TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 15
2 poems by Alan Catlin, a poem by S Stephanie,
and a poem by Gary Lark
2 poems by Alan Catlin
Small-town Women circa 1913
Were the troops marching then?
All those Kaiser boys with pointed
Yes, maybe, no...
If they weren’t, they would be
And these would be the women
they left behind:
the somnolent, after-tea sit ins
almost a relic, time frozen
as eternal girls that got left behind.
One young woman emanating a kind of,
let’s have sex as soon as we can- appeal
to the camera and to what waits beyond.
The other, more modest,
the large black bow at her neck
suggestive of mourning clothes
they will soon be obliged to wear.
Working-class Mother, 1926/
Farm Woman and Her Children 1920-26/
Mother and Child 1927
The women all seem careworn to some degree.
Are not the Aryan ideal of stolid Brunnhilde
stock or if the dirndl wearing frauleins
always eager for patriotic rallies and,
after-the-inspiring speeches, energetic
rolls in the, literal, hay.
Their men are either always in the fields,
or away on business trips, leaving wives
to be domestic widows wedded to their
chores and children.
All the younger men, especially the proud,
uniform wearing, healthy boys, will preen
in bar room mirrors, in biergardens, resplendent
in freshly ironed brown shirts and spit shined
shoes, as yet unaware of the fronts they will
be sent to, the inglorious campaigns in Russia
or the African desert.
And the women, what of them?
All the ones who survive the targeted bombing
raids, the clustered ones, the fire bombings,
Armageddon’s wrath from above, what of them?
Widows every one.
Alan Catlin has dozens of chapbook and full length books in print. Most recently Three Framers on the Way to a Dance (based on Sander photos) from Presa Press and Wild Beauty, a full length book from Future Cycle Press.
poem by S Stephanie
At Dorrs Pond I see,
I will not be drowning myself today.
Not because I am happy, I am not.
But because the wind has turned
the water a menacing grayish blue.
Because the closed yellow pond lilies
those floating, flashing suns
and moons are all the planets
I cannot reach. And I can’t go under
while trees stand idly by, drinking
in whatever the sky offers.
True, the lady-slippers in their pink
breathy fullness might have a word
locked inside them that any poet
would wait another Spring for,
but I think the real reason is
that lone blue heron out there.
How she stands stick still
impervious to the shallow cold
swirling about her. How
her lidless eye seems to accuse me,
seems to say: Go Back.
You do not belong here.
S Stephanie’s poetry, fiction and book reviews have appeared in many literary magazines such as, Birmingham Poetry Review, Café Review, Cease, Cows, Literary Laundry, OVS, Rattle, St. Petersburg Review, Solidus, Southern Indiana Review, The Southern Review, The Sun and Third Coast. Her three chapbooks are Throat (Igneus Press), What the News Seemed to Say (Pudding House - re-released by Igneus Press in 2015), So This is What It Has Come To (Finishing Line Press 2015) She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester, NH.
poem by Gary Lark
For some reason the bullfrogs didn't escape
into the summer warmed water
when we slid the boat close to the bank.
A dangled Flatfish on an invisible line
was somehow worth jumping at,
and the treble hooks deadly.
We would drop them into a wet gunny sack
in the bottom of the boat,
stick a knife in their brain
and take them home.
A skinned frog looks human,
like a skinned bear does, but the legs
do taste good.
In biology class we would pith the brain
of our lab frog for the sake of knowledge
but wasted the rest.
Gary Lark’s work includes: "River of Solace," Editor's Choice Chapbook
Award from Turtle Island Quarterly, Flowstone Press, 2016, “In the House
of Memory,” BatCat Press, 2016. “Without a Map,” Wellstone Press, 2013,
“Getting By,” winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009.
"Ordinary Gravity," is forthcoming from Airlie Press, 2019.
His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Sun, Poet Lore, and