Ann Michael

Rachel in the Children's Department

She's slipped a pair of booties
over her fingers
                         kick          kick

She has eyed a row of pacifiers
multiformed and sterile
                         suck          suck

She's stroked the satiny cotton
of receiving blankets but thinks
of what's been taken
             too soon                soon

A gift certificate's easier.
Her friends would understand.
Her history burns inside her
like a brand.


Stung thumb
is hard for
some to say.
Not easy on
the tongue,
the way the wasp's
sting is no
fun, stab sharp
and sour under
skin, then swell
and itching—
like hard words,
easy for some
to say, that for
the listener stay
and stay.

Leighton Point

Saxifrage, sea grass, kelp—low tide.
Shallow pools and slick sand, everything alive bubbles below surface,
ghost crabs, clams, mussels. Everything dead litters the view.
Suck holes in the damp shore provide
evidence that whatever breathes must hide.

Exceptions to the superficial dead—the birds,
little pipers swift-moving and near-invisible on the shining strand,
feeding, with their young. Laughing gulls, herring gulls,
cormorants' dark heads above cove's azure.
Behind and above, shadow-raptor, prey assured.

Shaping the undersides of clouds—the sheer
width of wingspan, mottled brown; eagle scanning for fishes,
surely. And yet a person strolling seaward on the beach flinches
as the silhouette passes overhead, so near,
feathered pilot of the point, its purpose clear.

One Wild Turkey

        strolls east across the meadow
Swift and somehow stately, self-contained.
Mottled, as it moves, by sun and shadow,
Enveloped in undergrowth. A shame,
I think—because it's early spring
And other birds have shifted, flocks to pairs—
That this one, with her gentle davening
Walks partnerless. My gaze lights on the chair,
Untenanted, beside me. You're not there.

Porter, Stout, & Mesopotamian Deity

Sisters, let us raise a glass
to agriculture, to dark brew
made possible by wooden hoes,
by seed-gatherers: me and you,
our aunts, foremothers, those
who stayed, patient, and grew
grains, diverted rain, winnowed,
boiled, fermented mash, who
certainly invented ale. For we
descend from goddess Ninkasi
who nourished babies through
breast milk fortified by beer
and whose forgotten virtue
we revive, consuming her.


Ann E. Michael lives in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, slightly west of where the Lehigh River meets the Delaware. She is Writing Coordinator at DeSales University, where she also teaches developmental writing and Introduction to Poetry. Her most recent collection of poems is Water-Rites. For more information, access her website at www.annemichael.com


Deborah Arnold
Sylvia Ashby
Meredith Bergmann
Carol Dorf
Melanie Figg
Sophia Galifianakis
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Jennifer Glancy
Dolores Hayden
Kjerstin Kauffman
Katrina Kostro
Michele Leavitt
Susan McLean
Ann Michael
Sally Nacker
Stella Nickerson
Samantha Pious
Rita Rousseau
Renée M. Schell
Leslie Schultz
Katherine Smith
Rebecca Starks
Myrna Stone
Chelsea Woodard (Featured Poet)
Marly Youmans


Jenna Le, Anne-Marie Thompson, and Chelsea Woodard join editor Kim Bridgford at the tenth-anniversary Mezzo Cammin panel at the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Sophia Galifianakis was the recipient of the Mezzo Cammin scholarship.

Corpus VI was formed in 2003, when six women figurative painters, who studied together at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, united to curate, exhibit and present our work to the public on our own terms, and launch our artistic careers. The name was chosen because it reflected our shared commitment to figurative representation. Clarity Haynes, Elena Peteva, and Suzanne Schireson were three of the founding members of the group, which organized an inaugural, self-titled show at Philadelphia's Highwire Gallery in the spring of 2005. The exhibition essay was written by Jeffrey Carr, Dean of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The exhibition was very well-attended and reviewed in several art publications.

The experience of working together to successfully realize this exhibition, as well as the continuous dialogue and exchange of ideas on contemporary figuration, has proven to be greatly valuable to us. Ten years after graduating from PAFA, as our careers have taken us to different locations across the United States, three of the original members, Clarity Haynes, Suzanne Schireson, and Elena Peteva, have come together to reinvent the collective by inviting one artist each to be part of this exhibition that will begin at the New Bedford Art Museum in fall 2015 and travel to other institutions.

Holly Trostle Brigham, Stacy Latt Savage and Laurie Kaplowitz are professional figurative artists, whose strong artistic visions enrich the collective's range and explorations of contemporary representation. We are excited at the prospect of seeing our work all together in new configurations, creating new dialogues. Holly Brigham creates imaginative, narrative watercolors, which tell a feminist story, inserting her artistic persona into art historical narratives and mythologies. Laurie Kaplowitz uses textured paint to create personages that hint at the soul within, alluding to rituals of marking, scarring and adorning the body as an integral part of our human identity and presentation. Stacy Latt Savage combines figurative elements with fabricated structures and shapes to create objects that capture what it looks like to feel human and the complexities of our human condition. Clarity Haynes casts new light on ideas of beauty, femininity and embodiment through her realistic painted portraits of the female torso. Elena Peteva creates allegorical representations of our individual and social states through the human figure and subtle, charged, incomplete signs that invite the viewer's attempt for interpretation. Suzanne Schireson is influenced by her great-grandfather's autobiography as an early plastic surgeon and her paintings examine contradictions surrounding the birth of cosmetic surgery, such as the power to heal and the fostering of insecurity.
32 Poems
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