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Issue 4.2

Summer 2024

Robert Harlow


I don't know where this poem came from. Just one of those odd thoughts / phrases that created its own sensibilities beginning with the first couple of lines. It's more surreal rather than something that happened in reality. I like the movement created from stanza to stanza. The ending seems logical given what comes before it, but there's also no logic that I can see or remember when I wrote it. It is also one of the few poems of mine that almost wrote itself, taking as long to read as it did to write. Almost no revision. A lucky gift.



Am I the only one

who loves the taste of fire?

Glass on the tongue,


shards in the mouth?

It’s almost like the taste

of wounded bracelets


or scolded rain sent through the mail

with no return address

so they have to find a new home


just like the rest of us

when something similar occurs.

Wondering if it’s possible


to live without being excited

by the promise of new adventures

syruped with flames, the promise


of a bruising new cuisine?

Sparks, embers, slivers,

liquid curled on the tongue.


Maybe fire as the reason why,

at least for now, I’ve chosen

to be remembered like this.

Robert Harlow resides in upstate NY . He is the author of Places Near and Far (Louisiana Literature, 2018). His poems appear in Poetry Northwest, RHINO, The Midwest Quarterly, and elsewhere. Or so he has been led to believe.

Robert's Book Recommendations

 Laura Jensen—Bad Boats

 Darcy Smith—River Skin

 Laura Kasischke

 Dianne Suess

 Larry Levis

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