PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Three poems by Heather Derr-Smith

The End of a Storm

The eels’ black whips flicker,

Long black lashes
Swaying in the ocean current.

In my bay window is a passionflower vine, clinging
To its profusions, but withering anyhow.

I never gave much thought to beginnings or endings.

The sky is spotted with birds in a black pox.
Clouds of eider and down,

The birds in their cloud costumes,
Their pageant of sky parts:
In come the flapping storms;
Out slinks the spreading fog.

The fish dart in their glass slipper-shapes.

A man’s waiting outside my window
With the face of a white shell,
Curved inward with hundreds of tight teeth.
He was someone to me.

Twigs clatter together,
Encased in transparent bones of ice.
The ice lusts everything, consuming.

The sea disorients with its soft darkness overlapping.
We’ve just come to understand that in winter,
Light comes from the ground.

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About the author

A visiting writer at Iowa State University, Heather Derr-Smith has published two books of poetry, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005) and The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008). Derr-Smith has volunteered in a refugee camp in Gasinci, Croatia and has traveled to Damascus, Syria to interview Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. Her poems are influenced by multiple experiences and locations around the globe.

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