles. I was doing my best
to keep up with the onslaught of orders.
But then a man in an ill-fitting suit
climbed onto a table and addressed the crowd,
Already the wind is sharpening its fangs
for winter. Even my step-son knows
how to grind espresso. I looked and saw people
turn toward him and one another, nodding.
We don’t mean jack squat to the circles of mocha,
a woman shouted. No we don’t, replied 
a dozen others. The man continued, All my life 
I’ve waded through fog froth with my pockets full
of snapping turtles, but still I steered the course.
And you kept the course, many shrieked.
I was stationed nearest to the front. The excitement
was catching. I must admit, I couldn’t look away.
And what do the avocado green aprons
of the millennials mean to the investors
holding down the front lines, he paused,
nothing but broken bones! The crowd went nuts—
aping the conducts of fealty, hurriedly folding
paper airplanes with the lobby napkins
and firing them at us behind the counter.
In my most convincing customer service voice,
I smiled and said, You seem to be building
a tree house out of the entire tree. A woman
with a mouthful of cheese sneered at me
and said, he’s just saying what everybody’s thinking.
He pressed on, The beast of minimum wage
is on the move again because we did not shoot straight.
Our grandpappies would be ashamed. Did we get
anything from the blender besides the memory 
of the blending, or all the poorer for it? 
No we did not. People were unfolding their planes
now to wipe away tears. The entire crowd
was flushed and out of breath. We too
were starting to sweat. He went to continue
but I called out his name and set down
a pumpkin spiced chai on the counter.
He stopped and looked over. With a little help,
he climbed down from the table and took it
with both hands. I could see the smell
was intoxicating the crowd. Without another word,
he turned and hurried to the parking lot,
where the geese in the drive through
were laying on their horns.

Day 28 / Poem 28

Hot Day / Emily Ahmed

At the community garden,
planting and weeding,
introductions and trowels,
and my memories erupt,
slow motion volcano:
It took too many years to end up here,
to follow through on this city,
to swap numbers with a recent transplant,
to come out of the shell that was my life.

There’s a compost station,
I used to compost behind the yellow house
in the suburbs
that became a graveyard for my young self.
I’d have to park down the road,
walk alone the long path at night alone
to meet him there,
the driveway reserved for the rest.

Pulling at the weeds, remembering
how I wish I could have pulled out
every false friend I could have not known.
Watering the seedlings, remembering
every shower curled in the corner,
every terrible whisper at the office.

Too many memories,
covered in lava and heat,
I rage over what I lost and never had.

Heat like I worked so hard today,
heat like love, heat like fire,
heat like I think I’ll go relax,
sleep through the day.
Heat like, I can feel every drop of sweat.
So hot I burn,
then I become mindful,
then I’m ready to forget
everything that came before
I burned it all down.

Interview with My Companion Flower, in Which She Riffs on “Pied Beauty” / Lucie Chou

I murmur to Morning Glory: 
how do you be 
-lieve in four o’clock to 
arrive each day as a sun god 
holds a dew’s faith? Through the pale throat—For
light and shadow, blooming and drooping, dappled 
dance of ten thousand things – 

the mist-blankets of skies 
that shelter my dreams of 
wrapping round windows of that couple 
of fairies polishing their changing-color 
mirrors in palaces of grass as 
the sun flicks a 
long needle of light to knit brinded 
clouds into a chrysophanous cow–

my companion trumpets her joy—For
though not a rose
I have my own hour—moles 
witch the night of All
Souls—it is in 
this very hour you, human friend, a stipple 
of sun upon
your lip leaping like a trout, 
speak to me, that 
I find it time to swim
my tentacles into full swing. Fresh
breezes breathe cool from the firecoal 
of that blinding globe. A miracle that this chestnut
tree I began to twine yesterday is scattering falls
of fragrant white and finches
fanning my blue wine with golden wings; 

No monocultivated “landscape” 
will I make of the plotted 
land below my midair home and 
when you ask how do you believe in morning, I ask, those pieced 
concepts, every piece saying the same, fold on fold, 
how come you believe in them? I let my soul rest fallow
but various with weeds. When the gardener comes and 
plans to plough 

me down to plant
new flowers, delphiniums, snapdragons, all
flash and fancy in full day, all trades
of plant people, each about to claim their 
hour, each holding tight and ready their gear 
wound up in seed clothes and 
to cast diverse colors over the dreams of fairies with their tackle 
of stem and stalk, bloom and bract, root and 
shoot, to upend his toils to keep the garden in trim
at the end of the day, as I am doing, I do not panic at all. 
Life is a perilous jewel, a mystery, full of things 
that counter
and clash with one another. I am an original 
and so is every living being. The world is spare
and lush. My own face strange,
strangely familiar. I suck whatever 
wells up or pours down, make green out of that which is 
within reach, stay my lease. Rain is fickle, 
Sun’s face freckled.
There is no knowing who 
will come to me next, whether he knows 
or cares about how

I would love to hug his body with
my tendrils if he would only let his swift
down enough for my quick. Will the showers taste sweet 
or sour
because there’s acid in it? I keep myself adazzle
even when the day goes dim
with a total solar eclipse. He 
beams at mothers and fathers
plucking me for their kids. I will put forth 
another flower, another me, whose 
hope for four o’clock’s beauty
ever steadfast, past 
everything that can change
in the garden. Yes. Yes and yes I say. Even the gardener will praise 
me on a good morning. Oh a merry good morning to him.            

Last Days of Summer / Susan Dambroff

mother and daughter

with twin pony tails

bob down the street

a basset hound

looks like an old man

his short legs determined

at the farmer’s market

the wrinkled skin

of heirloom tomatoes

my weathered hands

the mottled leaves of kale

the long climb home

rosemary sprigs and the last

apricot rose

my mind everywhere

how old will I become?

my puppy meets 

his best friend Mabel

for a prance

MERCY / Sara Dudo

Farm portrait:
           catcalling cows to turn their horns 
           between rotten fence teeth
           a host of rolling knolls
           weeping trees arching in hard wind 
shoved the door of greenhouse 12
off its hinges yesterday, impaled plexiglass. 

           A May window:
                     the Quanzan cherry
                     undresses in wind. 

You argue with your father
about your death, whether you can 
           fish Gravelly Run after high rainfall. 

           What good is lucid love? 

Sold-out signs on every chicken wire table 
cradling pansies, traversing 
           swamp board with Olivia. 
           Surely, everything is a last time. 

Fragility has never been the question, we are 
           all fragile in skin and mind 

every wake of mourning dove
on stray dogwood beside the window. 

           The church:
                     spring rose and snapdragon, 
                     morning of your hips 
           shuddering against mine, 
           the cat begging 
at brunch. 

Summer Solstice / Ann Huang

Inside, the house is dull with lies
and fancies, the sun’s immense capacity.

A stranger tries to come in from the broken mirror,
its sharp entry has shaken the glasses.

You whistle your limbo from the damage,
marking the red lips on them forever.

You sharpen their edge everyday and hope
peace from yourself without mayhem.

A skill you will need to conquer:
Less lines and dots. Much more colorful.

Amarillo Morning / Amy Jasek

Travel book falls open to a new page,
a blank page, and a pen ready to hand
is freshly inked, primed, and prepped to engage.

Toes press morning pedals, gears earn their wage,
fresh coffee brews the travelers that stand
with books falling open to a new page

Archetypal, the road waits, age to age
north, south, east, west, opens up to commands,
pavement refreshes, ready to engage

The unknown’s appealing voice upstages
commonplace working days, demands new plans,
coyly opens itself to a new page

It begs to be written, won’t be assuaged
by “maybe tomorrow,” promises pan
out, reveal gold, discovery engaged

The now inside you busts out of the cage
Life calls to be lived, fully present and
traveling as open as a blank page
It waits for you, primed and prepped to engage

Agua Fria / Jules Lattimer

Today in the cottonwoods 

the sun fluttered white 

behind the canopy, little 

orange ants pocked at my legs 

all over and in the milky water, 

I couldn’t see but there were other 

worldlies uncurling their tentacles 

up from the springs, impossible

yards of seaweed, or something

making colonies of bubbles 

finding tiny kicking feet.

Picking Up Sticks After a Storm / Tate Lewis-Carroll

Choose a few
to whittle, the rest
for burning. Your hands,
sticky with sap,
will smell how you
remember your father’s
workshop. Breathe deeply
when you wash them.
But be sure to
wash them good
and clean. There’s 
no use in holding on
to that crud
once the job’s done.

Day 27 / Poem 27

Small Town / Emily Ahmed

Wearing sunglasses at the grocery store,
disguised like the red moon tonight.

The moon was a gemstone,
a pomegranate seed.

I stitched those seeds into my ribs.
Ribs for hunger and how I’m tired of that ache.

That ache is what got me into trouble,
that meant I’ll have to stay out of it.

Staying out means a disguise to the store,
to the library, and to the cafe amidst its steam.

Running out of steam,
we tear through ourselves.

Hungry, we keep going back for more.

Inter-Leaf f  / Lucie Chou

for Alice Oswald

the leaf that now lies being made
to shiver in the translucent dark
in its shell of scale, the hush of things
before dawn, rain and rasping gales
unseen inside, the heartbeat of dead wood
flickering like a lover’s sleep.
the slow through-flow that feeds
a feeling of a silhouette before the silhouette
a form curled under, hour by hour
lifting into light toward summer’s late fires
the thick reissuing starlike shapes
that shimmer like Lucifer at the edge
of cells and pores and water-rods
greening, expanding, straining
which builds up, which becomes a pressure
to ply time to the zenith of future,
a gradual fleshing out of a longing for light,
on the up-crinkled starboard of a leaf
a small hand unfolding, feeling about
to fall freely down the rapids
into that hand the entire
earth spreads underneath. The last
object of the self being coldly placed
in the mindless mind that moves
the provisional, the inexplicable I
to the heartbeat of the elements
in mid-air, meeting the wind and dancing
is a mutable trust in the seasons

to shiver in the translucent dark
before dawn, rain and rasping gales
flickering like a lover’s sleep.
a feeling of a silhouette before the silhouette
lifting into light toward summer’s late fires
that shimmer like Lucifer at the edge
greening, expanding, straining
to ply time to the zenith of future,
on the up-crinkled starboard of a leaf
to fall freely down the rapids
earth spreads underneath. The last
in the mindless mind that moves
to the heartbeat of the elements
is a mutable trust in the seasons

Note: here I see the lines of Alice Oswald’s poem “Leaf” (p. 8 in Woods etc. Faber and Faber,
2005) as pages in a book, between which I place my own lines as autumn leaves picked up from a
forest floor, to be pressed and preserved, plied into the future. My lines make a song of a leaf at
the edge of summer plunging into autumn, or “fall”, a counterpoint to Alice’s original, which is a

supreme expression of a leaf’s voice unfurling in pre-spring. These two times, diametrically
opposed on the wheel of the seasons, engage in a kind of dialogue or stichomythia, overlapping,
interleaving, ghosting one another’s song, ending on the shared ending of the two poems, which
also ends the third poem, a poem that is both the merged body and merging edge of the other two.

