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Issue 5: Phoenix

Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series

Book Reviews

Need to Know



A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Bei Dao

Frank X. Gaspar

Carol Frith

Muriel Zeller

Dee Cohen

George Wallace

Tom Daley

James Lee Jobe

Mary Zeppa

Daniel A. Olivas

Hannah Stein

Lynne Knight

Walter Pavlich

Derick Burleson


Tom Daley

Tom Daley


Tonight I walk by the mirror 
in my father's green shirt
that I am wearing for the first time.
For a minute I think it is him in the mirror, 
without the girth or the knob of the belly button 
hanging strangely inside out,
but him all the same.  In that moment
something has changed me
into a man content to sleep off weekends 
under the rubber tree in the living room,
to watch football and play endless games of chess with myself. 
I will live and die with a legacy of a handful of shirts
and a certain quantity of affection
given without condition or responsibility,
lavished equally on dog ears, nurses, neap tides,
bittersweet chocolate, paint flaking off bridges,
young women in laundromats folding their clothes.
Ambitious only for the small comfort
of late night long distance phone calls to an old lover,
I can stand up without my loose socks slipping to my ankles
and cross a cold creek barefoot without screaming.
All this is something to bless him for,
the man who once filled out 
this old green shirt. 


Counter Tulips

The tulips, singed with brown and folding out,
still pearl with luminescence as if new
and drooping down their edges curl toward
a hidden draft that lifts them as it blows.
You put them on the counter as we left
to walk through snow and February slush.
We talked of times stretched longer than regret,
of dusks when want flew jumbled in a flood
of kites.  Remember that?  White string for yards
that rolled and tugged above our asphalt field
until the kite tails twitched behind the clouds
and lost themselves out in the darkened world.
In wind, the tulips thin like love misspent.
They slip to earth untethered by their light.