Spring 2021 (3.1)

Photo credit: Chelista E. Linkous of Christiansburg, Virginia.

Dear Readers,

Speckled Trout Review’s Spring 2021 (3.1) issue includes an increasing number of poets from abroad. We hope readers as well as our contributors will continue to share the news about STR’s electronic and print publications.

The Fall 2021 (3.2) publication will again be a print issue, with the theme of childhood memories. Specific submission guidelines will be announced September 1, 2021.


Kevin J. McDaniel, Founder of Speckled Trout Review
Nancy Dillingham, Associate Poetry Editor

Featured poets: Lisa Baron, Ken Been, Steve Brisendine, Milton Ehrlich, Trina Gaynon, Sergey Gerasimov, Jay Jacoby, Seth Jani, Paul Jones, Candice Kelsey, Mercedes Lawry, Katherine Leonard, Dan MacIssac, Mari-Carmen Marin, Kevin J.B. O’Connor, Mike Ross, Mike Schneider, Marc Swan, Ben Westlie, Philip Wexler


What I Would Say to the Snow

You are a distracted parent,
a too-busy seamstress
of white cuffs and pale blouses
for too many demanding trees.
Stop drifting. Put down your needles
and come sit with me.
You are an unpredictable parent.
I can’t read you.
One minute you are
a flurry of praise, the next
raging like a blizzard.
You are a gentle parent.
Sometimes, you land
softly and brilliantly
on the upturned
red mitten of a child.
You are an absent parent.
Stop making me guess
about your unexpected
arrivals and departures.
I’m still lost, still seeking
some line of sight through
these frosted windows.

Lisa Alexander Baron is the author of four poetry collections, including While She Poses, poems prompted by visual art. Her poems appear in Chautauqua, Confrontation, Fourth River, Philadelphia Stories, and others. She teaches writing and public speaking at two Philadelphia-area colleges and hosts “Modern Plays Read Aloud” on Meetup, which offers an open poetry and monologue reading space for poets and actors.

people came to visit 
his wheelchair 
and I wished 
he could 
play the show-off again 
how he could spin 
a circle 
like an old drawing compass 
its needle  
into the center point 
of a deadpan perforation 
cut here 
follow the dotted line 
his round face  
was already glazed  
except for 
his eyes  
despite the signs 
they found me 
across the room 
looking out the window 
and damn  
like everybody 
how funny 
the typesetting brain  
is still able to italicize 
the best moments 
of the circular narrative 
that time 
ice fished 
in Beulah 
when the dash line moon 
was a flint 
we struck matches on 
after the undertow 
whined and creaked  
like crate nails backing out 
through the icicle night 
of fissures 
on Crystal Lake  
his eyes emptied 
like powdery snow  
suddenly nudged  
off the trees at midnight 
and I shuffled across paralysis 
to the hole  
we'd been fishing 
and took a seat 
on a plastic bucket 
in our shanty 
concealed from the moon 
our casual promises 
dry as a cinder block 
and jute rope 
on the sled 
the overhang 
the deal struck  
over cigars 

Ken Been’s work was included in the recent anthology Remembering Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Moonstone Press). His writing has appeared in Kestrel, Hospital Drive, Passages North, and Midstream, among others. In 2018, he read his poetry at a summer literary celebration hosted by Fairmont State University.
To the Last Enemy, Upon His Brief Victory
For Emma Wales, 1917-2014

In the iglesias Bautistas of the meatpacking
towns, she was everyone’s Tia Emma.

She shrugged you off for years, tireless
far beyond the allotted threescore and ten.

Two husbands, a son, two grandchildren,
a brother (my father, four years younger

to the day), her only sister: she knew your
grim, hungry grin more than well enough.

She made you work for her, though, made
you break a bone-sweat under those robes.

You’d stagger up a dust cloud into some
village, sure heat and years had worn her out,

and find nothing but tire tracks out of town
and boxes of Biblias Santas left behind.

Did you read over a shoulder, see your
own demise written in the native tongue?

            Y el postrer enemigo
            que será destruido es la muerte.

Made the moment harder to enjoy, I would
think, when you finally caught her sleeping.

Steve Brisendine lives and works in Mission, Kansas. His poetry has appeared in the most recent 365 Days Poets anthology and in Squawk Back, Grand Little Things, and The Rye Whiskey Review. His first book, The Words We Do Not Have, is due out in spring 2021 from Spartan Press.
Hiking with Father

We clambered ahead with his machete,
cutting our way through thorny bushes,
hanging vines and slippery undergrowth,
around scattered ponds of quicksand.
He wanted me to see the imaginary faces
he could detect on lichen-covered rocks
and how to tell the difference between
red pine, white pine, black oak and white oak.
I was so excited to see the view—
I kept running up ahead of him.
A mushroom forager, he would call me back
to show me how to tell a poisonous amanita
from one you could eat.
Father wanted me to enjoy the climb
as well as the view—reminding me of his favorite line
from Basho: Even in Kyoto, I long for Kyoto.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D., is an 89-year-old psychologist and a veteran
of the Korean War. He has published poems in Poetry Review, The
Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary
Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, and the New York Times.
Fire and Ice

You can find the ocean up there
Past the ghost town of St. Elmo,
Its gold and silver mines played out.
Above the tree line, approaching
The summit of Mt. Antero, erosion
Exposes the smoke of quartz,
The fire of topaz crystals,
The shimmer of aquamarines.
You can find four-wheel drive trucks
Parked off the road while rock hounds
Scrape through clefts in granite,
Pulling scree down on their heads.
They pack guns, the better to stake
Their claims. They pack
Pickaxes, hammers, shovels,
And ice chests of beer.
You can find miners dining
On squirrel and canned beans,
Sheltering from thunderstorms
That rip open the Colorado sky.
Even in August logs flecked
With ice float in the river.
Miners face rockslide and mudslide
And washed-out roads.
You can encounter wind so strong
It’s clear the mountain wants you gone.

Trina Gaynon's poems appear in Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Mizmor Anthology and in the journals Buddhist Poetry Review, Essential, and 45th Parallel. Her chapbook, An Alphabet of Romance, is available from Finishing Line Press. She currently leads a group of poetry readers at the Senior Studies Institute in Portland and participates in the Ars Poetica community.
In an Empty Kitchen

The days go on,
the days walk by,
the days parade,
marching in cadence.
They walk over people,
stepping on their ribs,
on their fingers,
on their heads,
stepping on their necks to strangle.
Their black army boots are dirty
and heavy
and have ribbed soles.
People are trampled,
squashed, flattened,
worn out like old doormats.
The days go on,
the days walk by,
the days parade over us,
stepping on our hopes,
on our fragile childhoods,
on our first loves,
and second and third ones.
They walk right over your woman,
over your mother,
over your little kids who are not little anymore,
over green hills.
Swimming across a field of unripe oats
like a pod of dolphins,
they trample the green into yellow,
the yellow into brown and black.
But something in you
lives and burns
never touching the days,
never touched by them,
staying above them,
like the blue flame stays above
a gas stove burner
switched on
in an empty kitchen,
in a silent house,
in a city of the deaf,
switched on without permission.

My Lilac Starship

My dear,
I’ve come back
from the planet of haste.
And, you know, haste drinks everyone dry there,
leaving just skins rustling around
on two legs.
Time on that planet spins,
staying at the same place,
or imperceptibly going down,
like the seat of an adjustable piano stool.
There, work bites days and hours off your life,
eating the tastiest parts,
gnawing through your abdomen,
eating its way in, deeper and deeper.
You know you are dying,
but never protest, keeping a straight face,
or even smiling,
like a Spartan boy who stole a fox
and hid it under his cloak
but kept silent and never showed pain
while the fox was chewing into his guts.
But, my dear,
I’ve come back to you.
You’re sleeping, and the morning is tall and pointed
like windows of a gothic cathedral.
Don’t wake up, my love.
Here, the time stands almost still
and, knowing that, I left my lilac starship in the orchard.
It’s slowly cooling down,
and cherries in bloom
drop petals on its armor,
which is still warm.

Sergey Gerasimov is a Ukraine-based writer. His stories and poems have appeared in Adbusters, Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, J Journal, Triggerfish Critical Review, and elsewhere. His last book is Oasis, published by Gypsy Shadow.
AAA Kudzu Service
for Anne Royall Newman, 1925-1982

Because someday someone may
harvest a volume of kudzu verse
to match your gathering of bears,
I venture forth with this wild title,
hoping somehow to be looked at
first, to be turned to well before
all viny clichés loosen their grip.
Driving through dawn in late summer,
on the road to Atlanta, you taught me
southern manners are a mask given at birth,
that country ham biscuits don’t travel well
without a gallon or two of sweetened tea,
that the lush southern topiary I admired
was a mysterious strangler from the East
hugging in its green “good-to-see-ya” arms
anything foolish enough to stick around—
tenured or untenured, sweetgum or outhouses—
changing all into ogres and dragons and castles.
I saw the potential—though I kept it to myself—
for a twenty-four-hour emergency road service
to rescue the transient displaced and disoriented
from taking invitations to “Come back and see us,”
from country hams, with or without sweet tea,
from foolishly rushing into the kudzu’s embrace.
Seven years later, I drive alone in midwinter,
see what the road held in the naked season,
find the shapes were neither green nor gone,
discover a forest of tough and wiry bears,
no less vital for their lack of skin, stronger even
standing alone, holding tight dominion over all.


At the antique market, permit yourself
to be captured by the worn patina of once
everyday objects: chisels and spokeshaves,
ax handles, twisted walking sticks,
hochmessers, darning eggs, rolling pins.
Feel all the wordless marks left behind
by remote and unremarkable people,
anonymous tactile diaries, epitaphs
stroked without design to keep us
in touch with lives so plainly lived.

Jay Jacoby is a retired English professor, having taught at UNC Charlotte. He now lives in Western North Carolina. His poetry has appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Cold Mountain Review, Main Street Rag, Atlanta Review, and other journals.

The rain’s been crafting these gorges
for a million years.
Their waters respond to my body,
lifting its conspicuous pain
and carrying me downstream.
I end in yellow leaves,
in the green realm of bullfrogs.
The moon following course
through the slatted trees
is part of the ancient river.
It’s the reason why
every terminal pool
fills with light.

Desert Wind

Body of southern darkness over the hemisphere,
over the skein of crucified trees,
where the red flare of canyon light
forms a chiaroscuro landscape
the bodiless inhabit.
Fleshless, eyeless, without form.
Just glittering presences
blowing through the shadows
like bits of ancient marrow.


The oak deep-twisted
out of the space
between my body and the light.
It shimmered with or without me.
Presences glued to its branches,
to its trunk, to its waxen leaves.
A solitary walker
in the black, periscopic rain,
I was stunned to find
not a tree
on a desolate Seattle hill
but a community.

Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA, and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). Their work has appeared in The American Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Ghost City Review, Rust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018. Visit them at www.sethjani.com.

They may as well be smoke itself rising
as they do from chimneys, ember-eyes
sparkling amber, their sooty silhouettes
like some precious dream unrealized.
Their hard high-pitched chirps not unlike fires sing;
their crackle carries songs I can't forget,
a sound that sits inside me, warming me
like early spring's sunlight, like their clouding 
columns as the sun settles in the trees.
Even as their flight inks the red sky,
even as their swoops and dives disguise
their aims, these drab blunt birds in smooth flight
claim the air from bats, from owls, at moonrise,
the edge of day into unsettling night.

They edge the day as they unsettle night
with flaps and darts and swerves and surprise
twists. Something about them is not right;
one wing then the other oars the air.
Peterson called them "flying cigars."
Flame-born, they are what's left of desire
after the heavy ashes fall to earth.
They soar to rewrite the cloudy white
at boundaries of blue. Dusk takes on their hue;
signatures sharpen then blur into blots
in the vast western sky there where red
sun's fire can be last seen and the moon,
refracted, opens to the world of dreams
that might well be smoke itself rising.

Paul Jones has published poems in Poetry, Red Fez, Broadkill Review 2River View, and numerous anthologies, including Best American Erotic Poems. He was recently nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards.
In Response to My Students Who Still Don’t Understand Irony
and for Germanwings Flight 9525;crew: 6,passengers: 144,survivors: 0
Take the German schoolgirl
who almost missed her flight home from Spain
the forgotten passport
almost stuck at El-Prat 
to consume an iced mocha no whip
with just her misspelled name on the cup— 
ascending toward Haltern 
buckled and ear-budded with her freundinnen
and the Spanish ether
buoyed with relief she made it 
was less than forty minutes in 
when the sudden descent 
sent orange juice leaping and hips repositioning 
and hands gripping 
over Le Vernet
there was silence from the co-captain 
on one side of the cockpit door
frantic pounding by the captain on the other side
with a fire axe fate 
that would blazon her name misspelled 
across the news
over Le Vernet 
and onto stone plaques like tombstones 
or smeared blood
over some poet’s doorframe heart
spilling answers like orphaned shirts
from torn luggage 
across the mountainside that
took the German schoolgirl—
who almost missed her flight home from Spain

Candice Kelsey teaches writing in Los Angeles. Her poetry appears in Poets Reading the News and Poet Lore, among other journals. Her first collection, Still I am Pushing, was released last March. She won the 2019 Two Sisters Writings Contest, received Honorable Mention for Common Ground Review’s 2019 Poetry Contest, and was nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart. Find her at www.candicemkelseypoet.com.
Heavens to Betsy
Let Betsy be Everywoman
or your kindly grandma, the neighborhood siren,
the sweet soprano in the church choir, the beggar
down by city hall. Speculation
such as flag seamstress, Betsy Ross, floats
without evidence. Etymologists dug and dug
to no avail. Betsy remains unidentified.
The heavens being only blue
sky, clouds—black sky, stars, all up above
in storm or blunt sunshine, the home
of wicked winds. The home of feckless gods
or those benevolent, those who smite.
The whole flurry of what is greater or grander
than our groveling selves, earthbound,
we call upon in moments of extreme fear,
delight, astonishment; for all we know
of humankind, we may still be surprised.
Perhaps Betsy is perched on the edge, peering down
to see what’s prompted the exclamation.
We reach up, thinking her kin to Minerva,
for explanation as to why we crash through
tidy boundaries to set ourselves
among the beasts.

Mercedes Lawry is the author of three chapbooks; the latest, In the Early Garden with Reason, was selected by Molly Peacock for the 2018 WaterSedge Chapbook Contest. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, and Prairie Schooner and has been nominated six times for a Pushcart Prize.
Salmon Moon
 for Robin Wall Kimmerer

Who can still sing the Song of Return by the light
            of the summer-kissed Moon?
Where salt and fresh waters mingled,
Salmon ran and The People Sang,
            Come home from the sea
            Swim upriver and breathe free
            Come home to the water
                        of your birth.
Marshes whispered rivulets of clear
            sweet water into estuaries—
            washed back and in and out and forth
            with tides under the gleaming Moon 
as it lit the Great Return.

Now, the lowing of the cow becomes
            the dirge of the land as
hooves bear down on peat
            and beat pliant earth
into barren clay mats.
Furrows carve channels—  
            guide floods to the river
            that once ran clear.
Salmon now halt, unsure of the path.
The scent of home lost in mud.
When Salmon Moon draws near
            to whisper Return, no song fills the sky. The
People have gone and salmon thrash,
            lost in the milky brown plume.

Katherine Leonard grew up in the US and Italy, living in Massachusetts at the time of John F Kennedy's assassination, experiencing segregation and Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s assassination as a high school student in rural Texas. She has worked as a chemist, a geologist, and an oncology nurse/nurse practitioner.

Arachne Redux
The gods made plain she would not be beautiful:
the burlap skin, hair lank like bedding straw,
body squat and dark as a bucket of pitch.
Her mother died giving birth, passing her
like a gallstone. Her cutthroat father put her
to work half-naked in his vats, in a wash
of rotted sea snails. Harsh indigo dye
razed her warped hair and blistered her skin.
Her father, Idmon, caught her weaving
with quicksilver fingers a radiant doll
from thistle-tufts of wool and cast-off threads.
He bought her a loom from her dyer’s wage.
But, drawn outdoors by fiery light,
the girl wandered from her attic room
through bronze fields to Lydia’s gilded shore
and the great sails burning gold at dawn.
Idmon caught his daughter and hauled her,
wailing home where he roped her around the waist
and knotted her fast to the yarn-rack.
She stuck her doll with iron needles
then spun the loveliness he had denied her—
brash sunrise beyond the barred window,
burnished meadows braided with citrus groves,
and the copper ocean wreathed with mist.
Her quest and argosy: a flickering weave,
this finished tapestry a topsail ablaze.
Imprisoned, she twined a cold, hard noose
that took her pulse, bursting netted veins.
Idmon cut her down and dumped the body.
There were no takers for the old loom.
He stowed the bent frame in the dank cellar
where spiders moored, spinning silken rigging.

