Treehouse

online magazine for short, good writing

Tag: prose poem

The Way of Neighbors

by Treehouse Editors

Linda Conroy

With rain from empty sky, fall came fast, unexpected, even after all this time. Strange to be dark again at seven, then at six, time to tuck in, close the curtains, cushion coming doubt. Harsh division day from night, in from out, splits liveliness from sleep, unless, as is the threat, the good game changer, snow. It will be a brighter place here then, pulling us outside with shovels, brooms and salt, bringing neighbors, dogs and children out, and Mary next door with her red coat says, wait, after we have dug and swept, I have some apple cider, let’s make punch. Macs and boots stack in her hall. The kitchen fills and long-told stories creep from dusty shelves. Remember when Clement broke his leg the day the barn came down, and Silas married Sarah in three feet of snow. The minister was booked, so Silas said we had to go ahead and others stamped their feet and dug a path. Good thing we only had to come from here, someone said.


Linda Conroy is a retired social worker who likes to observe the simplicity and complexity of the human connections which inform and foreshadow the art of writing poetry. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Third Wednesday, Shot Glass, The Penwood Review, Washington 129, The Poeming Pigeon, Clover – A Literary Rag, and Raven Chronicles.

Mixtape: Ariana Nadia Nash

by a contributor

nash“Ariana Nadia Nash’s Instructions for Preparing Your Skin is an exquisitely passionate first book. Mostly I am struck by the lyrical frankness of the poems, and how they sustain an uncanny purity and yet are totally down to earth.”

— Malena Mörling

Instructions for Preparing Your Skin is a startling book in which so much is at stake. Love poems morph into hate poems into indifference poems then back again into deeper love poems. Nash’s stark raw material is transformed into verse as honest and clear as the mirrors in which we recognize ourselves. There is no way to prepare for these striking poems that strike against any temporary assuredness we may have about our bodies and each other. Instructions for Preparing Your Skin is candid, revelatory, and uncompromising in its vision.”

— Denise Duhamel, Judge, 2011 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry

Instructions for Preparing Your Skin can be purchased here.


Presentiment

by Ariana Nadia Nash

In the shoebox room she sits on the edge of his bed and slides her back to rest against his side.  As she talks, her hands trace small galaxies.  Silk skin distracts her as he touches her hand and she twists down to him, swizzling stick to rest on his shoulder.  He wraps his arm around her; her hands dance his geography.  Their legs double-decker sandwich.  They dissolve into talking then touching.  Talking.  Touching.  Sometimes not listening, she just watches the blueberry line on his lip.  And she’s an ice cube thinking he doesn’t know her, thinking her touch could be a reed whip, and she puts her ear to his chest, listen to his heart beatbox.

˜

Not when I’m sick, he says, pulling his blue-line lips away from her threatening pucker, throwing back shaggy hair.  Biting lips into scarecrow line he shakes no.  She figure-eights her legs around his legs, her fingers around his neck, slow, seducing.  She goblets his chin, diving to drink.  He pulls away.  Her stomach coils.  Fine.  She squats beside her bag, shoveling herself from his floor into small compartments.  She turns to see fingers reaching and she’s a magnet, kissing his shoulder for forgiveness.  Then pulling away and back to the middle of the floor.  She’s inside herself—shut music box—saying goodnight.

˜

Where his sweet raw lips and tongue are, she can taste tart blueberry.  They are lying, rooting into each other.  His arm vines her waist, squeezing skin to skin.  Her arm pursuing his, holding him holding her.  When he inches his fingers towards her chest, she holds her breath until contact and exhales in a stutter.  Silk moving slowly, pressure so slight she could scream.


Ariana Nadia Nash is the winner of the 2011 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry for her first book Instructions for Preparing Your Skin. Her chapbook, Our Blood Is Singing, is forthcoming from Damask Press. She is the recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize and a MacDowell Colony residency. Her work can be found in Rock & SlingMain Street Rag, and The Mom Egg, among other journals.

