Sunday, November 29, 2020

Lines

By Christina Chin

Morning thrushsong

In the cedar woods

winter mountain

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Lines

by Carl Mayfield 

a few starlings--
  murmuration 
   rippling the blue

On Warm Springs Road, Garden Valley, Idaho

by Yash Seyedbagheri

road curves
full of dirt and gravel
along with shadows and midafternoon light
sky is pale blue.
a stump sits among
leaning Ponderosa pines 

Egret Ghost

by Wesley D. Sims
  
Near nightfall
a great egret
flaps in over
a copse of
hardwood trees,
takes up
station beside
dull green reeds,
now slivers
of shadow
on the pewter
colored lake.
Standing still
as a small statue,
as darkness
descends
he becomes
emblazoned
on blackness
of water
like a ghost
of egrets past.

Abandonment

by Rose Menyon Heflin

Regal Sandhill cranes
high-stepping
silently,
slowly,
grubbing their way
across the open field

are migrating,
going somewhere.
Bosque del Apache awaits.

Fjord Tanka

by Sterling Warner
 
Winter vortex taps
frozen oak ferns and grass snakes
leaves snowy shrouds
dusts Olympic Mountain crests
far across the Hood Canal.

Fall Migration

by Maia Persche

Under the purple dogwood leaves
close to the prairie grasses
sinking down.
A thin note, an icicle
falling into snow.
A breeze through dry cattails.

White-throated sparrow,
quiet traveler.
Watching the world with dark eyes
you have the night sky in your feathers.

There’s a star map above us
waiting to grow bright again.
There’s a constellation of landbirds around us
waiting to rise up
from the tangled branches.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Autumn

 by Larissa Peters

The silent float
into a crisp cold.
A simple
touch
could 
disintegrate 
the very 
veins

[            ]

of the 
hundred year 
oak.

Stoic

by Tom Husson

The wood railings are capped 
in the storm, Cardinal’s red feather 
arrows fly from snowy ground 
onto grey branches, milkweed  
stalks scratch the air, hay humps 
coveted by the horses are silhouettes, 
there will be no sun showing today. 
white by snow, color flashes 

Lines

by Doug Lanzo

evening crows gather
at Silver Creek waters
peering at rainbow trout 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Mountain Refrain

by Clint Bowman

Water droplets
         tap smooth granite,
                                  seep
                                  into
                                  moss
                                    then
                                     fall
                                       onto
                                            a
                                        laurel branch
           
                        and feed the Swannanoa River
                 that flows west,
flows west.

Lines

by Susan N Aassahde

auburn combine fleece
noon easel 
pontoon snow ricochet

Sumac

by Carol Farnsworth

red seed pods
stand tall amidst
rosy leaves

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sassafras

by Carol Farnsworth

sassafras
burnt orange in undergrowth
sway in wind

Shell

by Marla Sterling

Aged oyster shell, adrift on the sand
rocked by the shore’s gentle waves;
moved, defiant of station
in life or in death

Drilled body, ports to open air 

When wet, a rainbow of watered silvers and golds
pay obeisance to the single purple patch, legacy earned
from a long-lost connection

Layers extruded over years, long debrided by sand,
again reach the air, now as chipped and fragile ridges
whose losses have joined the fabric
of its destruction, creating the world in which it lies
in this littoral ebb and flow

Lines

by Marilyn Dancing Deer Ward

across the beck
willowherb seeds 
on autumn wind

Thursday, November 12, 2020

November Garden

by John Muro
 
Bright enough to serve
As footlights, chrysanthemums
Of nursery pink and milk-
Tooth white appear like
Garden lanterns, florets
Illuminating mulch
And the mottled trunks
Of birch. The tree’s
Lower branches are
Eerily under-lit and
Sway in deciduous
Decadence – yellow-
Gold glistening –
While kerchiefs of bark
Are cast towards a
Dwindling audience
Of distracted crows.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Promise of a Heron

by Shelly Jones 

We don our masks each morning, step out into crisp 
sunshine, head up the hill, backs hunched, legs 
propelling us back in time to a safer version of ourselves.

We walk, ghost-like, on the empty campus: sheet-less 
mattresses, broken screens, a collage of sticky notes 
in a window spelling out “hi!” - a greeting from a lost 
species picked up by u-haul trucks, parents’ SUVs. 

We press on up the hill, breath no longer jagged, flagging, 
our lungs acclimated to the climb made so often - two, 
three times a day. There is nothing else to do, we think,
but that is not why we come. A shadow passes over us, 

darkening our faces. We look up, stop, point at the grey-blue 
bird - its wingspan prehistoric, its neck u-shaped, reminding 
us to turn around, look down the hill, at all we’ve climbed. 
We wait till we can no longer see the heron, start down the hill, 
passing the pond, its nest tucked in the reeds at the far side. 

We walk home, knowing we will head out again tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ghost trees

by M. Bennett

The Osage Orange hedgerow 
torn utterly from its foundation. 
Only a few mangled, lemon-curry roots 
lay exposed against darkest soil.

The mile-long sentry against 
wind and erosion dislodged from its 
WPA-appointed post with 
industrial efficiency.   

