EXPLORING THE DIFFERENCES

A Poem by John Grey

Each time I come back here
I expect to find it the same,
like there’s this pact
between myself and the waters.

But the harsh does not cooperate,
seems strange.
Yes, the crickets chirr,
But it’s not the same insects.
The throaty whistle of the blackbirds
is the sound of strangers
as is the rump-pump of the frogs.

I am almost saddened
because there are these ways
in which a once-familiar landscape
can go on without me.
And the mallards don’t need my permission
to glide on the waters.
The purpose of the slithering copperhead
does not include me.
It is not their function to make me understand
what I do not know.
They can surprise me
like that black bear high up on a tree branch.
But I am not part of the plan.
I am not essential.

And when I try to hold the landscape
to how I remember it,
nothing helps out –
not the driftwood, not the mangrove roots,
not the sighing cypress.
People may come here from time to time.
But it is only about them incidentally.

Aisle 60

A Poem by Korey J. Brownstein

Aisle 1: music plays a pas de deux
I miss my lady
Aisle 2: a gentleman’s Spoken Résumé
the internet dies
Aisle 3: divorce your family
where do I sign?
Aisle 5: a beau monde for gentlewomen
the cheddars gasp
Aisle 7: maps of megalopolises
where is ChiPitts?
Aisle 11: fresh Bhut Jolokia
have it on the rocks
Aisle 13: meat and poetry
I taste The Peacock
Aisle 17: the eunuch searches for his missing piece
that damn Shaunnigan
Aisle 19: cars dressed in dew from the past
let the sun wash it away
Aisle 23: a cure for borborygmus
the cwm without a crwth
Aisle 29: the widowed man paints a new coat
she is in love with the stain
Aisle 31: the lover of politicians
a virgin cloth collects her tears
Aisle 37: materials for a bien-pesant
society will provide a discount
Aisle 41: the sex-crazed Sarvajna
why is the woman I love hiding?
Aisle 43: the six-mile man runs into the arms of rejection
his talking shoes return laughing
Aisle 47: the dancing queens sing
“I like you just the way you are!”
Aisle 53: the imprisoned nametag
what sort of crimes did it commit?
Aisle 59: the city drains
another train drinks and flies away
Aisle 60: the hermetic place
no one shops here

Monsanto’s Gift to War

A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Smitty isn’t Schulte.
He doesn’t drive a Cadillac
and doesn’t hit his wife
often any more.
Schulte, on the other hand,
drives a Cadillac
and hits his wife
usually on weekends
for no good reason.
He’s been doing that for
more than 40 years
ever since the boys
came home from Viet Nam

not knowing they had been
touched by Agent Orange,
Monsanto’s gift to war.
They had a double wedding with
girls they liked in high school.
Smitty says therapy
has helped a little.
He hasn’t struck his
second wife in years.
But Schulte hasn’t changed.
The police have come again
tonight, sirens blaring,
gumball lights swirling.

Two big officers,
matched like bookends,
march Schulte out in cuffs.
He’s cursing at his wife
who’s in a nightgown
bawling on the porch
as if Schulte’s going
back to Nam again.
Smitty swears Schulte
never left the paddies, that
he’s still knee-deep in water
bright with Agent Orange,
Monsanto’s gift to war.

Half of what you are taught as medical students will in 10 years have been shown to be wrong. And the trouble is, none of your teachers know which half.

–Sydney Burwell (1863–1967), medical educator of the twentieth century