Spring 2017

Edited by Barry Kitterman | Andrea Spofford | Amy Wright


​Ordinary Psalm After Failing Another Child

​Julia Levine

I walk home through an abandoned citrus orchard.

Pick a wild orange, though the tree is frost-burned,


the sudden cold like an astonished silence

after a beating no one promised, but there it is--


ice lacing the pond, star-frost bedded in clover.

Even the deer tuck themselves into underbrush


like dark blisters on a moment no one can reach.

Think of the shot-out nightlights around a soul.


Or that boy in my office this evening, staring

at the clock.  Wordless.  Angry.  I hate my past,


he blurted out, So why ask me to remember?    

Now, I pause at the orchard’s end, under the asterism


that composes Orion’s belt. Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka. 

Each star as one more argument between demolition


and wonder.  Soon I’ll take off my gloves.  

Bite the fruit’s bitter skin to begin. 


How many times must I be surprised? 

It cannot be hurried.  Each globe must hang


numb inside its lovely jacket.  All day, all night,

learning its particular portion of sunlight, of rain. 




Julia B. Levine’s collection, Small Disasters Seen in Sunlight, (LSU Press, 2014) was awarded the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. Her previous full-length poetry collections, Ask and Practicing for Heaven, were respectively awarded the Tampa Review Poetry prize, the Anhinga Poetry prize, and a bronze medal from Foreword magazine. She has also been awarded the Discovery/The Nation Award, as well the Pablo Neruda Poetry award from Nimrod.

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