Issue > Poetry
Hilary Vaughn Dobel

Hilary Vaughn Dobel

Hilary Vaughn Dobel is a native of Seattle, Washington. Her poetry and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, and A Public Space. She holds an M.F.A. in poetry and translation from Columbia University, and she lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts.


They've turned the music off
and everyone's a blinking, sexy owl—
I'm loaded in the present

in a crossbow never thinking
there will be another and another machine
to throw me, and I hope

it moves me this time
in the way I always wanted. So I walk
the long hallways of the young

and understand their happiness
as physicians do the progress
of a malady: this sound, a ringing

in the ear whose reddening
reminds me how once
I comprehended not the many ways

in which things might go wrong.
That the other break of landing
hard would sound quiet, now.

Poem Without Sun

As at a station, there's waiting and its necessary
shake, but I don't notice that anymore,

not here. We sit packed tight in dry air,
static-addled, small and flammable as matches

underground. All of us red-faced in the dark.
Is this what it was like when you blushed

beneath the touch that kept you, when
he slashed the roots straining down to stroke

you as you slept? But I see now you were
less afraid, it was easier than that. The leaving,

I mean. You with your skirts always
on backwards and how you trod all over

your hems. Try as you might,
you presided, did not quite go unnoticed,

saw there was no romance in being born
beautiful. And underground you were free of

traffic, the downward tug, houses wanting locks,
fat pigeons shitting on it all. The weather

at your ear, demanding, Look look look.
Your mother must have known.


Mark McKain

Mark McKain
To His Mother


Sharon Mast

Sharon Mast
Parakeet Sister


Karen English

Karen English
Yusef's Wife