Katherine Soniat

Out of the Sky Falls

the rented room and sofa with plants along
the window          Paintings of fish          golden and
open-mouthed hang on the wall that winter

An ice storm overturns tins of frozen seed

Birds do not eat

Still there is moving around to be done—
cardinal stiff on the snow at dawn
gone by noon

Looking through fern on the windowsill        I get ideas
fronds curling above the blue sofa
sunny flesh swimming the walls
spring lax
and folding in.

Consider How They Grow

—this same hill was rough, unkempt, and the grotto primitive

Declaring her heart a lily, a koi, an integral organ of earth, she turned
to the elders who stared as if she were mud for they ranked themselves

monolithic and complete. The oldest entities around.        So, of course,
she puzzled over such regressive insult to the mountains, their mineral-

riddled status. Like juts on Mt Rushmore, none of these beings would
crack a grimace. Some dangled dogma, others roped friends to the summit.

No one took note of the elegant gap between spin and toil—surface
dervish dance of the lilied field, then the toil from down to darker down

Vertical solidarity      Not a soul to copy or infiltrate      Three on the terrace
hold the posture of dawn—heart skyward      oracle of a green middle world.


Red wolf moon, packs of thou-shalt-eat
howl through the snow, overtake the sled,

rip fingers from a man’s hand (sinful
little fingers, at that—and wicked too those

juicy biblical parts made to be chastised). Script-
ure drools and rolls over for here come those

twitchy recurring regressions through sex, greed,
and bedlam till it’s back-to-wolf-You(too)-go,

O upright one, who at better moments thinks itself
first and foremost, especially while writing poetry.

Hey you over there      with the quick-silver tongue
and pink erasers, always wanting one more eternity?

Check out this forever and always—highlight those
spaces between two a.m. to six—fanged clips of dream

dread: those stuck on screaming bloody murder
scream some more, knowing how to fall from burning

towers. They fall for them, or leap. Chop go croc’s
timely antique teeth. Hour of the Baboon, one sage

named it. Dawn cocktails with the red-bottomed
and mad for more. Enter here to ravish any animal

puzzle that can’t complete itself. Wolfkin and spiritus
roast together at the stake, leaving you

(me/all of us) without blame. And with nothing
to blame, what else on earth is there to do?

Katherine Soniat’s seventh collection, Bright Stranger, is forthcoming from LSU Press in Spring, 2016. The Goodbye Animals recently received the 2014 Turtle Island Quarterly Chapbook Award. The Poetry Council of North Carolina selected The Swing Girl (LSU Press) as Best Collection of 2011 and A Shared Life won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Work appears in World Poetry Portfolio #60, Saint Katherine Review, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, Prairie Schooner (Waterfusion), and Connotations Press. Previously on the faculty at Hollins University and Virginia Tech, she teaches in the Great Smokies Program at UNC-Asheville. www.katherinesoniat.com

Editors’ Notes (Posit 7)

Welcome to this, our seventh issue of Posit, which rings in the end of summer with a number of works concerned, more and less directly, with love and loss. Although the travails of the heart are foregrounded in the pieces by Carl Boon, Joan Cappello, B.K. Fischer, Amorak Huey, and Simon Perchik, we also perceive a fittingly elegiac aspect in this issue’s contributions by Andrew Collard, Ian Miller, Brad Rose and Katherine Soniat. So, it is with the greatest pleasure and admiration that we present:

Carl Boon’s evocative narratives, seeded with unsettling admissions and haunting insights, in which “One of us grew older, / the other grew silent . . ./ as the children collided / with monsters . . .” and “We see/the moth imposed upon,/balance indistinct from flight;”

Joan Capello’s potent prose miniatures, inviting us into the narrator’s emotional core even as they pull us up short with their reminders of “hypoallergenic bed clothes” and tellingly developed tics;

