Thursday Apr 18

TavelAdam Adam Tavel is the author of Plash & Levitation (U of Alaska P, 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry, and The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2016). His recent poems appear, or will soon appear, in Poetry Daily, Oxford Poetry, Crazyhorse, Copper Nickel, Meridian, Southwest Review, Ecotone, The Gettysburg Review, and Quarter After Eight, among others. He is a professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College and the reviews editor for Plume. You can find him online here.

First Communion

A shaft of light shone blue through Joseph’s robe
above our pew. I watched the dust motes swirl
indifferently to throaty organ booms
galleried behind our solemn kneeling.
Each speck spun weightless as my birthday globe
that three sisters, three bored and bratty girls
took turns swatting down the staircase with a broom
until its dented cardboard split. We stealed,
the youngest one confessed, the taped-up mess
draped across her hands like a stillborn lamb.
The priest raised a massive wafer he called
a mystery before he ripped and blessed,
which was our cue to fix our hair and stand.
His chalice brimmed with crumbs to feed us all.

A Wiffle Ball at the County Dump

it skitters crystal needles
of frozen mud the blackbirds pace
like fans waiting for the stadium’s
eyes to thunder open glowing

uncracked a brilliant eggshell
white jostled blown and carried
by February from some truck bed
where for certain a little mitt

rests wrinkled sweat-stained empty
tucked beside a slender yellow
bat initialed G permanently
an abbreviated claim

once a teacher said pass it
clockwise class this is a model
of a Stegosaurus brain though
larger by degrees so you can

run your fingers over ridges they
were dumb lumbering creatures
she said but still that asteroid
how sad they saw it fall

Elegy for Jim Harrison

I tossed our Easter drippings
by the goitered maple
our little pagan sons call
Mother Nature. It is a psalm
watching them nuzzle
moss on hands and knees,
petting it like a blind kitten.
They plunge their hands
inside the half-hollow
shadow-stump where
a doomed critter scratched
deeper from the sting
of snow. Scavenger, come
lap the blood and fat drizzled
on our leaves. We howl here
at the same moon, risen over
a crooked chimney scrolling
another resurrection fire.