4 Centos / Susan Dambroff

dear star, that just happens 
numberless autumn with its leaves
there was nothing and then…
            ten thousand flowers in spring 


how wide does the crack in heaven have to split  
in this story of forever 
                        you are the air of the now and then gone


You must learn one thing 
gather all the kindling about your heart 
            this sorrow, that great love
                        suddenly the air is filled with snow 


the music of what happens
            you gave me blue and I gave you yellow 
            that is all you need
                                                geography and memory
                        the tambourine sound of the snow cricket 

  1. Mary Oliver, Lucille Clifton, William Stafford)
  2. Ellen Bass, Joy Harjo, Ross Gay
  3. David Whyte, John O’Donohue, Jane Hirshfiled, William Stafford
  4. Olga Broumas, Alberto RÍos, John O’Donohue, Lucille Clifton, Mary Oliver

JUNE / Sara Dudo

A sunflower bag on Carmel beach 
filled with pink stones I wish 
to make into a mosaic
of our wet and dry lives. 

Post office on Camino El Norte
in my yellow heaven: palo verde coats 
the desert golden in June and once 
the bees do their work, edible fruit beans.  

Nothing is hidden, nothing is prolonged. 
Green trunks do as green does: 
live, expand, die.

The pacific: spectral grove of rock and seal.
In the midst of our lives, we sleep
with sand dollars, roam wine country
and meet our Monterrey glass angels.

Blackberry days I still cannot write.

Watering lists: saguaro cemetery, 
rabbit pen north, east of greenhouse 
little ones, pine irrigation. Clouds
floating low enough to cast shadows
on the ground are usually followed
by rain. 

In between rain and dust meadows
and twilight fossil beds, time has 
its way with us. My girl is grown.

Every poem is about Nevada.

Baskets of gold at Point Lobos.
We smuggle in the dog and cowboy boots.

Stanleya pinnata in Green River to lost
in panoramaland, then a grapefruit 
and binoculars found our way back to being human 
with cherry stains on our lips and 
a red merle resting in sawgrass.

Rodeo sweaters. Bonnie Raitt. 
Within these small membranes 
we house ourselves in,
a salamander of road, 
a sea pinnacle, 
a blueberry bush.

Young Love / Ann Huang

In you is a big flaming balloon
Ascent by young restaurants, with crowded people.
After the restaurants are opened, young effervescent men,
Devouring moonlight.
The young men are your followers:
they go to you every morning, in a motorbike,
Or unwind briskly.
You empty Umami bowl and mingle,
And exhale moods to dark bushes from the plaza.
Fun women, funny men, and the satisfying elders
Flew beside you, and from the restaurants.
You meet the restaurant chefs, who drop their hats and umbrellas for you.
Some mornings you should have come to me.

Buffalo / Amy Jasek

There’s something sacred about a canyon, how the land gave way to waterpower and a slow, slow hollowing.  The wind blows through it like breath through a horn, glossy black and sacred in itself, pressed to lips and sounding a haunted cry across the river.  Feet plant on the surrounding flatlands, surveying the prairie as if it could be measured in arm lengths, or herd sizes, while one decreases and the other grows, nomadic as ever.  In the canyon, their kind is protected, a holy right, a tiny try, an attempt at saying sorry.

In town / Jules Lattimer

At the yard sale 

I got three 

pendant lamps and 

two chairs and 

new shoes and 

a sunburn, the 


creeps up

like volume

or a tide line,

a deadline

and we all

were just walking 

our Saturdays

No Moon / Tate Lewis-Carroll

When the museum curator first encountered the white stag-like stillness of the moon, he screamed, You belong in a museum! But that just scared it away from its grazing of tree tops and steel roofs. The curator drained the funds in the museum’s Ancient Artifacts Room account. He needed money, but he vehemently refused the offer from the rival baseball museum from across the street to buy the relics. He’d always hated that baseball museum. How could you people, he would shout down from the observatory, care about some over-paid athlete who doesn’t even run his own bases more than the bones of a goddamned dinosaur? The patrons usually flipped him off as the rival curator handed out cups of warm Old Style beer for the inconvenience. Instead, to raise funds, the curator held an assembly at the local high schools. He began by saying, Punching holes through dry-wall will never satisfy anyone. It’s too new and easily replaceable. Boy, do I have a once in a many lifetimes offer for you. He made a killing there selling baseball bats and crowbars for $30 a pop. Next, he turned the Ancient Artifacts Room into a rage room. Tickets were an arm and a leg. The rich teens, being angry and hormonal, didn’t hesitate to make quick work of the terra-cotta soldiers lined up like dominoes. Crazed with affirmation, they soon broke loose into the rest of the museum. The curator was too busy counting up his earnings to notice that they had just made it through the European Art Wing, where the only pieces left intact were ones with any exposed breasts. It didn’t matter. The curator had made just enough. He called and went to meet a guy in the back alley. A shady figure named Teeth, who was a revered smuggler, popped the trunk of his ’74 Chevelle. Take a look at this beaut, he said and held up the fabled harpoon gun used against Moby Dick. I thought this passed into legend, the curator gawked. Nothing stays retired for the right price, Teeth chortled. Now, armed with the White Whale Defiler, the curator began the hunt. He shot out every street-light in the city in an attempt to lure the moon, but no luck. Instead, in the cover of darkness, the pissed off teens moved down the block, bashing up every mailbox and garden gnome in their path. The moon was wary of the commotion and stayed away. The curator, realizing his error, hid in a clearing outside of town. Later, the unsuspecting moon, loping, munching away at maples and steeples, stepped right into his line of sight. The curator fired the first shot. Birds fled. The moon hollered and thrashed about, but the curator held tight and fired another shot. The moon tried to wane away, but was pulled back full. The curator fired another shot. The townspeople overheard the struggle and gathered to watch. The curator fired another shot. The people cheered. The moon fell to its knees. The curator fired another shot. The moon grew still. In his bathrobe, the mayor pushed his way to the curator through the crowd and held up his hand. The people cheered. The moon stiffened. This man is a hero, the mayor shouted, and he belongs in a museum! The people cheered. The moon darkened and deflated. The curator began to grow pale.

Day 26 / Poem 26

Summer / Emily Ahmed

Letters       in snail mail/ in your words I’m
Bathing     suits sticking to skin/pressed to me like
Kisses         under trees/so glad you noticed this top it’s
New           self/I am broke I think I will sell some
Lemonade/let’s watch it all come together and apart like
Sunset       strolls/summer will end let’s now just hold
Hands       outside car windows/could you remember the color of my
Eyes           closed in the wind/ask me anything just don’t ask me my
Background       music at parties/can’t we still ask our neighbors for a bit of
Salt         and sunscreen/I don’t like the cold, I want the ones who act
Warm      skin/I can’t keep up with all of me I come in many
Shells     poking/you stopped noticing the new
Sundresses/this is the season I get resentful and
Achy       muscles/I must be so overwhelming and too
Deep       sun-baked sleep

And do it all over again

Reading Nobody on the Birthday of the Radioactive River1 / Lucie Chou

  excerpts and annotations of Alice Oswald’s book-length poem

floating on the sea-surface wondering what next2
even out here where the water is painfully clear3
and it is blind a kind of blind blue eye4
finds even far down there are white5
How does it start the sea has endless beginnings6
have to keep moving over seemingly endless yellowness7
human-salt already at ease in the ocean-salt8
in its flesh of a thousand faces all facing away9
there are fish in it there are shearwaters searching10
throwaway in all this what is it grief grief grief11
water still in acute discomfort12
ragged dead in the crypts of the sea13

              turned in its cloak14
      into flames               into fur
                  into flesh                
                                                frightened of its own stupidity16

but the sea itself has no character just this horrible thirst17
might as well waste this ever replenished18
                                                       what the sea does
                                                 suffering faces watered away19
nobody cares

                                                     but a river 
coming looking for
                            stories all end

waves grow nervous covering up their crimes
the simple mineral monologue of
who is it

no-one    the black wave covers

11.09 million tons. Fukushima. March 2011. August 24, 2023.
2 people worry about the fishing industry but what about the animals themselves who move in their
environment as water in water as radioactive water in the sea
3 tritiated water is pretty much ordinary water
4 my friend posts on social media how she regrets she has not seen enough of the beautiful ocean
before it is scheduled for death. color of thalassalgia
5 no posterity certainly will not find it out
6 what does it matter: off the coast of Japan, in the Pacific Islands, near Australia, in the Bering
Strait, Antarctica. The beginning has no end
7 Japanese fishermen say the world will never stop seeing their products with a jaundiced eye
8 Iodine 129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years and can cause cancer of the thyroid; ruthenium 106
is produced by nuclear fission and high doses can be toxic and carcinogenic when ingested
9 on this day an old friend turns away, we believe we have not betrayed her. that we have
committed an acceptable crime. we stabbed her but the wound is safe
10 my mother says marine animals are not dumb. “they will not got near dangerous waters”
11 grief for the sake of grief. not for tainted money. the sea is making an elegy for herself it is true
12 we comfort ourselves the radioactivity is much less than in waste water from other nuclear plants
that it’s in accordance with international standards and regulations that it’s the kind of thing that
looks bad but is actually the least bad of a slew of bad options
13 hear the Geiger counter ticking
14 it has no protective clothing against soul contaminants
15 the ocean is a Dementor demented by the schizophrenic urge to turn into a million frightening
16 scientific facts and political chants flow like sirens out to sea
17 we do not think of it in that sense of horror. in a horror movie everyone believes they are not
losing their mind
18 ah the old romantic notion of nature’s endless capacity for renewal. the waste water itself is ever

