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                    Turtle Island Quarterly 6

                               Fall 2014


                                                   CHAPTER ONE:


Katherine Soniat (3 poems), Ace Boggess (1 poem), B.Z. Niditch (1 poem), Jed Myers (1 poem)


















The following poems appear in her award winning chapbook The Goodbye Animals:

Winner of the 2014 Turtle Island Poetry Award.










Saint Teresa appeared on Facebook, her words

for this spent holiday—on giving and humility,

and how nothing is too small. On the kindness

of gestures that arrived way before species

were tagged and counted.

                                           Before, the void was

immeasurable. And there was no greater or less than.

Silence was with the stars. Without a plan, everything

had presence. The cave, those asleep in their animal skin.


But you are uncovered on the medicine bed, white bear nailed

to the wall. The fire voices roar beyond language. Tundra wind,

snow, and morning light whip across you—that scent you hold.

My held breath.      We wait.









                                                            --Brother Klaus



 Smell of night bear, dogs in the woods.

                                                                                     My body has a hole behind the heart

                                                                                     with a lock in front—and a measure

                                                                                     of animal-dampness breathes between.

                                                                                     Bear’s blue eyes hold me to dream—

                                                                                     that close, two paws on my shoulders.                                               

                                                                                     Such weight        means    don’t move

                                                                                     but I do and     bear grabs my hand

                                                                                     in its teeth.       This part of me never

                                                                                     will be again—that line of thinking—

                                                                                     as its tongue relaxes to licking, and

                                                                                     fearlessly we get on in the dark. Restless-

                                                                                     ness spent, warm saliva might well be

                                                                                     my next home. Freshly skinned and

                                                                                     slick, I am all over again.

 Shots, then the long heave through branches.







anima mundi



In my mother’s house there was no heart.

In my mother’s heart she was always looking

for a home. I threaded stories of her, ones neither

of us had ever heard. Soft ones with feathers at the bottom.

When my son had a daughter, she came into this blueness

knowing details with a past.

                                             At night in bed playing puppets

with the covers, she whispered, You know, there’s so much

sadness in the world. She was three, and I almost couldn’t

hear her.


It was dark in the bedroom, and inside her head. She didn’t hesitate

but thought in stride with nothing. Hem of the sheet humped up—

cave in a city on earth that soon would go away.




Katherine Soniat’s sixth collection of poetry is A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge by Dream Horse Press. Other collections include The Swing Girl, by Louisiana State University Press and A Shared Life, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize. New work appears in recent issues of the Iowa Review, Antioch Review, Hotel Amerika, Image: Art, Faith, and Mystery, Tiferet, and Mid-American Review. She now teaches workshops in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. A chapbook, The Goodbye Animals, recently won Turtle Island Quarterly's  Chapbook Competition and will be published by Foothills Press in 2014.
















you curl & shift to rescue the flame

without singeing your fingertips


no matter how urgent thunder menaces

you surrender nothing


skin cooled

glasses misting


you lean into the second breath

the hurt of it & hunger


this you own

a moment of displaced serenity


like a dream that holds within

the psyche of its own unraveling


how the wind embraces you

how the wind spits ashes in your face





Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003).  His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, Atlanta Review, RATTLE, River Styx, Southern Humanities Review and many other journals.  He live in Charleston, West Virginia.


















With the copper sun

on our hammock
it did not take us

long to focus

on singing intervals

of sea grackle voices

turning our eyes

over my old kayak

by a reared up shore

of blue sashay waves

more numerous

than water rings of fish,

making mirror moves

over our quiet crew

sizing up the Northeaster

cacophony of damages

from all our sail boats

now sinking in on us
yet we brush away

any churlish worries

by the coastal deck
as once flood waters

migrate on a Pacific ship

here hoping the save

the environmental home port

now with a summer wind

toward a cruise ship

we call Noah,
drinking in

a wavering world

secluded on the Bay
by our own nostalgic
cover ups and secrets

of how to land

on coal-grey waters
over nearly drowned

tourist canvas bags
rods and tackles,
as we slowly pass by

a lobster boat

hooked in oarlock

as ocean shadows

jostle us

by this home harbor,

a mendicant artist

who needed help

huddles on board

the leafless deck

keeping out of storms

in a soft blanket

crouches on first light

wishes me strength,

draws from his gift

of abstracts, portraits

and his stonework mobiles

suspended in currents

of beach air,

asks this poet for titles

for his latest abstracts,

water colors,

or dazzling sculpture

as if were a surf cutter

of treasured rock,

I'm handing out to him

a groundswell

of illumined verses

for he translates

in ancient tongues

then captures them

in a sunset flair,

keeps a vigil

over the creative sand

by shivering reefs

off the Cape.




B.Z. Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher. His work is widely published in journals and magazines, including: 

Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; Hawaii Review;  Le Guepard (France);   Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest);  Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner,

among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.


















The dogwood petals, spread. Sudden,

it seems. Shadow-ribbed fragile quartets


that scallop-shell pink of blood-tinged shallow

where hook’s ripped from trout-gullet. Sudden,


I think, but I hadn’t looked, as the plumping

buds hovered on spring-lit branch-tips


for weeks, slow as a cutthroat nibbling

bugs on its upstream pilgrimage.


And, so, the fine feeding work

the roots have carried on under the light—


years prying the dirt with a need

that won’t quit. What’s the word


for this? For what surprises, after

seasons of imminence, like our first


child’s birth, that tiny new purple

body pinking up quick with a gasp


and cry as the cord’s unkinked and cut,

instinct’s suck on the blossom-pink nipple


that brings forth the milk, sudden,

where duct architecture’s hidden in breast-bud


since before the birth of the mother.

I think of the future shooting star


hurtling in now past Jupiter—

ancient stone that will flame to vapor,


flash in a few human eyes—it won’t even

register till it’s died. Or the crash


the middle-aged drunk’s been driving at since

his magna cum laude failed to anaesthetize


even his father’s most modest slaps

in the face. It hits us and what


can we call it? Sudden and not—

final stop of the chain-smoker’s heart,


the rush together of two longing seas

in the confluence of new lovers’ one pink


oval of lips, the immediate

wakefulness after a lifetime asleep


once through the wreck or the loss or the late

diagnosis you take your death in your teeth.


Sudden—as who can keep constant

vigil?—the dusty-pink dusk-streaked


dogwood petals, pointing

in all directions, all at once, one


morning in April, for some days at least.




 Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. Two of his poetry collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), are to be released in 2014. He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Sanskrit, Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere.







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