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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Cadralor[1]: 471 words
By Lori Howe


—for Patrick

1.	The grackles have found my backyard, 
	the nuts and seeds; they splash in the old white basin 
	I fill cleanly every day, trill water into the air 
	with each chiming, heads an oiled peacock, glossed 
	bodies a darkening carmine in this false summer light. 
	I count forty pairs of crabbed, clackety feet 
	before a squirrel drops insouciance into their midst. 
	When they explode upward in a glittering, 
	my own wings unfurl, my toes unclaw the earth. 

2.	In Sicily, four donkeys peer over a stone wall, winter blue 
	powder sky scattering away. They want only your hand 
	to find the velvety softness between their eyes. 
	Behind them, inside the house, an old woman sits 
	out of sight, her thick white bowl of Settembrina peaches 
	so ripe, they weep to be eaten, sliced into a confetti of basil, 
	a silken mouthful of burrata, two blood-dark drops 
	of the balsamico she made when her hands were still young 
	and smooth, her hair still chestnut, her husband still singing, 
	strong-hearted, in the kitchen. There is no season 
	you cannot endure, if you have the mouth for it. 

3.	Bohr declined the false certainties of Heisenberg: he knew 
	not to drink mercury or try to hold it in his hands. 
	A reconciliation and a coincidence of well-defined events 
	may yield to unsharply defined individuals within space-time 
	regions.[2] The coral-tooth mushroom proves that 
	we can be made of milk and still hold our shapes; 
	a cascading sweetness, a melting belied by our transparent 
	skins, a crossing over. Release your hold on certainty; become 
	unsharpened. Let your position and momentum 
	become observable in the soft imprint of a kiss, 
	the tender inside of a thigh. 

4.	From this distance, the Yunnan rice terraces layer and nest, 
	a blue-smoked landscape, a charting of lost kisses, 
	the touch of hands in sleep, a map drawn on the inside 
	of my skin, a mirroring into the world. 
	Abstract painting of ripe figs, pomegranate jewels: 
	I cloak myself in the smooth, blue glass of it, 
	in the dark roads lacing into the unknown 
	spaces between forests and houses, where the water 
	buffalo chew, placid, into the gloaming, the silvering 
	of time stealing upward, toward their hearts. 

5.	In this photo you are shucking oysters, blue-gloved, 
	a sharpness in your hand: inside your palm, 
	a falling open, a salty-sweetness. 
	Behind you, in the falling dark, masts blur gently 
	with the pull of tides. Only tiny blue lights announce 
	their presence, constellations come to earth. 
	On the farthest boat, I await you, 
	blue dress of seawater pooling at my feet, 
	my hands filled with cherries so ripe, 
	they lean into the tongue. 



Publisher’s Notes:

1. To learn more about the genesis and rules of this new poetic form, see:
Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor.

2. Paraphrased/quoted from a paper by Neils Bohr, “The Quantum postulate and the recent development of atomic theory,” published on 14 April 1928 in Nature 121, Supplement (pp. 580–590).

[The original quotation: “At the same time, however, the general character of this relation makes it possible to a certain extent to reconcile the conservation laws with the space-time coordination of observations, the idea of a coincidence of well-defined events in space-time points being replaced by that of unsharply defined individuals within space-time regions.”]

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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