The Perfect Mobster / Susan Dambroff

I did nothing wrong

the perfect mugshot
the perfect fundraiser

            41 counts         

his glowering face
on a T-shirt


 Never surrender

            21 counts of forgery

           $25. for a coffee mug

the perfect mobster

            8 counts influencing witnesses
           $15. drink coolers       

his slick yellow hair

            3 counts election fraud
            $12. bumper sticker

his signature blue suit
his red tie

            1 count racketeering
            $28.00 poster

 I did nothing wrong

             1 count perjury
             200,000 bond

Mug shot at Fulton County Jail

            free T-shirt
            with $47. donation

 I will never surrender
our mission to save America


in my field
of a plowing
carve air
a finch wing
changes flight
fans down
a small girl’s

a shriek
a bloom
of extra

if this
is dying
at four
the last
a red field
house of
stray cousins

spine pulp
against metal
hands pushing
her into
a bulb
lifts out of
the throat

bodies gather
open mouths
fade into
faces being
a small
hangs in air
heavy with
feet are
grass clips
appendix is
a star
into stone

            neck failure
            head plunges
            back, eyes
            pressed to sun
            the color
            indigo and
            are covered
            in heartsease
            in sparkling
            she stands
            on sand
            and throws
            white gypsophila
            to dogfish
            she gleans
            large rocks
            from an open field

            with a strange
            and hears
            the cry of
            a newborn
            railroad tracks
            feet balance
            brown tie
            folds of a door
            the place
            of origin
            a burning
            under trestle

hammer air
an empty field
into blackened
open pool
smoke a cloud
the true image
family as
to make
to heal
little beams
their lives
so we know
where we are
in the universe
she is
on the outskirts
of a white

Long Walks on Love / Ann Huang

Gravels and houses and driveways and skinny archaic linen
pants, red everything. They get worn, torn, fade away, become
lint-free and soothe the soul. Listen quietly on cassette tapes.
Beatles and Eagles and Duran Duran in concerts. And I would spend
a lifetime to sob. Earlier went the pigeons, beyond any
songs about blues. And those are not songs. Those are
black w/holes for people’s love. People’s love
are great for love.

Wichita Falls Fall / Amy Jasek

it isn’t real, but it’s nice
fabulous faux
and still a waterfall
recycling the river
in an endless
horsehair cascade

I went to Sotheby’s
once, and they auctioned off
a glass of single malt
to start the bidding
to make a point
a donation is about giving
not getting, to the thirsty
a drink is new life

the glass of scotch went to war
the winner paid a lot
for that inch of amber
liquid, ice half melted
and he gave it to his opponent

so who cares if the waterfall
comes from a pump
the point is that
a city whose namesake a
flood washed away
has a waterfall again

Outside / Jules Lattimer

I took the dog down 

to the reeds where 

jumping bugs smack 

at her nose while 

she walks and she flips 

to her back to splash 

the brown puddle

and in the full 

sun I mouthed je 

m’appelle Jules 

j’habite au 

désert avec ma 

chienne et ici 

il y a beaucoup de 

soleil et rien et 

personne dehors

Friday Night / Tate Lewis-Carroll

I found myself crouching among a crowd
along rows of metal beams. Everyone was facing
one way, mostly fidgeting with empty, glass boxes.

Below us was a field tamed with imitation 
grass, bending slightly under the weight
of children, suited in aerodynamic armor.

They would collide with one another
and the crowd would cheer, or they’d boo.
I never seemed to get it right.

And off to the side, others
were standing on top of one another, calling,
turning, deliberately, into the night.

Day 25 / Poem 25

Lessons / Emily Ahmed

No one is going to rescue you.
You will be working the shift at
the grocery store 
and your best friend will stop in,
you’ll gossip and giggle behind the register,
without turning your head 
scanning items for customers,
asking, Cash or card? 

You two are best friends.
You also visit her on her boring retail shifts,
pretending to run your hands 
along floral shirts with interest. 
You think maybe if you pair up, two lost people isn’t so lost, right? 
One lost person is so much worse, right? 
One person’s luck could rub off on the other,
But you’ll find that even when you thought you were aiming for the same thing, people aim their arrows differently, some go towards something else entirely, some swerve and go 
right for your heart. 

You might find yourself with a lover 
on the East Coast, gazing across the sea,
Let’s swim back home, to North Africa, 
you two will say it earnestly, 
you’ll know it’s a joke, 
the same way you learned to stop believing
every man who said he’d run away with you,
the same way your friend would fantasize
about buying a house with you 
beside her childhood home in Casablanca 
and living together,
marrying siblings, growing old together. 

Another one: 
No one is going to discover you.
You won’t be walking down the street,
and some official won’t tell you they can see
your untapped potential,
your boundless beauty. 
Except for the lucky ones, but that’s likely not you. But their luck will drive you mad. 
Six figures, Manhattan apartments,
dental insurance, health insurance,
vacations, kind lovers, degrees, 
community, respect, light periods. 

But envy is a lie or a bow to your arrow,
your friends show you 
the different possibilities. You will not live every life you wanted, but you might see glimpses of it in them. 
You may be pushed by these visions,
or watch them unfold, not for you.
That’s still something. 

Anytime you think you know something about life,
that you are cooler, smarter,
that only failures work 
in this or that profession,
that only naive ones date this kind of person,
life will humble you.
Except for the ones who don’t get humbled,
but they don’t know what they don’t know

Everyone will surprise you.
That one love of your life? Doesn’t last.
Your terrible boss? Apologizes. 
Your best friend? Betrayed you.
Your mother? She quit smoking. 
Maybe, just maybe, you’ll surprise yourself
after this world sucks you dry,
grow old, live with your friend,
swim all the way across the world
back home. 


holding your holy fire  / Lucie Chou

your fresh green fruit is a fragrant peninsula
on the furrowed isthmus of a stalk. a valley
is split into you. you expose your treasures
& i walk through. my hands roam your roads
sinuous & overgrown with jewels. they walk
veins of your magic mountain then break you
into small shards to mine your aromatic ores.

i thought i could chop you as a juggernaut
cuts up any land with claw and maw.
i thought your body a trove to broach
as a barrel of my own. but like the earth,
that greater fresh green fruit, you hold
a holy fire inside, mythic, huge, terrible.
capsaicin is your seminal brimstone.

long after you rolled on my cutting board
my hands are burning with your holy fire.
what you have held and spilled in the pain
of being split open gives me pain to hold.
unlike the first fruit of sin or blissful seed
of fire in the hands of primordial humans 
you sear me with such subtle elusive flames
i seem to be holding nothing but my own
fingers in a skin slightly pinker, more aglow.

your transparent purgatory, unquenchable,
uncooled by water, unassuaged by anointing,
not to be washed away with any detergents.
I ask myself, how can i be making myself
clean when i try to cleanse the cleansing?
i dream holding your holy fire, remembering 
what i am beholden to, the ferocious souls
of fireseeds inside all fresh green fruits.

At the Eye Doctor / Susan Dambroff

before my eyes blur
I finish scrolling 
down an old post
about thousands of copies 
of Roget Thesaurus
spilled when a truck crashed
a photo of all those lapping words
in the breeze
and think about 
all the times I’ve searched
for a better word
how I was stuck to my father’s lap,
shy around grown-ups 
who had too many questions
I couldn’t answer back
how in junior high I had to go to the dean 
because my score on the vocabulary test
was so low
and how I loved diagramming sentences
learning the old way
a diagonal line 
for adjective, adverb 
the comfort of knowing
where words got placed
how I was a teenager with a tiny notebook
spooned against nature
back-to -back 
with a birch
scratching out my best words
I imagine the thousands of copies
of Roget’s Thesaurus
strewn across the road
and the journalist who listed all the words
for astonished-
stunned, startled, aghast…
I see the E K Z A on the screen
before the letters begin
to disappear 

River Balm / Sara Dudo

In these last days, green rain
at a new river. 

Glass angels leave their cenotaphs
and I lower my face to the water.

Sorrow: a good reason for our forgetting.

Guests without devotion
        on the balcony
with sunbellies.

Acceptance: a sudden clearing

        and splitting what belongs
        to us.

Standing in front of the largest organ
in the world, what you will find
is the pipes speaking to you.

How you 
define memory
is the butterfly effect.

These are the blessings:

        berries on the blanket,
        writing a letter to my sister
        in bad Utah weather,
        sunrise iris,
the way promises leave
their life balm. 

Final Slate / Ann Huang

The clouds are seen,
the sun is not out;
the low green mountains
are due about.

You whisper my breath
at the bedside,
a dance
flow above the ceilings.

You have traveled till
you are blended and awakened;
to become someone I get
to know and love.

The anticipation
is in the air.

There is an order
from where I command,
I receive it
and get drowned into.

The clouds are now
myself on fire,
my name in demand,

or else you see
you’d better swing by
and stay.

Cyanobeach / Amy Jasek

Anna Atkins* prowling the beach
for algaes to turn into prints
Daddy’s girl, botany in reach

Looking, gathering, each to each
with Herschel* around, doing stints
of science as he prowls the beach

I think of the old fashioned pleats
and layers, long skirts catching bits
of pollen, seeds: botany’s reach

carried with her, echoing sweet
background blue in all her prints
Anna Atkins’ immortal beach

The water lives, the algaes bleach
in the ache of those prussian tints
putting botany within reach

Becoming art, simple to teach
cyan gains steam beyond blueprints
Anna Atkins prowled the beach
put more than botany in our reach

* Anna Atkins, (1799-1891) was the daughter of an English botanist who was friends with * Sir John Herschel.  Herschel devised the cyanotype process, which Atkins used to make prints of algaes found along the British coast.  She is known as the first female photographer because of her use of the photographic cyanotype process. While initially not widely adopted by photographers, cyanotype was the original method of making blueprints Today, artists all around the world are engaged in making cyanotypes; World Cyanotype Day is the last Saturday of September every year.

Thursday poem / Jules Lattimer

In the afternoon my head hits me, and i’m available 

for panic. Sometimes the sun goes blue. Today 

everyone is counting and my friend brought the wrong 

balloons. I can’t hear anything but the fan. I smear 

cream over my face and check my teeth and show up

at attention, like the dream where you forget all the lines

If I Hadn’t Have Sat Down in My Chair / Tate Lewis-Carroll

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
I might have scrubbed clean the toilet,
cleared the clutter from the counter top,
taken a toothbrush to the grout gone auburn
with rust. The baseboards would be spotless
and all the laundry sorted into their colonies
of hot or cold, delicate or not.

