Tag Archives: Birmingham Poetry Review

Witness

I drove on moun­tain roads so long that night
the world split off into one dark bend
always slink­ing past my pool of light
and a wisp of me behind the wheel to tend

to what there was to see, which wasn’t much:
the fire­works empo­ri­ums, a sign
here and there—hell is real and such,
cows clumped, trees car­tooned by kudzu vine

until, as in a dream, this: spun
my way, a jeep just flipped, its smashed glass
glint­ing, pas­sen­gers crawl­ing out stunned.
Cicadas writhing up from warm dirt in May,

I thought, and so I slowed then drove on by.
Fine, I tell myself, think­ing back, they were fine.

-Amy Arthur, Birmingham Poetry Review

Love Song

Love, please don’t lift me up to any­where
Now that I think about it. I don’t lift
Up eas­ily. I’m not “han­dle with care.”
I like ground, grass and grav­ity, a gift

Hallmark should hus­tle. Who is it who’s fly­ing
Where the eagles cry (Do eagles cry?); and who
Wants Joe Cocker if they don’t plan on tying
One on, hot-boxed, until all birds look blue?

To be together is so over­rated—
That’s not my style. Fragile is fine enough
To frac­ture, like an old, disintegrated

Leaf pulled from a worn note­book, per­fo­rated
To sep­a­rate. The eagle’s wing is fluff.
The sky’s not high. Nothing’s exaggerated.

-Erica Dawson, Birmingham Poetry Review

Ode to Orange

“It is not, in my view, a very good
novel,” asserted Anthony Burgess, ink-
slinger of A Clockwork Orange, whose pages
pon­tif­i­cate our need for the free­dom to choose
evil. Is there any doubt Tony chose
the wrong wave­length, the wrong
pro­duce? And besides, who wouldn’t,
given a choice, rather read about
Protestantism sewing itself into
Irish flags, an itty-bitty ant trudg­ing around
the rind of a cer­tain cit­rus to demon­strate
the uni­verse is finite and for­ever, ched­dar
man­u­fac­tur­ing, or the manic Orange Bowl
help­ing to end the Depression? Oh, I sing paeans
for marigolds, Titan’s clouds, 10,000 male
Julias released, the insides of man­gos, hum­mocks
cov­ered in daylilies, apri­cot sher­bet
on a Thursday, leaves on their last legs, Kenya—
where they call the color chungwa—on the globe
my Grandpa Guido gave me. Give me
sea pens, zest, cock-of-the-rocks, jack-
o’-lanterns with blaz­ing eyes. Last October, Lisa,
the sar­cas­tic love-of-my-life, got gold­fish
and con­ferred the monikers
“Lime” and “Plum”; the inno­cent things
were belly-up and toilet-bowl
bound the next week. Don’t we give
our pre­cious atten­tions to stuff bend­ing us
blue? And don’t we slump on the sofa, wait­ing out
our lit­tle lives in a world as jaded and bruised
as we can stand it? Well, let my sun­rays mix
with san­guine, let ten times more life taste
like peach meat, let mir­rors reflect and release
that nanome­ter tint to things hold­ing in
that hue like a breath, because the Lord, bored
with cre­ation, bel­lowed “Let there be
orange!” and then there was—filling the sky
that first night, dot­ting trees the third day—
and it was good, so damn good
it could never, thank Heaven, be damned.

-Matt Zambito, Birmingham Poetry Review

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