Andrew Collard’s enigmatic elegies, which challenge us to imagine a world in which “loneliness is its own falling” and “Hunters of the paper-tin drip on like ages, / impart the finest ripples as they come and unbecome;”

Joanna Penn Cooper’s gracefully grounded musings on parenting and other intersections of self and other, infused with an artist’s sensitivity to the magic of an everyday touched by the “daimon, not demon;”

B.K. Fischer’s pitch-perfect, penetrating prosody, honed into verses as wistful as they are sharp, positioning the staccato musicality of “your chorus,/your orchid-rhymes-with-orange oracle, your/stiletto Geppetto pancetta vendetta latte/hottie” beside puzzles such as “what’s the use/of violent kinds of delightfulness/if there’s no pleasure in not getting/tired of it?”

Amorak Huey’s haunting deployment of the image in language as brisk and ringing as “I am the cracked limb. The lightning scar. The smell of ash,” creating a complex amalgam of hope and resignation, nostalgia and realism: “After so many/trips to any empty mailbox, even the sky/would fall out of love with the sand;”

The resonance and reach of Stephanie King’s sharply compressed, cryptic formulations whose curt simplicity opens into such mysteries as “I’m quite sure the groan is interior” and “This is a mental aroma;”

The concrete yet magical flash fictions of Ian Patrick Miller, touching down in Prague, Chicago, and Hawaii with a deft touch that offers glimpses of a daughter who “goes to sleep inside her lips, the mouth of secrets,” a wife with a fever like “a hived, winged thing,” and a mass of angels “heaped, quills snapped, eyes blinded, long sinewy arms reaching up for whatever has tossed them down;”

Simon Perchik’s poignant and unvarnished probing of the realities of love and loss, in which “the moon behind the moon/works its huge tides” and the survivor’s struggle to come to terms with a beloved’s mortality is “bit by bit broken apart/with care and mornings;”

Brad Rose’s stark combination of irony, plain speaking, and elegiac lyricism, giving us poems as memorable and disturbing as the Quarry Lake victim’s “smooth, bronze skin, a membrane of beauty;”

Gary Sloboda’s eloquent elegies to time and its ravages, including the (deceased) poet Hannah Weiner, time itself: “erased in a fine gauze of leaves, a tide of quivering stains,” and of course mortality: “our watchfulness and the abattoir to which the watching leads” – for all ephemeral beauties, including “our bodies . . . tending their evanescence;”

And Katherine Soniat’s elegantly crafted new pieces, displaying her “quick-silver tongue . . . always wanting one more eternity,” taking on scripture, which “drools and rolls over” for “these twitchy recurring regressions through sex, greed/and bedlam” as well as the hubris of those of us “upright one[s] – who think ourselves first and foremost, especially while writing poetry.”

As ever, thank you for reading, and our special thanks to our contributors (past, present, and future) for entrusting their extraordinary work to Posit.

—Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


It is my pleasure to introduce the visual art of Posit 7.

Working in the genre of ‘official’ portraiture, Carl LeMieux presents us with images of our American presidential pantheon unlike any commissioned by the White House. They are funny, irreverent and revealing of the mythos surrounding each of them.

The objects Matt Mitros creates are a combination of scientific experiments gone sideways and a science fiction vision of the world. Surreal and beautiful, they seem to be born of their own universe.

Similarly, Chris Motley has taken the craft of knitting and elevated the process into the realm of contemporary sculpture. Reminiscent of the natural world, her biomorphic forms delight us with their surprising marriage of humble materials and sophisticated conceptualization.

Mark Perlman’s beautifully composed abstract paintings are deliciously lyrical. Color and line move in a syncopated way that juxtaposes fragments of pattern and form in richly layered surfaces.

Chris Schiavo’s unaltered iPhone photographs of the New York City subway have a fevered, dreamlike quality. Presenting bits of recognizable images poking through abstracted patterns of light and line, they capture the rhythm and energy of a metropolitan population on the move.


—Melissa Stern