Tag Archives: Summer 2017

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

Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett


 

Bonnie took a toothpick and dug at her fire-eaten scalp. Fifteen more minutes. Her mama always loved Bonnie’s red curls. “Just as sweet as the bluebirds singing in the oaks,” Mama would whisper to her. “God spun those curls out of fire with his little finger just for you, precious.” Maybe that’s why the perm solution and the hair dye burned so bad: Bonnie was trying her best to take on God’s job. In the past few years, her perfects curls had turned into frizzy wires and her flame-red hair diluted into a muddy rust. … Continue reading Drive-Thru Angel by Lynne T. Pickett

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

I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett

cut tree trunk
 

I Have   I have never been so tired in my whole life. The mountains run across the river—pointing like a knife. Forlorn boathouses perched out on rotting piers. Empty lots of naked scrub. A water tower. A column of fire. The lattice of clouds make sparkling fishmouth, the intervening atmosphere, twinkling distant lights. Crepuscular, this stand of trees. In my hands, a paperback— its yellowing leaves. Everything I have and everything I need.   Home   It may not be as surprising to you as it was surprising to me to learn that a … Continue reading I Have; Home by Benjamin Harnett

Ernestine Goes to Heaven by Susan Heeger


 

“Old age ain’t no place for sissies,” the actress Bette Davis famously said, and these words reeled through Muffin’s head as she crammed a pill pocket down the throat of her ancient basset hound. Ernestine was no sissy. Overweight, asthmatic, maybe a little depressed, the dog had the droopy-eyed mournfulness of Davis during the late “Baby Jane” phase of her career. Some of her teeth had fallen out. Her swaybacked body was knobbed with benign tumors the vet said were “evidence of her aging immune system.” She smelled musty, cheesy, like a Brooklyn deli on … Continue reading Ernestine Goes to Heaven by Susan Heeger

Joshua Trees by Carla McGill

Joshua Tree National Park
 

Joshua Trees   They are repetitive across the hills for hours, stillness in the space around them. As for the sky, one dark cloud drawn out as if between two hands and me underneath, held together by skin, scrutinizing the world for severity, for intention, for final episodes. The other cars seem lost, but the road is even, the pavement, newly blackened and unbroken. Destinations and departures, resolutions of the human creature—they all soar past like blackbirds and hawks. It is the piercing alertness of the lizards that stays with me. I know they are … Continue reading Joshua Trees by Carla McGill

Beatitude by Sam Barbee

daffodils in snow
 

Beatitude   It is winter. It is cold. Meek sky offers no color. Hardwood skeletons assemble along the treeline. Roots knuckle up through blizzard’s encumbrance, grasping at sunrise. Rhododendrons sag, iced-over leaves weighted like bats roosting through chill’s clutch. Snow frosts the cedars’ dulled-blue berries and skulks backside shadows as along dark edges of the moon. I scuff out among other tracks across frost to seize prioritized news. Daffodils sprout behind liriope, fractures splitting freeze, peaceful blessings to scatter any frost, virtuous blooms declaring along the garden’s brink. Green shoots shame wisdom of the wise … Continue reading Beatitude by Sam Barbee

Felled by Sharon Louise Howard


 

  “While you’re not doing anything—again, today,” Manda said, “you can get estimates on having that tree cut down.” Ben rolled over and propped himself against the mahogany headboard. He pushed a strand of gray hair off his forehead and watched Manda pick through a dozen or more perfume bottles that took up a quarter of her vanity. “Think you have enough of them?” She selected one and put it aside. “You tell me. One for every Christmas, birthday, and anniversary since you stopped using your imagination.” “Forgot Valentine’s Day.” Ben stretched and thought about … Continue reading Felled by Sharon Louise Howard