noun / the inability to remove a person from one’s / thoughts, most often accompanied by a kind of / vibration in the chest similar to the flickering light / of fireflies over a summer meadow or minnows in / a shallow pool; their silver dartings.
I arrived early at the Church of St. Mary at Westminster College to get my music together and try the piano. It was late April in Fulton, Missouri, cold and damp, and the morning haze set the church in a sort of numinous relief against the pervading Midwestern gray. I leaned against the large wooden door, stepped inside, and shook off the chill.
Fuji Bay in Sioux City, slow Monday night, and The Bachelorette’s on TV. She’s stopped on her way back from the airport, in an attempt to self-soothe with sushi. Earlier in the day, she said goodbye to The Beloved in a different airport, then dozed on and off through two uncomfortable legs. Saying goodbye to The Beloved is always dreadful.
You turn off the lights. You shut and lock the doors. If there are windows, you herd your students to a corner where they can’t be seen from the windows. You tell them it’s important they stay still. You tell them it’s important they stay silent. You use the tone of voice you reserve for only the most serious things. The tone of voice you once used with your own children when you told them never to shoot up. You only have one life, you once said, don’t throw it away.
Keats says of poetry “that it should be a friend to man,” and in the warmth and wisdom of Alicia Suskin Ostriker’s fourteenth collection is a true friend.
As an entity, We Did Not Fear the Father might be summed up as a collection whose concern is limits: the limits of history, of form, of the collective and the personal.
The Sunday School kids were locked in the old bank vault through two points of Pastor Rickett’s ten-point sermon before anyone noticed.
MATT BIALER is the author of seven books of poetry including Radius (Les Editions du Zaporogue), Already Here, Ark, Black Powder, The Bloop (all from Black Coffee Press) and Bridge (Leaky Boot Press) and Tell Them What I Saw (PS Publishing, UK).
MIKE WHITE is the author of How to Make a Bird with Two Hands (Word Works), which was awarded the 2011 Washington Prize.
SUE D. BURTON’s poetry has previously appeared in Green Mountains Review and in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, and on Verse Daily.
Lord, not just for those with tin foil hats, those grandfathers and mothers of the cause, but for our common brothers and sisters with common internet fears, we pray.
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