Two Poems by Julia Caroline Knowlton

November Song

Praise gray skies, wet yellow
leaves fall to red edge. I wonder

why dark winter moves voices
to fear every day, every night

of the dead. How hard we try
to cover fear with wrong things—

hot meat gravy, a fat gold watch,
words of wool, light cheer.

November song, empty me out
to cloth without paint, barest

branches, a cup without wine.
Move me to snow on evergreen pine.

*

Meditation in Winter

I draw an angel halo on paper,
believing only in paper

not the gold shape itself.
I light candles with a red-hot match.

I sing a bitter song or sweet,
peel apples into butter and taste the past.

I write faint words, wash a dish.
Enter crying darkness coming at last.

*

Julia Caroline Knowlton is Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta and incoming President of the Georgia Poetry Society. She has an MFA in poetry from Antioch University and a PhD in French Literature from UNC-Chapel Hill. The author of four books and an Academy of American Poets prize winner, she was named a Georgia Author of the Year for her 2018 chapbook, The Café of Unintelligible Desire (Alice Greene & Co.). Her second chapbook, Poem at the Edge of the World, will be published by Alice Greene & Co. in 2022. Julia regularly publishes in journals including One Art, Roanoke Review, and Boston Literary Review.

Three Poems by Le Hinton

Meditation on Rain on a Blue Porch

This shower speaks of Evans’ piano.
A light touch on the roof —
a remembrance of the bleeding—

a dampened cry and the blunted
hope that “We Will Meet Again,”
knowing we won’t.

*

Meditation on Rain on a Black Porch

The drops echo Trane’s
“Impressions Live at the Village
Vanguard.” My grief keeps pace

with the velocity of the music and my heartbeat.
16th notes flow skyward like Black
bodies in a summer of tempests.

*

Meditation on Rain on a Red Porch

The thunder calls first, then the flash. We comfort ourselves
with lies: We’re safe here. We’re not afraid of ghosts
or what we owe them. It’s the ozone scent

of lightning that reminds me of Cage’s “First Construction
(in Metal),” the iron in a blood-red stream,
the scream when it overflows its banks.

*

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.