Sixfold poetry fall 2013, p.1
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       Sixfold Poetry Fall 2013, p.1

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Sixfold Poetry Fall 2013
Sixfold Poetry Fall 2013

  by Sixfold

  Copyright 2013 Sixfold and The Authors

  Sixfold is a completely writer-voted journal. The writers who upload their manuscripts vote to select the prize-winning manuscripts and the short stories and poetry published in each issue. All participating writers’ equally weighted votes act as the editor, instead of the usual editorial decision-making organization of one or a few judges, editors, or select editorial board.

  Published quarterly in January, April, July, and October, each issue is free to read online and downloadable as PDF and e-book. Paperback book available at production cost including shipping.

  License Notes

  Copyright 2013 Sixfold and The Authors. This issue may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided both Sixfold and the Author of any excerpt of this issue is acknowledged. Thank you for your support.


  Garrett Doherty, Publisher

  [email protected]

  (203) 491-0242

  Sixfold Poetry Fall 2013

  Chris Joyner | Wrestlemania III & other poems

  Carey Russell | Visiting Hours & other poems

  Marc Pietrzykowski | Cabinet of Wonders & other poems

  Jonathan Travelstead | Prayer of the K-12 & other poems

  Jennifer Lowers Warren | Our Daughter's Skin & other poems

  Jeff Burt | The Mapmaker's Legend & other poems

  Patricia Percival | Giving in to What If & other poems

  Toni Hanner | 1960—Lanny & other poems

  Christopher Dulaney | Uncle & other poems

  Suzanne Burns | Window Shopping & other poems

  Katherine Smith | Mountain Lion & other poems

  Peter Kent | Surliness in the Green Mountains & other poems

  William Doreski | Gathering Sea Lavender & other poems

  Huso Liszt | Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin... & other poems

  Clifford Hill | How natural you are & other poems

  R. G. Evans | Dungeoness & other poems

  David Kann | Dead Reckoning & other poems

  Ricky Ray | The Music of As Is & other poems

  Tori Jane Quante | Creatio ex Materia & other poems

  G. L. Morrison | Baba Yaga & other poems

  Joe Freeman | In a Wood & other poems

  George Longenecker | Bear Lake & other poems

  Benjamin Dombroski | South of Paris & other poems

  Ryan Kerr | Pulp & other poems

  Josh Flaccavento | Glen Canyon Dam & other poems

  Christine Stroud | Grandmother & other poems

  Abraham Moore | Inadvertent Landscape & other poems

  Chris Haug | Cow with Parasol & other poems

  Mariah Blankenship | Fiberglass Madonna & other poems

  Emily Hyland | The Hit & other poems

  Sam Pittman | Growth Memory & other poems

  Alex Linden | The Blues of In-Between & other poems

  Bobby Lynn Taylor | Lift & other poems

  D. Ellis Phelps | Five Poems

  Alia Neaton | Cosmogony I & other poems

  Elisa Albo | Each Day More & other poems

  Noah B. Salamon | Sanctuary & other poems

  Contributor Notes

  Chris Joyner

  Wrestlemania III

  So much depends upon

  a scoop slam, an atomic

  leg drop. Hulk Hogan’s shirt:

  red wheelbarrow ripped open

  as if by tornado or rust.

  Jacked, his waxed skin

  glazed with sweat, he is flexed

  perfection. Bleached strands

  worn like a bald-rimmed crown,

  if ever he was apex, it is now:

  all 7’5” 500 pounds of André the Giant

  muscled impossibly overhead

  like a mythological burden,

  like Muybridge’s mid-gallop,

  airborne horse. Though too young

  to have witnessed, I somehow remember

  gripping rabbit ears, counting to three

  as Hogan peeled back the Giant’s leg.

  I remember my father posing, partly

  to me, partly to himself,

  What makes a man? but never

  the answer. I am trying

  to pretend I don’t see the future

  in his now slouching breasts,

  or deeper inside slack flesh,

  his heart hammering like a one-

  armed carpenter worked too long

  into the gloam. I am child again,

  beside him under what relief

  (I’d yet to fathom) a hot shower

  bestows blue-collar bones.

  Naked, I make lathering

  grease from his hands

  a game. Father, can I know

  of love’s inglorious sacrifices?

