Rappahannock Review | Issue 3.3: Liz Ahl
19402
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Elusion by Sarah Marie Kosch
“Luckily, Becca rescued the family photo album before Mother could X-acto all of the pictures. She hid it on the shelf above her bed…”

Heat Index by Brenda Miller and Julie Marie Wade
“Alcohol
In the 16th century, shipping companies often paid sailors in rations of rum. The sailors (always wary of the bosses) learned how to see if they were being ripped off…”

Quả Hồng Vàng by Kelly Morse
“That first autumn in Hanoi I didn’t eat persimmons because I’d mismatched books and life. A Chinese apple, your teacher said…”

The Radiators in Ellen Reed House by Liz Ahl
“have been pushing their ancient water
through these plaster walls…”

The Radium Girls by Liz Ahl
“Time used to tick, to trip,
to click between …”

Saturn V by Liz Ahl
“Unlike grief, escape
has only three stages…”

Honeysuckle by Maggie Bailey
“is taste not scent,
memory pulling…”

Alternative Air Source by Bobby Bolt
“If the ocean is only a sequence of shared breaths,

Then you may dream your way across…”

Physical Geography Lecture by Bobby Bolt
“I hope you’re taking notes: The nature of nature
is to move,…”

He’s a wildflower by Austin Eichelberger
“jaw decorated with soft thorns…”

Heat Wave by Jennifer Highland
“Bronx summer streets
smelling of piss and petunias…”

The Insulators by Jennifer Highland
“We try to keep the weather here controlled,
and so we softly barricade…”

Climate Change my Body by Jenny McBride
“The warmest years on record
and my body is coming into its own…”

Last Day to Save on Sarah Jaeger’s “Throwing and Alternative Video” by Andrea Witzke Slot
“sign me up for the master class of how.
Train me to…”

The Palm of Proprioception by Andrea Witzke Slot
“The sense of touch arrives early, long before the others…”

Unpacking by Larry Thacker
“My father is fresh back from Vietnam.
I see this in a memory I shouldn’t…”

Recipe by Patti White
“Say it began with an oven so hot…”

Boûts-Rimés: God’s Grandeur (1934) by Katherine Williams
“In black-and-white, five children in a god-
forsaken shanty of loose boards…”

For My Father, Who Will Someday Die by P.J. Williams
“Likely because his lungs
have turned umber, lost…”

Candling by Annie Woodford
“Short and sort of defeated even then…”

Melisma by Annie Woodford
“You love the radio,
love the thump & pop…”

Saturn V

 

Unlike grief, escape
has only three stages,
and each stage is named

 

             thrust

 

the first stage seething
with liquid oxygen
and kerosene then
the ululating flames,
the fat blast’s thunder

 

the second stage
sucker punch
after the brief pause
pushing its burn
nearly seven minutes

 

the third stage
the bullet’s piercing tip
fires twice: once
to lift itself into orbit’s
temporary doldrums
and once more
to knock a hole
through gravity’s skin
and slide past it

 

von Braun’s monster
will devour your denial
incinerate your anger,
promise you nothing,
depress you so firmly
to your seat you might
stop breathing

 

like grief, escape must end
in acceptance – you must
buckle in atop its scream,
fasten your hopes
to its eleven engines

 

you must calmly ride
its barely-controlled explosion
all the way past abort—
and then you must accept
momentum’s proffered hand
into the void.

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