Pour out passion.
Toast evenings without heat,
or heated talks.

The spice leaves fall unfastens
from their stalks
do not blame cold for a defeat.


This poem began its life of depression (on mid-term election night, as the epigraph suggests) while I was thinking about how a close friend’s parents were–in all probability–celebrating the results we were despairing over. For the next few nights, I tinkered around with it on my computer, then headed out to the apartment’s little balcony, where I’d sigh at the Thai basil in the windowbox, which was droopy, like me. I’d wanted to say something that would be true to what my friend and I were feeling, and yet not alienate or irk people like her parents whose political views radically diverged from ours. I wanted something to communicate between us. That is, I wanted to make a poem and not another dull harangue, which was everywhere that week, that season. Eventually the fit of politics more or less evaporated, leaving a sticky, formal residue and those leaves.


Eric Bliman is a PhD student in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati, where he serves as editorial assistant at The Cincinnati Review. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Times Literary Supplement, Quarterly West, The Birmingham Poetry Review, 42Opus, Sojourn, and Subtropics. A previous winner of an AWP Intro Journals Prize, he was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

'rope and pulley ', David Ebenbach

'Winter', Kate Angus

'Advice', Jonterri Gadson