Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Old Stone Wall

by Anne McMaster

So much is lost.
I walk the lane this silent autumn night
up towards the old farm.
A soft mist hangs low on empty, moss-edged fields
and the patient wildflower scent is strong.
Three small girls – three ghosts –
tumble behind me as I go:
racing past me up the summer lane to find their father at the hay -
chasing a small dog, yelping, laughing,
carrying a bottle of tea and a wrapped piece for the hungry man.
Walking behind the trailer on an autumn dusk
hair prickling with flecks of straw
mouths sweet and dark with blackberries
plucked warm from an August hedge.
Then huddled, silent and golden-eyed on a dark October night
watching bonfire sparks burst up to the stars -
their peach-soft skin blushed with heat
each goose-bumped with fear of the encroaching night.

The lands and farm are gone.
Sold on, re-worked, the houses razed.
Only the old stone wall – aged older than the girls – remains.
We climbed it then
a barrier rough and tall;
a challenge to our brief-lived years.
Now, tonight, I see it as a thing of timeless beauty:
of workmanship and pride.

The three small girls tumble over it
riotous and laughing
and are gone.

Eternity Turn

by Winston Derden

Consider the cleverness of the Cooper’s hawk
who glides disguised the upslope of the roof,
crests the ridge, and dives on pigeons
perched at the feeder hanging from the eave next door:

the crash and sway, the spilling of seeds,
the prey pinned against the box,
the futile flap of wings
as talons sink in, and the predator

rises above the roofline, bundle compacted,
elevating toward hungry chicks hidden away
in a nest new-found since the city sawed down
the elm that canopied the park, a disease in its heart.

Pestilence and predation invert the arc;
the cycle turns on the wings of a hawk.

Late September

by Ben Rasnic

Earth sheds
its worn, frayed coat
of Indian Summer,

cools in the silent
avalanche
of deep, sleeping leaves. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Hush

by Kimberly Behre Kenna

The secret of dawn
Tucked in the cup of the moon
Dark brew, gold nectar

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Uruguayan Autumn

by Terrence Sykes

orchards so ancient
now copse
olives & quinces
gather along  the ridge
as it slopes toward the arroyo grande
bulrushes  & cattails
merge coverage confuse
water & terra firma

ombra of figs clustered about
our little yet warm cottage
autumn rains already filled
heady aromas in the empty
mushroom baskets commingling
with the fragrance of last night’s
boiled cabbage and boar
eggs & potatoes pile
upon the overflowing table

chest of drawers laden
with forage jams
cupboards hold jars
pickled okra & green beans
harvested from the reluctant garden
rutabagas & pumpkins await in the
darkened unheated stone room
with garlic from several moons ago

all these a bit of autumn light
stored away to ward off
darkness of winter
clouds block the sky
dawn will arrive
of its own will

Intimations
Waimea Falls, Oahu

by Amy Uyematsu

something about the hush
                            beyond trees
     an afternoon
           drunk with the scent
                                    of hibiscus
        white ginger & orange

silence is this river
                snaking through the old
     canyon walls
                   water rushing
           to answer             hidden
                           bed of stones

& one more offering
                           of clouds
     as wind paints sky     each
                  different stroke     born
            from a thousand
                         nascent breezes

Too Much With Us

by Anita Sullivan

I jump into the hinge of light leaning open
against the Japanese Maple's trunk,

August grass hay-colored and inert upon the yard,
with no agenda,
reflecting nothing.

(This is where laughter resides
its mansion of fireflies).

The setting sun a serpent's tongue across the dessicated grass,
feeling for reflections, strikes
horizontal against the sunflowers in the raised bed, most of them
facing the wrong direction
for their own good reason,

reminds me of yesterday

the photos
on the wall of the eye doctor's room
the black holes in the exact center
of the rayed orange circles – how the eye resembles
(when photographed thus) – a sunflower
how the pupil, dark with seed-threads
inadequately
contracts to avoid blindness, counts on us
to always turn away.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zion

by Arinda duPont

In March, the perfume of orange blossoms fills the air.
Humming birds fly beside hibiscus flowers sipping nectar.
Spring fades to summer in an instant.
There are no clouds
Just yellow grass, Palo Verde trees and orange sunsets.
In September, the scent of rye clippings and Jasmin blooms is carried by the wind
Up mountains and down valleys.
Geese fly overhead squabbling in a big V,
“Zion, Zion, where art thou?”
In the Arizona winter.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Lines

by Carl Mayfield

western kingbirds
        remembering which tree
     catches the sun first

En Plein Air

by M.J. Iuppa

1.

Overcast and steamy, the gray sky
warps beneath brushstrokes, thick
then fine, illustrating the fitful flight
of a hawk chased by a sparrow beyond
the old sugar maple casting its shadow
over a field of ripe straw— beyond
the fallen barn’s pretext.

2.

Mums the word. Who said that?
Everything in the cemetery is dead.
Someone left a fistful of mums
pressed against a granite marker.

3.

Grass turns yellow by August. Not
dead, but asleep. Maybe practically
dead, since it doesn’t grow until
it rains. It hasn’t rained in weeks.

