PoetryIssue 09 | May 2010

Three poems by Cindy Hunter Morgan

The Calligrapher

In Greece she saw a train
fall into the Aegean sea.
It was tragic and fascinating,
though she never dared
speak of the allure:
the way the engine plunged first,
like the nib of an elegant
pen dipped into a pool
of ink, the cars still hitched,
trailing behind like the flourish
of a graceful signature.
After that she rode donkeys
everywhere and wrote
the names of those who died
over and over on parchment paper,
perfecting the curled script
of her profession, coupling each
letter with methodical precision,
joining one name to the next
without lifting her quill.
When she wasn’t copying
names, she felt skittish
and vulnerable, and
for the rest of her life,
she imagined falling trains
whenever she saw a loose
thread dangling from the
sleeve of an overcoat,
or fingered the black pearls
hanging around her own
slender neck.  She took
to dipping these things
in the mouth of her inkwell,
believing everything could
be saved with India ink and
a graceful, steady hand.

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About the author

Cindy Hunter Morgan loves topo maps, compasses, old boots, and clean socks. She has traveled in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and Scotland, and once spent the night on a rocky cliff above the Mediterranean Sea, outside a village in the Peloponnese. In the morning, she rode to the train station in the back of an unmarked taxi, next to several chickens. At night, she sometimes runs her son’s model train to hear the rhythmic click of wheels on track, to see the lights glow in the cars, and to pretend she is tucked inside with her head pressed to the window, looking out at the dark landscape of her home. Her poems have appeared in Bateau,The Christian Science Monitor, The Driftwood Review, Tar River Poetry, and West Branch.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok