Margaret Shultz lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Her poetry is forthcoming
in Petrichor Machine and she recently received an honorable mention
in the Paul Engle Student Essay Contest.

Lone Forks

Streetlights run along
the slick of roads -- the
river reveals a bomb
and in apartments across town
single candles burn, plates are
washed and dried and put
away, lone forks

Yesterday I walked with my
dog through the park and we
became ever so slightly more like
In my home the microwave
is never silent, spoons tap
condolences on the rims of
glasses, and always there
sound of something being wrapped
or unwrapped in plastic.


Undeterred, the slink of cats
makes a humming below the
wires -- at the end of the day,
all we have is the falter
of our hearts for a second
and then the carrying on.
The kinematics of a mouth:
Do you remember the way
my lips... do you remember
the way the tongue touches
the roof... I have forgotten
how to make shapes with
my teeth and my chin bobs
up and down. I do not
know why. A grass hopping.
A pouring. We are the
over under youth. We want
only sincerity. We want only
a dignified insolvency.
Our soft palettes grow hard with
disuse and we live always in
the moment before the heart


In streams there are fish that shrink from sunlight.
They lurk at the bottom of holes, among
pop cans and decayed bones. "These are
the fish," my father told me as he guided my hand,
"that you want to catch."

That summer my father took me fishing only
three times but I remember each with perfect
clarity - the water, and always the
mouth, the shape lurking in the depths of
my vision and the way the line strung out
so sweetly against the glaze of heat and
gnat-clouds. I heard doors opening and
closing on those hot fishing days, and
the hum of thoughts moving so slowly
they almost didn't exist.

My father said: "Remember the body.
Remember the way the body moves and does not move.
Remember the body fighting for life
and the body that kills so purely. Remember that.
That is God."

We are These of Ourselves

We are these of ourselves
in milk after blues of Sundays,
silking down beaches, through time
looking for excuses to forget
how the blood runs our veins
how it sings some delight
full music of youth the quiet
loud of having friends,
and talking about the desire
to waterproof our shoes, eating fro-yo
and raking gravel,
to let conversation not so much envelop
as envelope, licked and stamped up
with love. These are the people
who have chosen to mail with you,
to crawl deep in mailboxes searching
for the letter that was lost,
for hair bands and jokes that
last, longer than butter.

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