By Alison Eastley

Even Paracelsus got into the act to ‘involve all plants,
all wood, all quartz and gravel, the soil and all flowing
water and everything that has lines, veins, wrinkles…’
which leaves me wondering who can really understand
the face of a man, that secret correspondence
revealed through analogy and maybe we’d conclude
he’s had a hard life or his hands are too soft. Metamorphosis
is as quaint as watching a frog’s head change into Apollo
or viewing Blake’s ‘Spirit of a Fly’. Perhaps primal language
will never die, the chaos of ancients with their centrifugal
force believe the body is the ‘chariot, intuitive, distinction
and recognition is the charioteer; the function of thought
are the reins; the power of the senses are the horses’.
And so it comes to this. No matter how many nights
I watch your face contort in ecstasy, your pupils dilating
to dark lilac blackness that I suspect the earth is blacker.
Like soot, something is swept to the ground and no one
will guess the skull of the horse was once a whisper of sheets,
a tangle of limbs, two faces asleep, dreaming incoherently
of love.

By Brandon Krieg

Two timid little ones on the steps.
Left-out eyes, guilt-hung heads–

A boy nudging rocks with his bare black foot.
A girl gripping dirty-flowered ruffle of her skirt.

The hurt of not hearing rooftop raindrops anymore.
The heart of the shirtless father through the door.

Who had slapped out the taps of the drop drum.
Who had beat at the sheets of the rain dram.

The two tacky youths with the boxed ear ring.
The rich kid passing through who couldn’t hear the rain.

By Dan Grossman

Let’s make love in Hebrew.
Let’s lick the block letters;
the alephs, gimels, and dalets,
into the stone tablets of our bellies. The dry river bed
embanked by my throat’s gravel
will glimmer
in your breath’s mirage
as we spell out our prophesies
for rainfall. We have no need for vowels
to proclaim this bed exalted,
my love:
we’ll cry out our pleasure and pain
in the consonants
of those who’ve crossed
this desert before.
But a tongue does not itself
a language make:
the throat, at times, must suffice. The tongue, meanwhile, will tremble
in the ecstasy of worship
and desire:
the tongue will be the river bed
of desert sand
that carries water to the garden.

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