Hellraiser Scrawny infant squawking daughter unswaddled for the car seat in a more winter than spring rain, welcome to the world, hellraiser. March is bipolar in Missouri. Welcome to this corner of the world. Here is my thumb. You cannot seem to locate your own. Let’s do something about those maniacally flapping hands, those dagger-length fingernails. What a nuisance it is to be born. Regurgitated on dry land. Exposed to the elements. Let’s adjust the thermostat. Sandwich the breast. Get some meat on those bones.
I Live in the Woods It's the woods. These streets strung above I-70 are no neighborhood: They have no name. The trees out here in the dark are older than toothpick houses. Denser in their darkness than any porch light. Early morning resounds with cricket orchestration, the long intermittent hiss of a cicada. Backtrack to the blubbery soon-to-be extinct spectral motors of the interstate. This is the age of insects, Gould says, so I start a bug collection. I scoop the iridescent dead from our kiddie pool with a Walmart pill bottle: a Japanese beetle. I have to explain to Theo the exoskeleton of the cicada latched onto the A-frame of his swing set is just a shell, it's not alive, and pick it off myself. I find a dead cicada for display and seal it in the orange tube. Peel the label that says Keppra that says Bactrim that says Methylprednisolone that leaves a sticky little residue.
Tree, House The reach for love is the branch in my apple tree that is barely touching the eaves. There is a thin and fragile part of my heart that is always barely touching. An apple tree opening endlessly unto the house brings its chimneys into the shady auspice of leaves but let the roots rub up against a cracked foundation and they chafe. Mostly I just settle into the earth and sprout more cracks, more spider veins for the rain to bleed through, I seep into the soil the sound sleep of the soil packed around my cracks.
Cameron Morse is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His collection of unrhymed sonnets, Sonnetizer, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.
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 Review. Harbor Review’s chapbook prize is named in her honor. She expects her next collection, The Book of Stolen Images (Meadowlark) to be out in a few months.