Poems: Chelsea B. DesAutels

Maybe You Need to Write a Poem About Mercy

after Robert Hass


Start this one with the woman standing at the edge

of the woods. Or the desert, it doesn’t matter,

what matters is she’s standing under a darkening sky

and she knows, at this point, having spent months

in the hospital, that there’s nothing she can do—

no threshold between threat and tranquility,

no demarcation she can draw around herself

for her child for protection, everything is actually

everything else, the stone just kicked

and whatever comes next are the same.

Poems: The Lucie Odes

The Lucie Odes

For Lucie Nell Beaudet (1960-2018)


I’d known you six years before you told me

how your first husband pimped you out—

used the cash to buy a fried-chicken franchise


along a rural highway in Alabama. How you

slept under the counter where you cashiered

wings and thighs. How you rinsed, out back,


and spread baby powder across a bath towel

to soak up the tumid August sweat, keep offs

kittering roaches. For the rest of your life


you had nothing to do with chicken. Mixed,

in memory, with the smell of strange men’s

semen. How you dreaded what came despite


rough-shod precaution. How you stole from

the till, dollar at a time, until you had enough

for a bus to the clinic. I picture you there alone,

Poetry: Diane Seuss

Featuring the poems:

[My first crush was Wild Bill. . . .]

[His body was barely cold. . . .]

[I can’t see her clearly. . . .]

[I can’t say I loved punk when punk was contagious. . . .]

[What do you think Elvis’s best song was. . . .]

[Then, I account it high time to get to sea. . . .]

[Once, I took a Greyhound north across an icy bridge. . . .]

[Takes time to get to minimalism. . . .]

Editors’ Prize Poetry Feature: Meghann Plunkett

Featuring the poems:

  • In the Fist of the Blade Holder
  • Boston, 1992
  • South County, Matunuck, RI
  • 1996
  • To My Assailant, 15 Years Later
  • Awaiting the Elegy
  • The Dove