Friday, January 20, 2023

new from above/ground press: TAKE IT DOWN, by Barbara Henning

Barbara Henning

In the dark, I pray
to my grandmother
to Allen and my mother
please protect
our son
from the aftershock
that will reverberate
in his psyche
and in every corner
of the apartment

an electric cord in a noose
in the middle of the night
And please help her move on, too
Let go of him, please Rie, and move on—

These rooms where he grew up
Where his father died, holding
his hand and whispering
“I’m fine.”  Let go of him, please—


In the morning, I sit on the bench
surrounding the scrawny tree
outside his apartment building
Linnée texts me
driving home to Bayport
with her brother in her care
We missed the storm, she writes
It never came here


published in Ottawa by above/ground press
January 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

Cover artwork: Miranda Maher

Barbara Henning is the author of five novels and eight collections of poetry, most recently a hybrid biography of her mother’s life, Ferne, a Detroit Story (Spuyten Duyvil 2022); a novel, Just Like That (SD 2018); and a poetry collection, Digigram (United Artist Books, 2020). In the 90s, Henning was the editor and publisher of Long News: In the Short Century; she is also the editor of Looking Up Harryette Mullen, The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins, as well as editor and author of Prompt Book: Experiments for Writing Poetry and Fiction. She has taught for Naropa University and Long Island University where she is Professor Emerita. Born in Detroit, she presently lives in Brooklyn and teaches for

To order, send cheques (add $1 for postage; in US, add $2; outside North America, add $5) to: rob mclennan, 2423 Alta Vista Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7M9. E-transfer or PayPal at rob_mclennan (at) or the PayPal button at

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