Five iPoems

If to Say It Once

by Gregory Orr

If to say it once
And once only, then still
To say: Yes.

And say it complete,
Say it as if the word
Filled the whole moment
With its absolute saying.

Later for “but,”
Later for “if.”

Only the single syllable
That is the beloved,
That is the world.

The Dangerous Shirt

by Alberto Álvaro Ríos

The shirt in my closet is dangerous.
If I put it on, I will be dressed.

If I am dressed, I will be drawn toward the door,
The door and not the couch.
And if I open the door, I will go through it.
I will go through it and close it behind me.

The danger of the shirt—of course,
Always, every moment, it is so obvious.

It Is Pretty Cold

by Scott Challener

is what Whitman writes in his journal
when he describes the hospitals.
It is pretty cold.

It may just mean: the temperature, as in:
it is pretty cold, but there’s always colder.
But it might mean: they are freezing
and no one in the world can help them,
or the next loads are up from Aquia Creek.

The Treeless Hill

by Jean Valentine

The treeless hill that gave holes
in its dirt cliff to the swallows
in the long wet light of June, the open
cliff by the road that gave
them nests, your cold wet sweater,
sweater you were born in, softer then,
like any swallow


by Chloé Yelena Miller

He rummages for stones
at the pond’s edge, low in December.
I huddle them on your flat gravestone.

I’m never sure where to stand.

Today, the anniversary of your death,
a memory sharpens, as if illuminated.

    I sit on the counter, next to the sink.
        You stand, shift your weight,
        tell me about your sickness.
        Not like a twelve-year-old, but like a mother.

He holds my hand,
does not hurry the introduction.

Should I have answered for you?

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