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©Shawn Nacona Stroud


You are a bruising apple
that dangles near
the end of my limb.
My hold on you weakens
with the whistled pushes of wind.
Soon I’ll lose my grip:
a thunk on the ground
at my feet. Love finishes
like a season
that freezes once it’s complete.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud
♦This poem was previously published in the Winter 2009 issue of Up the Staircase.

Moonlight paints us into corpses
as we lie tangled in bed. I cling to you
like a boy clings to his teddy bear
in darkness, listen
to crickets shake their rattles
over the splash of cars passing
through rain puddles. All night
I lie awake with you
relearning the curves of your flesh,
the satin brush of your hair, devour
your cologne as it rises like steam
from your skin. I hold
you until the moon is through—
when sunlight brushes flesh tones on me,
but leaves the gray tinge of an effigy on you.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

♦This poem previously appeared in Issue 8 of Mississippi Crow Magazine.

My poem “The Opernplatz” has been chosen as an honorable mention winner in the 22nd Annual Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards for Poems on the Jewish Experience. I will post a link to the PDF  of all the winning poems when it is posted. There will be an awards ceremony and public reading of the 2008-2009 winners of the Anne Davidson Rosenberg Awards. The event is free and open to the public. Contact the JCCSF Box Office at 415-292-1233 to make reservations.

Sun, May 3
4:00 PM
ct_header_podcasts*Click on picture to link to website.

I carve words onto paper
the way I once gashed my left arm
to savor the burn as if pleasure.
It’s the same blood-spring
which used to coat my father’s buck knife
I etch into images on pages of flesh
that scar to form my poems.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem was previously published in the January 2009 issue of Word Catalyst Magazine.

(Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral)


Ahead, the Atlantic foams at the mouth,
roars and snaps its jaws
like a rabid dog. Separated from us
by balding scalps with sea oats
jutting up for hair-
spiked strands the wind can’t comb.

The wind is an ancient stylist,
complains of his plight in my ears.
A billion years he’s combed beaches. Now
he cups a glass palm over my mouth,
rips my words silent with his force.

Sand embeds in my soles:
shell fragments, crushed bones
spit up by the ocean like owl pellets
the sea gulls pick clean of meat-
they skirt my path and shriek for more.


We crunch out to the jetty’s shadow
where the Atlantic separates from itself,
a water-paved driveway ships come to park on.
Departing cruise lines belch, then drift into specs-

the grey finger of lumped rocks
points their way. A fisherman
on the docks waves as they pass;
he’s pitched and pulled his line all night.
We gape as he yanks another catch.

It’s a damned soul that thrashes his line;
he drowns it on air.
As we approach its o-mouth huffs
for breath, then submits with a thump
to the morgue of his cooler.


Like the fish, I once tugged your pole;
the line you caught me with still
reels me in to you- and your hook, scooped
through the flesh of my upper lip,
bleeds me the color
dawn stains the water.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem was previously published in the January 2009 issue of Word Catalyst Magazine.

*Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral, FL

(For Mary Jones)

When the sonic boom rattles her
windows- she’s forgotten
about Atlantis landing at Kennedy,
how it explodes through the atmosphere
with the boom-boom sound of bomb strikes.

She bolts out of bed;
dawn spotlights her pruned face,
hair bristles of sun-bleached straw- faded
like moonlight in morning’s glow.

Her ears hear Hitler’s ravens
buzz over London again:
bomb thunder, smoke, screams
have invaded her dreams.

She leaves her bedroom
the girl she once was, grabs
a doll that’s her pillow
and runs for the bomb shelters
with the other survivors in Orlando.

©Shawn Nacona Stroud

*This poem was previously published in the January 2009 issue of Word Catalyst Magazine.


*Atlantis landing at Kennedy Space Center


My poem “Finishing” has been published in the winter issue of Up the Staircase.  I will provide links to their journal below. Up the Staircase is a literary review that publishes quarterly and they are currently open for submissions. I would also like to congratulate my friend and fellow poet S. Thomas Summers for the publication of his poem “This is My Part” in this same issue, make sure you check his work out!  

Up the Staircase

Submission Guidelines





One of my poems due to be published in the upcoming issue #8 of Mississippi Crow Magazine is being previewed on Page Turner along with the work of a few other poets and writers. Below is a link that you can follow to check it out:

Mississippi Crow Magazine issue 8 preview



My profile on Poetry & Writers  directory is up and viewable. For those of you who wish to check out my profile click on the Poets & Writers logo above.

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