The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


C. Wade Bentley

Morning-After Aubade


What was left of her washed up on the beach,
settling into a wrack line with shark teeth and eel
grass. Sand crabs bubbled at each orifice,
even as the hermits attempted to inhabit her ears.
Seagulls plucked her silver buttons away, one
by one, pulled each pocket inside out. Green
weaves of seaweed stretched her shoulder-

length hair below her waist. Little dunes pushed up
between her knees, water pooling at her head

and hips. When she sat up in bed at last, gasping,
scratched her barnacled belly, opened her eyes
as slowly as clams to the full light of day filtering
into her room, she knew this was no dream,
a rime of salt still on her lips and cheeks. When
she put her phone to her ear, she heard the ocean
calling again, felt the outgoing tide, knew her bones
would be picked clean of parasites, weathered
white as driftwood, battered smooth as sea glass.



C. Wade Bentley

Take Heart


One of those days when you realize the best thing
about the day was the barista who made the espresso-

and-foam heart on top of your latte and said, this
is for you, which was enough to make you hurry out
the door before anyone could see what it had done to you.
Otherwise, the day was full of bigots and homophobes
and a royal flush of other –ists and –phobes, and a man
at the grocery who said something to the little girl
in the cart behind him in the checkout line singing
that Katy Perry song, and whatever it was he said,
it was enough to quiet her roar. What is wrong
with people? you say to your cat at the end of the day,
as you dump Grilled Liver & Chicken in Gravy Fancy
Feast into his bowl and scritch behind his ears
while you tell him about the barista and the heart
and the girl in the shopping cart, looking, I suppose,

for a little support, the lick of a rough pink tongue to say,
I don’t know about the others but this human is okay,
but who instead lifts one hind leg skyward and gets
to work, so that it comes down to the fleeting foam heart
skywritten across your coffee to stand between you
and the thousand swastikas, the Katy-haters, the night.




C. WADE BENTLEY lives, teaches, and writes in Salt Lake City. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Best New Poets, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Daily, and Pembroke Magazine. A full-length collection, What Is Mine, was published by Aldrich Press in January of 2015. Further information about his publications and awards can be found at



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