Why the wrens are silent before Winter

by Ergene Kim

the dying bit of bluegrass
in the shallow corners of
the darkened meadow, covered
with the shadow of snow,
must have forgotten. There are
no wrens in winter.

and so the lone wind
sings again among the willows.
Whoosh, whoosh, it says, and
the sound of midnight is not lost.
Dare to sing with me, says the Wren,
and she is gone, like all the rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Encounter on Effigy Hill

by Darrell Petska

Whomever you are,
leave this sacred mound
slumbering for millennia
among switchgrass and brome.

I am Turkey Mother,
spirit guardian of those
gone to the upper world
in the great migration of the dead.

Yes, run! And should you be spared
my pounding claws and lancing beak,
know I am pledged to my people
frantically calling me back.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Horse Sees Things Differently

by Karen Poppy

Among each of these twenty
Snowy mountains, grass moves
If you look down to see it.

I look, and I nibble
As much as I can.
They want me to look up.
A blackbird shadows our sky.

I do not need to see
The blackbird to know
Its shadow.

Man fears more than he knows.
I fear some things I know,
And it’s not the blackbird.

I fear rain and wind,
But never snow, nor shadow.
I fear snapping twigs
Until they remind me to eat.

I see a maple leaf
And grow hungry for it,
Blackbird be damned.

The blackbird knows better.
It moves to a cedar tree.

The wind moves and fear runs
Through my ears and I
Mistake nothing of my fear.

A man and a woman
And a blackbird.
The taut
Telephone wires of my reins.

The river is moving.
So let me graze.
The blackbird watches overhead.

Imbros Gorge

by Joanne Veiss-Zaken

Uneven seam darts through Cretan rock
a crooked old man through eons

where donkeys once tread
paths spiral and turn
small tremors barely discernable
vibrate through the island

cicadas chant
forte then piano
entertaining those foolish enough
to walk the twisted line

wild goats watch and wonder
why we do this.

Acid Rain

by Violet Mitchell

Electricity is the cream filling of our country—
even the fish see it as art. Genocide is a strong adjective,

but there are ghosts who linger under highways, dead with
half-tweeted comments. We make crop circles out of juice

boxes, conspiracies from viewfinder scratches. Our misplaced
strands of hair became the fuses for abundant plastic lighters.

Soon we will feast on chicken pot pie, but all the birds OD’d
on hormones and now we eat the extra platypuses that wash

ashore. You & I dig our toes in glowing sand, nets in hand,
scouting for dinner and anything normal.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Skating on Thin Ice

by John Dorroh

                                   data-driven dreams of majestic
white mountains, of fur and snow and ice, jutting
thousands of meters into a frigid blue sky

                                    birthing glaciers for ruby-cheeked
tourists, too anxious for the all-you-can-eat buffet, forget
the puffins and whales who will always be on exhibit here
in this frozen wasteland

                                    our clock is speeding up, accelerating,
in fact, along a doomsday strip of thinning ice. we must kiss
this place, pull it in to our breasts, savor, leave it alone

Sunday, September 2, 2018

U-nomia

by Josephine Greenland

A biological cartographer
in a bracken of unclassifieds
I pass through nomenclature
microscope for an eye.

Here is dwarf willow,
creeping the earth carpet
catkins tilted to buttercup sun
- the Ranunculus on cumulus.

Yellow catkins and red catkins,
I signify you male and female.

I classify you: woody plant, diocious.
I baptize you: Salix Herbacea,
I sample you: Regnum Vegetabile.
I dry your leaves, for montage in glass.
I translate you.
Perhaps
I forget you.

I walk for etymology.

My undulating latin tracks
mapping stony Nordic expanse.

Here, the genus of bell heathers.
There, the acidity of wolf lichen.

A biological cartographer
in an ecology of names
trampling the bracken of unclassifieds.

The Sky Ungainly

by David Anthony Sam

Becoming one with slow wind,
the heron rises in awkward launch

to gray uncertainty of clouds,
mist wavering dawn light.

This ungainly flight wisdoms
in feathers and spindly legs,

lifting from the long patience
of stillness and waiting.

She flies hollow bones that
inward shape her rising to gray light.

A squall descends, disappearing
her feathered motion into mist.

Summer Harbor Fall Shore

by Michael Mogel

The growling morning sea invades the pier and gulps the wooden legs that sway high tide.  Here migratory fish feed among the weeds; and boys with worms and lines play tag up on the pier.  The flapping chilly bass with swelling gills are picked up by the tail – dropped in canvas sacks to die. The boys withdraw when fish dart away. Then low noon tide leaves slime on the pier where salted wooden planks sun dry until high tide.  Sun browned grass growing in the sand bends death like as if praying for a merciful intermission.  The fall invasion wastes no time.  Rocks jounce on blowzy glass; above the sea-smashed shells the seagulls hunt trapped small fish and junk from picnics left last June. A dory moored against the waves slams a quay whose old gray boards twist and creak; the bracing poles stand firm in gale.  Boat shaped clouds drift by as salted wind blows down and down the wet weed shore and smooths the glass that's made from sand, sandblasts the junk, and turns the shells to dust.