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
my garden would be ripened and overgrown
with crops, despite the weather. I would harvest
enough to prepare an entire meal,
and I would—sweet corn boiled and buttered.
The rest ground in a mortar and pestle
into flour as a vehicle for my grilled peppers,
cooked onions, and rice stuffed tomatoes.
Hell, I wouldn’t stop there. I’d prepare meals
for the whole week and enough to share
with my neighbors, hunched over and wasting 
in their chairs.

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
I could at least be practicing meditation,
yoga, shortening the leash on my breath.
I would definitely be able to touch my toes
easily by now. 

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
I could be out in the silty atmosphere of the barn,
lit by shafts of light wedging through
slits in the weathered slats of the wall,
standing alongside the others who have stood 
here before, each of us generations apart, 
ghosts, glimpsing the yellowing
fields in the late summer heat, searching
for a piece to a part for a project
I might have completed if not for this chair—
a rusted wingnut, perched atop a length
of beam, resting its wings without threat
of a hunt.

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
I could have taken up another shift,
gotten a promotion and a pay raise,
or at least a second job mending fences
or panning for gold. Anything to feed
my retirement account so one day
I will be able to sit in my chair
and never get up.

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair,
who’s to say I wouldn’t be halfway
to Yellowstone, or halfway up
the northern face of Mt. Rainer, Everest,
slowly crawling my way free of this
chattering, sea-level world.

If I hadn’t have sat down in my chair
to pull a pack mule of thought forward
through Elliot’s wasteland, keeping an eye
on the fading light, drunk on little sleep
and an empty mind, I wouldn’t have been able
to picture myself successful in everything else
I might have been doing. I wouldn’t be 
motivated now to get up and try.

Day 24 / Poem 24

Missing It / Emily Ahmed

I miss what I love:
Flower workshop by the citadel,
I had a yellow daisy in my hair
as I brushed my hand along pottery.
Three birthday parties, FaceTiming
over cake delivered from the bakery off Tersa.
Cafe with my father, the cats circling us, he read me passages out loud while I took notes.
Garden sitting on picnic blankets with roommates.
Tennis twice a week, the girls singing pop songs always skipped ahead of me on my turn.
Bouquet sent from Oakland all the way to my door.
Cairo autumn, sunlight and sweaters.
Carolina summer, romantic and free.
I love what I miss.

Becoming Eremozoic  / Lucie Chou

  for Jim Naughten’s surreal “digital photography”

How shall reality be known then?
Everything so lush and sparse.

Are jackfruit leaves cryogenized?
Cobalt blue. Chromium green.

Tundra is magenta, glaciers
purple as underskin blood.

An aniline hyacinth sings
in the silent symphony of sky.

Cliffs are cochineal, incarnadine
as coral branches no longer are.

No wind. Pampas grasses lean.
Iodined with dioxazine.

Is ocean a dyeing vat? It swirls
with alizarin mermaid hair.

Where is water? Perhaps it too
is virtual. As all reality is now.

The landscape asks the animals:
are you dreams within a dream?

The animals paste themselves
back into the dyed digitals.

They float over the background 
like a cloud above The Cloud.

The landscape is no more a place
on Earth, it’s an eidetic dream,

an animal nevermore body but 
memory that exits without end.

Early morning / Susan Dambroff

covered in garbage bags

asleep on the sidewalk

            no face

I think he’s a man

                        the orange soles of his shoes

an apple strewn

between him

and the man

rolling himself out 

from under a

roll of plastic

who puts everything

he owns

in a Target Grocery Bag

            old coffee cups

and socks 

at the bus stop

an old woman

wears a T- shirt

that says

Be Kind

Searchlight / Sara Dudo

My epochs are framed in plumbago,
              trimming lobelia in the years
              that pass
              through themselves.

I have been where language stops,
              and only hands exist:
              fading light as retreat
              in phantom celosia fields
through red rivulets       a woman wades.

My bardo must be breathless,
              fireflies in the corn,
or a chiasmus of lilacs and lilies to…

We exile ourselves before another can-
              find contentment in shoving
              water        amidst the aria of birds
hiding their jewels
              in the chimney.

Now in this elegiac time, monstrous
              moonshine. Little doves
              of silkweed.
              Nimbus of vines.
              The noumena
of all the firmament above me
                             as I pluck vinca. 

Birthday / Ann Huang

Dearest …
While sun dawn
Will dissipate away
The beginning
Of her silk turquoise robe
Or the first bursting
Steamy as a forever fairy,
Closer to heart than wandering
Dog days
Beyond ocean whereas Humpback whales played

Smokies, 2 / Amy Jasek

Just one short turn at the edge of town
and you’re there:  where green becomes purple,
where mountain breath drifts in-out, up-down.

Time is kept like a secret around
the base of ferns, where sunlight hurdles.
It’s quick and easy to leave the town.

What you want to follow are the brown
signs; they lead to the natural pearls
where you can breathe in mountains, up-down,

dear as your own breath.  Distances drown
what gets left behind, the tight girdle
of civilization, edging towns

off and away, catlike to the ground.
New views push away the old bundles
and cares, like breath drifting out and down.

Give back the time that made it.  Astound
yourself again:  feelings recycle
as you edge yourself right out of town.
The mountain will breathe your worries down.

Endings / Jules Lattimer

On the last night of my year 

I watched a pink cloud 

skim into frame in the overhead

at sunset. I was indoors, 

with Escalus, holding a smile hard

as wax, women wailing 

at our feet. The light was done 

before we called it, but when 

the morning burns red, I’d be me 

again, a year older, in the body 

I’ve already known.

Barred Owl / Tate Lewis-Carroll

I saw one lift into the pine gallery
surrounding my yard tonight
as I let my dogs out for their final pees.
Before I knew it was an owl,
it was a silent flurry ascending
from a patch of long grass into the trees.

It was similar to what I had always imagined
when my old preacher described
the audience of angels he could see
seated above each of our heads, winged,
huddled together in quiet curiosity
at the awkward absurdities of God’s chosen.
They were, as he put it, unable to fully grasp
us, having never been humans themselves,
and that’s what delighted them.

But then I found it with my flashlight.
Just a barred owl, adjusting its drab overcoat,
squinting into my light, not looking

I remembered then what else he preached,
that seated across from those angels
were hordes of demons, equally as curious,
but for all the wrong reasons. All of them
busily calculating new and more tempting lures
to lead us away from the light.

I became so caught up in this that I missed 
the owl leave, and when I looked back, 
it was gone. It must have taken that opportunity 
to escape my harsh light and wing 
across the aisle to a quieter, darker seat.

Day 23 / Poem 23

Ghazal: Blue / Emily Ahmed

For H

The moonlight was a cake sliced with seawater, a black mirror that replaced the sunlit blue.
It was a night of union and community, a groom and a bride in her gown of blue.

There is something about love when it lasts, and something about when it begins,
the bride recounts her days in the before, the nights when she was blue.

She had her goals and ambitions, always work, grind, head heavy,
she’d never known softness in romance, her heart was beaten, black and blue.

A flower has thorns, a sea has its depths, power in the far reaches,
she ran to the shoreline and cried seven tears of loneliness, crystal blue.

The myths said a selkie would appear, shed his skin, be a companion,
it didn’t quite go like that but armor was shed and something was borrowed and blue.

Tonight, there is the midnight sea, the lanterns like fairies and falling stars,
and there’s two figures carved in moonlight, the suit and the dress periwinkle and blue.

Transfrisson  / Lucie Chou

You tumble into the sink. Off-white to snuff-grey
to rot-black, you look like charred cabbage roses
that have, non compos mentis, pressed petals through 
a paper shredder; or branched corals bleached
then bleared, smeared with the smudge and smell
of coal dust or car exhaust. Thelephora ganbajun.

I had not expected our encounter to be like this:
against stainless steel, out of place, inscrutable,
your chalk-white body already fossil-like in life,
severed from fragrant composts of pine needles,
packed with ice bags and stamped for a plane ride
to be torn into needle-fine filaments, scrambled
with minced green chili peppers, eggs, and rice.

Had I found you piercing though the dark duff
of a Yunnan pine, an animate marmoreal bone
crossed between an antler and a ginkgo leaf,
felt your yielding reluctance when pulled slowly
from the temenos, and contemplated for a while
the hollow left after harvesting, your wilderness
would have seemed more of this earth, creaturely.

Mom, born Yunnanese, forager as a kid, tells me
unlike the blackening of the peppered moth
under duress of soot, your nigrescence is natural
oxidation by connivance of time and bland air.
This explanation makes you no more explicable.

I tell myself you are but what the field guide tells
you to be: the last wild mushroom to be replaced
by tame genomic reprints in labs then markets.
It remains, when we’re writing this, unamenable
to artificial cultivation. I breathe a little easier.
A modest mystery, unbreached. A tiny oasis 
in gargantuan deserts of despotic gardening.

Scattered in the sink, indifferent to your umami,
you beg a song beyond human language, beyond
even the well-meaning strivings of ecopoetics
or biosemiotics. Translation is a violent form 
of expression. We imperialists have known this
for too long. My fingers begin to translate you.
Splitting you into spicules. Forcing out the dirt,
the tiny stones. Residues of the life you’ve led.
It is summer. Monsoon season. Water runs cold
over your body, your memory of the world being
meticulously disparted like strands of loved hair.

Then the hand that rubs tenderly is transfixed
by a pin the lover snuck there. Blood broached
by a brooch whose entirety is a purple-brown
pine needle. I had not expected my response
to be such a violent frisson. The syringe pricks
only skin-deep, but the icy fires from woods 
lovely dark and deep have transfused shivering
knowledge through your pine-pinned Thelephora 
body through my transpierced translator’s body.
The transfixer shakes and breaks. I bleed.
Cold water running. The transfrisson complete.

Tag You’re It / Susan Dambroff

That pink rubber ball back to childhood,
A my name is Alice, and the leg passes over to
B my name is Bob, the way the sequence knows itself
as the leg rises over, C my name is Cathy

Anything to bounce, kick, throw against the ground
again and again, dodgeball, kickball, handball,
Monkey in the Middle,
that volley of thud and pop and bound,
that catching on a fly

Any chance to run in, run out, stop, go,
Red Rover Red Rover -let Susie come over, 
Red Light Green LightFreeze TagHide and Seek

Under the bed, behind the piano,
beneath a pile of laundry, that small and silent me,
that determined detective, lost and found over and over 

How my legs would carry me, Chinese jump rope
rubber bands threaded together, the foot catches, the rope rises,
the perfect in and out 

Foot games, hand games, Cats Cradle,
the confidence of fingers lifting, widening,
dancing in and out of the strings 

Clapping games, confidence with where my hands meet,
where they rise and turn, and clap again,
Tulips Together, tie them together,
bring back my love to me

This back to basics – foot, hand –
clap, tap, throw, catch, kick
run, run, run

 Tag, you’re it.


