Poetry Showcase: Austin Poets’ Union

Woman walking gripping a bottle of Mad Dog

By Angie Dribben

Early afternoon in Idaho’s March, snow 

pressed against curbs against houses

against snowbanks against our backs.

Everywhere paths narrowed.

Some days she stands

on the corner screaming at someone unseen.

Her stabbing finger removes wind from air.

I know someone is there because sometimes

I yell like this too. A strip of pink

in her hair, a streak of hope, necessary. 

How easy it is to slip into faith for a half hour,

long enough to paint your hair pretty,

believe that there will be more.

I know what it is to believe in forever-even-after

a husband gives reason to curl up in a closet,

hold breath until organs fail and it all turns blue,

after the first rape or the last

man who gives no choice

but to leave for nowhere, except a corner

of cold in winter, screams escaping

into winds casting cotton

candy floss onto limbs.

Angie Dribben’s poetry, essays, and reviews can be found or are forthcoming in Cave Wall, EcoTheo, Deep South, San Pedro River Review, Crab Creek Review, Crack the Spine, Cider Press, and others. A Bread Loaf alum, she is an MFA candidate at Randolph College. Everygirl., her first full-length collection is due out 2021 from Main Street Rag. 


By Nick Gaudio

For all the delicate revelations

you can find in this unjust world,

at least one is in the rhythm

a firefly hangs when it exhales

light over a pond’s algae

one late-October night.

Mating is partly a philosophy

a firefly can’t explain on its own:

how light is the medium,

how they need hands

to cast themselves in a jar;

how hands need light

to trim away the dark;

how everything needs each other

to sear a hallowed yellow burn

into so many fateful forms indemnified

by this black forest’s trappings

before everything, too,

becomes trapped.

But finding few, 

can we catch one?

This one to fly.

This one to be captured.

This one to escape hands

only to return as caught

& destined to be caught.

So when I see you’ve caught two, 


poked a too-large hole

with a pen in a mason jar’s 

makeshift lid,

it’s not without a subtle reason:

You’ve just imagined yourself

as a captive.

You’ve just imagined yourself

not breathing.

You’ve just imagined your

last breath.

I realize

this is not by chance alone.

It is all merely a part

of the firefly’s brilliant

exit strategy.

Nick Gaudio is a native West Virginian, a Scorpio, an ENFJ, and a Type 1 on the Ennegram. He holds both an MFA from The University of Michigan and the current record for most near-wins in The New Yorker Caption Contest (at 4). Instead of using his MFA to do any sort of good for the world, Nick has worked as an obituary writer, reporter, newspaper editor, professor, and as the head writer for theCHIVE.com

Everything is a Library

By M L Woldman

I’m in the third grade and everything is a library

Mrs. Griswold is a haggard old piece of gristle and she hates everything

I am reading about dinosaurs and Greek mythology

It is summer and I am in school as part of some educational experiment

The dinosaurs

they speak to me

they say

“I too was unwanted in this world

but look how glorious I was.”

Greek mythology 

she speaks to me

she says

“Here is something too magnificent to be believed

Here is something holy

fallen into disrepair.”

And Mrs. Griswold can only scowl in reproach

as I indulge wonders she long ago denied

M L Woldman is a GED graduate with a heart full of fire. Founder of Austin Poets’ Union, poet and playwright. 5th generation Texas.@MLWoldman

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