In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The Gift of a Cradle, and: Studying War
  • Lee Sharkey (bio)

The Gift of a Cradle


beneath the lovely curveof the horizon rests a baby

the curve of lovelynests in a mother's breast

the sweet stream slipsin a sinuous meander

the curved air playsa celebratory cello

a wet mouthis shaping love sounds


peach was the color when I opened my eyespeach through the tree trunks

pulse of the whole of the budof the fruit of the globe

peace     stubborn as soil and as futile as lovestood there whole while the train blew to shrapnel

in the Prado the dwarves the lamp-jawed Infantesthe featherhead Counts were convulsing [End Page 159]

Goya     disturbed from Truth's grave     criedthis is worse     this is worst     all this and more

On The Anniversary of The Invasion

on my side     knees bent     hand restinglightly on my rib cage

lightly     your knees touch my kneesyour breath washes over my face

my breath washes over your faceour breath sifts out the window

and rides the thermalsover earth's face scarred and shining

brushing distant facesturned slightly to the touch of wind

Gift of A Story

two old women dug a pondto make a home for piggybacking frogs

a cow came to drink therewhat profits one belongs to all

in bounded the neighbor's houndthen shook the good news all over

children arrived with spoons and pailto dig up worms and cast their lines

by moonlight lovers stole therebobbed for apples on the waves [End Page 160]


with one hand he grabs the baby's feetand hoists the legs so with the otherhe can wash the baby bottom

his hands and the baby's limbshave refined the configurations

by which he knows the babyby which the baby knows him

as in another time his motherheld his feet and upsadaisy

we is a curve being born

Neither Mother Nor Lover

today the war dead failed to make the headlinesto keep myself human I construct a shrine of words

a layer of tissue     a layer of salta little teepee with names hometowns and ages

images grafted from broadcast burialsI caption fold and tuck inside

a moment in stillness for absencefor the grief that scours the heart

a spill of thread     a spill of sanda small stone for what might have been [End Page 161]


they're gangly     grown     but this nightthe last poem folded     the farewells said

rather than wake themwe bend and heft one more timemore weight than we can carry

as we step out into the night and standin knee-high grassesthey stir and settle on our shoulders

the moon slides past the Balm of Gilead's lamentin the bristling silence of the galaxy

Studying War

We intended to spare you thisIn our outrage, in our flagrancy was the intent to spare youWhen we marched, learned to smile for the spy cameras,  honeymooned before the Pentagonstood night vigil while the draft board delivered its fluorescent  verdictpassed on miracle tales of the physical, failedthrough hunger artistry or heartbeats triplingor hand belonging to a naked body sidling to the doctor's thighit was to save our skins and the DNA embeddedit was a love affair with democracy, we ain't gonna war no morebut the poor kept falling to the tune the rich were singing [End Page 162] but we turned aside to give birth in the gardenand to gaze upon our children's faces

I saw a sadness spread its wings and settle on your shouldersYou said, One day the lightning flashed, my father scooped us up,  threw himself on top of us,silenced my terror with his palmNow my brother has a war to call his ownAll the boys pray they are immortalthey rinse their souls under the desert starsTo enter manhood in a desert firestorman antelopeto fumble blinded toward a rag of fleshYou already know the aftermaththe...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 159-163
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.