Austin Poets’ Union Showcase

In heaven everything is fine
By M L Woldman

i’m high again & feeling religious &
afraid Jezebel can see through the door
while i’m taking a shit but the door is opaque
as ever & i’m still unholy

a chill came in last night
bearing pumpkins and turkeys
& while Jezebel was still sleeping
i ate the pumpkins & made an
example of the turkey & eventually
turned up the heat
to 74 degrees exactly

& my first job was working on this
guy’s house over the summer
his name was bob & he was a
respectable suburban tweaker
& i didn’t work very hard because i hated him
& on my lunch i would put on some
music i would lay on the ground & stare
at clouds & the fire ants had their way
& the termites ate bob’s stupid house

& it’s apparent now that
Jezebel needs to use the bathroom
b/c she’s practically pacing beyond the opaque
door & i am no longer religious

By Nick Gaudio

A baby is coming soon.
Unfamiliar women arrive with gift bags at their elbows; they
hug his mother, his girlfriend with her belly
Round, reminisce, play little games, eat.
In the narrow kitchenette, his own father leans against the sink.
He’s said his piece about the whole thing.
“Let’s get out of this mess,” he tells the boy when
a drunken aunt toddles past them, drinking vodka
from a long-nippled baby’s bottle.

They stomp up two flights of stairs,
push open a heavy fire door
to the November air
on the flat rooftop above the little city.

There’s a small, green cooler waiting
as by design, filled with at least 12 domestic beers
in a bath
of slushwater.

The father offers the boy
a beer — not his first, but close
enough — the silent ceremony
proceeds with the pair cracking
open the can,
then sighing under a liquid-blue
night sky.

The father tells his son
the origin story: a devil
and an angel.
They meet, fall in love.

It’s unclear in this analogy
who his father is.

A baby is born in the story.

“You’re still that,” his father says.
He sips the beer.
The stars look down on them.
The gyre, the aether, the ablution
of each and every soul in the little city below.

All of it is just astral muck.

Blue sky becomes bluer.
The sun has gone, maybe forever.

They look up as the stars settle in,
now two fathers sharing a beer.

becomes just another place
where nothing continues to be

Look to the Magnolias
By Angie Dribben

Some mornings sun strikes
with such precision
I reach into the fields beyond
the house, pull out the years.
We sowed gardens there, fought
Japanese beetles off beefsteak tomatoes.

I can hear the violets
of Siberian Iris, trumpets
of morning glories,
lavender stalks beckoning,
wave petunias spilling
from front porch pots.
The bleeding of geraniums.

The kind of morning
when birdsong silences
sounds of humanity.
Robin belting from pumelo breast.
Her chorus piercing sun-stilled air
covering the chainsaw of my mind.

Years of corn leases and soybeans,
now stands of pines. Combine-chewed
mice, stick barns of gold leaf tobacco
still suspended, long dried.

It is these mornings
the hare creeps close
enough that I can see
muscles of her jaws
working over blades
of Kentucky bluegrass.

Austin Poets’ Union is a collective of poets based in Austin, Texas. Founded in October 2020, their publications include Skyway Journal and Ink Pantry. Their membership spans a broad sampling of the human condition.

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