Poetry Unplugged

Her Reward

 

It wasn’t yet Easter when Miss O

fell to the floor and the chairs

danced on the tiles with glory.

The acoustics in that room

were filled with the Holy Ghost,

but we weren’t pew jumpers.

We feared her death and rising.

 

On a Sunday she was washed

in the blood, water baptized

in Austin’s miry river.

But Pastor S lost his grip

and the current plucked her clean

out of his novice hands.

It was a deacon raised her.

 

She went down to her clay grave

one cold April at the end of Lent.

But on the notched east corner

the lowering device slipped

and dropped her headfirst down

into the hole, the loam, the dark,

where she was crowned.

 

 

Greg Huteson has an M.A. in English literature from the College of William and Mary. His poems have appeared in the Saint Katherine Review, The Christian Century, and other journals. For the last twenty years he has resided in Taiwan and China.

The Chimera of Notre-Dame

 

Day like any other, spring in Paris,

the cafés alive with pretty girls, April flowers,

the regimented square, cheerful terraces —

oh, and that abomination, the Eiffel Tower.

Admittedly, I have grown bored,

a post-modernist case of French ennui;

for two centuries I’ve glowered

here, a chimera of Viollet-le-Duc, no airs

or claim to authenticity, squatting above

the tourist hordes.

 

(Still I’ve had my piece, seen my share;

Napoleon III, La Belle Époque, the Nazi siege,

that dark time that brought my city to its knees.)

 

Don’t ask why I remain. Shat on by birds,

the belching smog, the acid rain;

all’s worn quite thin, slightly absurd.

It’s for Our Lady, I suppose. Grotesque,

I am, but a soul still flutters in the hardest stone.

I’ve served her well. Best guardian of her blessed home.

 

Enough of that . . .

 

The old sun sets the way it does

but then a sense of something new, a cause

perhaps to pivot on this buttress if I could;

whiff of smoke, cacophonous bells,

hell’s searing heat, exploding ancient wood.

 

The plaster cracks along my spine

while like a moth from its caul my claws, beak,

wings emerge, feathering as the granite crumbs

and falls; the sculptor's handiwork undone

in the nick of time as flames lick my cheek,

the fires surge —

 

I cast my eye upon the glittering night,

fly with the ash into the City of Light.

 

 

Lisa McCabe works, lives, and writes in Nova Scotia. She has published poems in Sewanee Review, Limestone Review, HCE Review, and various other print and online journals.

He Asks Me the Difference Between Veterans Day and Memorial Day

 

and I tell him it is the difference between life and death,

between breathing and absence,

 

between November and May,

between cemeteries and cemeteries,

 

between discounts and nothing,

between Thank you and I don’t know what to say.

Ron Riekki’s books include U.P., Posttraumatic, the upcoming My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction, and i have been warned not to write about this.

Original Sin

 

Eve was Adam’s ribling sibling—

Kin, if not by blood, by marrow—

An apple-nibbling, sibling ribling

When Adam married, ’cause his choice was narrow.

 

Begat they did, and begat begetters

Who begat till family tree was a forest.

And soon they were all their forebears’ betters,

And they rose as one in church and chorused:

 

“Adam and Eve were original sinners.

There’d be no sin were there no beginners.

Yes, sure as we’re standing under this steeple.

There’d be no sin

’Cause there’d be no people.”

 

 

Douglass Allen is a near octogenarian who has been writing poetry for over 60 years. He recently decided to revise, revise, revise, and submit, submit, submit while still compos mentis. He continues to teach at Furman University.

Battery Lives

 

There are no death rites

for a dead cell phone

no period of mourning

for a lost connection

only a period of grumbling

and feigned sympathy from friends

who if I’d said “grandparent”

would at least have added inflection

and stopped texting.

 

But that dead cell phone

had the last text

of my dead grandad on it:

 

          Come over. Need hrlp with squirrels.

          —papa

 

 

Devin Guthrie is a disabled, genderqueer, asexual studying Existential Psychology at Texas A&M. They received the James F. Parker award, and their work has appeared in The Notre Dame Review, Confrontation, New Reader Magazine, Hubbub, Takahē, and the Adirondack Review.

Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2019, a poetry magazine    

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