The dustbowl a 
distant abstraction. 

I still drive the road 
widened into the void.
The striated, serpentine bark 
of the gnarled trees, 
yellowed hedge apples decaying
beneath bowed, unkempt branches,
as clear still, clearer even,
than the emptiness just 
beyond the throw of the headlights.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Enough

by Pepper Trail
 
The mountain is a mountain of stone
The valley is a valley of dust
 
The mantra in my head, making the drive
from Summer Lake to Wagontire, winding around
the hogback buttes on Lake County Road 2-06
before dropping down to the wide salt skirts of Lake Abert,
car juddering on the washboard, forever fleeing its white shadow
of dust, which catches us at every stop, wraps us, chokes us.
 
But on that mountain grow fat leaves of stonecrop,
seeming to wring water from the very stones, and in the dust a flower
called Dusty Maidens, disheveled heads powdery, but beneath,
a modest loveliness.  And in the sky a nighthawk, so high it is invisible,
but its nasal summoning cry ringing that blue and borderless bell, while
from the horizon-filling sagebrush the songs of meadowlarks rise in celebration
of  all that stone and dust provide.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Ring-Billed Gull

by Royal Rhodes

A Ring-billed gull
gulping cast-off waste
around a hulking rusty hull
that roamed the gulf's expanse
ate the rubbish in a haste --
a white form floating on the darkened waves
with yellow legs to dance
beside a sea of graves.

They  watch the sea
and salt-marsh estuaries
these breeding birds in symmetry
ignore a plastic owl
where a tidal river marries
with the sea, as one repairs its nest
like any fish or fowl
beyond this sand-dune's crest.

This chiseled beach
is thick with horse-shoe crabs,
and inland, far as it can reach,
is twisted kelp
where watchful, hungry gulls can stab
at food in heaps on barges that they crowned,
while giving unpaid help
to cleanse the cluttered ground.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Lines

by Marilyn Dancing Deer Ward

wild barley
balances 
a drop of rain 

Baileya

by Larkin Pazanova

Mountains rise harsh
Sun bakes the cracked grass
The Baileya still blooms

Lines

by Christina Chin

darkening 
the autumn sunset 
kraa of crows 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Lines

by Christina Chin

whirling 
drift wood red with silt
plum rain season

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Scavenge

by Anita Sullivan

The Anna's hummingbird sitting on the willow twig
makes a private, smug little sound
like gargling zippers. She is taking a break
from her hourly scan of the few remaining
Salvia microphyla blossoms, the October
holdouts. The usual summer spats are
largely gone, the birds finally able to honor
the social distancing their protocol demands,
but high energies cannot tolerate.

Poke! Poke! goes the black-scimitar beak
in what must be a version of scraping
the pudding from the bottom of the bowl.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Minnows in a Tide Pool

by Howie Good
 
They’re what happens
when flickers of flame
can survive in water

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Lines

by Veronika Zora Novak

crouching feral cat
the swaying glow 
of pampas grass 

September Night, Garden Valley, Idaho

by Yash Seyedbagheri
 
Up Sunrise Drive,
Ponderosa pines line the road
black shadows
a nearly full moon is in the sky
pine needles sprinkled across the road
crickets and frogs call
air is crisp

Lines

by  Rp verlaine

lightning storm
wearing black better
than night

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

japanese inn

by I.W.B.S. Sister Lou Ella Hickman

wind
   blowing seaward

the door opens
   i stand
watching the wind

tomorrow
   my son will die
the door closes
my bath is ready

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Up in the Hills

by Ray Greenblatt

they are listening,
in the growing season
the speckled light
is part of their covering . . .

in winter woods
they can see distances,
mist from their breathing
cloaks them . . .

their history has been a long one
hart, roe, hind . . 

Breathing

by Rachel Lee

Saturday evening, orange-gold light slants
through the palm grove, glazes across the clearing.
Here, the rose-ringed parakeets fly as if breathing—
in circles, they rise, fall, rise again. The air thrums
with their shrieks.

Ancient history

by Shannon Cuthbert
 
Birthed in a time of drought and flame,
a cacophony of gypsy moths with mouths like our own.
Later we’ll find it hard to describe their buttermilk stench,
their sponge wings spouting ink.
So young, language claws loose.
We run through the slash of branches on skin.
Caterpillars moist emerge from our lips.
A simple trick: the apple applied to the swelling bruise
becomes the poison you most crave. 

Friday, October 16, 2020

Conservation of Angular Momentum

by Virginia Aronson

Consider the turning of the sun
and staring up
waiting for fever, questioning
blinding reflections
as a double
consciousness.

Consider loose deer bobbing
through thick pine, white 
tails flashing
in the moonlight
knowing, brilliant
wisdom you can't acquire
online, in video chats.

Between the next star
and here, or here
between the sun-dried skulls
of the wild animals among us
there is just one burning
question:
how does it feel to be
the problem?


Consider the naked empire
built on an enriched soil
of darkness and lies
the carriers
vulnerable to the invisible:
pass down the bucket.

Consider this too: what if
the world is stunned
into silence.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The fig and the wasp

by Stephen Lang

Desperate, she burrows into soft flesh-
Shedding her subtle, ethereal wings
That sped her on this single flight-
The clandestine bloom obliging,
Towards the pulpy pouch, wherein
She’ll disgorge her treasured eggs and die.
Her brood will mate and fly the fig,
The females on their final flight,
Pregnant and, unknowing, tagged
With sticky, figgy sex-dust,
To proliferate perpetual fruit
That feeds the needful forest from
The generous parasite, keystone strangler,
Hollow-latticed, steep cathedral,
From which Hathor herself evolves,
To welcome home each weary soul. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Endangered Frisco Clover

by Lynne Goldsmith

You’re hanging on with taproot intact,
reddish-purple blooms, shallow ground
among pinion, juniper, sagebrush
spread out, gravel making room
for “invasive” plants to settle
with joining the heavy dust
to pare down seedbanks,
pollination viability,
in these your few areas                                   
of Utah wilderness for growth,
your only home
among miners eroding the earth,
removing the soils,
digging for gold.

Monday, October 12, 2020

The water drops

by Dmitry Blizniuk
 
The brief rain is over, but it has glazed the world,
and a crow fools around trying to catch
water drops falling from the roof,
like fish falling from the sky.
He is so happy;
he jumps away,
puffs his chest, ruffles his feathers emotionally,
then attacks the drops again.
And the drops have already pecked
holes in the dirt
in the shape of a future flute.

(translated from the original Russian by Sergey Gerasimov)

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Drought

by Pamela Nocerino
 
Riverside dirt 
was the bed
in more generous weather.
Now, smooth gravel and unnatural debris
tuck the edges of barely-there banks
and cracked, ash-dusted surfaces
make haunting patterns
of parched 
parched
need.

Full Moon, With Stars

by GTimothy Gordon
 
The full moon rises, pauses,
takes its place among all              
midsummer stars not known
for color, shape, size,
overwrought pride,
full moon, with stars,
the kind of night thing,
above all, we wish ever
with us, in a dark time,
never not be new.

Shingles

by Arriama Matlock-Abdullah 

Shag wood hickory
Bark jetting away from the tree trunk
Suspended in mid air  

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Alive

by Darrell Petska

gray squirrel

measured steps forward
hold
side flip left
hold
side flip right
millisecond hold
dart toward fence post
wheel/dart back
hold
hold
right roll twice

red cardinal alights
left glance
right glance

gone

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Awakening

by Shayan Kothari (high school writer)

Splayed wings of a kingfisher 
make seldom appearance 
above city embers.
The sky slumbers, finally.
Flapping softens, 
evaporation into holograms, 
cotton-woven cumulus
dissolving into night's 
marmalade.
Spangled skies illuminated alas.
From a distant silo 
whelm the undulating
tears of Western Scheldt. 
Its dace rejoice,
for estuarial squalling
behold the return of
kingfisher.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Brotherhood

by Lynne Goldsmith

No brewer’s blackbird in the lavender
but a brotherhood of cowbirds’ oratorio of feasting
on a stump with seeds and cracked corn
celebration as they raise their backs and heads,
puff out breasts, spread their tails, lift their wings,
and bow 
again     and again     and again.

Harvest

by Elise Woods

Ripping wheat from fields
Deer abundant til winter
Harvest will provide

Haibun

by Darrell Petska

Craggy burr oaks blot a waning moon. In the savanna, cricket songs cease. A screech owl somewhere among the stars has the final say. Weighty silence engulfs space, stills time, swallows a lone firefly’s blink. A foot, a hoof, disturb the woodland brome. They meld into night.   

  eight glinting moons
  snared by the dark branches—
  possum family

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lines

by Pawel Markiewicz

autumnal buckrams
the last roses sobbing of
flowering seasons

White Body of a Woman
for Madeline

by Rabbi Steven Lebow
 
Blossom of pure light, 
white body of a woman on a stem. 
without you, the world will not slough off its snow, 
nor the night fill up with dew. 
 
Pools of dark water, 
dark history of the petals of the eyes, 
that fell beneath the hand of winter. 
beneath the cold eye of the moon. 
 
You ask me not to write about your body 
and your modesty increases my desire. 
I sow the myth and reap the metaphor, 
white flower in the dark earth of the soul. 
 
Without you, the world cannot blow the candles out, 
nor the night lay down its head. 
You paralyze the stamen of the heart, 
white flower of the woman in the moon. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Carrion

by John Grey

The crows perch on the upper branches,
three glossy-coated undertakers
clucking how good they have it.

On the roadway below,
small mammals chance their luck,
are surprised to find they have none.

Squirrel squashed overnight,
the crows drop down for burial rites,
their beaks for pall-bearers,

stomachs for coffins.
Occasional cars interrupt the ceremony.
But these birds are not at risk from traffic.

Their radar sends them skyward
should anything approach.
Then the coast clears, the service recommences.

The crows are no choir. No mistaking them
for summer warblers. Their loud caw celebrates
a reverent feast, a glorious interment.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Grass

by Lydia Chapman

Grass among gravestones
keeping good company
to the forgotten