David Walker

Rugburn

He doesn’t find blackened fingers
in electrical sockets,
or nooses in our low-hanging blind cords
as I was warned. He’s crawling,

the second day he’s waveringly
fought gravity’s pull
on his young limbs.

I should be proud – 
nestled a few feet away on the floor
of his nursery, fringing a landscape
of toys landmined, scattershot.

Some make noise 
as he bounds meticulously

on his impromptu sally: a zigzagged 
assault on plush and plastic,
on singsong education. A father

has a bank he fills with moments.
As my son grips a blue elephant to his mouth,
my thumb is sliding across

the screen of my phone. My friend

has come back from Florida –
rippling blue sea skin, frosted margarita
glasses deafeningly clink 
their way into
the nursery prodding out currency.

My vision a pie chart,
scalloping 
attention from this digital flame 
casting cave-drawing shadows

on my son in the background –

his war cries 
the only tug on my stupor.

He may not find maiming 
in his own devices,
but the trophies he’s hoisting atop

every breath may find
rusting 
in my fragmented attention.

His conquests largely go unheralded
until his hand finds the knobby 
skin of my kneecap

stitching together the mosaic of my gaze.


——

David Walker writes intermittently, at best. He is a husband and a father. He has published two poetry chapbooks and has one forthcoming. His work appears in Soundings East, Menacing Hedge, ELJ, Sediments, and others. He is also the founding editor at Golden Walkman Magazine.

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Maria McLeod

She Wants

to protect herself
from recollection.
To think back is to enter her parent's
house, nothing left but a child's 
cryptic script.  Her mother's voice
is an apparition
she reads as warning
of her world without end, a loop 
a daughter hopes to fall out of.  
Refuge is a self
inserted inside a self, slick as the space
between two teeth. She allows herself 
to linger. Even now,
when her palms want to lift 
in praise of recollection,
she keeps them still 
beneath her, and the past shrinks
to another abstract sentence: the place 
we keep returning to is the place
we've just left from.  It's the punctuation
she'll end with:  a period, 
an exclamation point, a question mark. 


——

Maria McLeod writes poetry, fiction, monologues, and plays—three of which have been performed on stage. Honors include three Pushcart Prize nominations and the Indiana Review Poetry Prize. Originally from the Detroit area, she resides in Bellingham, Wash., where she is an associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University.

——