Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lines

by Roberta Beach Jacobson

concrete hedges painted green

Lines

by Paweł Markiewicz

at the dawn some ants
are swimming in the noble dew
but owl needs water

The Red Tide off the Gulf of Mexico, Florida

by Michael H. Brownstein

The colors of the ocean
turquoise with bits of pickled sky blue,
and a blend of grape juice purple—
and then, its skin ruptures,
a sudden rash red and boiling,
a lesion bleeding rotten blood.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Photo Op

by Phil Huffy

The loon is not compliant
and folks who dare to try
to photograph these creatures
will find things go awry,

for acts of disappearance
are made with style and ease;
they dive beneath the water
and do not deign to please.

You’ll watch for one to surface
but don’t expect to find
it’s where your camera’s pointed,
the loon can read your mind.

Postcard from Lake Gregory, California
Joan Eyles Johnson



Turtles

by Olivia Cyr

Jane, my college best friend, licks the back of her hand,
and closes her eyes. It’s the salt, she says. It tastes so earthy.
I say, it tastes like the saltwater, you mean. No.
She turns my palm over and licks it from the heel
to where my pinky finger begins. Like salt.
It takes me a minute to taste brininess the way that she does,
when I open my mouth and try a handful of salt water,
lapping it gently. Jane laughs, pulls me gently along.
We walk along the small, tucked cliffs above the shore,
looking out onto the Naples water.
My sandals work the backs of my ankles like sandpaper.
I stop, take them off, toss them in my drawstring bag
and step through the billions of pearls of sand and salt.

A bicycle whizzes past us, and Jane giggles. For a moment,
I think she is flirting with another pizza boy,
riding through the cobblestone valley in half-moonlight
on his way to the pizza parlor, al chiaro di luna.
But Jane grabs my elbow and squeaks.
When I look where she’s pointing, my cheeks go fat with a smile.
And suddenly we’re girls again, long before the throes
of college and career life, plucking ladybugs from each other’s hair
after swimming in the lake at camp; tanned, smooth legs akimbo
on the grass while we talked about dreading that first day of high school,
how we thought we’d much rather be squeezing lady bugs
until their plump, pearly bodies engorged, popped like little fireworks.

On the cliff, Jane pulls me, and we skid recklessly
down a sandy path that slopes between jagged rocks,
our bare feet sprinkled with bubblegum nail polish.
I land at her side, and as we come to a stop by the frothy water,
I put a hand over my sunned chest. I suddenly feel exposed
and want to run forward and scoop them up.
Baby turtles have hatched somewhere along the tiny,
bubbly waves of high tide. Five of them.
Barely minutes old, they sleepwalk, like blind little starfish,
their legs and arms tender flippers. They slog through the sand,
exhausted and oily, as it sticks to them
like granules of sugar on my grandmother’s whiskey cookies.

I pull my hand back to my mouth, lick the inside
of my wrist to taste the earth. We stand, perfectly paced monuments
on the beach, watching the turtles sluicing themselves
with water and coiling, clumsy. Beached, quintuplet sacks of flesh.
Jane is so careful to step around them, and studies their patterned trails,
divots in the sand from their pointed flippers.
The carapace of each turtle is a slick skin sectioned out into squares.
These are leatherbacks, I tell Jane from across the way.
We watch them, crouched over their trails, as they race to the ocean,
wiggling rhythmically, resting every few paces.

I imagine them dehydrated, desperate to reach the water,
breathing heavily with newborn aches all through the tender
curves of their limbs and I’m frightened for them.
I could pluck them from the race and carry them to the water,
past the hermit crabs and sand spiders. I want to mother them,
careful and reasonable. Now, my niece is almost five but
I think about my sister nursing her all those times
when she was a baby, when my sister was just twenty-two
and I was writing for newspapers. I worry about when
she will curl up beside her mother like that again,
and know it will be because someone broke her heart,
and not out of instinctual hunger. She will be desert rocky and mica strong,
and glistening all at once. She will be seventeen
squishing ladybugs on picnic blankets while I write in Colmar
with capfuls of Veuve Clicquot at my little kitchen table.
When she was just weeks old, I cradled her at my own chest
while she gazed up through pink eyelids, both of us full of wonder.
Nursing became fluid, it became competitive for her—her little mouth
grazing over her mother’s skin, my sister just running
her hands over her face so she could look at her, not wanting
to let her eat even when she fussed. That hard, rudimentary pit
in her body of motherhood would make her too eager
for her baby to stay that small.

I though often about how she would grow up,
how she would have to move and shift and be, without leaning on us,
and it choked me, that thought of growing— of them each learning
the push and pull of the other. How will my sister do it?