  Can I someday sing of its gristle?


  Can I? Can I sing?

  Hatred and Honey

  Fledgling blunders, routine

  tragedies, a dusk-bourbon sky

  chasing us home. Suburbia—

  what’s salvageable:

  this viewfinder of warped images?

  Or rather, memory as a hose

  untangled with coordination

  and patience? Copper-sweet

  water the spigot rewards?

  Now the sour must of an office

  where my uncle hid monolithic

  stacks of skin magazines, all airbrushed

  areolas and bush. When it seemed enough

  to simply palm my flesh

  like an injured chick. Flash

  to swimsuit snatched below

  my bony knees, prick a sudden

  offering to the golden

  lifeguard with Fibonacci curls.

  How the yelp I mustered

  before bolting sounded

  not my own. A summer anthem,

  shame became inescapable,

  became like gravity

  teaching the moon

                to orbit alone.

  So I lifted weights in our oily garage,

  tore muscle like sacrament bread.

  The friend I hated most once snapped

  my hockey stick in half for no reason

  other than cruelty craves reaction.

  So too he set fire to a pine

  in the neighboring woods;

  I entered briefly to see it blaze—

                a blood-red exclamation.

  That was how it went: rarely living

  between hatred and honey, not rebellious

  but ignorant of consequence

  until we witnessed how indifferent

  and vibrant the flames, how surely,

  when stepped on, a rusted nail

  settles the soft meat.

  This tender recess left

  once the nail is loosed.

  Ode to Mosh

               But for now, 17, we are

  acned and beautiful, tornadic

  in our angst. The venue’s strobe-

               dark striates our flail


  Lost in an undulation of knuckles

  and chains, bedraggled bangs

  and B.O., we are tossed—

  paper lanterns in a storm—

               slip, are lifted, return

  to riffs clipping the beer-thick air,

  kick drums pummeling our love


       for the necessary rebellion

  punk rock affords. After,

               the lingering

  sting in our ears we smuggle

               home like anything good

  that fades. But for now our bodies,

  apertures through which

  revolt and song, prism brilliantly—

               solar flares through stained glass.

  Ode to Asymmetry

  Bless the smaller, left breast, untethered, swimming 

            under faded cotton you wear to bed, 

            mattress begun to cup like hands 

                      held out for the drizzle of our sleep.

  Bless the 37 crumpled drafts of “Virtuvian Man” 

            Da Vinci, flustered, arced into his waste bin.

            Drafts with one testicle slightly drooped, 

  one longer leg, six fingers, wonky eye.

  Bless the crooked pocket sewn for pennies 

            in a country not quite our antipode.  The unpredictable

  course blood runs from a needle-nicked finger.

                      The unpredictable course by which cancer conquers,

                                finally, the dictator’s lymph and marrow.

            Bless the fractal crack of lightning,

            its flighty refusal to lick the same ground.  

  The drunk man struck while scrawling 

            sloppily, with earnest into the oaks’ flank 

  he hearts her—a declaration 

  to whichever sidereal big shot 

                      rules over us but does not appear

                                to reward our psalms.

  Which is not the way I feel for you now, 

            Honey-Bum, as you saunter braless, against 

                      exhaustion, toward the commitment 

  of another dawn.  Not asymmetrical, exactly, our love 

                      but chiral, Icarian in its fluctuations.  Not golden 

  our mean but a perfectly flawed stone

            in a ring too small.  This, the only way 

  I’d have it:  waltzing off-beat, 


            mooching booze 

                      at oblivion’s dance party.

  Carey Russell

  Visiting Hours

  Let’s build a tent of sweaters

  and huddle like bullfrogs.

  Come snuggle so close to me

  you can hear my hair

  chaff against your skull.

  The sky is a dying violet

  veined in silent oaks.

  I leave you my voice

  in nurses’ footsteps climbing

  up the white linoleum.

  That and clean socks.

  Almostleaves haze about these

  late March branches. They candle

  to green in the last reaches

  of the sunset before winking out.

  Is that what you thought

  your death would look like?


  I am still coming home

  to your hanging shirts.


  Through muscled roots, past black spring

                 soil, I buried your old dog.


