2020 - Paul Guest


Maybe you need to embrace disappointment.
The way you don't sleep at night,
dreaming of dry dust on furniture
and the pleasant odor of plywood
and what it feels like to peel skin off
of your thumb. Maybe you should begin
that perfect novel which will
save you. Pluck you from the ruddy jaws
of a monster that is right there
beyond your failing sight. Not today,
Satan, or Ronald Reagan—
you learn that often enough evil is not about
nuance. It was raining
the day I was born
and years later I haven't learned much more
about the stars: fire
and cold light afloat in the murk of the cosmos.
Last night I read about
the doctors who removed 526 teeth
from a boy's dying jaw:
hours in they feared there was no end to it.
That his pain was infinite.
Their hands trapped.
Bits of white bone arrayed in a spiral
beside his sleeping face
and it was lovely and an evidence of the divine.
Well, not really. Maybe you
aren't real, aren't listening to the wind
as it goes through the night
like a sad prayer beneath the stippled sky.
Maybe. Just maybe things will get better.
Give it a year.

Until the Stars Collapse - Tonya Ingram


you owe it to yourself to quit being the apology. to
hold your hand and sing your favorite song. to
love another and see how far that will go. to love
yourself and forget where you were headed in the
first place. love is a funny story. it wakes up and
builds a plot. it wakes up and shapes you into the
kind of woman your mother studies. i am not per-
fect in it. i am not even remotely articulate. but it
is big, this love. it is airborne and triumphant. i am
no easy show. i hurt like the climb of my lineage. i
hurt on purpose. i hurt to not be hurt. no, none of
this is an excuse. just a blueprint. a map. come
find me when the day is bronze and the sorrow is
full. i am building my poem in this here heart. all
of it is a working title.