Saturday Sep 23

SteverMargoTaft creditBenLarrabee Margo Taft Stever's full-length collection, Cracked Piano, will be published by KavanKerry Press. Her four poetry collections include  The Lunatic Ball, Kattywompus Press, 2015; The Hudson Line, Main Street Rag, 2012; Frozen Spring, winner of the Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry, 2002; and Reading the Night Sky, winner of the 1996 Riverstone Poetry Chapbook Competition. She co-authored Looking East: William Howard Taft and the 1905 U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Asia (Zhejiang UP, 2012), and Orange Frazier Press (2015) (a collaboration between U of Cincinnati and Zhejiang UP).
Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in magazines and anthologies including Blackbird (forthcoming); Poem-A-Day, The Academy of American Poets (forthcoming), SalamanderCincinnati Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, Connecticut ReviewPoet Lore,West BranchSeattle Review, and No More Masks (first edition).  She is the founder of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center and the founding and current co-editor of Slapering Hol Press. For more information, please see:www.margostever.com.


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Valentine



The night dragons first banged
at the door, their iron claws sparked
on the brass knocker, black masks

sewn right into their skin.
Dragons crept back again last
night, fire-breathing, restless

turning of their bodies, searching
for stones, for powder, anything
to keep back the dust. Dragons

prefer pitch darkness, the kind
that shows nothing and children
fear most, where anything grows

quickly—spores, mushrooms, ticks.
The sleep marchers rode into me
and I could not move or dream.

I became a vast and starless chasm;
the lights long since surrendered
and the rushing wind bound

the swamp grass down.
The wings of twilight moths
against the screen—something

about the pillow held your scent. I think
of what I would do without you.





Birds at the Zoo



The urgency as Inca terns
fly about as if their only
thought is getting out—
startles those unaccustomed
to such struggle.

The double-wattled
cassowary takes another
tack and freezes still
as statuary in multi-colored
contemplation of her lot.




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Photo Credit: Ben Larrabee