“Comfort me with apples” Song of Songs 2:5

Comfort is a flat of marigolds,

comfort is red celosia flames brushing your chin.

There is no new place, nothing is ever gone. We could die singing of security:

no elegy will suffice because he lives.

To be uprooted is to be human.

Just as your body receives light, your body projects light,

your light is our infinite vincas in a room always temporary.

Enough to witness first snowfall. Enough to speak of the future apples with no land.

To say what is here:

these tiny pear-shaped stars of strength each life holds against anything is

heaven’s promise of no longer being thimbled.

Comfort is heaven,
the orchids in sweet grass. 

Final Reward / Ann Huang

Everyday we gained an infinitesimal of it,

the wide space and mileage

                                    in between our continents 

slowly sighing open 

                            like a mountainous horizon that ensues 


                                          a fine day of poem ingenuity


brings about an passionate affair—
                                                              the query 

             of every breath it has ever made 

                                                                                          as a yogis prompts

to let out his atonement 


                                             back into his soul, 
                                         body and all. 

Blue Beach / Amy Jasek

I shook the sun’s hand on the beach.
The seashore was a skim of heat
palpable enough to ride on.

He said he likes to put his feet
in the atlantic tide at dawn.
His hand was as hot as the beach

but I shook it, surprised to meet
such a star, reposed in his brawn
at the shore with its skim of heat.

I had questions about this feat,
how he’d taken on human form
with hands to touch the sandy beach.

Instead I stood and watched him teach
the kids how to balance on boards
that could skim a ride on the heat.

His presence almost blistered me,
this encounter not counted on.
I shook his hand: farewell, beach!
The whole shore was a skim of heat.

Working poem / Jules Lattimer

Today my brain is making lists.

I’m watching my words. I have books 

in the house, and junk all over my table.

Really, all my nerves are alive.

College and grad school are something 

we did once, and next life we’ll pay entirely in cash 

and the government will never know.

It’s no surprise that the string snapped.

The dog pops her head up above her little body 

like a lid you tap on to open. Earlier in the week 

we were blossoming. In the evening light the puppy reflects 

orange, because if the sky’s on fire then so is she.

I’ve filled out all the forms and I’m trying to make it 

work and I’ll show up on time and do the very best, 

the very best for you if you just choose me

Under the Weather / Tate Lewis-Carroll

muggy migraine.
ringing lights 
and humidity.
only wet. ate 
something, heart 
burned. napped,
still exhausted. 
coffee made
me piss.
nothing helped.
might as well write—
out my window
a light wind 
stirs the pines,
above them,
the high travel
of clouds.

Day 22 / Poem 22

For Centuries, Bad Memories / Emily Ahmed

A temple has an altar 1
and an animal waiting for slaughter,
only it’s unaware that it’s waiting.

A bar has a counter 2
and a young woman wanting wantedness,
only she’s unaware what she’s wanting.
Poseidon will whip his waves,

throw foam and spittle in the sanctuary,
envelope who was unknowingly waiting. 3

A young man, he will try
belittlement, charm, but the best trick is to
wait til his prey is unaware what she’s wanting. 4

The unsuspecting sacrifice didn’t know
she was a sacrifice, thought it was
something godly or loving for which she was waiting.

A flurry of whispers, another woman 5
will punish the sacrifice 6 for being touched by a tsunami,
even if she wasn’t wanting.

The young woman is tainted,
the town won’t look at her the same way,
might as well have a monstrous face, snakes in her hair,
for acceptance she is waiting. 7

She will hide herself from them,
while Medusa will become a wild thing,
bare her teeth, so cold she turns you into stone,
revenge she is wanting. 8

1Ancient Greece.
2 Modern-day.
3 Medusa.
4 Modern-day Medusa.
5 Athena.
6 A young woman/Medusa/animal waiting for slaughter.
7 They hate her for this for centuries.
8 They hate her for this for centuries.

your margins are wide  / Lucie Chou

enough to house
the back and forth
of birds and words
to gather a prairie 
a pollinators’ 
for chipmunk to tuck
pinenuts underground
and munch
for fairies to break glass
then in a bubble
build it back whole
your writing fingers
winged your margins wide
your mind perched alert
on the verge of nootide 
ready to leap like monarch
off milkweed by the wayside
—for Emily

The Way We Love Our Dog / Susan Dambroff

If we could love
            the way we love our dog             

in spite of 
the sock in his mouth
in spite of
the ball he drops in the bathtub

if we could have that simple kind 
            of forgiveness

for each other 

for all the lost keys, the clutter in the pantry

if we could accept
the astrology of our differences

your earth and my sky, your dystopian novel
and my pearls of poetry

if we could love
            the way we love our dog

with every romp of affection 

stroking and brushing  
and carefully pulling apart 
each knot 
to find the easy bounce
of a curl

COUSIN-CRY / Sara Dudo


(7) 1

I count the list of bodies
under the ground
that would disagree.

Salvadoran children bombed
in the living room,

the skeleton of a baby
in the Mojave Desert
set ablaze by her father,

Rhi’s broken body lying
in Russel Road on Sunday morning.

To celebrate the intersection
of youth and death
you must be a fool who reaches out
to angels
to hear your own voice below
the grasp2.


Death is
knowing it is to come. 3

Beside the Ford
outside Joshua Tree
a jackrabbit scurried
a line of yellowing sage:
animals know tranquility
but cannot identify it. 4

1 The seventh elegy finds much to celebrate in dying young. Rilke suggests because humans are defined by their
transience, there is something beautiful and elegant in “transitioning” into death more quickly than normal. He
lived 48 years before the publication of this lyric.
2 Rilke ends by reaching out to the Angels, despite knowing they are beyond his grasp. He is proud of his defiance;
he likes hearing the sound of his own voice.
3 In contrast to the last section, this elegy explicitly details the poet’s anger at death. It is not death that is the
problem for Rilke, but knowing that it is to come. And yet, they are one and the same.

My fingers burn
from spring sun
and it is good.
I cannot be angry.


In the river town, I was a child afraid to venture
into her basement for a grief-like pit in my stomach.

No one speaks of dying, only houses
of alternate living 5 ,

rivers of joy
only after a stroll through the lifequarters
of false blossoms 6

why would you concern yourself
with explaining death to me? 7

In the spring, we disappear

little confetti pieces of her name
decorate the floor

small blossoms I will one day
show the angels. 8

4 Rilke envies animals because they lack knowledge of their own mortality and can thus live tranquil lives. This is
incorrect in many ways: animals feel fear, in a connectedness to understanding death and danger, and animals in
the wild seldom have tranquility due to this fear of predators and climate. Rilke was a man and wrote under a roof.
5 Rilke imagines what it might be like when he dies in the final elegy. It is fantastical. It looks far too much like
6 After singing to the Angels and discovering the reason why human suffering exists, he travels to the City of
Mourning, followed by the Land of the Griefs. He encounters increasingly older “Griefs” on his way down the
River of Joy. Isn’t it tiresome: constant reminders the dark evergreens of our listed anguish as foundation and soil?
7 He finally disappears, regretful that he cannot relate his experience of death to the living. Everyone believes
they are the chosen one, plucked from heaven.
8 Men can mutter all they want about life and death, and what special meanings they’ve carved out of bad dreams,
but one day I will join Rhiannon, and the angels will touch and see the human condition of waiting.

A Diamond in My Mind / Ann Huang

after Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World”

Life after life
A flash of lightning
Autumn Clouds
A Totality of
in Flux
Laws of Attraction
I want to feel
Young again with

You made me miss
a lot of wonderful
I dream of:
The fun filled
emerging from
the woods.

Gazing into your
hazy elephant eyes
miles of emptiness–
arms to give you
a humongous hug–
ears to listen to
a heart that’s
aching to feel
your supreme smile.

Smokies / Amy Jasek

Every summer was the last wander-time,
with caveats:  maybe, and hopefully.
I never know what hills I’ll have to climb.

Mountain scoliosis is just fine;
valley twists and turns come more painfully.
Every summer wander was the last time

until the next year, with rhythm and rhyme
packing the truck again, til it fully
strained for the hills, with adventures to climb.

Every road is a gift, from shine to grim.
Sometimes you skate, sometimes it’s like pulling
the dead weight of summer up a hard time

to show it the sun again, and in kind
holding its hand along the ridgeline, knee
deep in the hills, worn out from the steep climb.

I’ve seen how paths can turn on a dime
quick pivot from clear-wide to close-foggy
and every trek seems like it’s the last time.
But if you look into the hills
you never know what you might find.

When it rains / Jules Lattimer

In this poem there’s a hat 

hanging on the wall, a lamp 

without a shade. We’re done 

with the summer of no relief, 

the inferno summer of burning 

islands, and horrible horrible — done 

burning our hands on our seatbelts.

I have one minute left and I just want 

to say that when the summer bursts blue 

I know there’s love, I know there’s light,

and In my sleep I’ll be screaming Malabar! 

Malabar! Let me talk about the orange 

spilling out of the brush into the road.

It’s just a symbol of starting over.

I need to hold trust, to let the sky fall over me

and cash it in — this is the home 

I’ll leave soon, a triangle of a house, 

the ceilings arched inside the roof, the roof 

lapped in metal sheets. I’m safe from the water.

All I want is a pretty room for me to eat breakfast

and in this place there’s tiny creatures of dust 

crawling my concrete floors and the overcast 

pours gray into my home and if I’m my most 

honest self, monsoon in the summer is the only 

summer I’ll accept.

The Majority of My Resume / Tate Lewis-Carroll

Tell me about your experience 
as an editor—

Well, firstly, let me convince you
you need me. C’mon, look at this—

All wrong.
And this fish,
suddenly on the line,
isn’t really a fish.
We get that.

But I want to know which organ 
the swallowed hook
actually hooked.

And what if the reader’s rowboat
isn’t also missing its oars
or leaking pond water? 

Don’t even get me started 
on these line breaks.

Remember to fight that fish 
all the way through to the end!

