Three Poems by Clint Margrave

My Colleague Dies during Covid

The email says that they don’t have
any other contact information for her,
that there won’t be a funeral,
that there’s no address to send flowers.

“I wonder if anyone has a photo to help
us put a face with the name,” somebody
writes in the thread.

But what is a face in an age of masks?
What is a name?

*

A Poem Is a Grave

marked by words.

You have to dig deep
to find its bones.

You have to bury
yourself in it.

*

Destroy Unread

I heard that the famous novelist
wrote this on one of his notebooks
before he died.

I guess it’s only natural
to want to sanction the narrative of your life
after you’ve gone,
especially if you’re a writer.

When my father died,
he left no instructions
for a literary executor,
much less for a grieving son.

*

Clint Margrave is the author of the novel Lying Bastard (Run Amok Books, 2020), and the poetry collections, Salute the Wreckage, The Early Death of Men, and Visitor (Forthcoming) all from NYQ Books. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Rattle, and The Moth, among others.

A Poet’s Mother Dies from Covid by Le Hinton

A Poet’s Mother Dies from Covid

No one inherits eloquent words nor leases the brilliance
of a perfect sonnet transcribed onto parchment in blue ink.

I speak no language that elevates each syllable so that every
word will be remembered alongside the dead.

It is a myth that poets possess inexhaustible grace
and passion, or feel more deeply than other human bodies.

There is no hidden box, dovetailed jointed, stained and polished,
that holds the perfect magic of metaphor and meter.

There is only a man standing mute over granite,
only a boy who misses his mom.

*

Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work can be found or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2014, The Progressive Magazine, the Skinny Poetry Journal, The Baltimore Review, The Pittsburgh Review, and outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

February, 2021 — by Donna Hilbert

February, 2021

In a fit of hope, I wash and press white shirts
hidden in the hamper since last March.
I order lipstick, and a see-through make-up bag
with hooks to hang on any random perch.

*

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Gravity: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributing writer to the on-line journal, Verse-Virtual. She is eager to resume leading in-person workshops and hugging her friends. Learn more at http://www.donnahilbert.com

Absence by Ed Ahern

Absence

In this time of needed absence
when distant words are thin soup
and images cannot be grasped,
we offer the lack of ourselves
as a protective prayer for those
we love too much to touch,
and hope that our denial
of those we hold most close
keeps us intact and caring
for a later day.

*

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

Ahern on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/EdAhern73/?ref=bookmarks
https://www.instagram.com/edwardahern1860/

From the back porch of a war by James Feichthaler

From the back porch of a war

I wish I could be like this dandelion —
patient, awaiting rains. Thousands are dying,
and we’ve been told to stay inside our homes
to keep the numbers down. The squirrels aren’t buying
such lousy edicts, rummaging through our garden
for anything to stuff between their gums.
They don’t have bills past due or rent to pay,
patients to tend to, politicians’ lies
to aggravate their fears in these dark times;
oblivious to the shortage of supplies
in hospitals, to a panic that only comes
when having too much (as a luxury)
infects the brain. Here, on this warm March day,
their hoarding means new life is on the way.

*

James Feichthaler is a poet and essayist whose work has most recently appeared in Sortes, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Martin Lake Journal, and the Mad Poets Society’s Local Lyrics series. His new book The Rise of the COVFEFE, a poetical satire of these divided and uncertain times, was recently published by Parnilis Media. He is also the host of an open mic reading in Manayunk, PA called The Dead Bards of Philadelphia.