PoetryIssue 16 | October 2012

In South Beach

by Miriam Levine

What’s the point of keeping dracaena
up north? It won’t flower
in a million years;

you’ll never see vulvate buds peel back
to starry composites of puce and silver,
the margins all scarlet.

You’ll never see an Orestes Vega
in jeans embroidered with flowers.

his mother gave him the infamous name
of a mother killer; this Orestes hauls metal
and dances, whistling

up to his girl who keeps him waiting.
Now he is shouting, Rocio. Is she
trying on outfits

to find the most dazzling? In yellow,
I think, yellow to unzip and show
the velvet flower of sex.

You may kneel quite close to Marielitos
sleeping on the beach and see their eyes
move as yours do.

Give them your singles.  So what if they drink.
They eat, too— ropa vieja, platanos

moros y cristianos. If you bite
into a medialuna, powdered
sugar falls like moonlight.

About the author

Miriam Levine is a fan of buses and trains; she loves to gaze at passing scenes and watch fellow passengers, especially on the subway. At night, she travels in her dreams. Her most recent book,The Dark Opens, won The Autumn House Poetry Prize. Read her other books of poetry and fiction.

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