Category Archives: Poetry

The Jumping Off Place by Diana Pinckney

slats with light and shadow
 

The Jumping Off Place Josephine Hopper’s comment on husband Edward’s painting, Rooms by the Sea, 1951   Azure waves float two rooms            a door opens                       catching the ocean breeze sunlight streams            in a part of this suite                       where under a slice of picture the red sofa invites            shadowed in blue-gray                       the corner of a chest no balcony   no steps   no sand            the jumping off place                       for someone who gazes from these disembodied rooms            waiting for the horizon                       to widen   the sea to deepen who would want            to be drifting here                       only a seeker of the spare ways            a … Continue reading The Jumping Off Place by Diana Pinckney

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Old wooden garage in the countryside, black and white photo
 

My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966   Steel licenses, galvanized, nailed to the wall, black Virginia plates, rusted and dented, years spanning a life on this farm, his World War, to the second, his sons’, our fathers’. Children, we kneel before sagging cardboard on the oil-soaked dirt, reeking still of machines. Brittle pages crumbling as we rifle Field & Stream, National Wildlife. Silverfish scuttle. Dust rises in dimness. We peer into a fading Popular Science over and over, breathless and startled cousins whispering, sunburned noses turning up and freckled like our fair-haired fathers’. Rapt, as if I … Continue reading My Grandfather’s Garage, 1966; Heart Box by Lynda Fleet Perry

Promontory by Joan Colby

foggy sunrise through trees
 

Promontory   At the overlook, we could see four states If the fog had not rested its elephantine Rump upon the conifers. We can barely See each other, much less the road Switchbacking down the side of something Extraordinary, that we’d hoped to Experience, in full sun, even though We rose in and out of sudden Precipitation. The entrails of an owl Would predict a dirty soup Like purgatory where hopes are grey Bandages flapping loose over the red wound. A shaman burns the diary. This journey Must be undertaken. The valleys spread tables For … Continue reading Promontory by Joan Colby

Ferment by Lucy Alford

pruned fruit tree
 

Ferment   Orchard in February. Branches, matted as hair, litter the rows after pruning. Soil, strewn with old fruitfall, soaks in last season’s rancid sun seeped from these gnawed globes: Ambrosias, Auroras, Pink Ladies, now rusted and fleshless. Their skins peel back like those of fallen tomatoes in August,                    left to blister and stink. Small black birds sit motionless against blank and separate sky, below which, earth in hibernatory ferment concocts from sweetest Melus this bitter brandy for weathering out. One wavers a bit in its frieze. Even for them,             a little ivresse eases the … Continue reading Ferment by Lucy Alford

Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

sun rising behind clouds
 

Swimming in Akumal   You could learn to live here without ever measuring time in linear seconds or distance in the miles we journey. Everything here is cyclical and circular like the half moon bay we swim in. Sun and wind are nature’s runes, marking summer solstice, or storms churning in from sea. You could learn to forget here, drifting in emerald water among sea turtles and fish the color of fruit–kiwi, mango, papaya– and all around you, coral reefs rising like sacred temples from the ocean’s floor, their exotic bloom luring you beyond the … Continue reading Swimming in Akumal by Jo Kennedy

Sorrow by Whitney Hill

several scarlet macaws squawikng
 

Sorrow   Sometimes I think I own sorrow like the man who parades his macaw up and down the shopping street, shit on his back, smiling. The bird is sweet and talkative, but his wings are clipped. Sorrow kept too long forgets to leave, forgets it belongs to everyone and no one, in a rainforest smashing Brazil nuts with a hundred other wildly colored beasts. Whitney Roberts Hill has been a blog contributor, columnist, book reviewer, and content editor. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in anthologies and online publications, including The American Book … Continue reading Sorrow by Whitney Hill

First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems


 

First Dog: A Love Song   You didn’t even want it. You said it was much too nervous, inappropriate for us who had never owned a dog, and wrong for our cold climate. It would have to wear a sweater, we would become the sort of people who put a sweater on their dog. You said a greyhound was appropriate for racing or for show, not for friendship, not to love. It would try to hunt, I told you, would track small cats and squirrels but obey when we said heel. If we let it … Continue reading First Dog: A Love Song by Rachel Willems

Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

closeup of banjo frets
 

Reno and Smiley in Verona   Walking not far from Juliet’s graffitied house, a window gives its music to the alley below— Appalachian spring tripping on love. I hear I Wouldn’t Change You if I Could.                                   * An unintended plot comes back to me— how fifty years ago we drove south to Stuart’s Draft to hear Reno and Smiley play, a hay wagon above us, haloed by the setting sun, singing their country’s tunes.                        Don’s banjo sowed the seeds of bluegrass with Lee’s March                        and Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die. Have you forgotten the … Continue reading Reno and Smiley in Verona by Frederick Wilbur

From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

comet in sky
 

From Ice and Dust   All summer long, a comet streaks, star blown and cold, as I walk, hollow boned thin ribbed, a scarecrow loosed upon the night, trailing cotton. How elastic the hands once, thick with boxwood and petunias, a plump face blankly ignorant of kneecaps and hips, their gray, aching moonscape. In the dark closeted sky, original dust returns, its tiny, solid planet flashes the same blinkered path always, a brightness not consuming itself, a body falling, falling for miles, whole and unbroken. Sharon Ackerman is a poet residing in Albemarle County, Virginia. … Continue reading From Ice and Dust by Sharon Ackerman

Somewhere in Arizona by Marsha Owens

inside of Antelope Canyon sandstone formations
 

Somewhere in Arizona   dusk swallowed the day we spent in gold-red dirt tracing rocks with unsteady feet where each thin-air breath seemed as tentative as tomorrow. So we slowed our pace, you and I, we who brought our wounded selves to each other, paused to feel the earth’s arms around us when down in the clearing like a child’s painting splashed onto a concrete page, the doe took center stage—just a whisper, watery legs sufficient, her elegant head arced downward. She knew I watched. She didn’t care how I envied her vulnerable assurance and … Continue reading Somewhere in Arizona by Marsha Owens