Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review

Sample Poetry: Issue 14

The Catfish

A mouth like a split foot, each
whisker a twitching gray stick.

The lily pads were silver hub-
caps in black water, the light

from the library cast everything
pencil-colored and starry. Hard

to call anything green. Scents
were sharp; the twigs, trees,
the heavy oil under the leaves.

I might have been loosed bread,
minnows taking small, fast bites
before continuing on as before.

Such is their wet lot, as ours
is breathing, eating, talking
about ourselves to each other.

The important thing is to stay
wriggling. The moving is good.

We felt the trees bend around us,
the sky fell into scarves. Stars

waited like pins behind the air.
Something underwater was ravenous.

--by Marlys West

you are some sort of superhero

probably you are three years old,
cowboy boots scuffed, on the wrong feet,
cowboy hat, holster, six shooter, piping on the shirt--
here comes the superhero part:
a towel, safety pinned around your neck.
you are tight-lipped about your other superhero powers,
but you will acknowledge this much--
without the cape you would not be able to fly.

--by J. O'Nym


In someone else's kitchen a man
and a woman howl at each other.
Two small boys cower in the next room.
They are all plotting sadness. They are
dealing out illness, heartache, and death
like a deck of cards. They crackle
and spark in the incendiary light
of the stove fire. If we could watch them
we would see the lives fold inward
on themselves like blossoms in frost.
But who can see into another's kitchen?
Who could stop the train rushing at them
on tracks of steel? There could be
no mercy. Deliverance happens
down the street, around the next corner,
beyond the bend in the river. Every
village is exactly the same. In the house
mext door greed has killed a soul, and
notice how ambition festers and smells.
If we could stop, if we could live each life
over and over like the ringing of the bell
calling the faithful to listen, to listen,
to the voice no one hears but himself.

--by John Mann

San Antonio

San Antonio is the old woman with cataracts they put on the
small hills of the mattress on the back porch. She listens to the
banana leaves brushing the screens. She dreams inside her
cataracts. She has not much left to say--only "Turn on the fan,
Miguel," and "Oh, my bunions." She hears love shuffle through
the screen door every night on flat feel. She remembers love
that arrived like firemen. "Bombero," she whispers to the
shuffling feet. She is becomoing roots and branches. She is
becoming the stick they beat dogs with.

--by Geoff Rips

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