Angie Macri

Clear Story

The city expanded west from the landing,
the sky the limit from the river into prairies.
Fur traded under clerestories, and trains
formed arteries for the body of a new country.

Coal burned so often that noon was midnight.
All this from a man and woman dreaming
they could rule the world instead of being in its debt.
He brought books, each a bound city he opened

if he had time in winter. She sent downriver
for a box of bees to pollenate the garden
that disappeared in time to warehouses,
then blight, then a steel arch as if the heavens
needed reinforcing. All along, the river absorbed
the rain and snow as if they'd never fallen.

In That Moth, Instead of Month

She loved a man who wore a ring of ice,
not metal like those polished to shine
but brighter than any body she knew.
It never melted although his hands
were always hot. He never took it off,
even when he slept, so she couldn't hold it
to the light. Her words began to shift:
say moth instead of month, as if time flew,
but winter seemed older than it ever was.
The crystals in the band weren't like
those common in the soil or glass made
from sand in fire to serve. Ships froze
in place with their crews, ocean turned
to land where she struggled to stand.

All in the Family

As if the blood of each body bloomed,
the roses around the tombs
lack thorns, those bred out long ago,
which make them most desirable.
No one has to shave the stems
before making arrangements.
They're clean like any other flower,
but men avoid them, so afraid
of that garden they don't even know
that roses grow there. They spread,
no shade from trees to stop them.
The women cut them in late morning
to place on their tables.
They don't tell their fathers
or husbands where they came from.
No bowls of fruit, fake or for the taking.
No candles. So like apples,
I can taste them, the man sighs,
leaning forward into the center.

Garden Homes

So many flames come from one sword after the rain:
new red oak leaves, the crossvines in the forest crown,
buckeyes across the forest floor, so much red it's hard
to spot the flags that mark the lots. From dawn
to dusk, dump trucks haul fill from one part of the city

to another so they can build where a spring formed a ravine
on the north side of a ridge. The backhoe moves each load
into a level space for what they call a garden home,
which means more house than yard, the rest shrubs and stone
along the foundation. They keep each to one story

because of the elderly's fear of stairs and falling.
The trucks run so heavy, the houses already built hum
in their passing. Downtown, the upper stories of the buildings
are abandoned. No one wants to take on the cost of renovating
against the fire that has come before, and will again.

Ghosts of Old Children

It was a comfort to children that most snakes lacked venom
except for those who knew any bite could bring infection.

What do you know of life to fear anything, said the old men
and women, not wanting an answer. They gave the children

gifts of games so they could build wooden towers
on tops of tables that they changed bit by bit until they fell down,

leaving a winner. We built houses with cards,
said those whose faith didn't prohibit cards, or drink,

or dancing, those three always going together. That spring
in the garden, by the time the snakes woke for the season,

the white tulips were taller than all the others, best seen at dusk
and far away across a wide-open space. If you got close,

you realized the petals were like satin in dresses
in the back of a grandmother's closet, if she kept

that sort of thing, others in her generation thinking
that a waste. Be careful of the roof nails, warned the woman

as they entered the attic. If you look directly in a tulip,
you find a different color. She couldn't help

but be delighted that the clothing fit as if it'd been created
for them. The children took pictures of each other.


Angie Macri is the author of Underwater Panther (Southeast Missouri State University), winner of the Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past (Finishing Line). Her recent work appears in Poetry, Ruminate, and Superstition Review. An Arkansas Arts Council fellow, she lives in Hot Springs.


Barbara Crooker
Alexandra Donovan
Jehanne Dubrow
Kathleen Goldbach
Colleen S. Harris
Brittany Hill
Katherine Hoerth
Lynne Knight
Jean L. Kreiling
Angie Macri
Carolyn Martin
Kathleen McClung (Featured Poet)
Mary Mercier
Ann Michael
Leslie Schultz
Myrna Stone
Jean Syed
Ann Christine Tabaka
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The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Phillis Wheatley by Kathryn Voorhees.

Kathleen McClung is the recipient of the 2019 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

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