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IthacaLit   Literary Magazine: Lit with Art © 2011

All individual works copyrighted by their authors. All rights reserved.

First Credit IthacaLit. ISSN: 2372-4404

SPRING 2019

Kelly WALDEN

Power Lines

. . . or Power Lions . . . or Power Loins

 

These women marching across the

         landscape, broad-shouldered,

         be-skirted, holding up the infrastructure –

Nobody sees them, but they’re

         everywhere, wordless, anonymous,

         the wasp-waist walkers

Illuminating everyone but

         themselves, powering the

         entire essence of everything.

They tread on those tiny triangular toes

         through every possible topography –

         

         a graveyard, a ghetto, a ghost town,

         a winnowed wheat field, a rival windmill farm,

         a river, a rail yard, a riprap ditch –

Each one holding tightly to her

         section of the circuitry that binds

         us all together.

What if no one ever recognizes these

         faceless females?

What if they turn loose of that

         fragile filament or fall

         down in that field?

They will electrify the world the day they

         suddenly surge forward

         and head steadily into that stunning horizon they eye.

Kelly Walden lives and writes in Paducah, Kentucky, where she was born and ended back up after 21 moves. She is married and has 4 children. Writing is her real love, but she created an ACT Prep business to serve her rural area and put sourdough bread on the table.  She also loves cold brownies slathered in cold butter, trees, bubblegum pop and old country, the smell of hot asphalt, and the color periwinkle.

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Keith WILSON

I Looked For Love in the Index of a Book on Black Cinema

and Found Only Lynching

 

how we entreat familiar bodies.

there are none that exist

 

but theories of flowers. deer that has come bounding through

my tender screen, ground me. my least favorite proverb

 

is you can't judge a book by its cover. you can

only do that. the weird bread of another's body,

 

the greens that are mustard

under scrutiny. to yearn

 

to not be a book with a wet spot meant to preserve flowers

is to absolve yourself from failure, pridefully.

 

for instance, i remember the flower

girl herself, my cousin’s wedding, but not the petals

 

or the stems. for instance, i click back to a video

being shared by strangers. a black girl who won’t listen to a man

 

is plucked from her desk and thrown by the officer.

light can move through substances that air cannot—

 

she lands a way i've never seen a white body lie.

a glowing field of phones

 

records my cousin's wedding though i never go to look.

in the confusion, i see nothing but black girls holding flowers.

Who Is There to Eulogize the Tree

 

    4

          the mason—dixon  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________

a shadow extended long enough becomes just the light

you’ve never been tender. (moth wings. tobacco strung up so dry the color of a man). you can't walk to the

   car without stopping or your father to water the yard. he stares across it, bending over, thin as a country 

   that lost half itself to civil war (a cancer sign), the other half to ashes. he plucks every weed as if they were

   children—could be woven to a throne. you leave them be. whatever he believes, he believes. your whole

   theory of the sky would change if you crossed south of the equator. there, the north star evaporates. like the

   killing games children play. who would you murder first if it meant meandering the stars close to home,

   keeping them from change? (you can try again against impossibility and put hands to head to roots and

   stand, but every little sun is diamond-set into the back of your father's father's land). all that blood played

   across the innocence (some vote ignorance) of trees. they say yours are your father's eyes. he says look at 

   steve, who is army green and bends to the wind like a galaxy. every night sleeping beside him in  the ward, 

   your father never knew your name. your dream is to be terrible (a monster or a worm) and ratchet back 

   history and only afterward, be good. you are american. you could have told him anything  but, of course, you 

   never did. your name unfurls from is his name like onion skin. you 've never seen your father cry. once, 

   when his brother died, you think you see it. he waters the snow from where he poured the urn—your

   father's brother is a tree—or it's a trick of the light. maybe fireworks.

3 a crow's memory is generational 

​4 a wilted kite 

1
you
2
3

Keith Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet, Cave Canem fellow, and a graduate of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop who received three scholarships from Bread Loaf as well as scholarships from MacDowell, UCross, Millay Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center, among others. I serve as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. My first book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, will be published by Copper Canyon in 2019. Wilson's work has appeared or is appearing in the following journals: Poetry, Adroit Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Little A, Narrative, 32 Poems, Rhino, Muzzle, Blueshift Journal, and Vinyl. Additionally, Wilson won a Best of the Net Award, has been anthologized in Best New Poets and was appointed a Gregory Djanikian Scholar. His nonfiction won a Redivider Blurred Genre prize. 

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James THOMPSON

Feathers Insulate My Home

 

My mother would pin flattened birds

  to the drywall of our home.

    Birds found against the city curbs amid

dry leaves and plastic wrappers.

  My mother liked to keep dead things

    alive as long as she could.

Careful never to name them in front of me,

  she’d arrange the birds above her

    sewing machine, heads up and in a row.

 

The only part of Cinderella I remember

  word for word is –Cinderella, hard up

    on time and resources, collected all

the dead birds beneath the sills of her

  spotless windows, and, using the tine

    of a fork and her own hair, sewed

herself a gown of feathers. When it came

  time for the ball, she took flight

    and never touched earth ever again.

James Allen Thomson currently lives in Central Texas where he is an English lecturer at Texas State University. His poetry has appeared in Poached Hare and Twyckenham Notes and is forthcoming in fields magazine.

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