Jane and I have been in Naples for two weeks,
and Jane has finished her book review, while I have buoyed myself
on the beach in the evenings and written in broken Italian
on paper napkins. It is our last night here;
I dig my hands hard into the beach sand,
encouraging the nest of turtles to go, go, go.
And they move without assistance.
Where’s their mother? Won’t they drown, you think?
Jane shimmies her bottom into the sand next to me,
but the babies have dipped into the tide.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Synchrony

by Jeff King

Five geese
southbound descend
flit-flash, stealth-plash—
splash splash splash splash splash—
across the surface of a catfish pond,
sycamore-encircled,
to rest their wings momentarily and drink
then rise again
to evanesce northwestward,
the ascending sun tincturing the skyline
burnished copper to salmon pink.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

composition for spring on the salton sea

by Ginny Short

the salton sea is silvercalm
haze rises up masking
the interface of sea and sky
a lone boat moored offshore
mirrored on a pewter surface


Lines

by Susan N Aassahde

kiwi copper raindrop
lobster duet
charcoal slug faucet

How

by Abby Park

Stepping on the mountain gave me a fresh breath of air
mother nature victoriously stood; it
Took lots of love and time
but people don’t understand the goodness rooted in the mountain
except for this one not so modern man,
It was how he loved it not why.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

bruised
     two apricots
paint the desert

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Lines

by Rp Verlaine

lone river frog
how  far must you swim
to find love?

6.10.19
6.22 a.m.
48 degrees

by John Stanizzi

Periods of heavy rain are forecast for later today; the
offices of sun and sky are transformed to overcast clouds, and the
nominal steam rising from the water drifts like a flimsy ghost
dreaming, as the polliwogs leap farther out of the water every day.

Recovery

J. Conrad Smith

The field went back wild,
sedges and grasses—foxtail barley,
bluestem, bromes, and goosegrass—
thick and teeming from the ferns
and deer tongue and the clusters of perfume
bold violet bright gold alfalfa blooms
burgeoning in the pitches and gradual crooks
that snaked down to the bulrush, cattails, and
buttonbush canopied by cottonwoods standing
escort to the waterway that at night swelled
with fireflies like cityscapes from a dark-side orbit
that spread and saturated the booming thirty acres
with a chatoyant sheet, a bioluminous fog mocking
the milky way for being so static and boring and
tame as the glittering tides formed conga lines
to recede back into the tiny creek that—unlike the
cold implements that would snatch it all back—
only ran when it rained.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Stippling Winter Starling

by J. Conrad Smith

Dancing pepper specks
live limbs shimmering
tiny black flashes
bustling gypsy universes
shifting shapes of
hundred-year giants
distracting from nude
bones hollow holding
bent charcoal veins
stumbling skyward crossing
cold melancholy canvas
dreaming daily of
Dodger blue gobs
neon moss catching
cotton tufts falling
past cherry-stem toes—
more permanent tenants
that won't just
flicker and pass

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Lines

by Susan N Aassahde

stallion kale noon
janitor trap
falcon turnip hop

6.7.19
9.16 a.m.
70 degrees

by John Stanizzi

Preternatural this coupling and flying, this double-decker dragonfly, from an
otherworld, spectacular, and apparently tasty – the swallows dive trying to catch them
napping where they rest, bumping reed or water, and whether dragonfly or
damselfly, everyone is moving, flying, wary, trying their best to stay alive.

In the pond

by Stan Absher

the mountain​
is not a mountain ​

it is mountain with dragonfly​
with overhanging trees​

their leaves spotted yellow​
with early summer heat​

in the pond the mountain​
is a spotted leaf​

in the pond the mountain​
does not have a backside​

it is all there before us​
dragonfly and leaf ​

under the mountain the minnow ​
cannot see the mountain​

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Crow Dead in a Field

by Ray Greenblatt

Crow on a fence
his eye a knothole,
spreading wings so black
they blend with tree branches above
that rise gracefully,
his observation static
as the length of fence itself.
Crow’s caw a nail down
a sheet of metal,
catching sifted light
his gray-blues of darkness
become parts of machinery,
          long rusting like crow's blood
          matting ruffled feathers.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

ground-loving thrasher
                  stopping
           under the peach tree

Lines

by Roberta Beach Jacobson

a bloom of jellyfish when the ocean warms

Lines

by Susan N Aassahde

scorpion haze knees
trapeze dash
pears mountain sand

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pieces of Eight

by Marc Carver

We went into the tropic garden
butterflies everywhere
I put my hands out hoping one would land on me
but none did.
Then half way round a big one came down and sat on her shoulder
like a parrot
I thought it would fly off but it stayed with her all the way round.
When we got to the exit she looked at me
If we take it out there it will die I said
So eventually I got it off and it just sat on a leaf.
Of course all it wanted was to die
I see that now

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Lines

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman,, I.W.B.S.

                                         breath of pond water
thunder   lightning flash   rain stops
                an old frog singing