Poetry Friday: Dip your toe in

The first Poetry Friday of 2016
In honor of National Poetry Month, The Thread will share a selection of new poetry each Friday in April.
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In honor of National Poetry Month, which kicks off today, The Thread is introducing Poetry Fridays. Each Friday in April, we will publish a selection of poetry from local independent publishing houses Graywolf Press and Coffee House Press.


Chris Martin

The last star.
The oldest living insect.
The first bloody lip.
Then we fall asleep
under the rotting walnut tree
in the hopelessly sloped
backyard of the oldest house
in town. It starts over. Falling
temperatures. Runaway
slaves in the earthen basement.
The James Gang drinking in
the living room. Cathy
Wagner living in the attic.
Then the big black ghost dog
was exorcized. The kitchen
wall fell into the garden.
We met the oldest jackrabbit.
Stepped over the oldest blade
of bluegrass. Then Atticus.
The first raspberry.
The last train to nowhere.
Blaring back pain.

Plan where the first step
is falling apart. The oldest water
dropping from a ravaged sky.
Then he discovers his toes.
Then night comes on
with its throb
of platelets. Last word.
First coronation. The sun
was there all along.
The last time
he felt the whole
universe was wet
and inside him.
A man you'll never
meet fells
the world's
oldest tree
and it becomes

"Time (ash)," copyright © 2016 by Chris Martin. Reprinted from "The Falling Down Dance" with the permission of Coffee House Press.



Jennifer Grotz

I judged them very carefully, as though
I'd been given the charge to determine
which are good or bad, and they were all good,
even the slightly overripe ones with bruises
had a bitter ferment that only brightened

the scent. And the too­young ones, firm

and slightly sour, not yet softened by the sun.
And the ripe ones, that felt like biting into

my own flesh, slightly carnivorous.

They had been elegant in the tree, tiny coquettes
blushing more and more until I picked them,

then they were minimalist and matte­colored
in wooden bowls, so barely furred one couldn't help
but clothe them, enclose them with your hand,
caress each one thoroughly before taking a bite,
exploring the handsome freckles left
from some minor blight.

Now I stand under the tree and
pluck them one after the other.
Each one tastes different, like a mind having
erratic thoughts. Going into the trance
halfway between eating and thinking,
the thought of an apricot, the apricot of a thought,
whose goodness occurs over time, so that
some had been better earlier, others soon
would become correct, I mean ripe.

"Apricots," copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Grotz. Reprinted from "Window Left Open" with the permission of Graywolf Press.

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