Listen to Podcast Interview with Grace Cavalieri on The Poet and the Poem

P Street Beach Elegy
Majda Gama

Before the fists flew,
the gang was all languor;
a mass tangle of black
leather limbs and boots.
40's stood sentry on the slip.
Some lay discarded like
slumped menhirs on pagan earth.
We littered the ground with fags,
you filled the air with slurred
words. Agent, the gutterpunk
reserved the best slur for you:
sandnigger and up you shot,
nails raking his face
before I could snake between
and turn his blow. We three
grappled like teen lovers,
all curses and fumbles;
fell heaving to the ground,
reached for more beer.
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
read the badge closest to your heart.
We drank three cheers to that.

East Of Manhattan
Henry Crawford

Janey and I sat
on the rocks near a dock
of blackened wood.

Across the water
Rikers Island drained
the last of the 4:30 light.

My mouth was wet with
a winter kiss. I licked
my lips.

My hands in my pocket.
Her pale chest breathing
beneath her pink ski jacket.

Her father was dead.
Mine was gone.
"Don't treat me like some
little hoowah," said Jane
with a scorn that made
her mouth like that of a mouse.

Some cold came off the water.
The sun was gone. Nothing
but a rusty slash growing dark
over the airport.

It was late.
We left through a hole
in the shadows.