Listen to Poems from Our April Issue | The Sun Magazine
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Listen to Poems from Our April Issue

By Nancy Holochwost, Associate Editor • April 30, 2024

The poems in our April issue, by Alison Luterman, Matthew Siegel, and Glenn Stowell, all touch on themes of what we give away or leave behind. One is about the natural world, two are about human possessions, and all three are full of photographic imagery: magnolia blossoms; frozen feathers; a painting of a dog. Click the play button below to listen to recordings of the poems.

Take care and listen well,
Nancy Holochwost, Associate Editor

 

Pink Suede Boots
By Alison Luterman

Decades old now,
but the leather’s held up, and the curve
of the instep is still elegant.
I gave them away to my goddaughter, sixteen
and blossoming. She was thrilled.
They’re retro, they’re vintage, as I am now,
who once strode the city in my invincible body,
clack-clacking over Cambridge cobblestones
on those sassy kitten heels
like the Princess of Everything.
Resilient relics from another life,
they outlasted a cross-country move,
a starter marriage, and a few bouts of plantar fasciitis,
then languished in the abyss of my closet for years
until I decided, Let her have them,
this girl who is even now stretching toward love
in all its many-splendored disguises
like the limbs of the magnolia in April,
aglow with blushing petals.
And when I say they’re pink,
let me be clear: not hot pink, nor bubblegum,
but a dusty rose, color of desire
and rue, color of the secret
places inside a woman
who’s been around the block a few times
and knows she’s had her share, yet still
wants more: to be what I was always
destined to be
before this burning world
had its way with me.

 

When I Come to Get My Things
By Matthew Siegel

I am amazed at how much of my shit I left
with her, and to see it piled in her hallway
clears space in me for what?

I wander my new emptiness
as the small bag of her things I’ve brought
weighs down my hand:

purple slippers, black shoes, a gold key,
heavier than my entire imagination.
I should take two trips to move my stuff,

but instead I carry it all at once,
overloading my arms, handles dug
into my shoulders, loudspeaker dragged

behind me like a suitcase, skateboard
tucked into an armpit, and regret wide
as November. Is now when I ask

how one can ever measure anything?
Shirts, socks, underwear, all folded.
The dog’s bowl and food and toys and leash.

Books we shared: The Best We Could Do,
All the Light We Cannot See,
Wildflowers of Northern California.

Mints and twist ties and garden spikes.
A watercolor painting of the dog.
And so much else I’m unable to carry.

 

King Rail Reserve
By Glenn Stowell

Wind-plowed furrows in ice across the marsh.
Cattails frozen suppliant. Loosestrife withered

colorless under a bright but ineffective sun.
The sky as full of wayward sparks as one can imagine,

toiling away not merely beyond sight but outside
the reach of a concept as simple as our present.

This reserve named for king rail, of which remain
in winter only toe prints preserved in mud

and molted feathers encased in ice.
One is never assured of return, but we forge comfort

from history. We mold our lives into something
we understand or else a place we might move

through. Stretching from the grayed boardwalk planks,
a wooden overlook like an abandoned poled ferry.

On its deck a mouse pelt so cleanly removed
the wearer seems to have prepared for a journey.
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