Eleanor Wilner
"Entering the Labyrinth," an essay on the persona poem.

Eleanor Wilner
Four persona poems: Minos, Ariadne, Daedalus, and The Minotaur.


This marks an author's first online publication Michelle Boisseau

This marks an author's first online publication Annie Boutelle
Christine Casson
This marks an author's first online publication Carolyn Creedon
Claudia Emerson
Daisy Fried
Diane Gilliam
Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Kathleen Jesme
Ilya Kaminsky
Marilyn Krysl
David Lee
Gary Copeland Lilley
Maurice Manning
Alicia Ostriker
Alicia Jo Rabins
Tim Seibles
This marks an author's first online publication Heidy Steidlmayer
Book Review
"Tourist in Hell" by Eleanor Wilner—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Kathleen Jesme

Kathleen Jesme is the author of three collections of poetry: The Plum-Stone Game (Ahsahta Press, 2009); Motherhouse (Pleiades Press, 2005), winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry prize; and Fire Eater (University of Tampa Press, 2003).

Mercury in Retrograde    

A posse of horsemen or horsemeat
is chasing me

I can only move
at the crawl space
                          of a slow celeropod

I can only hide
                          in the dirt just below
                          my bodybutton

I am hounded haunted by the lung
of the dung beetle


A stone is not a stone     a split left unheeled
bone in the craw of the dog is not
a dog a split left              unheeded is a spit     of land a finger
pointed to the end           a split is left unhealed
the remainder dark         when plus and plus     
                                       leave minus behind


I'm not glad to be clad in paper
I'm not all together in the buff about it, either
mostly sick of the lick that pokes out everywhere
forcing me to squander everything I know
every note I might want to play and all
the gongs I'd ring


What is the matter with motion?
alteration has no lines top nor bottom
the change from frog to bird
a drop of a sixth               Nobody knows the trouble

but maybe I can steal from someone
find an operand
and take it as
a wand


Slap me with a fish
or hook me.  I don't care.  
Either way
I'm an egregious faultline
that quivers
at the least arrow.  
Split me and I
will sing for you
with all my red gewgaws.


I don't have to step over you
because you are like
a stone in the road

I don't have to slide by you
because you are like
a ship standing at dock

I don't have to swim through you
because you are like
an ocean or a tadpole pond


Place the medal
in the palm of the hand.  

Instructions for transforming
material world.  The petal becomes your heart

fallen to the ground;
dew defies gravity and hangs

on the tip of each grass blade.  
Eye enters the world.


Post the local envelope. Send it by rain. Send it by morning.
The message writes itself in a darkling hand.
An egg held in the palm tree of my hand. Goad me
into telling you secrets. Clatter them with your tongue
along your teeth like a lemon drop. I'll drop
you to the ground like a lightning strike.
I'm a thin spike of metal entering a shingle.  
I'll tell my future by your past.



© 2010 The Cortland Review