Table of Contents
and the Burn Scars
Fines Double In Work Zone
Guy and Doll
John P. Loonam
Erlynda Jacqui Chan
Allison P. Boye
Magic Bags and Forgotten Princesses
Baking Bread and Other Subtleties
Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb
Ekphrasis at the Mall
Games In Your Uncle's Den
My Spanish Rose
Northern Lights, Southern Soul
Posted on Fifth Avenue
The Himalayan Sunset
Time Decays, Clots
Kristine Ong Muslim
Where You Rest
Stephanie N. Barnes
and Digital Photography
We pull into Asbury Park shortly after five
heading parallel back down the coast from Sandy Hook,
the cooler crammed with bunker, the sphinx of clams soundless—
That old municipal building shy of the boardwalk
with its string of lights, hanging below the eaves, white limbed,
still unlit in the slow waiting summer afternoon
reads an esprit de corps "Greetings From..." in white capped script-
(Which came first we wondered; pride or notoriety?).
The cops lean back with detente, bored and unaffected,
a handful of people time loose dormant in the lag
move in vistas of negligent storefronts, their promises
boarded or closed for the evening; filled with empty oaths,
waiting for a something or someday that never comes.
Should we fall down? The earth falls down perfectly for
I feel it like words leaping off from their pages,
superfluous enough to build new worlds. The boards creak
beneath our feet, our senses masked by the sea's hissing—
its insistent voice fills the marrow of our bones,
scoured by its range and liberal rule, all its motion.
We are lured and surrender to its rhythm,
wed to the heart fed brain, the damask of it cover
softening the intellect, shepherding submission.
The brown grey sea spreads solemn in fantail, throwing off
the coarse white lace as torn and tendriled veils, savagery
upon the sand in oval shaped and scalloped edges—
a thousand brides now abandoned by its furied love.
There is harmony in displacement, evaporating
before the eyes with a miserly supremacy,
offering healing and denying obligation
in one sure breath, tantamount and uncaring, distant.
Later in the dusk, the sea is wild as you stand balanced
atop a jetty's precipice near the waning tip—
a length of jagged craggy points and cut crevices,
and the slap of the surf gives birth to your slender form.
From the shore as the tide approaches, I pocket you—
into the same reservoir of what you feel out there,
holy dichotomy, as if walking on water,
the Great Atlantic swelled all about your lightsome feet.
Behind you, an aged sun fastens the clouds to sea,
makes them appear greater than a god's anatomy,
their large muscled arms and loins rose tinged at the mantle
of day's end, an ambrosia the grey mist drinks in.
On the horizon line, the ocean ripens full,
the hillock rises noticeably at first, then moves
towards shore, fattening the swell, hungry rushing thickened
with feathered plies of seaweed, mud of previous storm.
It calls to sandpipers and gulls with its trumpet crash,
forcing you as well onto level ground, quick, alert.
There you stake the beach and crouch in your soaked brown waders,
scooping out the clams from their hulls knife in your brood hand,
impaling the heads of bunkers onto your sharp hook.
The shearwater's raucous cough preying above our heads—
you are waist deep in the tide, solid, mercurial,
a means to an end that is functional, specific.
Mesmerized by your own intentions and determined,
maneuvering the world near your feet of flooding shores
or giving birth to tributaries in their dead wake—
in a sanctum, holy Christ-like or Devil nee care.
CHERYL BUTTERWECK-BUCHER is a middle school teacher of mathematics in Philadelphia and is currently enrolled in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the University of the Arts where she majored in Sculpture and earned her BFA. She has been a poet for the past fourteen years.