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A Cloudless Sky

Michael Dickman

‘A cloudless sky and I’m back / an ice-cold sky-blue rag / for my eyes’

A Numbered Graph That Shows How Each Part of the Body Would Fit Into A Chair

Mary Jo Bang

‘It’s a simple truth that one can occupy two / places at one time while sitting in a chair—the same way a / poseable doll can be divided from her dress.’

A Pinch of Salt

Andrea Brady

‘When we’re close to weaning / ourselves history gives us its reasons / to return’

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Me always untorn and enslaved / Weird notions of gender and ground / Nothing but you between me and god.’

After Ann Lauterbach

Emily Critchley

‘The piano eyes me / from its corner – / colluding with the past’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

Assuming the Habits of the Day and Night

Vahni Capildeo

‘my every day is a being in of being / a mixity of worlds’

At Thirty

Paula Bohince

‘At thirty, I fled from my life / in a hailstorm and firestorm’

Best Book of 1996: The Lost Lunar Baedeker

Natalie Eilbert

‘Mina Loy has been a preferred voice in my head, echoing with a signature delirious chant as a kind of primordial poetry mother.’

Blue Sky Thinking

Gillian Clarke

‘Let’s do this again, ground the planes for a while and leave the runways to the racing hare.’

Cassiopeia (three back-to-front songs)

Diana Anphimiadi

‘Anyway, I did not die. / I lined the sky, inside-out.’ Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters.

Coronation

Gillian Allnutt

‘We waited quietly for the Queen who wasn’t there’

Demeter

Fiona Benson

‘I head down the path hoping she’ll come / but when I look back she’s gone and my own voice / snags at her name like barbed wire on skin.’

Drama Lessons for Young Girls

Tara Bergin

‘So the young girls, / cast as naughty young girls from the Acropolis, / left – / just with some things missing.’

Enjaracon Sponaeda

Will Alexander

‘how can all the pressures of surveillance / fail to describe me?’

Essay

Gary Barwin

‘the heart is an ocean-sized drum / a rat-sized jellyfish’

Every Day Was Ordinary

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

‘A life is an open thing / leaking out into / the air around it.’

Fly

Feng Sun Chen

‘Every day, I see a monstrosity in the kissing hole.’

Fourth Person Singular

Nuar Alsadir

‘The wet in the air is like signal anxiety: life is about to / change.’

Hang It Up

Anne Carson

‘hang up your blood cell phone mr white slaver’

Home

Emily Critchley

‘to understand life / how to possibly / live in it / break it’

Inside the house

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

‘the bell / was ringing from the chapel, they were there / expecting her.’

Is Fraid I Fraid Calendars

Vahni Capildeo

‘Haven’t you noticed people / are different since then?’

Judges

Natalie Eilbert

‘I was thick dough when you ran us away. I never / knew you.’

Midnight on Lake Michigan

Diego Báez

‘But really, your disappearance / has never been a question of whether.’

New Tarzon Guided Bomb Hits Bull’s-Eye!

Don Mee Choi

‘Watch this performance carefully, for you are witnessing a new concept of modern warfare.’

On Jupiter Place

Nicholas Christopher

‘I didn’t know who she was anymore / maybe I never did or could –’

Opening Invocation

Jean-Paul de Dadelsen

‘Or otherwise, leaving the shore of the intermediate sea, / has it been a while since they’ve gone ahead / into the interior of lands of the spirit?’

Pay Attention

Sophie Cabot Black

‘I can only do what is here. But you / Have an entire congregation of choice’

Picnic

Emily Berry

‘Watching the sea is like watching something in pieces continually striving to be whole / Imagine trying to pick up a piece of the sea and show it to a person / I tried to do that.’

Portrayal: A Double Portrait

Edward Doegar

‘You can’t control your face / The Empire has over-reached / Expressions // Have become flags’

Position Paper

John Ashbery

‘This is my outfit. / Government spooks did the rest. Didn’t you know?’

Postscript

John Burnside

'the trees / are slender in the way that things / are almost, though not quite / absent'

Promenading

Chris Emery

A poem by Chris Emery, taken from his forthcoming collection The Departure.