July 14–20, 2008: Janet Smith and Nathan Graziano

week of July 14-20, 2008

Janet Smith and Nathan Graziano

click here for submission guidelines

Janet Smith

Bio (auto)

I have work published or forthcoming in Margie, The Cream City Review, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, Rosebud, Barnwood, Terrain, Eclipse, CutThroat, and The Seattle Review I was a finalist in the Tor House Poetry Prize and was awarded a $5000 Fellowship Grant for poetry from the Nevada Arts Council My first book of poetry, All of a Sudden Nothing Happened, will be published with WordTech Press I am on faculty in the English department at Lake Tahoe Community College, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Janet Smith nd may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Morning After

In August I drove to Beatty, Nevada,
alone, with the radio on for seven hours,
playing love songs The desert hills took the light
as water does, becoming
something else, more or less
than their elements I believed in pieces of those I knew—
the rest I made up Especially the man that I’d
just been with I could recall his hands, his waist,
how we rose and fell together,
but not his words, his eyes, not his voice He lived two states away,
that I knew And halfway through
the night he’d forgotten my name
I wanted him back
All the odds are against us, and yet
we sometimes get what we want The hills were bare as waves,
saying nothing all together.

In the Storm

The weather report says snow The light flattens;
trucks lunge up the pass Motels flick on vacancy signs
The clouds form a ledge The sky drops out I leave the dishes in the sink,
open the door
The first flakes of snow
are better than news Then my footprints disappear This is how wings must feel
Snow softens the pines,
deepens like a tide How odd that I was scared of life
just because of death
Something said, This is yours,
and the dying goes with it Snow falls with the sound
of an animal breathing.

Nathan Graziano

Bio (auto)

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire with his wife and two children He is the author of Teaching Metaphors (sunnyoutside, 2007), Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2004), Frostbite (GBP, 2002) and seven chapbooks of poetry and fiction His work has appeared in Rattle, Night Train, Freight Stories, Pearl, The Coe Review, The Dublin Quarterly, and others For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com

The following work is Copyright © 2008, and owned by Nathan Graziano and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

What the Bouncer Overheard
During the Lap Dances

Fusion, baby It’s all about fusion
I bought my wife the same black thong
for her birthday but she brought it
back in the box it came in She said it looked like a pepper flake
stuck between her front teeth
This is my favorite Guns N’ Roses song, too But you, my peach, are the pressed rose
in the buckle band of Slash’s hat,
you’re the last sip of Night Train
on a tour bus barreling toward Hell
All of these girls can pole dance,
but with you, it’s like another limb It’s like the pole is plugged into the music
and you’re plugged into the pole It’s like zen, baby, ooooommmmm
If your breasts get any closer to my mouth,
I’m going to weep like a new widow
I almost wore sweatpants.

Reasons I Give My Wife
for Not Having a Vasectomy

Think of the lesbian couple, those sweet older women
we don’t know yet, who will bring us fresh tomatoes
in the summer, and all they ask in return
is a sampling of my seed, a spatter of my chromosomes
to plant in their womb and nurture and nurse to life,
a projection of their love, born of our selflessness
Imagine Christmas, the boy with my mouth and brow
pushing a plastic fire truck across a hardwood floor With our own kids’ ears clean, we’ll stop to visit I’ll bring some Chianti and the boy’s his first Red Sox hat,
while his mommies scissor beside the blue spruce
Then there was the botch-job on my cousin Bob The poor guy was sliced up like an Easter ham,
his eyes squeezed closed, tears ripping down his cheeks
as the doctor used chopsticks to find his vas deferens
Oh, how Bob squirmed and screamed and begged
for the Lord’s infinite mercy, muttering “Our Fathers”
as that butcher in the lab coat, a blow torch lit,
looked Bob in the eyes and said, “Ain’t nothin’ but pain.”

After the operation, when the sutures were removed,
Bob’s wife left him for a drummer in a rock band
who appeared, at least on stage, far more virile.

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: