Monday Poems


Nov 23, 2015
University of Montana Press

Let's call it by its Algonquin name:
"he strips off"
                            or, if you will,
"the sage" or "respectful one." Not a twig
left on top of another, not a single flower
sticking out from the prairie.

Someone (perhaps a hunter)
once said it was ugly,
that its snout and antlers were too big,
that it was ungraceful and dumb.

When the moose hears this,
it just shrugs its shoulders
and munches quietly on the water lilies
or the tree bark.


Nov 16, 2015

As if through glass, through windows, in a café, in the afternoon or early evening, in June, in June or November, month like a fetish of gray—a month of water hanging onto itself; until it drizzles, a month of dulled light—he is seen for a moment, accidentally, between appointments, in the middle of errands, walking down steps, the cement steps, say, of an old bank—old enough for granite, for columns—pulling his keys out of his pocket, or gripping the small black remote that replaces keys (which you can't hear the sound of, behind all this glass), and approaching his car, so that for an ins


Nov 9, 2015
Mel McCudden / Lost Horse Press

We learn to swear from our fathers
when they're chopping wood
and miss the log,
axe skimming bark
off the woodblock,
dew off the grass,
goddammit raising its hot white streak
into November.

When my father's scanner
picks up police reports,
he's pulling on Key pants,
grabbing black jacket,
out to the garage to pull the tarp
off the tow truck.
I wake to hear the engine
having it out with the cold.

"Grandmother Rattler"

Nov 2, 2015
University of Arizona Press

who coils in my bones,
what were you thinking that summer night
when you found the warm road
on the edge of the canyon and stopped
just there exactly at the center
where the pickups and cars and evening walkers would see
your spiral upon spiral,
hear the singing voice of your tail,
see your black head rising?

When I stopped my car
and walked up to you,
arms spread and hands open,
why didn't you move?
Why didn't you slide down the stones

"Flying Toad"

Oct 26, 2015
James Walsh

Plastic bracelet signifies
unescorted minor. Fidgety
pre-teen assigned
to the seat beside me. Shuttled
twixt Dad's new life,
Mom and her boyfriend back home.
Up in the air.


Oct 19, 2015
Tony Alter

Tent collapsed.
Greg's eyes wide:
Oh shit I'm sleeping in water.
Our light tries, but dies.
Pound stake with shoe!
(The ground resists—it's the Rocky Mountain Front.)

Nylon wall hold wind at a distance,
a boat carrying our sleepy heads
through familiar smells of old records,
hidden cigarettes, sweaty coins from the '50s when...
an invisible lizard climbs up my neck,
scurries through my hair to the base of my skull.

"A Quiet Poem About Marital Sex"

Oct 12, 2015
Christine Holbert / Lost Horse Press

Put your fire to my forest
and pour on oil.

Your gasoline to the struck tip
of the waiting match

and I will stop whatever I'm doing
because in a minute you and I will burn down the world.

Set fire to the pipeline!
See the winter melt in less than sixty seconds,

all the wells of the glittering earth ignite
from underground at once in a thousand sites

and in a thousand cities the beacon fires on the fortified walls
say, We've won!

The gates won't wait for dawn!
They open now!

"Song, with Angus

Oct 5, 2015

The cat with his underbite looks like a bony old man
without teeth. Not
Grendel who tortures blind rodents and once
that rabbit, meek
as Christ.

"Of All the Gifts She Ever Gave Him—"

Sep 21, 2015

the empty lake, the static on the radio, the years
with missing handle bars—

the one that halfway fit him was the gloves.
He wore them all spring, then all summer, weeding

even by moonlight, relentless as a ghost,
as constant as the sky we ignore

'til geese fly south and give us a reason to look:
their sad, odd honking like the sound of our desire...

Of course, he was crazy;
all the couples on our street know that.

One morning we woke to the noise of him weeding
his house, uprooting the plumbing, uprooting

"Phone Therapy"

Sep 14, 2015
Lilly Ledbetter, REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi / Lost Horse Press

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a window sill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"
I asked, "you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"