Gail Martin


Gail Martin is the author of Begin Empty-Handed, newly released from Perugia Press, an independent press in Massachusetts. Her manuscript won the 2013 Perugia Press Poetry Prize, selected from over 500 manuscripts. Her work is also featured in the forthcoming anthology Poetry in Michigan, Michigan in Poetry coming out in October by New Issues Press. Martin is widely published. Recent work appears in Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Southern Review and in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (University of Iowa). Her first book The Hourglass Heart (New Issues Press) was published in 2003. She is a Michigan native with roots in both southern and northern Michigan. She works as a psychotherapist in private practice in Kalamazoo, MI where she lives with her husband and her dog, Piper. Source

Three Lies and a Truth

We live in a world where some lies sink

to their knees in the bottomland. Others

unsheathe wings, lift and ferry their seeds, drift


up like the down of angels. My mother believed

selling vacuum cleaners and eternal salvation


were both honorable. I agree. It doesn't matter

if you're slicing limes for your fancy gin or tossing

the rinds under the porch to ward off feral cats,


you can still sever what you need the most.

These days, it's the need that interests me.


Not once have I told the kind of lie that flew away.

Like pine sap on fingers, mine have fused and clung,

tacky, awkward. And sometimes you just don't know


what you don't know. For years I said I was in love

with windows but it turned out what I loved was light.


To be honest, I'm in it for the tomatoes and the flowers.

I can't go on harvesting carrots in the rain forever.

Where the road forks right toward the meaning of life


and left toward cheese and crackers, I go left. And

in the end we will die like the cedars, wet, with cold feet.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Poems of the Everyday

Literary Devices:


the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object


the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”