Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lo Kwa Mei-en, "Pinnochia, we loved you enough"

"Floating Away," by Andrew Hem

Pinnochia, we loved you enough
by Lo Kwa Mei-en

to dream up a simple boat that could, with confidence,
slice through a continent’s wet shelf for new gold and
other precious curio, and then we put you in it, dear
thing, but not before a real hand came down to carve

the map of worldly want into your brow, so you may
but look overboard, once lost, to know your place.
We will imagine you, unsinkable girl, stirring the seas
from Tsae to Tsew, and the sea sniffing at the cherry

notes of your bones, of the fresh wound of your head,
a daydream of something like blood as you row and
row for days. Pinnochia, you have been loved. Hard,
unsaying hips and tongue, you are indelible, we love

you that much. We dreamed a shark’s awl of a face
and mechanical thrust, dreamed the dream of you, half
-in, half-out his throat. So the hand came down kind
and sanded your breasts away for speed, for seconds

you, half-in, half-out of a devil, must cast your
-self away. Pinnochia, we could not bear to see you
destructed even in our sleep. Pinnochia, you will never
die. We bless you, living ghost of treasure, imagined

back into coffers wide enough for you to sleep in,
the half-sweet smell of you radiating from the walls.
There you will intuit all things done for a reason, so
you will do great things, we knew, as the hand came

down into your legs, making of two things one, brief
tableaus of hind light, spine, and blue, green, blue run
through the mind of the hand as he gave you the body
that could outrun the tides, and so we deliver you

into the oceanic womb, half-girl, new beast, and you will
go forth, reborn in the image of how we loved you: like
a bride, Pinnochia, like a thousand golden fish in the sea,
alive in the mouth of the coffer, the realest thing for days.

From Yearling (Alice James Books, 2015) / Originally published in Gulf Coast

Lo Kwa Mei-en is a Kundiman fellow and the author of two books of poetry, Yearling (Alice James Books, 2015) and The Bees Make Money in the Lion (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2016). She is from Singapore and Ohio, where she now lives and works in Cincinnati. You can also find her at

Monday, December 7, 2015

Becca J.R. Lachman, "Latest Letter"

"Barn Series: Pink Sky," Brenda Cirioni

Latest Letter
by Becca J.R. Lachman

p.s.—Corn’s shorter than usual this late into August.

p.s.—They’ve cut down the cedars along Nussbaum Rd.
Don’t know how many locals have missed that turn!

p.s.—We’re still refusing to get a stoplight.

p.s.—Your neighbor’s draft horses nearly drowned in quicksand.
Took six men and two tractors, but they’re fine.

p.s.—Your sister’s little ones sure are growing! How long
have you been married now?

p.s.—If only you could see the sun at dusk
turn the white barns pink. The best silent movie.

p.s.—Your parents got caught at the recycling center
(It was night, there were wine bottles.)

p.s.—Six couples at church celebrating their 50th’s. Now,
how long have you been married again?

p.s.—Remember how tar bubbles up on gravel roads? Well, we’re in the thick of it.

p.s.—That dead G.H owl in your daddy’s plum orchard?
 It’s next in line at the taxidermist.

p.s.—What meats are you making for your company
at dinner? We just can’t get enough
of your Grandma Ruth’s ham balls!

p.s.— Thanks for the note last week. What do you mean
by “tofu” and “kefir”?

p.s.—They’ve changed 606 to 118 in the blue Mennonite hymnal.
There have been letters to the editor.

p.s.—The Gazette’s weekly headline: “Pig Causes Traffic Accident.”

p.s.—Your parents said ‘no’ to buying the farm. 
(How long have you been married?)

p.s.—Hoods burned down the railway bridge 
and your Grandma butchered chickens
on the clothesline this morning.

p.s.—We’ve got lots of starts for you: coneflowers,
daffodils, creeping phlox. So you can
plant something there and it keeps coming back—
even if it’s in strange ground.

Becca J.R. Lachman grew up listening to U2 in Ohio's Amish country. A recovering creative writing degree collector, she's a grateful grad of the Otterbein, Ohio University, and Bennington College writing programs. Becca's published two poetry collections--Other Acreage (Gold Wake, 2015) and The Apple Speaks (Cascadia, 2012)--and won the 2004 Florence Kahn Memorial Award for her chapbook "Songs from the Springhouse." A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford (featuring Ted Kooser, Toi Derricotte, Robert Bly, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others) was her first major adventure in editing anthologies (Woodley:Washburn U, 2014). Becca’s recent work has received support from the Ohio Arts Council, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Art Gish Peacemaking Fund from the Appalachian Peace and Justice Network. She lives with her husband Michael in Athens, Ohio, where for over a decade she taught, tutored, and served as a writer/editor at Ohio U. She currently works for the Athens County public library system as its communications officer.

 [Image above by Brenda Cirioni]

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Sleep Deprivation and Happiness

It's a little quiet around the site right now, because our home is in a glorious, sleep-deprived hubbub. Our son, Henson (named after one of my heroes, Jim Henson--my husband thought of his name!), was born on November 21.

Apart from fragments, images, and weepy little moments, there's been no time for poetry writing. (Duh.) I'm completely ok with this. Henson has been poetry enough for us!

I did want to share the poems of two poets who were kind enough to write a poem in honor of his arrival. I was so touched to read their lovely words. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


by Darren C. Demaree
written to honor and welcome Henson Stephenson

A child becomes everywhere soon enough,

but now, with the connective tissue
still disappearing

& reappearing with each promise
& dedication,

the land pivots to quiet the folktales for one hour only.

So many plays & rehearsals have come to place

their faces against the
wooden grain
of our common stage

& like the light that is still caught
in shut eyelids,

Ohio swivels
for you, delicate boy

& that is an invitation to grow, to become wild with your beauty.


by Albert B. Casuga
(For the New-Born Son of Marcus and Hannah Stephenson)

However fearful or fearsome
You will find this hoary place
Wreaked by temblors, fiery blazes,
Cloying floods, endless disasters,
Wars, deceits, wounding betrayals,
This is still the right place for love.
Truly a unique place, the only place
For Love. Welcome to the planet, Son.
The Storialist. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.