Since 1996 Volume XXIII


Terri Muuss is a social worker, director, performer, speaker, and author whose poetry has received three Pushcart and two Best of the Net nominations. Her first book, Over Exposed, was released in 2013 and in 2016 Muuss co-edited an anthology of NY women poets entitled Grabbing the Apple. She has performed her one-woman show, Anatomy of a Doll, around the United States and Canada since 1998. Her second book, godspine, is forthcoming from 3: A Taos Press. www.terrimuuss.com

Travel Across Borders

Now, on rainy school-bus
days at the curve of manicured
driveway, I watch my sons save
earthworms, fling them into soft
mud, relief echoing
in thuds of grass—
how these boys do not
know of sink holes
formed after rain.

I remember my school
face, alone and numb behind glass
and diesel, the weight of sturdy
rain boots, magnets dragging
my feet as I trudged
away from knowing—
a thousand fists in my mouth. I already
understood: there is only one way
an elbow can bend.

Through cold splattered
windows I watched huge puddles
roll by, where garbage
floats like abandoned
kayaks. What river would take
me? I wormed in my seat
waiting for someone
to cup my limp
worry, my body bending
like a straw.

Time Travel With Shovel

Each memory—a jet crossing summer sky.
How many barrels must I frantically fill with flowers?
What rainstorm will bend this iris until it can not rise?
After the wreck, only the mechanic knows the realigment needed.
Noiseless, beetle-legs on crocus petals leave an opening.
I dig in the garden, plant pumpkin seeds for fall.


Clouds are pregnant
with rain and gunpowder.

rows of orange-
cupped flowers.

scab of hands
with picked fruit; procession
of eyes filled
with coins; a child’s ashen

body smeared with semen; soldier’s white-
knuckled glossy face; gaunt wild
inside a mother

worms writhing in puddles; the wind’s twisting,
chattering arms; a knot of cockroaches
at the ceiling; the lone hawk spiraling
the limestone walls of Grand Canyon,
circling down to a river
that pushes
its way.


What Is Left

Nothing is empty
anymore. We fill
the exposed
field with a townhouse,
our bellies with abstracted
death, the blank
space in a column
with our version of

We are afraid
of silence and the unknown,
the toad in the palm
of our hand, waving
grass in the outfield
of an unkempt baseball

Bring your empty
bags and let them
sit. Let your
barrows fill with
rain. Time is not
poetry. It is
rose and the thistle—
the hummingbirds’
invisible wings.


A steel-blue storm outside—I want you
to come home. Mason jars catch
rainwater from rushing
gutter pipes, my black ink bleeds

into paper. For ten years, your breath
has eased its way into
my lungs. I imagine our legs,
vines reaching, toes open as

petals. Or tonight it could be
a delicate press against
the scalloped edge of my satin
slip. How soft is

the landscape of
possibility? The clock neglects
me. The electric hum of
telephone poles outside. I tap

the egg on the waiting
pan. Translucent cold stings my
fingers. Every instant without
your touch, the poverty

of my hands. I sit inside
the pooling hours.

—appears in the book by the author, Over Exposed.

All poems are Copyright © Terri Muuss

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Mary Barnet


Grace Cavalieri

Joan Gelfand

Janet Brennan