To kneel by the cochineal
head of the dead.

broken along the way.

I tell you the birds
dropped at my feet,

            eleven of them, sucked
            out of the sky, whole.

I return home.
I report the details.

The men who attempt
to control animals

tell me to bag each one,
though I am afraid

to touch their bright

            the blank eyes
            in their blank heads.

            It is all wrong,

as are the chemical clouds
drifting from the fields

where the cows make
us milk and meat.

The sunsets beautifully hued:
oozy pink, infected apricot.

            Day after day of wrong color.

And then farm trucks encircle
the town and spray

a silver-white fog
to neutralize the air.

Twinkling stitched
to the sky

            like ghosts
            beading the wind.

Copyright © 2018 Hadara Bar-Nadav. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.


             There are many reasons why a woman falls
      to the floor. An optimist surely imagines
lovemaking, or the uncontrollable writhing

             of modern dance that sweeps across the stage,
      not a harsh plunge onto hardwood, the tumble
so sudden one thinks the old furniture

             has slipped, crashed, cracked the tile.
      Let’s work backward. She is lying there
screaming her husband’s name. The right

             tube gave up, gave out
      like an old rubber tire does after much
wear. All it needed was a nail. All it took

             was an embryo to get stuck along its path,
      the pressure unbearable, and the day before
no increased human chorionic gonadotropin,

             though twenty days of bleeding while
      going back and forth to the hardware store
to mend the fixer-upper, same age as her,

             fallen siding, withered eaves,
      should have been the obvious sign.
So, she is lying there and the husband

             rushes her to the emergency room
      and she does not die as the doctor
said she would have had she not signed

             the paperwork. When she wakes
      she discovers the tube is gone,
couldn’t be saved. On the television

             an old black and white with wagons,
      women in ankle-length skirts, poke
bonnets almost like a trap for hair,

             boots full of dust, their hands rough
      as pumice stone. And if these
settlers fell to the floor, she wonders,

             who would come, who would hear them
      and realize those long aprons had become
flags fluttering at the cabin door?

Copyright © 2018 Lory Bedikian. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.


Sorry for mercury strewn in veins of fish,
for traces of carbon monoxide loose in the air,
for radiation that circles and enters the aura.

Sorry for deliberate puffs and sips
late in the night, for an empty stomach
burning with coffee grounds,

for words of magma, thoughts rough as tufa
scratching the indivisible cells, fragile nerves,
divisions of labor and function,

for scraping skin until it bled, garnet
scars in constellation form, for chemicals
bathing in a pool of genetics, under viral stars.

I’m looking to cleanse regret. I want to give
you a balm for lesions, give you evening
primrose, milk thistle, turmeric, borage,

feet moving toward a language
of trees, hands deciphering sediment, steady
rhythm back in the pulse, the breathing you knew

before you were born. Believe me that we began
together and I will mend each sheath of myelin,
reverse the dark that grows behind my eyes.

Copyright © 2018 Lory Bedikian. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

Which could almost be said
to glisten, or glow,
like the weaponry
in heaven.
As if slickened
with some Pentecost
-al auntie’s last bottle
of anointing oil, an ark
of no covenant
one might easily name,
apart from the promise
to preserve all small
& distinctly mortal forms
of loveliness
any elder
African American
woman makes
the day she sees sixty.
Consider the garden
of collards & heirloom
tomatoes only,
her long, single braid
streaked with gray
like a gathering
of weather,
the child popped
in church for not
sitting still, how even that,
they say, can become an omen
if you aren’t careful,
if you don’t act like you know
all Newton’s laws
don’t apply to us
the same. Ain’t no equal
& opposite reaction
to the everyday brawl
race in America is,
no body so beloved
it cannot be destroyed.
So we hold on to what
we cannot hold.
Adorn it
in Vaseline, or gold,
or polyurethane wrapping.
Call it ours
& don’t
mean owned.
Call it just
like new,
mean alive.

Copyright © 2018 Joshua Bennett. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

My mother says the sound haunted her.
She thought an animal had crawled under her bed
and that it was hurt. Every night for a week,
the whimpering woke her. Mornings, she reached the long hand
of the broom underneath the dust ruffle but it came out clean.
The pillow where her head had rested was wet. So wet, she said.
As if I’d been crying all night long. But then it stopped.
The animal, wherever it was, had nursed itself well. Or died.
It would be years before we found anything resembling a body.

Copyright © 2018 Nicole Callihan. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

My neighbor cradles a coyote at the top of the hill behind my house.
She is screaming at me to stop being so afraid.
Then the keening yet ecstatic cry of our neighborhood hawk, and then
The plunge, the lift, the rabbit, crying.
Worst, the nightly dreams of the snake, huge, yellow and green,
On the high shelving in my old house, sometimes the bedroom,
Sometimes the dining room. The dream makes me sick
And I wake from it every night between 3:30 and 4:00. Comforting
Books do not comfort, so I get up exhausted and start the day.
Other neighbors keep telling me: as long as you see it, you don’t need
To be afraid. Then in the next dream, I cannot see it.
I am sick and afraid. I wake up again.
The bear straddling my maple tree, about twenty feet up.
Is he scared?
I am so sick of thinking about how safe I am, so sick of making
Animals carry all my fear. The human beings in our country,
Half, at least, live in terror. In our world, half, at least,
Terrified, desperate, sick with fear. I see it. I cannot see it.
I see it.

Copyright © 2018 Deborah Keenan. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

Once you were a god I could feel
enter the house from my room.
Once I knew to shut the door
when you returned. Once my muscles
tensed in anticipation of the moment
you came and rained your anger
down; my sister and I cringed.
We’d hear the car pull in, snap
the television off, and run. But
there was no escaping the key
in the lock, the door swung back,
the sound of your heels crossing
the floor. We were soft-bodied
in our shells. We hunched
quiet as the corners where we
crouched. We split up to decrease
the risk. We would sacrifice
ourselves for one another.
Except I remember the night
you pulled her from bed
and set her before our father
to accuse him. How she must have
stood in the living room while
you screamed, head down, fists
clenched, although I couldn’t
see. I was huddled fearful in
my bed. All I could think was
I was glad it wasn’t me.

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Militello. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

The body she put into the poem was a dead body, see its
dark outline against the asphalt, see it in its final leap away
from what it thought and rightly so was danger, was fire, was
electricity unharnessed from its moment. Now the moment
stands. Now the moment is at rest against its background.
But the seconds don’t tick into any kind of clarity and the
moment’s fog chokes instead of clears. And the body, coming
closer, a boy’s body not yet muscled into itself, is slowly and
steadily moving away from movement and light, the boy’s
body cradles the shot and the shot settles in.

Copyright © 2018 Catherine Wing. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Fall 2018.

I’m standing at the stove cooking pancakes
when in walks a goat.
The goat is black and white and gives me
a look over the bridge of his nose that I recognize
as a look of sadness.
And so I have a sad goat in my kitchen.
The tornado sirens have stopped.
He’s countertop height.
The cast on my arm under the sleeve
of my sweater isn’t visible to the goat, and I’m
glad for that. I flip the pancakes.
The goat shakes gently his beard, kicks
his left hoof, and stomps. I try to imagine
anything as smooth as a flipped pancake
as I wait for the other side to brown.

Copyright © 2018 Julia Johnson. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Winter 2018. Used with permission of the authors.