Thursday, June 25, 2015

Poems I Admire #7

The Extra Blanket at the End of the Bed Speaks
Leigh Anne Hornfeldt

For years I was in love with a geometric
comforter. I spent entire days solving

the algebra of her pattern, counting
her coordinates. Now there's a kaleidoscope quilt.

She makes me dizzy. Mornings I slump
near the footboard, waiting to be folded

or spread, listening for humble sounds
of routine in the kitchen. I'm sick of feet.

Kicking, nestling. I dread the padding
of the cat's paws down the hall,

his indulgent naps and 20 minute baths.
Being ornamental is awful.

I squander afternoons envying
the curtains. I win another staring match

against the ceiling fan. Sometimes
I let myself remember the weekend spent

in the trunk of the car. Absorbing exhaust.
Fantasizing over picnics and breadcrumbs.

It rained instead and on Monday
I was tossed to the laundry room floor.

The dryer is the worst. Out of spite I gorge
on socks and strangle pant legs, roll my edges

to gather more lint. I'd come undone
but needle and thread terrify me. At night

the quiet argument. The heat and spill of sex.
I archive intimacy, stay flat as I can

and when they sleep I listen to a tide
of breathing. I've never heard an ocean.

Sometimes they hang me on a line.
I snap in the wind. Avoid bird shit. 

My hem barely reaches the white tops
of dandelions in the yard. In the distance

a cell phone tower blinks like a lighthouse.
I pretend I'm the sea.

First appeared in Off the Coast.

Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, a Kentucky native, is the author of East Main Aviary & The Intimacy Archive and the editor at Two of Cups Press. In 2013 she was the recipient of a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and her poem “Laika” placed 2nd in the Argos Prize competition (Dorianne Laux, judge). In 2012 she received the Kudzu Prize in Poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Spry, Lunch Ticket, Foundling Review, and The Journal of Kentucky Studies.      

Saturday, June 13, 2015


December is a faraway place
of brimstone and snow that hisses
like the last damp breaths of a pale
and powerless king coughing-up
spittle in the only color that counts.

It clinks like ice cubes floating
in the cold light-brown of the first
of many poured one after the other
from a just-bought bottle smeared
by tears and sweaty caresses.

December causes the wisty cinnamon
of your kisses to turn each gray exhale
into a frigid contemplation of your smile
and how it became the reason I awaken
shivering, remembering every minute of it.

RAIN Magazine - 2015


I want to drink you
straight from the bottle
and wince with the scorching
in my throat and the spinning
of my head while wandering
from the tender bend of your neck
to the naked arching of your back
until I am all-sheets-to-the-wind

RAIN Magzine - 2015

Keeping Tabs

News of unidentified fatalities spill
from the radio like leapers on 9-11.
A shooting, a hit-and-run, a random
beating, or a frigid death from exposure
on a park bench each send me punching
the keys of my near-monthly hope text.
Hi. All OK? Your Dad.

Just the other day, my speakers blared
news of a drowning. A man and his wife
tried to swim across the Willamette clear
to Ross Island. A boater heard screams.
It can’t be him. He’s not married.
                                               I don’t think.

RAIN Magazine - 2015


She crossed her legs at the ankles and waited,
like real ladies do, for the respectful approach,
the formal request, the Fred Astaire glide that slides
toward the Gene Kelly bounce before jitterbugging
its way into children, white picket fences,
and the quiet endurance of the times.

She crossed her legs at the ankles and waited
for Amen, bouncing slightly at the knees
with head bowed low, squeezing the pew
in front of her, more afraid of the step-father
beside her than the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
upon whose sacred ground she now began to pee.

She crossed her legs at the ankles and waited
for the first leer to trace the long black seam
of her well-run fishnets, the first free drink
of the night, the first dizzy rush, the first last call,
and the first moment she can’t remember
any more of any of it.

Literary Orphans - Issue 19

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Poems I Admire #6

I Drive Through a Blizzard for a Cup of Tea

I don’t even like tea. Piss water with lemon.
But my son has invited me. This boy
I thought I’d lost and would never see again.
Our tents near a lake, dusk falling. His mother
cleaning dishes, me helping a fellow
camper pump his tires. Then blackness.
Where is he? Age four, did he wander off?
Was he snatched by some pervert?
Dear God in heaven. This boy.
Is he in someone’s tent begging
not to be touched? Is he in someone’s car
heading to a seedy motel or dark alley?
Is he face-down, bobbing in the lake?
I run barefoot for miles, screaming:
Where are you Jonathan? Where are you,
son? Minutes like hours. Making deals
with God. Then finally, a park ranger
finds him a block away at the playground
swinging all alone. “I just wanted fun,

Through sheets of white.
Sub-zero temps.
Sliding, barely avoiding a ditch.
I arrive.
He greets me.
We sit on his couch.
He tells me about his first role,
Shakespeare’s Tybalt.
This boy I almost lost forever.
Then he explains the benefits
of green tea. Antioxidants.
How it makes you more alive.
We part the curtains and watch the snow.
He brings out his costume.
We joke about the tights. This boy.
I sip the pale green liquid,
finish, ask for more.

First appeared in Naugatuck River Review – Summer 2014

Neil Carpathios is the author of three full-length poetry collections:  Playground of Flesh (Main StreetRag), At the Axis of Imponderables (winner of the Quercus Review Press Book Award), and Beyond the Bones (FutureCycle Press). A fourth collection is nearing completion. He also has published several award-winning chapbooks. He is the editor of the anthology, Every River on Earth: Writingfrom Appalachian Ohio (Ohio University Press, 2015). He also is a newspaper columnist for the Portsmouth Daily Times. His column, "Let's Talk Poetry," appears every Sunday and strives to showcase the works of regional and national poets. This past year he was awarded his third Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council in poetry. He is an associate professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. He can be reached at: