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INTERNATIONAL CHAPBOOK
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New Irish Voices
Poetry chapbooks by
Roisin Kelly & Paul McMahon

 

 

Liberty Walks Naked
by Maram al-Masri, trans. Theo Dorgan

 

 

Done Dating DJs
Done Dating DJs
by Jennifer Minniti-Shippey
Winner, 2008 Fool for Poetry Competition

 

 

Richesses

Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
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BECCA BARNISKIS

 

 

 

Becca Barniskis has a chapbook of poems, Mimi and Xavier Star in a Museum That Fits Entirely in One’s Pocket (Anomalous Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Colorado Review, TYPO, Vinyl, Works & Days Quarterly, MARY, and Sporklet. She performs her poetry to live audiences regularly as part of the bands Downrange Telemetrics and Pancake7

 

 

 

Village Overrun

 

A Robin Red Breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage– William Blake

 

Located four and a half miles off the interstate and filled

with houses hunched in rows behind the strip mall,

some with small asphalt yards and a cold metal fence beyond

where robins like to perch and sing.

Broken bottles crunching beneath the wheels

of a giant tanker pulling into the parking lot.

            It crushes me, it flattens!

sings that one there in the tree.

 

Nutria slouch along the chain link.

Rat-like they tear into saltmarsh hay

on the banks of the stream that sloshes along

the backyards in a messy spill and a clear warm trill goes out

against the yellowing sky:

Smash your skull smash it against the steel

            siding of the corrugated shed!

 

(Where every evening teenagers gather to play their scraping music raw

and take breaks near the drainage ditch where they hold each other

and smoke.)

 

An overdressed robin leaves an old plaid shirt on the grass. See it darken

a little more each day. The same shirt in the same place

and none to retrieve it from its slow decay.

            If I didn't fail so often!

Sings the one up on the wire dangling a cigarette.

 

Flitting about in broken sandals and a stained blouse

the robin jilted and forced to stay behind to fight off

the crows catching their eye on the shine and pearl

of smeared window panes:

            You can hide here you can you can you can

almost cheery amid crooked stacks of tires, deserted tractors lined up,

empty trailers caving in on themselves near the old feed store

where mounded piles of wood chips and dirt stink and steam

in the cold sunshine. Fodder for worms!

 

Baby robins know better.

They just pip a little in their strollers and listen

for the unseen beak to call back some comfort. Or sling a worm.

 

That gang streaming out from the Red Breast—drunk,

boisterous—becomes a chorus of gleaming heads

throwing light that shivers and drops into sludge-thickened water

where it's swallowed by mud, reshuffled, reborn,

and what they can't stand gets up
and follows them home.

 

 

©2017 Becca Barniskis

 

 

Author Links

 

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