But see the poem still fails
to turn me

toward the night sky
or the reflection of the full moon

on the drying eyes
of the caught fish,

still hanging in there.

Day 21 / Poem 21

Cinema Interlude / Emily Ahmed

Grieving and grey,
we finally caught a break this summer
sitting in the movie theater,
suburban, dramatic, decorated with paintings
of ancient temples we’d traveled to together.
We giggled out loud at the funny bits
and held hands in the mall,
poking our heads in stores looking at
hot sauce and sage autumn shirts.
Just before, I paid a lady on the strip
for rose pink glassware that caught my eye,
imagining them holding dessert for my friends.
It was like being on vacation,
that morning we had rolled out of bed,
danced around jokingly in front of the cat,
and I forgot my bag so I dabbed your SPF
and my crimson lipstick onto my bleary face,
wore your crinkly denim jacket
and last night’s dress.
At home, my lock broke my apartment bare and
you fixed it. We forgot the noodles
weren’t spicy enough, that we were
late to the movie, that my head won’t silence,
that the world is so sick.
Life is lots of grief, lots of grey,
lots of good, lots of grace.

Fabrics & Flora  / Lucie Chou

My bedsheets are a field of flowers. Not ornate Romantic rosettes but rigorous botanical renderings in watercolors, brightened with a little light touch. Like the poetical gardens of Clarissa Munger Badger–violets, wood lilies, wild roses–which inspired Emily Dickinson, poet, gardener, sender of fresh & pressed flowers from the small plot under her large window, to plant her own. I like to remember her as emblem of an era when intellect & imagination were not too shy to be bedmates.

My dress is a garden of magenta clusters & sap green sprigs–“Red Prince” weigela. I keep a nature journal: the first snowdrop, blue sage, bluestem, the last aster. I buy notebooks with William Morris covers. I do not fear the sentimental stereotype of young maidens as blooming flowers. I fall into a pond photographing a blue waterlily. I make a watercolor painting of that lily, larger than a square yard, flower devouring all the paper, in homage to Georgia O’Keeffe.

At Zara Home, the salesgirl keeps smiling as my shrill, thrilled voice chirps the Linnaean names of plant motifs on the quilt covers and pillowcases: Bellis perennis, Gypsophila capituliflora, Salix babylonica. I savor the pristine scent of fresh printed cotton. I do not fear domestic comfort.

Ophelia gives me an exquisite pang I cannot pin down as pity, empathy, or pure aesthetic pleasure. Unlike other girls I grew up with, whom rowdy boys freaked out with tortured & frantic bumblebees & honeybees, I have brewed my anthophilia, melissophilia & petaloudophilia into a wild eclectic honey of literary & liberating arts. Some mornings I sit on my bedsheets reading Amy Clampitt, my favorite poetess of outdoorsy-domestic / whiff of vanilla and waif with a mesh of faint purple pencil marks. 

dried azure days
preening my parched

Four Stories: at any moment the flames could come / Susan Dambroff

a friend tells me 
sometimes she goes into bookstore
and feels so much despair 
            that there’s not enough time
in a lifetime
to read all those books 


In Maui
a single white house 
untouched and gleaming
            the red metal roof 
            the line of stones


A friend tells me 
it can take 30 years to build a garden

            the skeleton trees
            the 150 year-old banyan tree


Three strangers meet
at a columbarium
visiting loved ones
            and become friends
take turns
bringing flowers 
sweeping up the leaves

COUSIN-CRY / Sara Dudo

(In Response to Rilke’s Duino Elegies)


Spring Valley howling

I call out to the angels: heal
my grief, hear
my cousincry. 1

You say angels are terror,
seek mending from thistledown,
bird with a ruby-throat and cat window-
watching, a bouquet of hands.

Still, nimbus nothingness. 2


as something
to be envied
by the angels. 3

You are brief,
then, swimming
in a sky lake of love
while the earth men
hold on to only parting. 4


As the Jackson bear
in the Tetons rises,
pushing out her brown belly

1In Duino Elegies, Rilke calls out to the angels in anguish. I have just lost my cousin and have been
directed to write a series of elegies.
2You believe angels to be terrible, too much goodness, yet, the pleading. You seek consolation in
more earthly things, such as your fellow man, animals, and lovers, but find that none of these
consoles you. The inconsolable seeking consolation. Rhiannon died on her way to pick up
groceries in the south valley.
3Man does possess something angels do not: transience. Humans die. Only alive men relish in the
thought of their legacy. I want to ask Rhiannon about the other side of legacy.
4We leave something behind, but why must love be bound to parting? Some men can only stand
love in the scope of losing.

Standing Alive / Ann Huang

We were at a concert
Preoccupied with
Hip pop rock 
a handsome guy
in an orange jacket
took me by surprise
by my arms
for he had to show
me where his daughter
had been stolen
and he came back
every night to prevent
that from happening to any
girl he found attractive
The humanity
What have I done
To benefit
The human race?

Pigeon Forge / Amy Jasek

In the hall of my giants, faces loom
like a woven nightmare in the basement.
In the wee hours they come to haunt my room.

Foolishly I leave my happy cocoon
to spark old doubts.  I set my heart like flint
in the face of those giants.  How they loom

over the confidence whose fragile bloom
craves the light of a higher firmament.
At night, I let despair into my room.

Morning comes like Lazarus from the tomb
I rise and rip apart the veil that went
between me and my giants.  Looming looks

get zipped back up in their tent and resume
waiting for my resolve to absent itself
once again, when deep hours bring their gloom.

Not this time.  I will deny the heirlooms
of perfection, expectations’ fervent
giants lining the hall.  Re-weave the loom,
expel the darkness, be gone from my room.

Sunday poem / Jules Lattimer

On the island there are blossoms falling rotten 

off the hawthorns and the bodies 

of my ancestors and I don’t expect anyone 

to answer an August phone call. 

Lines Read and Remembered by the Mail Carrier / Tate Lewis-Carroll

Cento composed of lines from Winter Morning Walks: One Hundred Postcards to Jim Harrison by Ted Kooser

in the silent domain of starlight
I walk the dark hall of the road
as if each morning might be trusted

the old house is cracking its knuckles
no bigger than a baby’s fist

under the dripping, lichen-rusted trees
the world is made of wind
a thin flag of starlings billows and snaps

what season of my life is this?
the skin of a pearl
the skin of an onion

man with the moon on a leash
only a crust of moon is left

Day 20 / Poem 20

Cinderella Retelling / Emily Ahmed

Fled along ribbons of lakeside 

lustrous blades of grass,

she is stumbling over the shimmering 

gown in its folds, 

fashionably forgoing any care.

Sometimes a leaving is a leaving, 

sometimes a freeing, sometimes a summoning. 

It can be powerful to simply disappear when

you’re at the wrong party. 

Toby the Learned Pig  / Lucie Chou

Discourse on the Feudal System, the Rights of Kings.

Spell the saints’ names. Tell the time by taps of feet.

Prove by example: animals are not mere machines.

Disarm the aggressive narcissism of human beings

By flaunting your charisma, docility, and wit.

Discourse on the feudal system, the rights of kings.

If a lady thinks you a figment of her imaginings,

Read her mind for her. She’ll give you a big treat

And suspect that animals are not mere machines.

Take your proud seat among other marvelous things:

Parliament of Monsters, appearance of the Paraclete.

Banter mistresses of feudal lords, paramours of kings.

Be a show master, puller of your own puppet-strings,

Unravel the cruel cat’s cradle of our crass conceit

That animals are nothing but mere dumb machines.

Tour with the circus, climb the great chain of being,

Compete and win championships as a cerebral athlete.

Discourse on the feudal system, the rights of kings,

Prove by example: animals are no mere machines.

Note: in the late eighteenth century, a humble black suckling was adopted by the itinerant animal trainer Samuel Bisset and named Toby. In order to make a fortune out of his new “asset”, he trained the pig intensively for sixteenth months. A porcine prodigy, Toby was toured throughout Europe and feted wherever he went. Robert Southey said, “The learned pig was in his day a far greater object of admiration than ever was Sir Isaac Newton.” In the words of, “The Learned Pig is therefore a strange kind of symbol: both a reminder of crimes perpetrated in the name of authority, and an opportunity to put them right.”

How Many More / Susan Dambroff

how many more summers –
apricot roses, dahlia gardens, those glorious puffs, that first glance of amazement,
            a juicy plum, pink lady flowers rising on city peaks,
how many more days to notice-
back-to school days, spiderman backpacks on chubby arms, new shiny shoes,
            a boy clutching his new red pencil
how many things left to remember –
being as tall as a mound of leaves, a trail of yellow dog pee in the snow, those honeysuckle springs, 
            Mary’s freckles,
the times we rang random doorbells,
then disappeared
before anyone came to the door


In the future, there will be rooms
to fill with deadheaded blooms.

At dusk while the clouds burst
I heave flowers into the lake’s
black hole

[in relativity, a black hole
is defined as an expanse of spacetime
in which the gravitational field is so
strong that nothing can escape it.]

[A black hole is
a summer offering.]

Floating begonias:
gold & peach halfglobes
scattering spheres, a reflection of nimbus rings.
The Sebring sits stuck in deep sand grooves.

Between us and the light, a fermata of yearning
and fable of the windmill still above trees.

Bullfrogs. Orbweavers. My waist
closing the seam between water
and skin:
a seam joins but also closes.

[String theory says everything
is made up of exceptionally tiny strings
whose vibrations produce effects
we interpret as atoms and electrons.]

String theory is my arms
around your neck
traversing day waves
into pink,
lives into boxes.

The Precious Ones / Ann Huang

a bass
a window to art
a bush without reasoning for it

the characters of love
Contemporary, unlike goddesses
clumsy in black
                                                           makes the space and time prolonged.

a pink t-shirt
Never seen before, never seen
in the public, in raw pop ways

Cape Hatteras / Amy Jasek

It took a long time to reach the lighthouse
longer, even (maybe) than Virginia,
but I forget what that book was about.

On the road I mainly read signs.  They tout
destinations and give us ideas,
like Pea Island on the way to the lighthouse.

The people who live around here don’t flout
it, but the land moves, in minutia.
Stability they must forget about.

We drove to the island’s tip to check out
as much as we could under that aqua
sky.  We followed the signs to the lighthouse,

and there it stood, in its new spot, so doused
with light it seemed to shine.  All the drama
of the deadly shoals forgotten about

in the safety of the sun.  We looked out
toward the sea. I pulled out my cameras
to capture the long-awaited lighthouse,
this destination, the end of the route,
recalling what the journey was about.

