Fishing by Andy Gambell
Now that my father is dead we can go fishing.
He has the patience to sit with himself in silence
and I can ask him for help
when it comes time to split the fish
open and pull out the intestines, eggs,
and other organs that have
been forgotten in our own bodies.
My father always wanted
to learn how to fish,
but he really wanted the peace
that a fisherman has with himself.
My father was always so uncomfortable.
Always had visions of the long-past dead
as they were dying,
images of helicopters crashing into
the sides of Vietnamese hilltops, trees
knocked over like sticks near
the overturned Huey where his friends died.
At inappropriate times he would see the bodies
of friends and enemies
twisted up and dead in the jungle of his past.
I can learn it for him.
I can be so at peace with myself
that I don’t notice new wars
that fuck up new fathers
so they can’t find peace
or their sons,
or with the world,
until they die.
Red Fox by Tonya Northenor
As if a comet or bottle floated in from the sea,
random, unexpected, just glimpsed
as I run – late from work or early to church.
Last to get ready, I am gathering lost gloves
and warmer sockcaps,
while my family and the dog romp, careless.
Then a flame crosses the backyard.
The fox. My solitary witness.
He has moved closer, though still far:
safe behind glass and wrapped in my layers.
He patters his red across the gray-white day.
Between the shed and the shaky barn,
generations-old claims on the land, I lose him.
Suddenly unsure the meteor was there at all.
My scream, unleashed delight and fear.
This thing I want to both sweep away and shelter.
Stepping into the cold, breathing deep and long,
icicle sharp. The feral crosses my backyard.
I still have eyes bright enough to see.
In Praise of Red by Tonya Northenor
Red candy, red car, fast and sleek, and best
of all – red leaves, turning death to glory:
a season dense with loss turned to light, stained glass.
Slick red shoes a girl can run with, tattooing
her mark wherever she dares show off her
sass. Red rose, that cliché of love, petals turning
to taste a red sunset’s cup. Red velvet,
crown or cake. Red dirt road down which we run,
barefoot, to greet our youth’s passion. We let
our red hair down. Red light, red bird, red eyes.
The flame, its many tongues of crimson, lets
us lose our minds to heat and night. Red shame
of burning cheeks. Fire, flower, spice. Sour and sublime.
And, on many a page, small red hearts entwined.
About the Contributors
Andy Gambell grew up in the Texas Hill Country. He escaped, but he only made it as far as San Antonio. His work has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, The Texas Observer, Karamu, Poetry Quarterly and other publications.
Tonya Northenor is an Associate Professor at Owensboro Community and Technical College. She lives on the family farm in north-central Kentucky. Her poetry has been published in literary journals including Appalachian Heritage, Calyx, and Earth’s Daughters. Her work has also appeared in anthologies such as From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting.