July 21, 2024

Annette Makino


dry thunder
the latest polls
roll in

from Poets Respond


Annette Makino: “I’m spending the week at a cabin on the Klamath River in Northern California, where a summer storm surprised us on Monday. It’s beautiful here, but dry thunder—and dry lightning—are very ominous in this rugged, mountainous region prone to wildfires. The weather seemed to echo my sense of dread from the political news.” (web)

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July 20, 2024

Annika Ziff Glueck (age 12)


for my grandmother lost to Alzheimer’s

Today we remember you.
And will always remember you,
Even though we said many goodbyes
These past years.
Goodbye to the last time you’ll remember my name,
The last time you’ll read me a book,
The last time you’ll play a game with me,
The last time you’ll join family dinner,
The last time I will hear your words,
The last time you’ll walk with me,
The last time I’ll make you laugh,
The last time you’ll hear my voice 
and respond.
And now this last goodbye, 
As we lay you to rest,
Free to be your whole self again.
After so many goodbyes.

from 2024 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Annika Ziff Glueck: “I started writing poetry when I was younger, and my grandmother Anne encouraged me to keep going. I love to curl up and read, but for me, writing is hard some days. I love poetry as a way to share my ideas and emotions, and communicate my voice.”

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July 19, 2024

Staci Halt


It happened one time, then again;
I am certain whatever it indicates—
embarrassment, or maybe
he’s unearthed quietly
the fact that I am difficult
to love, and responds
in the only reasonable way he can—
the new exchange cemented itself
into our routines         around the time
of the divorce.
I’ve heard children will often
punish the mother.         Why shouldn’t they
unload their righteous little arsenals?
There must be another version of our life.
One where we never have to leave
the farm by the woods,
where the trampoline
springs never rust,
the Japanese maple has grown enormous,
and the forsythia I planted,
rampant—it has so wildly
taken over, that after a long day
when we pull in the winding drive
towards home, we can’t remember
why we are so sad,
because everything is a clamor
of yellow yellow yellow—
the house, the yard, the barn,
even the pine-choked sky.

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024


Staci Halt: “I am a writer near Boston and mother of six wonderful humans and several pets. My poems often come through a speaker who faces or reflects on terrifying circumstances; the poems end up serving as a sort of container for something that demands containment or would otherwise be unbearable.” (web)

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July 18, 2024

Terry's Keys by Kim Beckham, photograph of keys hanging on a fence at a beach

Image: “Terry’s Keys” by Kim Beckham. “Bigger Than Us” was written by Emily Walker for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, June 2024, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.


Emily Walker


we ran out shrieking
leaving our mark as
footprints in the sand
only stopping to
plant our keys on the fence
like a flag on the moon
terry, her short hair,
her red face,
said we owned the beach
and we could’ve
but the black-backed gulls
who mimicked our screeches,
they were thieves
the dunes were our country
the waves, our closest friends
the sun burnt us in continents
drawing maps on our backs and
painting our hair with streaks
of light, of day, of promise.
stay forever, we swore and
locked our pinkies till they bled

from Ekphrastic Challenge
June 2024, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Kim Beckham: “‘We ran out shrieking.’ I really like that the poet created characters and a world to fit the scene. They truly captured all of the senses in the images, sounds, and heat of Terry’s day at the beach. It felt really tight with the perfect image to punctuate the ending. Pinky swear!”

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July 17, 2024

Siddharth Dasgupta


Come walk with me through the bones of this bustling city.
Time hedges its bets in the spit-spatter of this hustling city.
On the streets, fragrance is rampant. Catharsis of us, strained
through the finely-woven forgetfulness of this muslin city.
A silent movie plays at the Regal. Speak to me of silence,
lest I scream mercy in the bare fangs of this cuspid city.
You and me at the speed of sound. Leave behind a note
for me in the rich, riotous libraries of this lovesick city.
There is a war on TV. The ratings are high. Lay down
your arms for me, in the bravado of this muscling city.
Mythology’s all the rage. The disco dance of antiquities.
It prospers florid as the footnotes to this tussling city.
Jesus speaks to me from a mosque that peals with temple
bells, deep in the wide-eyed throb of this puzzling city.
Siddharth, you should leave prophecy behind. Sing, write,
scream, prosper. Tonight, dream up this druglicked city.

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024
Tribute to the Ghazal


Siddharth Dasgupta: “As an Indian writer, to write the ghazal is to follow in a centuries-long tradition—from the ache of Amir Khusrow, the twin longings of Jan Nisar Akhtar and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and the revered mysticism of Mirza Ghalib, to the more contemporary English explorations of Agha Shahid Ali and Jeet Thayil. This ghazal then is one leaf in a long line of flourishing forests, infused with an ethnic heartbeat and existential ache that keep time to lost cities, bars filled with anonymous jazz, and love that knows no agenda.” (web)

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July 16, 2024

Dick Westheimer


My son asks me how can I run the same
mile-long loops through the woods every day
and not be bored and I tell him it’s different—
every time. The sun angles through the trees
in changing ways. The undersides of the leaves
shudder to the breeze much as a lover’s kiss
differs from the next and the next. Shadows dapple
the path in new ways with each step and I know
the route but not the way until I walk it. Sometimes
the creek wafts the gaseous smell of heron dung, sometimes
it’s the reek of rotting scum, sometimes it’s the faint taste
of the sea. Often I hear the water wash over the rocks
like little bells, other times it sluices like a million million mothers
whispering shush. There are portals in the heat of summer
when a pocket of cool air comes up from the bottoms
like a great refrigerator door that I stand before.
How could anyone dream this—this moment on this path
with my foot suspended right before it falls, this definitive minute
closer to my death? And who wouldn’t want to visit this
very point in time, this infinitesimal instant when
there is no pain, this instant between two others I know
I share with you dear reader. Maybe you too saw that single
dewdrop cling to the tip of the blade of grass, the lone bee
foraging the one white clover that did not succumb
to weed killer? I don’t recall your name or face
but I know this about you: If you are reading this,
you will hear this click. And I will take this one more
breath. Then this. Then …
And you will hear the word “this.”

from Prompt Poem of the Month
June 2024


Prompt: Write a poem set in a place you’ve always dreamed of going to but never have. Allude to all the basic senses.

Note from the series editor, Katie Dozier: “When one cultivates the practice of writing poetry, the world can reveal itself in ways it never had before. When I first heard Dick read this poem on the Prompt Lines of the Rattlecast, we were taken along for his morning run in such detail that we could almost hear our own footsteps pounding in his woods. And like any good journey, I was surprised by the last turn, in this case towards a bold, fourth-wall-breaking ars poetica. Aren’t we, as poets, always running towards a poem?”

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July 15, 2024

Cindy Guentherman


It was the mid-’60s, a time of rock and roll and hippies, yet men still wore hats to work, and ladies wore dresses and pantyhose. Suits were displayed on neat racks and people looking for new shoes were fitted by a professional at Weise’s Department Store in Rockford, Illinois. After years of babysitting, my first summer job at 16 was to take the bus downtown and ride the elevator up to the store office, where I was preparing a new inventory on a manual typewriter. The subject matter was not exciting and every time there was an inventory addition or change, I had to start that page over. It was kind of like the Groundhog Day movie in real life. But for this I was paid a dollar ten an hour, way better than the 50 cents I got for babysitting. Before the summer was over, I would move on to another place for a few cents an hour more.
carbon copy
all the mistakes
I tried to fix

from Rattle #84, Summer 2024


Cindy Guentherman: “I’ve been making up poems since age five on the way home from kindergarten. I like all kinds of poetry, but haiku has been my favorite for about 50 years. This haibun was written after a Rattlecast prompt—to write a haibun about our first job. I love prompts because they let me write things I would have never considered before.”

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