Something I heard / Jules Lattimer

How do we let
more ghosts
in? And how
do we share
our beds.
Tonight the dog
left her food
in undigested
piles all over
the floor. And it’s
Saturday and
compounding —
my little love
of all pleasures
coiled at my hip
like i’m shelter
and tomorrow
we’ll tilt up
toward the sun

Film of the Production of a Book of Poems Viewed in Reverse / Tate Lewis-Carroll

            After Austin Smith

Backwards up the sidewalk, a mailman stops
in front of a mailbox and removes a package
before continuing to the neighbor’s. The book 
arrives at the printing house where 
the glue softens. It’s vacuumed up
before hardening again into horse 
hooves, clopping back to their horses 
who march, hind first, from the factory’s 
loading bays. The horse’s dark eyes lighten
as they cross over familiar country
lanes to pastures where they remember
their mothers cresting those very knolls.
The pages ride a conveyor belt to a blade
that sharpens as it kisses them into sheets. 
The paper rebinds itself into lumber, 
trunks, returning torn to the saw mill 
but leaving mended, soaring through the forest
and screwing into their proper stumps. 
Abandoned nests flutter from the ground
and settle into the leafing branches
for the returning young sparrows and finches,
balling themselves back into eggs.
The poems fall apart into earlier drafts,
riddling themselves with mistakes,
until they are pulled up and out of a notebook
by the tip of a pen. A heart monitor 
jolts back to life and the dead father 
sits up in his hospital bed. His IV bag, 
hooked to the crook of his arm, begins to fill 
with a gluey solution of saline and chemo. 

Day 19 / Poem 19

Nokomis / Emily Ahmed

Felt trapped in a new life,
missed the old life,
wanted to escape back to it
but got lost in the new
til it got old.
Then left to make another life,
it also got old.
Didn’t know the days of
muffin making in Minnesota
were precious like the days of
Los Angeles that never came.
Didn’t know I should have treasured
baby cheeks and every bus
that didn’t show up
after every lake swim the way
I treasured every paycheck to get out
and counting calories.
I saw two kayaks with two hammocks
hung over them at the lake once,
connected and fused together,
they said, No matter the weather,
don’t let go.
Then that life and lake got left behind,
made a new one,
thought I could fashion it out of previous
models. Have had many lives since,
fused and unfused, sailed many rickety
boats in dangerous waters,
but you can’t miss something to return,
you can only miss it to death.

Taste of a Day  / Lucie Chou

Night’s cool monsoon

warmed to bechamel haze.

I pestle boiled spinach
with a microwaved potato.
I toss in salt and parsley,
black pepper, nutritional yeast.
I repastinate it with a spatula.
Serve with a portobello
burger, a green apple.

Late afternoon, butterfly pea blue.
Camellia bushes in wet aquerelle.

I make arrabbiata pasta 
with three fresh tomatoes.
I slice red, green and yellow
pimentos into shapely quarters,
keeping all the seeds.
I bake them on tin foil
at 350 °F for seven minutes
till they develop lovely burns.

Sticky umami.
Spicy and sweet.


Aunt Amy got matsutake mushrooms
from Freshippo’s discount store.
They smell queerly grassy 
sizzling in the skillet.

In my sandwich the slices taste 
bitter like poisonous almonds.
Tomatoes, bread and asparagus
polluted by the leach.

I have to pick them out
as lovingly as I had
tucked them in.

Still I relish the tomatoes’ piquancy,
the asparagus’s umami,
bread’s fragrance and crunch.

I chew, savor, swallow. My stomach
not queasy. The aftertaste
lingers like heat after summer sunset.

Orange Pond / Susan Dambroff

the shimmering sound of leaves 
            on silver birch, the quiet scratching of pens
at rest hour, 
                        army blankets on the grass


younger campers
were weighed everyday
the thin ones
got cookies and chocolate milk


the rhythm of ping pong balls on the porch,
                                    the sound of Pachelbel’s canon
                        as we silently crossed the dirt road

in silence
                        to a circle of benches
                                                to hear parables 
                                    to eat apple butter sandwiches
                                    on Sunday evenings            


the delicious scent of the cedar dining room
in the afternoon sun


the bell ringing for Mail Call,
                        the thrill of hearing my name
                                    envelopes opened on the grass

the rattle of stones on the bottom
                        of the old station wagon
            field trips to
                        Orozco murals, granite quarry, mica mine,
                                                counting off three bridges
                                    to Mt. Cardigan


the old schoolhouse
a stop on the underground railroad            


milkweed, tiger lilies,
the sun sparkling on Orange Pond,
the call of the white throated sparrow


a farewell to the lake, our candles
floating out on the water
Hans playing accordion on the dock


and the glass: voice vigiled by wind. Green highlands
and purple sea figs, interpellation of smooth
blue glass rounded at corners. All morphology buried
in secret sun falls between Pismo and Avila. Forget
the study of words, relationship to each other, see
this splendid overbirth of floral plate triangles, gum
I mistake for turquoise, be synoptic or say nothing.
Voice: larynx love affair, upcoming cherry trees
for the sake of safety but for now a woman places
cobalt in my hand and down to the spongiosa
my body damp with seaside aster, sea glass and I
contrafacts at best: how often are we
exactly where we want to be.

Ripening Love / Ann Huang

She reminisces the liking of a lover
She has not met in physicality.

Once for all, she ponders her
Who is my love?

Your answers are usually many.
You had loved thoroughly,
If only to have been matched by
Her wisdom and compassion.

Sometimes that is just two of us
who were meant to love and be
reciprocated in mutual

You are too stressed, my dearest.
Come and feel peace in our dream.

Stations / Amy Jasek

Sometimes in conversation an unexpected
passenger pops out, having slept
at the back of the carriage and missed his stop.

The other night at dinner it was doodlebug: unexpectedly
no one knew what it meant and pop
goes the word, changing the conversation.

It was like being the foreigner in the room.  I expected
that overseas, but my own passing spaces
are usually full of familiar conversation.

So we looked it up, and what I found was unexpected
as the passenger itself:  new definitions popped up.
My vocabulary refreshed, disembarking its station.

Once upon a sometimes, little was unexpected,
I was padded into the kind of rocking sleep
that can make you comfortable enough to miss your stop.

But trains are always changing
expectant relics thriving on arrival
until the conversation departs
and with sunset-flare the carriage rides on to another stop

Scaredy / Jules Lattimer

Tonight in the rush 
I stepped into the alley 
holding a roll of bread —
sky on orange, wind like 
sugar. We captured 

the cat I named Scaredy 
for her intake at the vet.
Standing in the cat’s space

I felt I was without her
looking in the shadows
for a set of silent eyes.
But she was elsewhere, blinking
quiet at new humans —

wimpy and unflappable,
buzzing under the blue light.

Mr. President  / Tate Lewis-Carroll

was what we called a game we played,
which had nothing to do with democracy
or governing the free world.

No, ten years old
all we wanted was to escort the president, 
safely, from the backyard to the front,

or, better yet, to be the assassin
lying prone along a length of hedge,
picking off the secret service members
who would charge sacrificially into the fire.

I used to believe in dying for 
some ultimate cause 
in a similarly spectacular fashion,
fulfilling some sacred oath 
I’d vowed to keep.

All afternoon, I’d perform my best
to make my death look good—
floundering the contortions of dying,
cradling my exposed innards,
sputtering some prepared, final words—

until it was nearly dark and my mother
called me home. There I’d play Queen,
my least favorite game.

Day 18 / Poem 18

A Feeling / Emily Ahmed

There’s a feeling in the air
like a castle’s final brick was set and lodged,
like a handsome man just brought courtyard flowers
to the banquet hall, set them in the center of
the round table, like we forgot to puzzle over
how to withdraw a sword from a backyard stone,
like we know there will be dancing here one day,
and just like that,
something fell into place.

Bigfruit  / Lucie Chou

for Oenothera macrocarpa

Catch Bigfruit Evening Primrose in bloom
Along gravel roads lighting the prairie night.
Her large yellow flowers will carry you through.

Her bold golden faces beam in multitudes.
In legendary towns of the lost countryside,
Catch Bigfruit Evening Primrose in bloom.

She will serenade you with silver perfumes,
Hiding your shadow in reflected starlight.
Her large yellow flowers will carry you through

On resplendent, rapturous, resilient plumes
Braving a prairie homeland altered quite
Radically. Bigfruit Evening Primrose will bloom

For night pollinators and native bees doomed,
Perhaps, to haunt this land as shadow sprites,
Singing, “My flowers will carry you through.”

Sending swirling sparks above suspiring woods,
She sets the hope of struggling wings alight.
Catch Bigfruit Evening Primrose in bloom—
Her large yellow flowers will carry you through.

Abortion Ban Mississippi / Susan Dambroff

she starts 7th grade
as a mother
as a mother
in camo-print leggings
she was 12 years old
raped in her backyard
in Clarksdale, Mississippi
She calls the baby – Peanut
He’s dressed in blue
The doctor said
she wouldn’t open her mouth
to tell
She was snatched from her backyard
raped around the side of the house
He covered her mouth
when he raped her
she starts 7th grade

as a mother
as a mother
as a mother

Go Fund Me Page


Ponderosa > hesitant cones, grief and growth
Modesty > waking after a storm, sudden peaches
Jammies > strange: we can say peel or unpeel
Fruit Gossip > jagged shape, animism
Casket > can love still be love without memory?
Glove > tear up a lot of ground
Mortician > chronograph racket
Requiem > a sfumato with lemon macaroons
To Put out Wet Laundries > our false town
Specter > under the hill, cold mercy stones
Terra > grandmothers singing everywhere

The Lineage / Ann Huang

Oral lineage is part of The Lineage.
As it is part of living
from coming through the dying,
It starts
at the very moment of human connection.

Many know that for centuries
it is impossible to decipher all
the grand deeds of human history.

That they are more than myths, overtly pre-

Destined to become correlated and defined
like a child’s birth.

Many know the humane frailty 
is the soulful part of the karmas,
and that it oftentimes surrenders,
like the lovers’ submissions,
which make through the end of the world
for knowing one’s beloved heart
as if it were her own.

Pinehurst / Amy Jasek

What does it take to become a statue?
How long until you solidify,
step by step, with a historic adieu?

The exacting Medusa takes her due.
The sculptor looks:  flesh and bone ossify.
That’s what it takes to become a statue.

