Category Archives: Poetry

Impostor by Caleb Coy

tractor tracks crisscrossed in mud
 

Impostor   I am in the dirt and the dirt is in me I am the flow of me recently From the valley insignia clay came I From the mountain foot crust came I Am I the son of two righteous souls? Am I not the path my feet were put on? A path of mirrors, of arrows lined Who told me to set foot here? Who formed my face just so? I feel my heart say this and that I see my tracks run about and I do not know mine from mine I … Continue reading Impostor by Caleb Coy

Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

finger pointing to white wall with stark shadow
 

Still Life   In the painting Ram’s Head with Hollyhock there is a melding of bones and sky and desert, no beginning or end, just the eye sockets of a skull transfixed on the faraway and in the foreground, red hills and cedar. I imagine O’Keefe walking in the desert at night, catching a glint at her feet — a shell, a stone — and stooping to gather it up, discovering the bleached bones of a skull, vast and empty and beautiful, like her desert. She must have rotated it in her hands that night … Continue reading Still Life and Equinox, 2 Poems by Jo Kennedy

Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer

man smoking cigarette silhouetted against sunset
 

Smoke   When it’s almost too dark to see, my uncle sits out on the back porch, rolling a cigarette, holding it up to his mouth for the lick. He’s trying to remember a boy from the next farm lowered beneath the sod in a slow rain fallen more than fifty years ago. Striking the sunset of a match, his worn face flares up an instant. The green wicker chair creaks when he settles back, head at rest against the siding, white smoke clouded around him, coffin lining. Taking another drag, he picks tobacco from … Continue reading Smoke by Ronald Stottlemyer

The Return of the Woolly Mammoth by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

Snowy forest and lake
 

The Return of the Woolly Mammoth   You rarely wore it, though you yourself chose the color, midnight blue, and knee-length cut. In derision, you named it “the woolly mammoth,” pointing to its Pleistocene proportions. Still, at each sign of snow, I nagged you to wear it. The last time I saw you, you confessed you’d have to give it away. “Not one more winter,” you swore. Yet when you chose it once more, were you thinking of me? Last of its species, the mammoth was hunted to extinction. In a different Ice Age, it … Continue reading The Return of the Woolly Mammoth by Sharon Kennedy-Nolle

As Briefly as Salmon by Wulf Losee

rainbow prism in a spray of water
 

As Briefly as Salmon   clouds part we drive on rain-slicks of light cars before us trailing little rainbows in tire sprays fountains from the road up the shoreline under the shadow of rain we release the sun from our sight that our bodies can trap and hold that light for the flesh of an instant as briefly as salmon that leap fully into the air we hang for a moment on arcs water falling trails of quicksilver immortal for a moment the vision’s released Wulf Losee lives and works in the San Francisco Bay … Continue reading As Briefly as Salmon by Wulf Losee

Because by Charles Kell

swirl of orange sparkler light in a dark tunnel
 

Because For Yannis Ritsos Because the watcher wrote red on the shop’s wall, because the half-candle was stolen & sold for fuel, because the innocent got hit with a cold, wet branch, because the town is divided by a line of blood in the sand, because the drug you bought was dropped in the ditch, because the sky is burnished with orange not unlike a lockman’s smile, because this rusty box houses a severed finger from an unknown hand, because the woman you saw walking in the market carried a purse made of flies, because … Continue reading Because by Charles Kell

Pecking and Nature Walk, 2 poems by Mark Belair

monochromatic image of pigeon preening feathers
 

Pecking   A pigeon pecking its tail clean on a shady tenement fire escape gives me pause to feel, in its twisting instinct, the fact of life after death— not an afterlife of mine, but of its spawning species after my demise, each bird in each generation curled and tucked toward its tail, each making a soft, gray, feathery circle surrounding—as if protecting— its heart, its presence in my lost paradise.   Nature Walk   The windblown side of a tree trunk stands drenched, its opposing side dry, the sky— half blue, half clouded— also … Continue reading Pecking and Nature Walk, 2 poems by Mark Belair

Where I First Was Happy by Brian Koester

dust in Nevada desert
 

Where I First Was Happy   The twilight was never silver, but the trees were Russian olives. I was the only thing that bloomed there. Grandma’s petunias back by the house were really white, And the pair of white horses never lay down. The rest was grey: barns and fence posts In matching dust, fine and smooth as refined flour. Stirred up it could hang and fade like fog. Now I feel like dust dispersed in air, Settling over hours, days, taking the shape Of what it touches, to move through high desert On Grandad’s … Continue reading Where I First Was Happy by Brian Koester

Thirty-Three; Now to Discover by Joan Mazza

vinyl record
 

Thirty-Three   The number of vertebrae in the human spine when coccyx bones are counted individually. The temperature at which water boils on the Newton scale. In Fahrenheit, just above freezing. It’s a not-so-secret symbol for the KKK, where each K is the 11th letter of the alphabet, times three. Who died at 33? Perhaps Alexander the Great. Yes, and Eva Braun, Hitler’s lover, was a suicide. Sam Cooke’s age, when he was murdered at the Hacienda Motel. John Belushi overdosed. Jesus the Christ was crucified at 33, after 33 miracles. Count them yourself, if … Continue reading Thirty-Three; Now to Discover by Joan Mazza

Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer

flooding river waters
 

Flood   Small hands pull a mud-stained pillowcase across wet ground, prized possessions, blessings still bound, boxes filled with half-spilled lives, lugged uphill. Hear the river roar: I take all I take all from those who look back.   Listen           I came here to count the bells that live upon the surface of the sea… “Here” by Pablo Neruda Now on this turquoise sea glitter a million silver reflections of the morning sun. And I think they make no sound at all— Still, I listen. Judith Grissmer has been published in The Alembic, Burningword, … Continue reading Flood; Listen by Judith Grissmer