The Most Wild, Kindly Green
by Erin M. Bertram
cover art by Alison Shepard

We Are All Of Us Adorned With Crowns

There are five forms of lightning: heat, ball, ribbon, forked,

Sheet. We are all of us adorned with crowns. Take my hand

& consider it tender, consider it, slack-jawed & open-palmed,

Most days entirely capable. When you leave for work afternoons,

Leave your necessaries strewn across the dresser as leaves

Mid-November & wanting. Sundry nights disrobe wildly & call me

By my given name, the one everyone knows but few harness

Into use. Make my parents proud. This life in all its tattered glare

Offers up more than I can parse in lucid state, a fact I've come slowly,

& not without fight or requisite wear, to accept. Scattershot,

Lift your head to the sutures of exhaust in the sky & recite

All the things your hands have moved gently over. The fault lines

Of our all but sullied hands. To body the many shifts of an afternoon.

To be the thing which in the distance does the vanishing.

Erin M. Bertram is the author of six chapbooks, including Body of Water (Thorngate Road, 2007), which received the Frank O'Hara Award. Her work has appeared in such places as Bloom, Copper Nickel, Hotel Amerika, Knockout, and The Laurel Review. A recipient of fellowships from Summer Literary Seminars: Lithuania and The Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis, she leads a creative writing group at St. Patrick Center and edits Shadowbox Press. Currently, she teaches writing at Washington University in St. Louis.

Cover art by Alison Shepard. Alison Shepard spent her childhood in eastern Pennsylvania and her adulthood in New York City, and uses these varying landscapes and surroundings as inspiration for her art. Her primary medium is oil paint on canvas, and her paintings are featured in many private collections. She concentrates additionally on illustration for both print and apparel design. Alison received her BA from New York University in 2002, and resides (and paints) in Brooklyn, NY. Her portfolio can be viewed within www.myartspace.com.