Poetry

  • Maize Flower
    Translators’ Note Juan Hernández Ramírez describes both Nahuatl and Spanish as mirrors for his writing: “sirven de espejo, kewak se teskatl.” He does not write solely in one...
  • Photo by Kables/Flickr Their language rolls out, soft carpet in front of them.Strolling slowly beneath trees, men in white shirts, belts, baggy trousers,women in scarves,glinting cigarettes in the d...
  • Clay Tablet Bearing the World’s First Alphabet That had comemuch later – After everythingalready had happened – Without witnessthe first stammered wordthis atomic flash forevercontaminating the oblivi...
  •    By Achy Obejas
    The first time I saw your father,I stared back into the pool at your reflectionwhile he waded through,the water moving in gentle circles away from us. The first time, I thought it was the Nilewe’d dip...
  •    By Amjad Nasser
    I Before what happened happened,I mean, before the towers became a stairway to the dayof reckoning, and the world split into twocamps, water and sand,I used to wish that I’d be among the poetswho woul...
  •    By Lauren Camp
    Letter to Baghdad Even if my father never speaks a word of it, I will knowhe brought a candle, a cough, and the occupied side of his heart.I will know the trees held him, that they rose above roofline...
  •    By Arif Shah
    The Cricket Match They have fooled us, friends, got us all to gaze night and day at the television,Entrusted us with the cricket match,While they go and steal the country’s resources, we watch the ma...
  •    By Karen J. Weyant
    Late three times for work, so it’s night shiftor my job. I’m eighteen, no experience, broke,so I make the deal. I wear jeans and a T-shirt:Shop at Ray’s for the Best Deals Around,a message more pertin...
  •    By Alan Morrison
    [Download the e-book Blaze A Vanishing by Alan Morrison] Alan Morrison's e-book Blaze A Vanishing is available here in its entirety as a WLT web exclusive to go along with...
  • Sandy stands in the designer-wear sectionof a suburban department storein her best jeans and a cheery holidaysweater picked up at the Goodwill.The Muzak versions of Christmas carolsleave a hollow ache...
  • I try to tell my brother not to call himself a “go-fer”just because he fetches cardboard  for women shouting, “Bring me a double order,”  who get paid by the piece. A thin vibration against her machin...
  •    By Aaron Rudolph
    “You’re a big guy. You should be working construction.”                                                             – a woman in line at Kmart   Every time I swung a sledgehammer,shattered the faces o...
  •    By Levi Romero
    maybe we should just writeand see what happens  and what if something does?could we live with ourselvesif nothing did?  nothing has in such a long timeand yet that’s a lie too didn’t you just laugh, s...
  •    By Jason Poudrier
    Blind dog staccato howlsin regular intervals in four-four time,on guard like me, can’t sleep.Am I happier here?When in we talked like cellmates,“How many years you got?” Wife alongside, “Wish that dam...
  •    By Joseph Millar
    Love picks its way through the gravel rutsleading into the job site, past the truck tiresexploded nearby, the crows’ rusted voices, blackwings and feet, cottonwoods risen in ghostlyfields and the leve...
  •    By Dorianne Laux
    When I was young and had to rise at 5 a.m.I did not look at the lamplight slicingthrough the blinds and say: Once againI have survived the night. I did not raisemy two hands to my face and whisper:Thi...
  • Boy, don’t you kick that ball in tha garden. If you kick thatball in tha garden one mo time, imma tan yo’ little brown hiney!                                                Anna “Mut...
  •    By Kathleen Hellen
    The vendor closing up on Wolfe and Monumentdeconstructs the skewered souvlaki. A striped umbrella on a truck.Someone buys a soda. Someone rents the scent of onions wafting up.How is it upheld? This fo...
  •                                     for the sharecropper I left behind in ’79  Thirteen years ago,   before bulk barns  andfifth gear diesel tractors, we rode ro...
  •    By Rain C. Goméz
    Five years old, I am chubby, strong, husky, and brown. My hair bleached under southern sun smelling of saltwater, Spanish moss, and cedar, parted down middle pulled into pigtails, that droop in aftern...
  •    By Brian Fanelli
    My dinged-up Honda sputtersto the next school, next class –Freshman Comp 101, where students in sweatsyawn away my 8 a.m. lecture and the new recruit quarterbackslouches at his seat, texts while his g...
  •    By Jim Daniels
    If you have a map, eat it.The old man wedging curb-dirt under his nailswill give you directions for getting lost.Getting off the grid involves talking in tongueswith other tongues. Follow the sidewalk...
  •    By Jeanne Bryner
    Behind our homes a road liesit suffers like a patch of skin alteredby its rash, a scarred spine, yearsof combined ruts. Aging fence linesborder the fields’ windswept grass. Retired from factory work,...
  •    By Hakim Bellamy
    In the year of our Constitution, 1787, our country was already over 150 years into the practice of creating FREE & CHEAP laborers for life. And in 1786, printers in our then capital of Philade...
  •    By Ibtisam Barakat
    Photo by Mike Baird/Flickr Scribbles on the Poverty Line When I was a girl in a poor familywe hung our clothes to dry on the povertyline,and with it I jumped rope.My friends saw and joined me.We were...

World Literature Today
630 Parrington Oval, Suite 110
Norman, OK 73019-4037
405-325-4531



Updated by World Literature Today: [email protected]