Issue 1


Hibiscus loafers brushed as soft
as a baby’s tongue

versus flesh-toned $99 sandals—
gold-buckled. The gray

pitch-perfect words
buried in a gray-bird’s

sloping breast
versus the unspoken syllable

that weighs, a whole afternoon
of unfallen rain,

in my May mouth.
I hold up one blue

against another: each blue
is selfish, sips its fluorescent

cocktail, and shuns
comparisons: Persian blue

does not exist for periwinkle; an iris
will not bed down happily

with an azure. I only know today
from yesterday. I only know those roses

are clocks’ dark faces
sagging into bright grass.

Does the memory
of a cup of coffee—

its absolute authority
on my tongue—

bear any resemblance to the drop
of red cardinal now bobbing on the tree’s

pert branch? Does nostalgia equal
blue stucco houses in a Moroccan village

I will never visit? All equations
are false, or at least prone

to slipperiness. Each minute grows
stranger and more fragrant—

white-breasted squirrels drop,
as if on cue, from bitter-green

bickering trees, the neighborhood smells
of lavender wisteria and printer ink,

and fishermen along the inlet
can’t catch the fish that swim

like pale, separate hands
in the dark waters

three feet beneath them.

Alexandra van de Kamp is a Program Director for Gemini Ink in San Antonio, TX, and a member of The Writing Program faculty at the University of Texas/San Antonio. Her full-length collection is The Park of Upside-Down Chairs (CW Books, 2010); her chapbooks are Dear Jean Seberg (2011, winner of the Burnside Review Contest) and A Liquid Bird Inside the Night (Red Glass Books, 2015). A second full-length collection, Kiss/Hierarchy, is forthcoming from Rain Mountain Press in 2016.