“Predictive” by Carol Alexander

Ghost Words by Bill Wolak

That day. How it telescopes to fit within a palm
oak leaves tipping gold ash over weeds
mud-skirting moths in a presentation dish.

I never catch the ghost spider
that runs at night, that bites but does not kill
pallid and furred as an autumn berry.

The terrors of summer’s service
stippled rash on my arm where tiny fangs teased blood
from skin the gauze sleeve didn’t quite cover.

A beer before the noon siren
the bare-legged child already asleep.
What pins meat to bone but desirous integuments?

And where is the wind blowing from—what wreck—
the clouds a doubtful aventurine, fog with hail teeth
gnawing the weathervane, slate roof tiles.

Because August has come again, I watch feverishly
for drooped lilies, renascence of hyssop
purple sandwort closing against a rainy reprise

take present tense as memory’s gift
pretty things and portents, matrimonial chrysalis
native ground where ancient words will never be used up.

I’m as well as I’ll ever be
who inhabits a body all tangled wires fizzing,
sharp lady heels sinking into the future  

drawn fatefully in my tat of moth lace
with reddened lips, with spidery tattoo
with whatever grows inside this burning flesh.


Carol Alexander’s most recent poetry collection is Fever and Bone (Dos Madres Press, 2021). Her work appears in anthologies and journals such as About Place Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Caesura, The Common, Cumberland River Review, Denver Quarterly, Free State Review, Matter, Mobius, One, Pif, Potomac Review, Ruminate, San Pedro River Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Southern Humanities Review, Stonecoast Review, Sweet Tree Review, Terrain.org, Third Wednesday, Verdad, and The Westchester Review. New work is forthcoming in Delmarva Review, RHINO and elsewhere. With Stephen Massimilla, Alexander is co-editor of the award-winning anthology Stronger Than Fear: Poems of Empowerment, Compassion, and Social Justice (Cave Moon Press, 2022).

Bill Wolak has just published his eighteenth book of poetry entitled All the Wind’s Unfinished Kisses with Ekstasis Editions. His collages have appeared as cover art for such magazines as Phoebe, Barfly Poetry Magazine, Ragazine, Cardinal Sins, Pithead Chapel, The Wire’s Dream, and Phantom Kangaroo. His collages and photographs have appeared recently in the 2020 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, the 2020 Dirty Show in Detroit, the 2020 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, the 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival, and Naked in New Hope 2018.