See also: A History of Remembering, and Ariana’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

Support

by a contributor

Ana Cristina Alvarez

In St. Louis, I used to hit Wiffle balls with my dad’s prosthetic leg.
He had several, but this was the prosthetic leg he hated most because it didn’t look like a real leg. There were no bumps or indents indicating toes, no plastic toenails where toenails should be. Just a leg that curled into something brick-like resembling a foot.
He preferred to wear a prosthetic leg that looked like a real leg attached to a real foot, though he always wore tennis shoes, and he always wore jeans.
You wouldn’t know he had one leg unless you asked.

.


Ana Cristina Alvarez attends the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she is pursuing an MFA in fiction. She bakes one hell of a flan.

See Ana’s list of 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

Letter to a Tenant – November 1

by a contributor

Laura Kochman

When the wave came, I was watching. When it came I was twisting my fingers around the balcony railing, trying to make your strung-up holiday lights pop. The comet stirred up the waters and made them sick, and they tumbled out onto the beach, first a pulling-back and then a gallop of water. My hands twist for the oysters, the miles of middens, for their feet uprooted and torn to shreds. For my own house, for the water surrounding it. For my house has no hands to block the water. For my house has no feet to run from the sea.

.


Laura Kochman, originally from New Jersey, is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where she’s also the poetry editor for Black Warrior Review. Her work is found or forthcoming in Copper Nickel, PANK, Jellyfish, The Journal for Compressed Creative Arts, alice blue review, and others.

See Laura’s 5 Things You Should Read in our ongoing contributors’ series.

Letter to a Tenant – October 31

by a contributor

Laura Kochman

I said, my feet slip from rock to rock. I said, I am found, founded, foundering. The sand grains sift through my foundations. It takes a grain to make a pearl, but I am no mother. Don’t laugh. I have no hidden chamber, no hiding place in the rocks. The oysters plant themselves for miles, the bed a clacking, a clattering of hooves. I said, the rotation has already begun. I said, to place a hoof into a bucket of salt. To limp through the house in the night. Sometimes my feet betray me, my turning, the soft frogs sinking down to the road surface they should not touch. I said, nautilus hoof. All right—I am not prehistoric. I abide by the rules. I said, my feet are sinking in their shells. I abide. The oysters shake in their bones. The oysters shudder in their beds.

.


Laura Kochman, originally from New Jersey, is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where she’s also the poetry editor for Black Warrior Review. Her work is found or forthcoming in Copper Nickel, PANK, Jellyfish, The Journal for Compressed Creative Arts, alice blue review, and others.

Letter to a Tenant – October 30

by a contributor

Laura Kochman

Close up the garage. Put away your bucket of shells. I have been, outside, in the night light of the sea, watching. And over the sea wall it came—a comet. The oysters shuddered in their shells, and my feet quaked in the sand as I watched it. Red marrow through a black sky. Rock in place of a moon, no moon, no moon, no witness but me and the oysters, and it shook the water. And it drove a line through the sky, a red welt. I felt it on my own skin. All right—I wanted to feel it on my own, old skin. If only on my skin. If only to touch. I was a wet witness, a well of eyes, and I saw it break apart into four red lines like a chicken’s foot, and it shone on the water, and it walked on the waves.

.


Laura Kochman, originally from New Jersey, is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama, where she’s also the poetry editor for Black Warrior Review. Her work is found or forthcoming in Copper Nickel, PANK, Jellyfish, The Journal for Compressed Creative Arts, alice blue review, and others.

Hunting in the Georgia Basin (From One Fox to Another)

by a contributor

Phillip Cerwin

Uncle walked in with his brows wrinkled and asked What can you hear? The ash-wood flooring contracted in the autumn air and the ancient cabin whined. Find your boots and hold the gun; the Georgia night tasted like rust. Copper feathers fringed the hen house. Black branches of the tree line scarred the horizon and the sanguine moon was sacrificed on the western ridge; its indiscretion poured over the countryside. The bloodhound begged the dirt with his nose and we flanked around the St. Mary’s River before the water could wash away the trail. The red light that preserved our vision in the dark reflected vile in pairs of eyes between the trees. Sometimes, they would turn and try to hide within the columns of cotton. Other times, they would try to ford the water and perish in the inarticulate current. Once, Uncle heard of a fisherman out on the delta who saw a scarlet shadow swimming against the onyx waves out into the Atlantic.

.


Phillip Cerwin studies criminology, psychology, and poetry at UNC Wilmington. He has previously won the Erma Drum Poetry Competition.