"A Way of Seeing" - Abayomi Animashaun


"A Way of Seeing"
(Abayomi Animashaun)

If at night you enter a forest with a lantern—
Flame, risen and warm against the glass—

And the mast of that ship within you is blown,
Caught, and alive with wind,

Pull your oars in from Reason’s sea.

If later within that lantern,
The flame thins and dies,

Owls from the deck’s dark corners will emerge,
Singing like your dead grandfather,

Playing flutes like his wives,
Drunk and dancing upon the stern.

"A Way of Seeing" by Nigerian poet Abayomi Animashaun appeared originally online in Passages North. His 2010 debut collection is The Giving of Pears, where he explains that "In writing these poems, I saw the page as a sort of living room, where I could go to have a party."  He teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

"Man of Constant Mailboxes" - David Noah


"Man of Constant Mailboxes" - David Noah:

so this guy, swerving,
smashed his pickup into our mailbox
splintering its post,

and ran himself to ground in the ditch by the road

he came out talking so fast
no calamity would ever catch him again
if he talked that fast
if he just explained to someone
that he’d once been in a coma for forty-eight days
because they thought it was a stone
but his appendix had burst
and he lifted up his red t-shirt to show me the belly band
he wore because his stomach muscles
had been whacked by the blast
except this one, he said
touching a small spot on his side

but it was his daughter who worried him right now
the one who was the first West Nile virus victim in this state
—this said with a wry proud smile—
and now she’s in the hospital, where he was going,
because his other daughter had died in December, 1997,
and I’m blessed to have this one, I know that,

but his mother was home and dumb with dementia
though he took his dad out golfing once a week
even though his own wrist had three broken bones
and there was constant pain in his own right leg

what kind of post you want to replace this one, he asked
I got a bunch with different colored stains
light, dark, oak, whatever you want
get it back here tomorrow
what time does your mail run

but I knew he was asking someone else
to tell him when the final mailbox
was going to leap right in front of his goddamned truck

"Hands, Nails, Singing" - Griffin Hamstead

"Hands, Nails, Singing" - Griffin Hamstead

After all these years
still rang the buzz
saw in his iron ears
still sang the blow
torch the song of
welding, whirring not
withstanding the strength
of once-calloused two
hands his greatest tool
and now his only
oath a bowl of mill
oats sat comfortably
his lap, his ass upon
his now new-clean work
bench, condition: used.

His hat hung up upon
the doorway, checked
out when his fingers
trembled, his feeling
troubled, his feeling mind-
muddled, his dear wife
kind-cuddled, yet she
face-to-back, his eyes
glass and out against
the window where rain
whistled, pitter-pitter-pat
-ting the pocket protecting
his keys, the key of them
marked by a ruby-red
rubber seal to the
gateway he had locked
himself out of.

Now, returned, a turn
to take once more
he looks, glances at
a room once more than
taking-up garage space.
His cracked-tobacco paws
glide across crumbling wall
gently, firstly, then pause
to grip the faded toy
hammer, given as his first,
then burst his boxed-in
heart, memories of every
sculpted part of many
monumentos de madera
hecho por manos, los miles.

A smile rises, se risa
his hands now clasped
eight nails, four boards
two-by-four under arm
-ed by a hammer:
1. grandfather clock, not his
2. bookshelf, oak, not his
3. coffee table, dark, not his
4. projects tabled, his
5. never able perfect, him
6. crib, a child, never his
7. playground fort, no longer his
8. lay plain forgotten, his
crafts outweighing always
his craft, now picks up the
frame, hangs it upon an un-
used wall nail and places
neatly in the center a ruby
-red key, and walks, step-
by-backwards-step, eyes
not shutting for even a
moment, shutting the door.