By Amorak Huey:


It seems so important that I get this right—

memory choked with algae,
memory dried to nothing in the summer,

memory’s post-dawn sky already fevered with desire,
memory’s grass grabbing wet at my hungry ankles.

I remain the same lonely child I was,

never having learned the rules of prayer. Instead I offer
this uncurling body, this frog-song,
tornado-spike, voice-from-the-trees:

the word green
the word green
the word green


A sea of silk, a sky of stalk, a sun of ear and song.

There is a season for planting,
a season for harvest,

a moon-color for the storms between.

The lightning has something to do with nourishment,
something to do with need.


By our presence we alter the shape of the tree,

crook its looping limbs to suit our prayers,
our psalms and songs,
our cautionary tales.

It’s not the tree asking forgiveness
for its part in our most thoughtless acts—

our blossom-burst and leaf-turn,
our self-inflicted separations.

“The Pond in the Corner of the Yard” originally appeared in Thrush. Today’s poems appear here today with permission from the poet.

Amorak Huey is author of the chapbook The Insomniac Circus (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2014) and the forthcoming poetry collection Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress Publications, 2015). A former newspaper editor and reporter, he teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. His poems appear in The Best American Poetry 2012, The Cincinnati Review, The Southern Review, The Collagist, Menacing Hedge, and many other print and online journals. Follow him on Twitter: @amorak.

Editor’s Note: I have had the pleasure of featuring Amorak Huey here on the Saturday Poetry Series before, and I am as struck by his poetry today as I was when I encountered it all those years ago. Is it the way he infuses the everyday with a touch of magic? Is it the fine line he conjures between nature and spirit and prayer? Perhaps it is the world he harvests, words sprouting from the earth as if from seeds, the quiet calm of the farm balanced by the weight of repetition, alliteration, form. It is as if you could part the corn stalks and encounter the poem. As if the poem could be turned over like earth, fertile ground for all the words that have yet to be planted.

Want more from Amorak Huey?
“Self-Portrait Following a Trail of Reese’s Pieces” in Radar
“When They Serialize My Life They’re Going to Have a Problem with 1993” in disquieting muses quarterly
“The Fathers at the Little League Field” in Hobart
“Melon Heads” in Stirring from Sundress Publications

Rebekah Just When the Drought Was Ending by Justin Hamm


Rebekah Just When the Drought Was Ending

by Justin Hamm

But the best thing about Rebekah
was the way she floated always
beneath the scent of woodburn
and dusty Middle America,
her keen ranch-queen convictions
slicing deep and deeper into
the tiniest of daily miseries
with skepticism, demanding always
some proof before she’d concede
this life He pieced together for us
cell by cell with ever shakier Godfingers
contained even one malignancy.

Every bow-legged young bull rider,
every sunburnt farmer of someday
who stopped by to mend a fence
or just to offer genteel salutations
would see her backlit by sunset,
dream her into his own mother
and pray to the essence of the prairie
to do what old bones could not.

And it worked. She survived well enough
to give of herself four more seasons
among luckless kinfolk who every one
drank greedily the blood she squeezed
and felt the cracked lips of dry times less.
As long as there was some great need
into which she could empty herself
she could will the heart to continue
and none of the rules of dying applied.

But she must’ve seen that the new rain
wasn’t baptismal or meant for her restoration.
When those stormclouds finally swelled
and burst into fat miracle drumbeats
she must’ve felt the change was coming on.
Why else open the windows so wide
with no thought for the evening chill?
Why else cut a hundred wildflowers
and arrange them into fiery clusters
but pour no water into their vases?


Originally from the flatlands of central Illinois, Justin Hamm now lives near Twain territory in Missouri. He is the founding editor of the museum of americana and the author of a full-length collection of poems, Lessons in Ruin ( Aldrich Press), as well as two poetry chapbooks, Illinois, My Apologies (RockSaw Press) and The Everyday Parade/Alone With Turntable, Old Records (Crisis Chronicles Press). His poems or stories have appeared, or will soon appear, in Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Cream City Review, Punchnel’s, Hobart, Sugar House Review, and a host of other publications. Recent work has also been selected for the Bob Dylan-themed anthology The Captain’s Tower, New Poetry from the Midwest 2014, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize from the St. Louis Poetry Center.

(The poem above first appeared in Nimrod and is included in Lessons in Ruin.)