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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 70 — W. F. Lantry, Richard Peabody

W. F. Lantry

A Forward Spring

Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize

It’s time to toss the almanac aside:

this early March, our cherry blossoms swell

four weeks too soon, crocus and paperwhites

already past their peak. We walk our wood

at seventy degrees, our springtime rites

pushed forward, or just lost. Birdsongs foretell

uncertain summer, and the warming air

brings clouds of insects swarming everywhere

along the riverbank, seeking damp shade.

Bare ruined trees define a broken arc

above the current. Once a maple stood

holding the bank intact, but now its bark

hangs like torn parchment, as bent limbs cascade

in unison towards the water’s crest.

Eternal signs diverge: a sparrow’s nest,

half finished, can’t be hidden by the shoots

of leafless sycamores, and this floodplain

is scarred with angled oaks that had withstood

a hundred thunderstorms and blizzards, rain

enough to change the river’s course, their roots

intact, their trunks broken halfway, each crown

still resting where the wind had blown it down.

And under one, the white bones of a deer

lie scattered: hooves, a broken leg, a spine.

Perhaps the herd, frightened, misunderstood

a new path for the old, followed a line

leading into a fence: the signs aren’t clear

or I can’t read the meanings they’ve implied.

Copyright © 2014 by W. F. Lantry.


W. F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Maîtrise from L’Université de Nice and PhD in Writing from University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree, 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line Press, 2011), and a forthcoming collection The Book of Maps. Recent honors include: National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize, Crucible Editors' Poetry Prize, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (Israel), and in 2012 the Old Red Kimono LaNelle Daniel and Potomac Review Prizes. His work has appeared in Potomac Review, Asian Cha, Atlanta Review, Descant, Gulf Coast and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW.

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Richard Peabody

Flirting with Disaster

more exquisite

than you can imagine

glittery plumage

in the bar mirror

impossibly high heels

and red leather

so bloody intoxicating

claims to be bi

likes to keep her options open

an equal opportunity master

eggs benedict and gin

you slip quickly into

her sensual orbit

figured she’d be rowdy

disaster saw you coming

before you were born

you shiver when she

presses her thorax

inevitably close


“Such a good boy.”

Copyright © 2014 by Richard Peabody.

Rules for Experimental Writing

Talk to the monsters under your bed

Visit a slaughterhouse

Drink kerosene

Eat Darvon and mothballs

Burn your math books

Handcuff a lover to the bed rail

Add bacon

Watch an autopsy

Tour the Holocaust Museum

Catch an anaconda in the Everglades

Have a C–section

Dig up a coffin

Oh wait,

these are the rules

for writing realism.

Copyright © 2014 by Richard Peabody.

Shiny Time Machines

Nothing but oldies on the jukebox.

Nancy Sinatra and her feisty boots.

A sanitized 50’s and 60’s corporate mimic

of American Graffiti and Happy Days.

Neon in red, pink, and blue.

The irritating buzzing that makes

little kids scream to drown it out.

High school kids into Limp Bizkit

don—t really get with the program.

Though it’s clear management has

made every effort to appeal to Boomers.

My root beer float so stuffed with vanilla

that gravity sinks it to the bottom

geysering the soft drink over the top

like a frosty Old Faithful.

Copyright © 2014 by Richard Peabody.

Season of the Witch

Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize

When they told me the seasons were changing

I wondered what they would change into.

Would seasons actually trade places?

Would summer become winter?

Did the seasons have to maintain the same order every year?

Didn’t that get awfully boring?

What if Earth seasons could swap with Martian seasons?

Wouldn’t springtime on Mars be cool?

What if spring turned into a pretzel?

Or summer into a polar bear?

Maybe the seasons could change into people?

There was the Snow Queen after all.

And Persephone.

My grandparents liked Florida because they said it only had one season.

Florida chooses to be summer all year round.

Maybe I will change into autumn. Then my leaves could blanket the ground

and crackle as the wind blows them off down the street.

Copyright © 2014 by Richard Peabody.


Richard Peabody is a founding editor of Gargoyle Magazine and runs the small press Paycock Press, established in 1976. His latest release (April, 2015) will be The Richard Peabody Reader from SFWP's imprint Alan Squire Publishing. The 400-page collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, edited by Lucinda Ebersole, with an introduction by Michael Dirda, will be launched at the 2014 Association of Writing Programs Conference in Minneapolis.

Also see a sample of his work on the following page:

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