The Heir | Andrew Coburn
Forced March | Robert Lietz
Dear Leader Dreamer | Gabriel Check
Antipastoral: Dairymen | Amy Groshek
Snapshots of the Epic | Gregory Lawless
Three Reliquaries | Laurence Davies
The Inexorable | Stefanie Freele
Travel Photography | Joshua Walker 
Post-Christmas Inventory | Laura Kolb
Cityscapes, Silos, Blue Nudes | Amber Krieger
Farming Silence | Lauren Ashleigh Kenny
Evan in the Tent | Walter Cummins
Three Poems | Grace Wells

On the Contrary
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Forced March | Robert Lietz

     A woman absorbs the damage after all,
and the words, already old now generations,
like furniture, attaining depths, stamped coins
and medallion plates, a life's events
like next collectibles, in the looks of these, 
composed with instruments, 
who smiled and multiplied, and might 
invite her still, lucky in cash 
or poverty or personal 

     They burn their lifetimes into place, seed words 
to catch in winter conversations,
seasons afterward, when universes fuse, 
when women deeply reach, 
contribute their pocket lint to spare the armory, 
(already old now generations,)
remembering such hands, and then 
the motion of such hands, 
lost in flames, or lost 
at ill-machines
in accidents.

     She turns away then stands, knowing better
than disturb the deadfloat of a lover, 
finding her way through doors to upper-story 
windows, asking what's to make of it, 
of this little breeze and wine-soured breathing, 
and what might crowd her nightmares out, 
this field of air aflame, herself aflame, 
and dancers, just connected
at their tips.

     And here, absorbing the damage after all,
the flesh-tones after all, 
precis escolates, as glamorous and wrong 
as stories seemed to be,
as the dancers, sounding the horns of a little flesh,
their salty trance, and acts 
pulled off with strings, supplanting miracle, 
their faces like old wood
and like old leather after all, watching 
as universes fuse, and voices, 
whispering, along 
the World's

     a century running at storm-speed, lost for all
the fine commissions of the body, 
teasing one to fugues, and one to strip herself 
before a canvas, 
spell-binding  still, too much to penetrate, 
then gone     -- for all 
their lovely accident     -- too much to penetrate, 
and too much displayed
before this fierce constabulary, abroad
in lovely overture, 
in tandem now, among these 
lovers of bold breasts, 
of umbrage, and 
of all inspired 


     Precis escolates. The facts require this old wood
and this old leather after all. No prints, no features left,
     but these, working the strippers' tents, happy

     just to gaze on body-cobbled light. She marks the ease
with which her furnace now reminds her it's been cold. And
     marks the course of spoiled love, of years she marched

     in service to her prince, of career, without the grace
of a profession, beginning in misprints, in prison stints
     at the far side of the World.  She shares with these

     the blue congruity and leer-thinned blue, blue of steel
and spring shirts, feeling a hardness come, an engine,
     idling longer than she'd guess, feeling this riptide's surge,

     ( than pick-up or dropping off explains, ) this wash
of action on claimed land, and these a-buzz in fabulous doorways,
     asking of men which cuts, which Rhone would satisfy,

     which fabric sized and laid to private likings,
which grind would satisfy the purple fathers of the century,
     persisting to drop their lines in creeks

     another people left to business. And these, behind
the grocery, letting go with their own waters, enacting
     their techniclumsy jig, as lean as local weathers

     bringing the first leaves on, bird-riot, and all
engaging miniatures, inviting this show of wounds
     she'd thought would never be reopened,

     the hands alive, and the wizened curators,
reaching again toward her, ignoring
     the warnings not to touch.

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commentary | poetry | fiction | chicago | spring 2007