Body & String Beans

by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois



The body of the Yucatecan woman
is blue
and like a wheelbarrow
or a table

I embrace her body
Her womb is the source
of multiplication and astronomy
I embrace the trunk that supports
the tree

The maize of the tortillas she is kneading
turns her fingers yellow-tan
her wrists
her forearms

but her upper arms stay blue
like the sky lighting the morning
when birds come to drink from the pool
and iguanas quickly nod their heads
in prayer to the god of sex—

They are so lonely
so stoic
they have forgotten their stoicism

They are unconscious of their morality
as the Yucatecan woman
is unconscious of hers

She is short
she is broad
she is blunt

Blue is peace
maize is peace
her fingers shape the tortillas

Her ankles are thick
her shoulders rounded
The twinkle is so deep in her eye
it cannot be seen by others
or herself
There is no mirror

She doesn’t worry about love anymore
All her loved ones were
crucified on the swords of the henequen plant
that were woven into rope

but for every loved one enslaved
and murdered by a hacienda owner
and the American capitalist
investing his enterprise
seven more spring into being
immaculately conceived
sons of God
free of hate
or desire for vengeance

Their bodies are like wheelbarrows
or tables
They roll down paths
support simple feasts

String Beans

Her breasts are small
her belly flat
Birds flutter around her
as she plays her wooden flute

Her multi-colored clothes are flags
that flutter in the breeze

Her sister pities her
Her sister wants everything
She doesn’t want everything
Everything would be too much to bear

She plays her flute
Birds flutter around her
She sells string beans in the farmers’ market
They are long and green and bumpy
and when she’s not playing her flute
she examines them
She wants to learn them thoroughly
Customers are drawn by her flute’s melodies

She refuses to sell her sister any string beans
If her sister had some of her string beans
her sister would have everything
and her life would collapse under the weight

so even though her sister is angry at her
and thinks she is infantile and bitter
the truth is the opposite:
she is saving her sister’s life

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Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over seven hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

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painting by Jane Gilday

Arbor Birds

(acrylic on panel)


A Cafe in Sandymount Green Dublin on a Tuesday Morning in September

by John Saunders

A Café in Sandymount Green Dublin on a Tuesday Morning in September

The au pairs play with the children
around a table of bottles and beakers.
Jenny from Asia speaks in broken English
to her colleague Consuela from Spain.
George upends his glass of Orangeade
over his tee shirt and pants.
He is whisked away to the bathroom
under a verbiage of Spanish expletives.

Oisin unacquainted with the stickiness
of his ice-cream covered fingers tangled
in blonde plays with his minders’ hair.
The infants roll on the mat generously
provided by the café owner thoughtful
of customer satisfaction and improved profits.
One of them slides onto the corridor space
where the old lady with bottle end glasses stands.

The twins, Minnie and Mellissa have discovered
the washable paint walls do take crayon.
The American girl is talking to whomever
wants to listen about what her boyfriend likes
to do with his hands. The customer opposite
momentarily lifts his head from his newspaper.
The young student type from an East European
country pleads with the boy pouring sugar

into his cup of milk. She shouts what sounds
like – Stop you little brat. He doesn’t.
The news headlines announce themselves.
The older ones rise, pack satchels and bags,
open buggies and prams, install their small charges.
The café is silent and abandoned except for the man
with the newspaper and the spectacled lady.
The waiter arrives with a refuse sack, mop and bucket.

A Second Hand Book Shop

Musty, dust cornered wooden shelves, twisted
from the weight of so many brown paged, scuffed
and scotched copies of Yeats, O’Casey, Wilde, O’Brien,
Dunleavy, Behan or any name you care to mention.
They are all present in a quaintly ordered disorder
waiting for the skunk nosed collectors, elderly poor,
in for the heat, the post grads searching for arcane
references. This is the place to sit on a wood frame,
squeaky wicker chair, absorb the smell of dead poets,
congregate with the canon of antiquated playwrights.
The same old lady who is always here stacks volumes,
unpacks, handles that metal pricing gun like a weapon.
Every book is €2.99, but in the desired hands – precious.
If she’s in the mood she’ll spin you dog-eared stories
of how all the greats – Kavanagh, John B, O’Connor
and even Heaney dropped in. He smiled, chatted to her,
sat in that same chair, looked out the window
as if waiting for something to happen, his face aglow.

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John Saunder’s first collection ‘After the Accident’ was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in numerous Irish, United Kingdom and American poetry journals and on many online sites.

John is one of three featured poets in Measuring, Dedalus New Writers published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. His second full collection Chance was published in April 2013 by New Binary Press.

He has also had poems included in anthologies such as The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry, Stony Thursday, The Scaldy Detail 2013, Conversations with a Christmas Bulb,2013 ( a Kind of Hurricane Press), The Poetry of Sex, (Penguin), 2014, Fatherhood Anthology 2014 (Emma Press UK). He was shortlisted in the 2012 inaugural Desmond O’Grady Poetry Competition and is a 2014 Pushcart Nominee.

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art by Samuel Barrera