3 New Poems by Top Portland Poets

Fresh verse from Anis Mojgani, Elyse Fenton, and Samiya Bashir.

By Anis Mojgani, Elyse Fenton, and Samiya Bashir July 12, 2016 Published in the August 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Amy Martin

Mine Shaft

The heavy iron hanging in the sky
Crushing the skull bones of the high flying flocks
North of the city we sat at sunset & watched
How the swallows flung their bodies
Away from the dusk & into the hearth
Of an abandoned chimney its bricks stuffed
With straw to hold warm at the end of summer
A puddle of ink spilling backwards into one point
A tornado dissolving itself into a place to sleep
Like the plug pulled & the drain swallowing them
Out of the clouds & into the underworld
On the hill in the grass of August your hand in mine
Your hand in mine your hand in mine your hand
I don’t remember the dress you wore
Only the warmth of your heart from pulling it off
& having your hands placing mine to your breasts
A city of burning houses all the attic birds pouring out to drink of the eve
Your hand in mine your hand in mine
A fire under the skin not yet returning to a spark

Anis Mojgani is the author of The Feather Room (Write Bloody Publishing).

Bear in a Tree

NE Killingsworth and 37th

I dream of helicopters circling
the lost tribe, traffic patterns

mapping out a newer vein of grief.
The toast burns, but not the way

I intended. The bear stays treed.
Living on earth in the age of the 6th

Extinction just means more extra-
vagance all around. Tourists

of Destruction, we’re here to buy
sunshades, microscopes, decorative 

wall mounts for extracted honeybee
wings! But say the bear outlasts

the traffic, outlasts the tree.
Say the helicopter never touches

down. This voice in my throat
when you kiss my face: claws

and hooves pulped on the rocks
of the last unflooded canyon floor.

Elyse Fenton is the author of Clamor (Cleveland State University Poetry Center).

Synchronous Rotation

After Dizzy rolled Bags Jackson
and his vibes outta Detroit
Bags wrote his love songs in
the minor keys. Said the minor
registers the heart. The magnet
of us: iron filings thrown up
the greedy gullet of space
before one turn humbles
another slow as hours plucked
through catgut blue. Please,
the old song goes, send me
someone to love. Me? Who
am I kidding? Every day I meet
some minor love or two.
Hey you:
let’s toss our tarantellas
across the tracks. Let’s
reveal one another
bit by puckered bit. Let’s
emit this fit of heat
before we burn.
Or let’s burn.

Samiya Bashir is the author of Gospel (RedBone Press).

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