Dan MacIsaac writes from Vancouver Island. His poetry has appeared in many literary magazines, including The South Carolina Review, Stand, The Malahat Review, and The American Journal of Poetry. Brick Books published his collection of poetry, Cries from the Ark. His poetry has received awards such as the Foley Prize from America Magazine. His website is www.danmacisaac.com.
Vincent’s Night Sky
Take me to that place in the night sky  
where the winds wrap the stars spiraling  
them closer to the crescent moon. 
Let me be the morning star, visible  
only at dark, before sunrise, 
glowing softly in the east. 
Make me float over the sleeping town,  
nowhere near its dreams and its nightmares. 
Help me surf the nebulous clouds. 
And, if you cannot, place me in the highest 
branch of a cypress tree, where I can touch  
the roiled blue heaven with my fingertips, 
higher than the church steeple,  
far from the shackles that bind me 
to the Saint-Paul asylum.


Mari-Carmen Marín was born in Málaga, Spain, but moved to Houston, TX, in 2003. She is a professor of English at Lone Star College. Her work has appeared in Wordriver Literary Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, Dash Literary Journal, Months to Years, The Awakenings Review, Lucky Jefferson, The Comstock Review, The Green Light Literary Journal, Mothers Always Write, Breath & Shadow, The Ekphrastic Review, among many others. Her poetry collection, Swimming, Not Drowning, will be published by Legacy Book Press in 2021.

We are ether, tiger skin draped over fire,
oblivion, dust. Cast us into a well, banish us to barrels,
let us ride our far-fetched dreams, recede, fade into nothing
with our pink bell-bottoms and moccasins.
Let us summon ghouls and noble souls; let them come
floating on fields of clematis and orchid,
with opium pipes and guitars, velvet drapes, steel drums.
Give us tambourines and red beads. Let us sing and cavort.
We have traveled far to reach this land,
with flowers in our hair, lies on our tongues,
to rise, gather, loose mud from our faces, gaze at the sun.
No longer trapped, bodiless: across this hill
we number a million, tripping, ecstatic,
naked, peaceful, moved to dance.

Kevin J.B. O’Connor is currently pursuing his PhD in English at the University of Kentucky. He received his MFA from Old Dominion University. He has published poetry in Luna Luna, Slant, Glassworks, Flare: The Flagler Review, Bayou, Eunoia, Yemassee, Hawaii Pacific Review, Poetry City, USA, Broke Bohemian, Postcard Poems and Prose, The Bakery, Bluestem, Mayday Magazine, Midway Journal, Wild Violet, Barely South Review, and Visions International, among other journals.
Lunch with Eichmann
Rhine wine glows above white linen, sparking silverware,
multiple courses: soup, salad, symmetrically separated
by butter pats, crusty rolls, rouladen main course; within each
serving lies hidden a sweet pickle. So much polite chatter between
those who scarcely know one another.  How welcome this respite
from dull routine, leaving little behind except trails of crumbs,
bits of bacon the wait staff will dispose of with sterling silver
whisks.  Aprons whisper: Haus Sanssouci, so tasteful, spotless,
everyone observes civilities.  Strudel hot from the oven makes
the firmest ice cream melt in pools.  No smoking, though steam
from coffee floats like spirits above our heads.
Next door, beyond pachysandra, hostas, the hidden path to the lake,
resident ghosts escape cramped quarters, take the air, stretch
stiff muscles, walk lidded groves around the blind eye of the Wannsee:
so much to hammer out, schedules of departures, arrivals, distribution
of rolling stock, trigonometry of transport. Commodities delivered
on time to destinations, swept up by a fine-meshed metal net cast wide.

Poems by Mike Ross have appeared in Potomac Review, Great Smokies Review, and Ekphrastic Review. His book of poems, Small Engine Repair, appeared in 2015. He teaches poetry writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, the University of North Carolina. His second book, Ports of Call, will be published in 2022.
With a five-pointed red star front
& center of his forehead, Trotsky
to the White Russians was Satan
incarnate, ubiquitously stoking coal
into flame, driving massive iron
monstrosities to fly on steel rails full
throttle, stacked with field cannon
& Maxims, when three men & a machine
gun could stop a battalion. His stiffened
cloth helmet, rising to a horn-like peak,
took its name from Semyon Budyonny’s
Red Cavalry. The orange sun is rolling
across the sky like a severed head,
wrote Isaac Babel, who in 1920 rode
into Poland with them, Cossacks
every one. Russia, wrote Gogol, you
gallop ahead like an out-of-control
troika. As three yoked white horses
drag a sleigh over a cliff, Dostoevsky
rises in rage from his grave then prays.       

