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Currently Featuring the 2018 Special Edition
for year round submissions
River Poets Journal
in its 12th Year
A Journal of Poetry/Prose/
Art & Photography
Below - Sampling of Poetry and Art from
The 2018 Special Edition - The Immigrants
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On that page click on The Immigrants River Poets Journal Special Edition 2018.pdf"
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Poems by River Poets Journal Contributors
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Musical Composition by Sandy Bender
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This page was last updated: November 29, 2018
my father was a zappatore
his garden was his glory
precision in his planting
meticulous in tending
joyous in his harvest
to see him sweat salted,
smiling in his greening
l'orto siciliano **
was to know the truth
of Demeter and Persephone.
my mother took his mantle
when he died.
her tending a caress
her harvest their embrace
each planted seed
a kiss upon his cheek.
* agriculturer labourer/digger
j a farina
1905: Accoutrements of Absolution
Forgive me my grandmother Amelia’s
voluminous Edwardian hat of black felt,
its copious white plumes,
its matching fan studded with seed pearls.
One night she nestled that lush chapeau
on her head, swept her arm to test
the play of billowing feathers of her fan
the accessory to her crime,
as a thousand miles away, Guy Bradley,
bird savior of the Everglades, was crucified.
She indulged in the plunder of egrets,
ignored reports of the hunters’ rifle shots,
shut her eyes to photographs
of his riddled body left to rot
like another bird carcass plucked clean.
I inherited her decorous finery and
a quill’s worth of Grossmutter’s vanity.
A hundred years later, I admit I am keeper
of my grandmother’s bequests,
but grateful to my patron saint
they, mercifully, remain out of fashion.
©Karla Linn Merrifield
Visit the Reading Room for a new Flash Fiction story
"The Immigrants," by Marina Celeste (De Mirza) Little
Moon and clouds conspire
on this darkest night
we hide and wait for the boat
wait for our cousin Louisa
who needs her mother
Through the quiet river
the slow boat flounders
We hide behind a border fence that
is a pile of blocks to keep her out
At this place near the water
at a break in the stone
here we wait for Louisa
As the boat comes closer
Louisa jumps out and swims
towards the brush through eel grass
Her legs pumping, she slows
the grass entangles her legs
she struggles until by the bushes
we pull her up and through the pile of blocks
Louisa was warm in her mother’s arms
but not safe
The days of late May linger; it was late.
I calculated—still some leagues to go—
then thought to pick my pace up to a gait.
My great-great-great-grandparents used to know
this road! They might have walked it, with a cart,
or on a Sunday, long before it crossed
their minds to leave the townland farm and start
anew, leaving behind two babes as lost.
I’d seen the records in the church and knew
all of the children’s names and godparents’.
The books went back to 1782
and listed all my great uncles and aunts.
Exhilaration, though, trumped the fatigue
with giddiness which made me see the rains
that drenched me suddenly on the last league
as a refreshment. Giddiness explains
much, but not the equally sudden light that pierced through the cloud wreaths around Blackstair
and Mt. Leinster beneath which, till the blight,
my family had tilled the soil, somewhere.
When you go to Ireland, to your homeland—
for want of any better place to go,
because your cousins want to understand
their roots (and you would also like to know,
because it’s interesting, because it’s there)—
you’re greeted by the makings of your soul,
the dead, which seem to pop up everywhere
to help you home. They’re almost visible.
©James B. Nicola
Mary Jane rang an Irish refrain,
drunk on Ten Bells whiskey.
Her unpolluted apron ablaze,
she surrendered a scarlet shawl
and her weary wildgrass heart
to the rogue incubus cloaked
in the serrated fog, haunting
every step of squalid streets,
preying on its darkest shadows.
She placed the native beauty berries
upon her wooden churchyard grave,
marked with the Unfortunate’s brand
she seared upon her own scars
when she abandoned everywhere
that could tie her to anyone.
In the end, there was nothing
she would not do
for a fire.
©Megan Denese Mealor