by Maya Khosla
Oak crickets dedicate their shrilling to the stars:
tireless desire pitched into the jeweled universe
with the most power a chorus of cells can muster.
Such surges are rooted at the core, native
to the multimillion nuclei in each being.
To the fledgling dread of a kestrel, preparing
for first flight. To an apple's thump on earth,
kernels of yearning sealed in the double darkness
of sugars and night-rose coat. Each stores formulae
for longing and reaching with genetic perfection.
And after water is filtered, tent pegs fastened, fruit sliced
the valley stilled, I enter that world one mouthful
at a time. Up along its rim, the lapping grasses
are lighter for the absence of prickly seed-heads
quick-released into my socks as I passed.
for R. Schwartz
A woman donates one of her kidneys, saves
a life. She awakens at dawn and the world
feels altered. To rise fearless after parting
with the body's inner sense of bilateral symmetry
is to understand anew that dawn's scissors of wind,
which slice first light into ribbons the shape of leaves,
will not annihilate them. She can now watch birds
flickering in the sun and feel the inner magnet of hope
that propels them to snap ties with known terrains,
venture across landscapes never traversed. Migration, too,
is the mind in storm, the mind prepared to shed all
but the vector between given and received,
between an emptied landscape and one rich
with sun and nutrients. Still, there's no denying
the half-emptiness remaining. Often her heart
lingers at the edge of what sang
along the slant of branches now swept clean.
Table of Contents
with contributions from
- John Mateer, Four Poems
- Dana Gioia, "Words" in English and translated into Spanish by José Emilio Pacheco
- Poetic Collaborations: A Conversation with Dana Gioia
- Two poems by Stephanie McKenzie
- Nicholas Samaras, Two Poems [with audio]
- Nicholas Samaras, Four Poems
- Bill Manhire, "Cream Torpedoes: Recent Poetry in New Zealand"
- Maya Khosla, Two Poems
- A poem by Ilya Kaminsky
- An essay by Jane Hirshfield (US)
- Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, The End of a Love Affair [set to music]
- An essay by Ian Brinton (UK)
- FICTION: Ken N. Kamoche, "Secondhand Wife"
- Q&A: WLT INTERVIEW: Alexander Maksik, author of You Deserve Nothing - Michelle Johnson
- A Parisian Expat Reading List
- WLT ONLINE BOOK CLUB: Panorama by H.G. Adler
- AUTHOR PROFILE: Valzhyna Mort
- WHAT TO READ NOW: Kenya
- CITY PROFILE: Reykjavík, Iceland
- A report from the Poetry Foundation's open house
INTERNATIONAL CRIME & MYSTERY
- The Crime Writing of Blake Edwards - J. Madison Davis