Rachel Custer


and trilling from the beaks of birds returning,
war like an elsewhere song

us raising walls of glue and ground

bone, us stuffing our mouths with the dead
grass carefully chosen, with pillow fluff

we fed our own ground, now feed to widening cracks
in our own facades. how we are dark

houses to one another, eyes drawn down
like shades. how like mankind we all are.

there’s a robin outside our window, well-fed
and ready, fattened on the warmth

of another place. she knows what she knows
about building a home with a hymn

in her throat. how music can fill the fear-
split gaps. we know what we know –

how war somewhere else flies back
to us all. how even a war

can sound like a building song.


About the writer:
Rachel Custer is the Poetry Editor and a reviewer and editorialist at O:JA&L. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Temple She Became, is available from Five Oaks Press. Other work has previously been published or is forthcoming in RattleOSU: The JournalThe American Journal of PoetryB O D Y[PANK], and The Antigonish Review. On February 13, 2019, Rachel Custer became a recipient of a 2019 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Rachel Custer is the poetry editor at O:JA&L.

Image: Vanitas II by Alejandro Rosemberg. Oil on canvas. 20.5 x 31.5 inches. 2017. By permission.

About the artist:
Alejandro Rosemberg is an Argentine fine artist trained by Claudio Bogino in the classical style of the Italian Great Masters. He studied color under Graydon Parrish at the Grand Central Academy of New York. His works are presently being exhibited in the United States and Canada, respectively represented by Principle Gallery in Virginia and White Rock Gallery in Vancouver. Passionate about teaching the techniques he uses, he invests much time and dedication to his drawing and painting classes and workshops held in Brazil, the USA, and Argentina. Rosemberg is the O:JA&L Featured Artist for February 2019.