When a lifetime of achievements accrue
and you are found awesome in people’s eyes
step by step, you make your grand adieu

but you never really leave, stuck like glue
to your trademark place, to be glorified
by tourists who take notice of statues

but possibly can’t identify you.
What does it take to be recognized?
How will the world remember your adieu?

This is the town where they came to see you,
where your celebrity was ratified.
Haphazard, they decorate your statue.
I walk by and bid you a fond adieu.

Dog poem / Jules Lattimer

It’s the end 
of the night and 

I’m a statue 
in my home

a stuffed bird 
glued on the perch

But the dog’s
on her own, throwing 

her little body
all around,

a cartoon 
flubber thing

elastic and flying
and young

Early Drafts  / Tate Lewis-Carroll

After a year of development
along this river, mayflies
emerge without a mouth
only to starve to death
by the end of the night—
long enough though to learn
how to fly and lay more eggs,
which will later resurface
to, one day, just maybe,
surprise us all by their bite.

Day 17 / Poem 17

Moving / Emily Ahmed

That matted print in the corner
they did together, cut right down
the straightest lines.
Their house is the fruit of all their efforts,
Persephone and Hades covered in
and they are the gardeners.
Her vintage couch was a group deed,
his shelf needed many hands,
every forest friend and roommate
appeared when called.
Each thing has a story, what holds their
wine bottles is the product of adventure,
her vanity you’d swear it came from a queen
or a duchess, swear you could
see her reflection in the mirror
as she readies herself for a ball.
He leaves Persephone with romantic notes
that she starts her day with,
she has the most gorgeous rugs
from her lineage that she walks across to
leave, go to work. Traces her fingers
along the walls they painted together
a tangerine for the sun, for the autumn leaves,
for her mother’s hair.

I order a desk I can’t lift up the stairs,
bland and boring and cancerous,
I return it when it’s no good.
Thrown-together apartment, quiet halls.
I’ll catch up to Persephone one day,
before death, I hope.

The Foliate Face / Lucie Chou

We are being watched by the Foliate Face
Wherever we look walking through the woods
In search for the last remaining wild place.

We stumble into Earth’s terrible embrace,
Tangled by her slowly strangling shoots
Under the surveillance of her Foliate Face.

A stone-carved Green Man makes a grimace
From atroverdant recesses of ancient yews,
Growling to guard his last dwelling-place.

Or surprised by it sticking up from a vase
Of calla lilies, half hiding under the hoods—
Pouring pollen from its warped Foliate Face.

Or in a gnarled bough’s mossy carapace
We see our own ghastly image protrude,
Lost and haunted in this strange wild place.

We’ve turned away from the reciprocal gaze
Of green, dug up our own life-giving roots.
But we are still watched by the Foliate Face
Keening the fading wildness of every place.

Note: the Green Man, or Foliate Face, is a mythic gargoyle that, often carved in stone or wood, appears commonly as part of Christian architecture throughout the UK, said to reflect an occult version of plant-human hybridity redolent of civilized man’s yearning for a return to the natural world. This poem also alludes to the psychological phenomenon of pareidolia, the tendency for humans to see human faces and humanoid patterns in places such as tree canopies and knots of wood.

Tendrils of Hope / Susan Dambroff

I read that parrots are talking to each other over zoom,
cars begin to drive themselves, what’s left of touch?

                        I pick at tendrils of hope –

                                                my prancing puppy, the prize of a perfect stick, the orange wicker chair 
                        shining in the garden 

I dream impossible rooms, limitless losses, embers that stick to my eyes

                        and hang on to hope-

                                                in the refrain of a river, the rocks that help me remember,
                       my body glistening in the sun

I watch as my beloved plugs herself in, today’s indictment, the burning banyan tree,
the hook of the news

                        and find hope –

                        in the welcome of the bird feeder, the remnants of a robin’s nest,
                        a ragged bowl above my door, that first coat of feathers

I talk to my doctor over a screen, wonder about the future of intimacy, watch as AI takes
our faces away

                        and reach for tendrils of hope –

                         the toddler twirling her tutu on the baseball field, how I once danced 
                        in a meadow, my sweet stir across the grass


the house
but we are
in the drive:
            above me
            above you
            disco ball
swaying on mirror
a thousand small suns
spangling the roof.
Trapped Japanese beetle caught in Spanish moss laces its wiry legs
around a finger, temptation for sweet corn silk and rotten cucumber.
The waiting is over
for Adonis blue
to change from pupa
to butterfly,
wings taking over
            an okta
            of cosmic dome.

In a yellow photograph Olivia’s white hair is backlit, her oil painting of Anchorage bent on the wall.
In the closet, a small rabbit the size of a clementine placed in cardboard box
In the milkweed-
redbugs stretch
red tide
up shins-
mesh of trees netting
rain from small girls’ heads,
the last vision
of a tokay gecko
pattering up the screen
while seashells bleach
in a bucket.
           Would you not believe
            in the act of love
            the way
            the Atacama Desert
            landfilled with clothes
            believes in the sky?
There was a field
of flies:
death’s millefiori of
In front of me-
sun scattering
behind me-
chime of a rolling spoon
at sharp right turns.
Katie makes gold winged earrings amidst a phalanx of reeds. The cape is the grease stain Sherman left while loving on Jose Cuervo and spilling pink wax across the bench.
Small girls stand akimbo
and sheen beetle’s wings
into rhombi,
thorax into a chest of
wild craving cherry in
small chests.
We are so close to celestial
as we can imagine.

Paddling Out / Ann Huang

Paddling Out (OLI 2024)

The play is not due out yet.
While the man you love
had passed on to the land
of the dying
let him go
let him know
let him have
let him be
in less pain
with your love
that’s a gift
huge enough
let him feel
living still.

Coffin House / Amy Jasek

I was looking for ghosts
in that house, converted
long ago from family to hostelry

I sought some kind of sign
a keyhole view into
a locked room, but even
standing on tiptoe I
could barely see myself

Before bed  / Jules Lattimer

In the new moon everyone turns their porch lights out. 

This is a place where stars matter, there are laws 

about them, about how the lights go. Tonight 

I walked the milky way right on my street, and Larry said 

he thinks the stars are god. They’re always there. 

We were talking about the episcopal palace out in Houston, 

its thousands of parishioners, how faith seems to envelop them 

even from behind. I talked about walking in the wet woods, how 

we pull toward petrichor chest-first, elk to the pond, 

and how a desert sun can teach you about water. 

He asked me my divine and I said have you ever 

laid your ear on the chest of the one you love because 

that’s pretty close. Around the corner the night black dog 

vanished into the ink, into the nothing, like a cup turned over and 

blotted the whole world out. I was earth-side, looking upward

for Polaris or Ursa Major. There were bats whipping needles off the pines.

Praying Mantis  / Tate Lewis-Carroll

The young wear their youth securely
as suits of armor. To them, death is merely
a distant flickering at the end
of some faraway tunnel. But lately, 
mine has grown heavier, or I, weaker. 
I’ve just now noticed all the blows
that must have dimpled my helmet,
slits in the breastplate, chinks in the chainmail
where the light passes easily through. Why else 
have I stopped to inspect this praying mantis—
brown and slender as a fallen bamboo leaf,
her chitin wing covers tightening
over the delicate lace of her wings,
her large eyes cocked disturbingly upwards?
As death, curious of everything living,
leans closer in, she swings the tiny blades
of her arms wildly.

Day 16 / Poem 16

Fathers & Daughters / Emily Ahmed

The plan was for the daughter
                                                            to go live
with her father,
do all they couldn’t do                      together
in years past.
She would find some job in his city,
but really
she just wanted milky tea                 on the balcony
with its teal faux leather seats
and it’s walls that were                      a gentle blush
of pink. Read the newspaper aloud,
memorize his language. The balcony
would be                                               shrouded in greenery.
Instead, it didn’t quite turn out that way.
They built another building that blocked
the view. The pink walls faded in          dust.
The father lived with two others, and
the daughter stayed living                     grieving
far away.
But her sheets she always keeps blush pink,
says it reminds her of being                   safe
as a child
while she sleeps miles away
                                                     from that other life.

The Zen of Shadow Luxurience / Lucie Chou

Found Poem: Maui / Susan Dambroff

                        rolling in with their luggage 

embers would land in their hair                                    

                                                but there was nowhere to go

            a freight train coming down the mountain  

a stunning death 

bodies in the trees

NIGHTFALL  / Sara Dudo

I consult fire:
do we live further
into the night
than we realize?

My grandmother built a circular house
of sunflowers

one window
for me.

We dance our way through a sarabande
while insatiability
for a place of pearls
will insist your time
has come…

ellipses: my organized embers-

how do you feel
knowing nothing
ever stops?

         Amargosa peaks see
in a year of yellow splinters
where peonies
look better
in dictionaries

and of flower theory:
the gardener and plant
both insist

         their apocrypha
         of sun
and nightfall.

Exquisite Corpse / Ann Huang

Drylands’ darkest black,
Ocean’s royalist blue,
Collided dust of meteors,
Freezing sunrise sparkle,
We/re juxtaposing
Under this hardened skin,
In a whirlwind of shadow–
Colliding, more shadow?

Scripted / Amy Jasek

Put it in a letter.
Send it across the world.
Let it go unfettered

on a snail’s back.  Better
licked with a stamp, folded:
an envelope letter

that you write on paper
instead of coded swirls,
flying real, unfettered.

Slow motion exchanger
of words.  Emotions hurled
wildly in your letters,

by your own hand, where censure
hides in eraser-burled
remnants.  Your unfettered

expression, written per
the speed that your pen twirls
through your paper letters.
Let it fly, unfettered.

A delight / Jules Lattimer

The cat on the wall

flipping its shadow tail

and the honey sun

at its back. 

Recipe for a Poem  / Tate Lewis-Carroll

  Drag your hands gently up your throat like a swallowed key on a string.

  • Unlock the medicine cabinet, but don’t take the plastic pills too seriously.
  • Freshen the bandages over your eyes. Now that you can see the lake the lake will sublime.
  • In the center of the crater there, find a rose bush blooming with the heads of dolls that blink when tipped over.
  • In one doll’s eye, there should be a landing. Take the stairs up. (The escalator should also be fine.)
  • In your back pocket you should find a candle; light it. Begin your search through the dated names and dates.
  • The reverse sometimes works for prose.

Click here for poems, days 1 – 15