I’ll Leave It at That                 by James Diaz

What are birds
In the night
If not air's flat iron
Of bone, the river's mercy
Sings, a darker cadence— 
Do you know
The place I mean
No trains run there
There are no birds to speak of.
At first glance the world is always terrifying
Then beautiful, then terrifying again– 
Where do they put all of the things we've seen
After we go, who will speak of the snow
That fell across our life
In perfect layers of mute blue hush
It's dark
Here. It is morning.
It is almost as it never was.
I was happy to have seen
What little of the world I saw.
Pain gave me more than it took.
There was never enough beauty
For any of us.
I could say more
But the words don't feel right.
I'll leave it at that.

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal, Corporeal, Rust + Moth, and Cleaver Magazine. They reside in upstate New York.

Editor-in-Chief Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Valparaiso ReviewHarbor Review’s microchap prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.


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