It’s So Incredibly Brave to Be a World Map, by Yvonne Zipter

It’s So Incredibly Brave to Be a World Map,

knowing the answer to the question Whose
country is this anyway? is subject to change,

knowing that as soon as someone punctures
the four corners of your colorful cartograph

with thumbtacks and affixes you to some
classroom wall, the lines depicting borders

are apt to shimmer like road lines in heat,
a mirage of constancy, knowing that,

at any given moment, another Czech Republic
might decide to rebrand itself as Czechia,

knowing that almost as soon as your ink
has dried, you will become obsolete.


Yvonne Zipter is the author of the poetry collections Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Like Some Bookie God. Her poems have appeared in numerous periodicals over the years, including Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, and Bellingham Review, as well as in several anthologies. Her published poems are currently being sold individually in Chicago in two repurposed toy-vending machines, the proceeds of which are donated to the nonprofit arts organization Arts Alive Chicago. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet and the Russian historical novel Infraction.

The Temporary World by Gerry LaFemina

The Temporary World

The water tranquil, soft loll of sunglaze
as one sailboat lazes from its dock toward adventure
beyond the bay.
Isn’t this how so many stories begin? Behind me

all tumult—jackhammers & Harley growl,
shrieks of children, their laughter gift wrapped
in golden light.
Old oaks chaperone, wear boas of Spanish moss.

Anoles have gone into hiding among
the underbrush; I even watched one leap, an Olympian,
from the sidewalk,
before it changed from brown to green

the way they will, adaptation necessary
for survival, to avoid workmen sawing away dead fronds
& the wrens that
woke me earlier, which seem harmless enough

seeing as they’re barely fist-sized,
their beaks almost dainty. But deadly. Such deception
shouldn’t shock us.
When it closed its eyes that lizard disappeared.

The school kids have returned to classrooms,
but before they left the cutest one said, Fuck no!,
so natural
a reaction when summoned back. In only minutes

the bay’s begun to churn, foam gathering
along the water’s edge, & the child-drawn clouds
to the south furrow
their brows, portent to a storm I still can’t fathom,

so that, hours from now, rain will lash
the windows, breakers crash beyond the storm wall.
Imagine those lizards
how important to survival it is for them to hold on,

the way they must cling to some quavering branch.


Gerry LaFemina’s most recent books are The Story of Ash (poems, Anhinga 2018) and Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping (prose poems, Madville, 2020). He’s also a noted critic and fiction writer, and his first book of creative nonfiction, The Pursuit: A Meditation on Happiness is forthcoming on Madville. He teaches at Frostburg State University, serves as a mentor in the Carlow University MFA program, and plays guitar and sings for Snubbed recording artists The Downstrokes.