  Her old dog, you would say, watching him

                 search the house for her, hopeful,

  her clothes still in the closet, hair still

                 in the brush. You still slept then

  in linens embroidered in tight stitches,

                 her initials rising like scars. Now pale

  ovals and rectangles hang where her

                 pictures had, shadows of those

  boxed photographs you still avoid.

                 This is the season of her

  dying. And deep into hard earth that scours

                 the shovel, I buried the dog.


  At the end of summer the egret stands

                 where the green reeds blacken

  into deep. White and alone, velvet

                                he greets

                 cranberry vines

  crumpling his gown then smoothing it.

                                   His yellow metal eye,

  layered by millions of years, the unbroken

                 clouds of a storm, and all

                           the weight that keeps You

  from me and holds us to the earth.

  Egret     tell me you’ve met a god

     so reckless that he will love

  us all     equally.

  After Hours

  Clever sticks scratch the liver

  spotted lake, the first green

  unraveling. She is left.

  Clouds cross her gaze

  and a few unassembled stars.

  How cold it is in this house.

  These inescapable thoughts,

  all that can and cannot be

  healed, how and how long.

  It is all still now, her vision

  washed out. A history carved

  in her feet and emptied space.

  All night long the room shifts

  to fit the absence. An act

  of god could shake her,

  a tremor in the earth

  of her body and the stretch of

  water so black it burns.

  Into the Valley

  I returned home for this, an Appalachian

                 valley where once-green hills hold

  the breath of the dead between them and lift

                 from each morning a fresh bandage

  of mist. I watched the lowering, her coffin

                 rocking into the ground, a cradle

  swaddled in gravel and dirt. Early fog sank in

                 so dense I could tear it like bread.

  The gaze of the mourners followed me,

                 their eyes black scattering birds.

  A fine ice dusted, silently silvered

                 my hair into my mother’s.

  Cupping my hands, I gathered cold globes

                 of breath, watched them whisper away.

  Do the dead hold their mouths in their hands

                 like this to know what is left of them?

  When I left, I took the valley with me,

                 the train slicing the fields, leaving

  its stiff suture. She is survived by me.

  Marc Pietrzykowski

  Cabinet of Wonders

  Hefting Mrs. O out of bed required

  a winch and a cradle of straps

  and a hard ear: she cried, at least

  more often than wailing, wordless,

  the occasional bark. No wonder,

  both hips were shattered, her spine

  nearly a question mark.
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  So, her soft sobs were welcome

  Tuesday morning, before bath,

  and her sudden shrieks ignored,

  at first, until we saw her fist

  jabbing toward the floor: a small,

  pink, heart-shaped box had fallen

  and lay beside the bedpan.

  Jamilla opened it, and up sprung

  a tiny ballerina, en pointe,

  pirouetting to Für Elise,

  gears plinking slowly, slowly,

  the song Mrs. O’s sister practiced

  forever, in the front parlor,

  the sun colored vase of lilies

  atop the piano, hair in a shaggy bun.

  We all listened as it slowed

  to a crawl, one note, one more,

  then hung, unresolved, on the C.

  Mrs. O didn’t have to cry, Jamilla

  turned the key before breathing,

  let it play, let it wind down again,

  then turned the key once more

  to watch the ballerina twirl.

  I Am Glad I Have Seen Racehorses, Women, Mountains

  I am glad I have seen racehorses, women, mountains,

  glad I have sung, stretched my back, peeled skin from my sun-burnt arms;

  I am grateful to have had a good enemy,

  and to have fought, knowing there is no end to fighting.

  There are few things to believe, and many things to know,

  and they are all mixed up in a rusty can,

  but when you are thirsty, even the rust

  tastes of life. I am glad I have seen pumpkins, contortionists,

  a mound of snow the size of a house; glad to have stunk a while

  in the hole left by love, to have smiled

  when an enemy was injured without reason,

  to have realized there was a day the battle would end, for me.

  There are tunnels and crevices beneath our feet, and weeds

  springing up from between them, and beneath that, yes,

  it is hot, but it is not a heat that concerns us, nothing human there,

  though we may, given time, be ground down again into that molten sea.

  When This Plane Goes Down, I Want To Be Sitting Beside You

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