Mike Schneider, who lives in Pittsburgh, has published poems in many literary journals, including New Ohio Review, Notre Dame Review and Poetry. Three times nominated for the Pushcart Prize, he received the 2012 Editors Award in Poetry from The Florida Review and won the 2016 Robert Phillips Prize (selected by Richard Foerster) from Texas Review Press, which in 2017 published his second chapbook, How Many Faces Do You Have?
Taking a Slow Ride

If she lived in another time,
married a different man,
had notions beyond the role
of what housewives did in the fifties
in upstate New York, 
being more Irish than not, 
I imagine her sitting down 
each day at four with a fresh pot 
of Bewley’s, shortbread cookies, 
maybe scones, with a friend or two 
after a day spent knitting or sewing 
or tidying up the small house
on a river road near a quiet town
chatting about children, weather—
simple things that keep the life
wheels spinning along the way.

I think of this today at four o’clock 
in my rattan chair 
by the Jotul gas logs, 
fresh falling snow, a glass 
of Bergerac Rouge, plate of Carr’s 
crackers, sharp cheddar cheese, 
taking a slow ride to the fifties—

no tea, but there is 
Corky and White Shadow, 
Spin and Marty, Kenny and Arlene 
on American Bandstand after school 
before a hot supper and small, 
or no talk, between four of us
at the red and gray Formica table. 
He nods, pushes in his chair,
goes into his gun room.
She mutters softly to herself
by the kitchen sink. My younger 
sister upstairs, I head out 
to the woods beyond 
our yard where the wide oak 
stands to listen for owls, frogs, crickets
sing their version of the blues.

Marc Swan’s fifth collection, all it would take, was published in 2020 
by tall-lighthouse (UK). Poems are forthcoming in Concho River Review, Chiron Review, The Chaffin Journal, Queen’s Quarterly, among others. He lives in coastal Maine with his wife Dd.

I can tell you
            just a little of this.
The ending is not for my mouth to release.
He died.
The only man I’ve seen naked in real light.
The ocean wanted his slender, articulate body
            for its keeping.
His artist mind envisioned just a swim
out into the vastness of such a compromising color.
Underneath the surface is when it struck
            like an electrocution,
            like a storm within his skeleton.
Did his body lie on the ocean floor
exhausted, and ready for a nap?
Were his eyes open to all of the wonderful hues, to the lens
of another world?
His photo hung in a gallery once;
at this time he was alive,
able to see his purity.
I can recall how
            his angles were perfection
for the black and white world I wanted to see everything in.
When I took the photo,
his back was to the viewers.
He faced a window looking out into winter,
that barren, chilly revelation.

Ben Westlie holds an MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of four chapbooks of poems, most recently Under Your Influence, all published by Finishing Line Press. His poems have appeared in the anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, selected and edited by Naomi Shihab Nye, and in The Fourth River, Third Coast, Atlas and Alice, The Talking Stick, the tiny journal, Trampset, ArLiJo (Arlington Literary Journal), The Voices Project, Otis Nebula, and forthcoming in WhimsicalPoet.
Word Origins or So They Say
1.	Metaphysics
A word not created to stand for that branch
of study which is beyond the physical but
representing instead the philosophy
of first causes of things and the nature
of being and the world, thus named
because it was the subject of treatises
by Aristotle appearing sequentially
after physics in his collected works. 
2.	Avocado—The Aztec word for testicle.
3.	Sarcasm—From the Greek, sarkazein, to tear flesh.
4.	Muscle
The Latin term, musculus, meaning little mouse
came about because the ancient Romans
thought they saw in the flexing of a muscle
a mouse in movement under the skin,
the tendon as stand-in for its tail.
5.	Whiskey—From the Gaelic, uisge bietha, water of life.
6.	Yucatan
The explorer, Hernández de Córdova, arriving
on its coast, asked the name of the land
of the natives who, speaking in Maya, said
something that sounded like Yucatan but simply
meant, in their language, We don’t understand you.

Philip Wexler has had over 170 poems published in magazines. His collections, The Sad Parade and The Burning Moustache, were published by Adelaide Books. Another poetry collection, The Lesser Light, will be published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press. He also organizes Words out Loud, a spoken word series.











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