Everywhere All the Time (with a Line from Ashley Capps)

I hear a shotgun crack and find mother

at the woodpile—she’s shot another rat snake.

“But,” I say, “they keep the rabbit population down?”

“I like rabbits,” is her reply. “But your garden,” I say.

“Nothing anyone can do about that,” she sighs.


Here, it’s rabbits everywhere, all the time.

It’s like my brain conducts this leporine improvisation

of a to-and-fro mind, of a heart running for cover,

of jumpy, interrogative eyes.


When I mow the fields they watch me, race by my side.

When I search the night for satellites standing mother’s

living garden, there’s always one or two bunnies there,

piebald hearts beneath a half-stoned moon, stunned.


Rabbits manage nests from their own hair mixed with

scratched out soil. There’s one by the split elm, another

in the clover beneath a pram carrying eight kinds of mint.


Mom finds a new nest beneath the Muhly grass’s

pink pencil-troll head. We count nine newborn rabbits

pulsing as one like the heart Kate and I watched together

on a sonogram screen in a small, dim basement room.


I walk away and stand between two sunflowers tall as me.

I’ve caught them at the end of their conversation. One

sunflower says, “I am greater than or equal to the lack

and luck is weather that permits my red begonias.”


I count seven sunflowers, heads perfect size to be arranged

in a vase for an anniversary, but I let their necks hang free,

bent down toward one another, yellow, green, and brown.


Eric Roy is the author of All Small Planes (Lily Poetry Review Press 2021), which received the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominations for its hybrid writing. His recent work can be found or is forthcoming at Bennington Review, Fence, Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Salamander, Third Coast, and elsewhere.


Eric Roy

An entry journal

Feb or March 17, 1995

As my suitcase orbits away from me, I surprise myself by shouting “our bag.” Unbeknownst to me I have begun talking in plural. As we drive toward our home, I am puzzled by the empty sidewalks. The man who’s both from here and there assures me it’s normal. All creatures empty out at night. Alien landscape must look like this I think. I feel it again as the sky wraps my suburban apartment in an indigo that makes you remember the things you had forgotten you had lost. My skin picks up signals that my mind garbles. It is beautiful this new city. It is also impossible. This planet with supermarkets stacked sky high and hunger going unannounced is where I belong according to my papers that announce my status: nonresident alien

Vimla Sriram is a Seattle-based writer shaped by Delhi. This means banyans and parrots will try to sneak into her essays especially if she tries to steer clear of them. She loves the Pacific Northwest for its gigantic Douglas Firs, leaning Madronas, and oat lattes. When not craning her neck for elusive woodpeckers or nuthatches, she can be found reading, writing, and making cauldrons of chai for her family and friends. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in 100 Word Story, Wanderlust, Stonecrop Journal, Little Patuxent Review, River Teeth Journal, Cagibi, Tahoma Review, and Gulf Stream Magazine.


Vimla Sriram

From across the Tracks

Up county, here in Mount Kisco, the men

from across the tracks wait patiently

at the station every weekday morning,

not for a train, but a day job, seated

on the edge of the sidewalk or against

the fence, near where cars enter to drop off

or pick up, all expectantly catching

the gazes of incoming drivers,

signaling silently, Whatever it is

you have to do, I can do it for you.

By noon, many head home to emptiness,

their wives away to serve as maids for

the more well-to-do. I wait for the train

from the Bronx that brings my housekeeper.


Jim Tilley has published three full-length collections of poetry and a novel with Red Hen Press. His short memoir, The Elegant Solution, was published as a Ploughshares Solo. His poem, “On the Art of Patience,” was selected by Billy Collins to win Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize for Poetry. Four of his poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His next poetry collection, Ripples in the Fabric of the Universe: New & Selected Poems, will be published in June 2024.


Jim Tilley

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