Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 14, Number 2
(Fall 2019)

Copyright © 2019
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
by Richard Spilman

The night they made love
on the kitchen table,
in front of the TV,
on the couch,
in bed, in bed, in bed,
they drank most of a jug of wine.
When he left, she cried
not to see him go
but for the pounding in her head.
He didn’t return, and the jug
stayed in the fridge.

Two months later, she vomits
every time she eats—
yes, she’s pregnant
and hasn’t seen him since.
About this she is stoic.
At least he didn’t
overstay his welcome.
She makes the arrangements,
then buys new sheets, silk,
and leaves the window open,
sometimes all night.

In her eighth month,
a friend helping her clean
asks if she wants
the leftover wine
she’s forgotten in plain sight.
As he lifts it out, the jug
snaps—a neat break
at the line between wine
and air.  We drank this,
she says, stirring
the sour dregs with a finger,
testing the sharp edge.
by Richard Spilman

A spectral row
of moor trees passes;
grain elevators rise
like ruined temples
in a wilderness
of black sand.
At night, there can be
no past, no history.
We are neither
here nor there.
The fields despair,
their waving green
drowned in lake-bottom
obscurity.  In one,
a reaper forages,
its roving glare so
unsettling it becomes
a kindred darkness.
Here, in this rail car,
we carry a kinder
light, leftover daysong
of our progress north,
but beneath us
the flanged wheels
clack with the rimshot
of a funeral march.
by Richard Spilman

Too young to know,
I knew I was not
to blame, just bad
luck to husbands
of the poor women
who cared for me
while Mom worked.

First, an overturned
boat, then a surgery
gone wrong.  I came,
the men disappeared,
leaving me with
penumbral silence.

A woman not there,
even when she spoke.
Me in the living room,
watching the fan spin
beside an empty chair,
while footsteps paused
at this door and that.


Richard Spilman is the author of In the Night Speaking, a
book of poetry, and
Suspension, a chapbook.  His poems
have previously appeared in many journals including
The Southern Review, American Literary Review, and the
Apple Valley Review.   

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