“La Fusión” By Gabriela García Sánchez (2017)

It was reverence I felt then, and I did not
cower as it vibrated through me.
El ritmo bonded us by our pies, our caderas,
ventilating the air with scales speeding by.
The beats amplified between our pechos,
whistling for our cuerpos to collide. So I
took a breath that singed like
frankincense and myrrh spoiling my lungs.
I slipped into his steps, and I saw
why gods chose to keep us apart.

He cradled my hands like stolen pearls,
kneading them hasta que se sauvizaron como arena.
Swirling around in his palms. They blush
Como las Salinas de Cabo Rojo,
slick with sea foam. He slid his body
around me, mounting me into his arms.
We rippled as the beats liquefy our pace.
Step Step Step. He tapped, I kicked, We rasped
our caderas, gliding in, our piernas fused.
And we floated over the cobblestones, finessing
El tiempo to swirl around us like an eddy

Sending us through spaces in the heavens.
La musica’s grip tightened- tethering
Us en un nube de sus rayo . La luz bended
and slipped through our espacios.
We rolled and twisted it out, only letting it in
to glimpse at how our movimientos brillarion.
Straddling in, jolting out, side to side. Suspended
Here, we froze. Locked into a molten figure
Sizzling under dew.

This poem first appeared in the 2017 edition of LRR.

“Where are you from” By Marissa Stanton (2015)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, Second Place (2015)

Silvana is talking about America,
my bike is between my skirt. I try to guess her age.
Later, I ask if she thinks the man next to the door is—
we talk, half-shouting in the café. Where is your daughter, now?
I’m mostly speaking to stones behind a fresco.
I’m still not good at it. But I want to make the most of my time.
Rilke talks to me the way I talk to myself.
In Connecticut lonely, dreaming about my ceiling,
I’m learning to see. I don’t know what it’s about.
Leaning into a city from another one, my neck
sticks out over the Atlantic. I try to belong
to where I place my feet, but they don’t know the difference.
The truth is I don’t miss people, the truth is I miss.

This poem first appeared in the 2015 edition of LRR

“September 18th” By Abigail Fagan (2015)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, First Prize (2015)

Before they put the yellow sod back on
they asked if we’d like to take little clumps
of earth and help put him to rest,
fingerprinted bits to keep him
in the ground in the urn in Montana
where it’s cold underfoot and always dry.
We nodded and took lumps of earth
from the wheelbarrow. They sat
between our fingers like ice cubes,
cold as our wet chilled cheeks,
blue like the urn we circled with
our close-toed black shoes. We knelt
and placed our cloves of salt-watered dirt
in the hole. I put the dirt in my pocket first,
and it turned into dust in the warmth.

This poem first appeared in the 2015 edition of LRR

“Artifacts of Our Affection” By Amber West (2014)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize, Second Place (2014)

When I notice mold in my toothbrush mug
I remember the pigeons
roosting in the airshaft:
their toilet, their nest, our bedroom view
dusk and dawn

Monogamous, amorous, pigeons are known for their soft cooing calls

Once I had
three mugs. Gold-trimmed.
Blond carousel ponies
painted on each side. A gift from your parents
our last Christmas. I thanked them
politely, might’ve even cooed

Slaughtered indiscriminately, the passenger pigeon became extinct
in 1914

One shattered in the sink.
I sold another on the sidewalk. The last survives
demoted: bathroom workhorse

Servants and slaves often saw no other meat. Pigeons in your
dreams suggest

You left the photo I gave you
in the emptied dresser:
us against the wind on Golden Gate Bridge

you are taking blame for the actions of others, or may express
a desire to return home

but you took the bread maker,
the banjo engraved with a golden eagle

Once used for carrying messages, pigeons represent
gossip or news. It is thought they may navigate by the sun

I take down the cloth paintings
we bought in India. Pigeon
this message to the moon:

There is no true scientific difference

in the afterglow shuffle,
bedroom to kitchen,

between a pigeon and

your Valentine bathrobe remains
useful –

a dove

releasing
each man it embraces

This poem first appeared in the 2014 edition of LRR.