Issue 25 — 

Michael Larrain (ArLiJo #25)
Melissa A. Tuckey

Michael Larrain

Featutred in ArLiJo Issue No. 25.

Deep Courtesy
(for Wilder Kathleen)

Here is your second first day of spring
but now you know the names of things
Whatever's round and might be edible's called apple
Tramping over a rumpled field's called hi!
Now every grass blade is reading you aloud
and there's just enough water lying close at hand
to reflect the deep courtesy connecting us to the sky
Here are hours so sweetly serious
it's as though the last prayer in a dying language
had solemnized the air in passing
Stand perfectly still
and a white pony will walk right up to you
like the first time anyone ever saw the sea

Copyright 2009 by Michael Larrain. Deep Courtesy first appeared in the Fall, 2008 issue of WestWard Quarterly.

Fifty-Fifty Chance
(for Wilder Kathleen, at twenty-one months, dancing in Tomales, California)

Going from room to room
you're the girl who never stops stealing home
Please don't ever lose your wild tomboy's heart
your headlong scrambling grace
Happiness can seem
like a trick of the light
Your love life might hook foul at the last instant
A friend may perish
in the time it takes to turn your head
But if you keep on rockin' that full-tilt boogie
in the face of misadventure and busted luck
even your smash-ups your break-ups and your dust-ups
will hand you a laugh
Your father has never owned a new car
written a check
or learned how to tie a necktie
In the world's eyes
this guy's about to hop his last freight
So where would he get off telling you how to live your life?
This may be his only piece of sound advice
Accelerate through the curves
of your romances your travels and your work
and you'll feel a dark wriggle passing through you
like a shadow upon a river shivering with delight
Oh, yeah,
One more thing
Never set your drink down on the floor
There's a fifty-fifty chance it'll get knocked over

Copyright 2009 by Michael Larrain.

Turning Two
(for Wilder Kathleen)

How I used to love the drives
I took with you and your mother
through the tiny island towns
in the countryside of Hawaii
We'd dawdle past little houses
and even smaller stores
imagining the people inside
their lives opening wide with surprise
when love made a sign on their eyelids
Every time
in every town
I'd think the same thing
We could live here
The surf would be good
and the prettiest little school's just up the road
I'd buy a beat-up woody
and somehow keep it running
so we could take our meals at drive-ins
You and your mama would often have
an orchid behind one ear
At night
the stars would come down to skinny-dip in the waves
and, in secret,
I'd build you a tree-house
with my own two hands
despite my inability to find
the business end of a hammer
Once we parked in the shade
at the foot of a mountain
and walked to the top of a trail
to show you a waterfall
There you found your first mangoes on the ground
They had fallen in slow motion
through a thousand of your mother's kisses
and all our dances over the years
We peeled and ate them right there
with the waterfall reflected in your eyes
and the flesh of the mangoes
making you for a moment into a local girl
It all happened a week ago
a month before our own small town
will find you turning two

Copyright 2009 by Michael Larrain. Turning Two first appeared in a Canadian magazine, inscribed: a Magazine for Writers.

Michael Larrain is the author of three collections of poems: The Promises Kept In Sleep, Just One Drink for the Diamond Cutter and For One Moment There Was No Queen. Rainy Day Women Press of Willits, California, has recently released a CD of his reading of selected love poems called Lipstick: a Catalogue for Continuous Undressing. His novels are South of the North Star, Movies on the Sails and As the Case May Be. He lives in Sonoma County (California) with his wife and two year old daughter, Wilder Kathleen the Rage of Paris Larrain and has long been a senior partner in the Way Up, Firm and High Tail It Bright Out of Town Detective Agency, a loosely aligned confederacy of shady characters devoted to the complete discrediting of reality in our time.



Melissa A. Tuckey

Featured on

The Empty House

Because it became increasingly difficult
to separate our lives from the trash

Because the weight of grandmotherís death
Three tables inherited from various Aunts

Because twelve deer grazing in a winter field
Clothing worn once then tossed

Because shelter because sleep
Child on the floor with a bowl of plums

We loved the lack of closets

The way paint on the walls could fill a room

The structural necessity of silence

Copyright 2009 by Melissa A. Tuckey. The Empty House originally was published in Phoebe.


I still donít know the difference
between love and apparition

A horned owl staring from the tree
as if the tree had eyes

Come morning
Iíll watch your long hair brush the floor
as you tie your shoes

I fill a thermos and pack
a lunch I stay
in bed and watch sunlight
fill an empty house

How lightly it touches the chair
where you tied your shoes

Copyright 2009 by Melissa A. Tuckey. Aubade originally was published in Poet Lore.

Oh Piano

(after John Cage)

Iíve lassoed the enormous
weight of you
shipped you across
the continent
carried you up three flights of stairs

but still I do not know
what you eat

Copyright 2009 by Melissa A. Tuckey. Oh Piano originally was published in Terrain: a Journal of Built and Natural Environments.


A cricket in the closet is the closest
Iíve come to home I leave
the windows open nothing comes inside

Late night birds carry the weight
of war I wake with alarm
instead of love

I tell you now I admit it Iím jealous
horses die and you bury them
You know their names

Here on my street people disappear
without ceremony

Copyright 2009 by Melissa A. Tuckey. Refrain originally was published in Haydenís Ferry Review.


Melissa Tuckey, assistant festival director of Split This Rock, is a graduate of George Mason University's MFA program. Her chapbook Rope as Witness was published by Pudding House Press. She's recipient of Artist Fellowship Awards from the Ohio Arts Council and DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her poems have been published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Painted Bride Quarterly, Southeast Review, Verse Daily, and others. Essays and interviews have been published in Foreign Policy Review and Ace Magazine. Tuckey has a background in nonprofit fundraising and development. She is Events Coordinator for DC Poets Against the War and she teaches in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Maryland.