Prayer: Syrinx

Cassandra J. Bruner
I’ve had enough of gods         of dipping lips
to pondwater & receiving soundless ripples
in response         Let this psalm call to my body
instead         How she stiffened in his arms
Became phloem & marrow then phloem
again         A field salting itself before being
plucked fallow     How     pinned beneath
him         she witnessed the hoopoe stalk
a pair of nightingales         The hawk lance
voles on its talons         The thrush shake
seeds from its feathers                
                                My body     my
thorned membrane         is there a story where
he         not us         tapers & snaps into a new
shape         Where we leave him         an uprooted
reed             to shrivel on the sun-parched bank

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Cassandra J. Bruner, the 2019-2020 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow, earned her MFA from Eastern Washington University. A transfeminine poet and essayist, their writing has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Muzzle, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, The Wishbone Dress (Bull City Press, 2020), won the 2019 Frost Place Competition. She will be attending UW-Milwaukee soon in pursuit of her PhD in English-Creative Writing.

40-3

Middlebury, Vermont

Middlebury College

Editor
Carolyn Kuebler

Managing Editor
Marcia Pomerance

Poetry Editor
Rick Barot

By publishing new fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that is both challenging and inviting, New England Review encourages artistic exchange and thought-provoking innovation, providing publishing opportunities for writers at all stages in their careers. The selection of writings in each issue presents a broad spectrum of viewpoints and genres, including traditional and experimental fiction, long and short poems, translations, criticism, letters from abroad, reviews in arts and literature, and rediscoveries. New England Review exists in a place apart from mass culture, where speed and information overload are the norm. At NER, serious writing is given serious attention, from the painstaking selection process through careful editing and publication, where finally the writer’s words meet up with a curious and dedicated readership.

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