I Try Not to Write Poems About Souls                                                 by Issa M. Lewis

They’re nebulous things, the steam
off a boiling pot, the sweat
on a cold glass of lemonade.
They wander, uncontained, willful
and poems are meant to be vessels,
give form to what has none.
But souls can’t survive in jars.
Like when I was a child and collected
lightning bugs, scooped them
right out of the air they floated on
carefully cupped hands so I didn’t
squash them.  I put them in
an old baby food jar with holes
poked into the metal lid,
put grass and twigs so they’d feel at home.
I wanted them to light my room
as I slept, but each morning
they’d all be dead.  There was air
enough to breathe, but their lungs
wanted something more.  Their lungs
were souls and my glass jar a poem
that couldn’t hold them.
Issa M. Lewis is the author of Infinite Collisions (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and Anchor (Kelsay Books, 2022).  She received the 2013 Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize.  Her poems have previously appeared in Rust + Moth, North American Review, and South Carolina Review, amongst others.  Her website is www.issalewis.com.

More of her amazing work has been published here: https://150kansaspoems.wordpress.com/2022/07/25/stone-baby/

Shibazrule, aka Lisa D. Chavez, is a poet based in New Mexico.  Her poetry books include Destruction Bay (West End Press) and In An Angry Season. (University of Arizona Press). She also writes memoir and fiction, and teaches in the MFA program at the University of New Mexico.  She’s delighted to have the opportunity to be Guest Editor here at The Coop for the month of August.


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