PoetryIssue 10 | September 2010

Sapphics for Brugge

by Matthew Babcock

After a crisp crab salad baguette lunch on
a sun-warped bench along the Mariastraat,
I got in to see the Madonna met Kind,
    swarmed by Japanese

whose windbreakers of cavalier pink and orange
and chattering cameras clashed with the stone
arches and silence. I scooted over for a
    tour group from Dumfries.

The finely scooped folds of Carrara marble
coaxed my hand to reach out and confirm them cloth
even after I strolled through the exit door,
    considered the ease

with which memory proceeds a true longing.
Belgian glare struck the cobbles like stained glass as
I walked back on foot and in mind, recalling
    the Dover ferries

to Calais, squads of gulls scrolling sad circus
cries behind on broad invisible ribbons
of sea air. Becket lay—before this woman,
    stone child on her knees—

in Canterbury, his martyrdom fused with
my thoughts of what it would be like to have
a shrine set up for some nine hundred years on
    the spot your breath ceased . . .

Or you—in the maternity wing of a
county hospital, sculptors and sage pilgrims
trekking there for decades to hail events as
    glorious as these.

About the author

Matthew James Babcock travels in small circles in Idaho, where he teaches writing and lives with his wife and five children. He has been stranded in Wyoming, lost in Paris, and mixed up in a stolen car chase in England. A Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award recipient in 2008, and winner of Press 53’s Open Awards, his writing has appeared in PANK, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Terrain, to name a few. His book, Private Fire: The Ecopoetry and Prose of Robert Francis, will be published by the University of Delaware Press in 2010.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok