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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Cadralor: 373 words
By Lori Howe

Refraction

 

1.	My friend makes Limoncello in his turquoise kitchen 
	on the other side of the world; a fragrant roiling. 
	The oils distill, touch me through fingerstrokes, 
	a sharp, osmotic whiff of citrus. 
	We read The Book of Dreams, his eyes 16 hours ahead, 
	his hands. Water travels slowly in deep water. 
	If I should die, he’ll know almost a day before it happens; 
	I, dead, chattering blithely about lorikeets and ginkgo trees. 

2.	Alan Turing wrote to me all through the war. 
	He still writes occasionally, ghostly ruminations 
	on cheese and wine pairings, the annoying seam 
	in the toes of socks. If we could reconcile the dispersion 
	of light, we could see into the After. 
	He is in love with the curvature of space-time, how it turns 
	to foam, glowing at the corner of his eye, 
	the phone booth of it: such a holy beckoning. 

3.	Tonight, pour a glass of wine and take it behind the curtain, 
	into your evening shower. The steam and rolling drops 
	on the glass take you to a drive-in movie in the rain, 
	the skin-warmed scent of the person beside you, 
	the squeak of metal springs, the old silver microphone 
	hanging in the open window speaking into the now and now, 
	children running between cars, dodging mirrors, 
	tinned voices against the shower tile. Let stray, cold petals 
	find you: let them burn your skin. 

4.	In Loch Ness, water refracts at 1.334; it isn’t like vinegar, 
	or human skin, or coldwater pearls. 
	If a transparent object is surrounded by another 
	with the same index of refraction, it remains invisible. 
	The entire loch may be filled with arched necks, long torsos, 
	a bucketful of gleaming eyes: one blurred head rising in longing 
	to beckon through the ether. 

5.	I dance alone in my living room, swaying slowly, 
	Peter Gabriel on the radio as winter flutters by the fire. 
	Will my neighbor see me through the big front window, 
	dancing in the lingering glow of Christmas lights? Perhaps 
	she dances, too. In this plague year, I cannot remember the touch 
	of a man’s hand on my face, on my neck the softness
	of his beard, his kiss. Coronal twilight is the hardest, 
	for violet light bends the most. 

 

 

—A slightly different version of this poem appeared as one of several Cadralor Samples in Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor before the inaugural issue was launched on 5 December 2020.

Lori Howe
Issue 6, January 2021

is the author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015) and Voices at Twilight (Sastrugi Press, 2016) and the editor of Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016). She is a co-creator of the new poetic form, the cadralor, and Editor in Chief of Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor. Her individual poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as The Meadow, The Owen Wister Review, Pilgrimage, and Red Hook, and her educational research appears in publications such as The Journal of Poetry Therapy and Qualitative Inquiry.

Lori Howe holds an M.F.A. in Poetry and a Ph.D. in Literacy Education from the University of Wyoming, where she is a professor in the Honors College. She lives in Laramie and is a guest poet on Wyoming Public Radio.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

New Poetic Form With Wyoming Roots Goes Viral by Micah Schweizer at Wyoming Public Media (4 December 2020); includes audio of Lori Howe reading her cadralore (Numbers 9, 5, and 4)

 
 
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