The First Year Out – Holly Day

 

Numbers of geese flew overhead and you laughed at my excitement, our mutual

relief

at the sight of the old farm still standing, the broken windmill, the

outlying buildings.

They held a future we dreamed aloud – a vegetable garden,

flocks of chickens and turkeys, thick as clouds and eager for morning.

Your fingertips relieved the ache that settled into my shoulders

so many years before I’d lost count.

 

The ache set into new places, almost forgotten, for a little while longer

for a full season of wonder

as we made final promises against a sun that kept disappearing

as if into a great crack in a wall of reoccurring rainbows. You told me

about the geese

that would land in the new pond and stay, the cows that were coming soon

spoke as if we had a real destination, a plan.

 

I am still holding onto that first day, descending over barren hills

borders between states disappearing into thin spiderwebs crisscrossing a map

sacred ash in a smoldering iron pot. I remember when you laid out

your theory of the sun-scorched, explained how we

were just like those clouds of birds that came to rest on the flat, golden

plains around us

their feathers taunting us our slow, tired bondage to earth.

It all made so much sense back then.

 

 

Holly Day bioHolly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center
in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, and Ugly Girl.

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Three Quatrains – Don Thompson

 

Frost Moon, November

 

Cold and desiccated, the full moon

Broods just above the hills,

Its light through autumn haze

Like dust rising from ice.

*

 

Bristlecone Pine

 

Rooted the hard way into stone

And exposed to inhuman weather,

Nothing ever disturbs it inside

Its exoskeleton of loneliness.

*

 

Drought

 

Doves on a stunned afternoon

Flutter from dust to branch and back again,

Gray and taupe, seeds of rain clouds

With nowhere to take root.

**

 

 

Don Thompson 3Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. He has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a dozen books and chapbooks. For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink (don-e-thompson.com).

Pumpkin Breath – John Michael Flynn

 

Across my palms, skin has swelled in lumps

crackled like these pumpkins around us.

I try to lift one and imagine the face I’ll carve.

A pebbled orange orb, it drops rotten from its hooked stem.

Its smell is foul, its seeded shards like wet pottery.

Not that one, but there are others to bring home.

 

We walk further down the row. Around us, blue hills rise.

I fall out of rank from the explosive legion

of voices that tends to invade quietude in such settings.

I squeeze my wife’s hand, hear again a word I cannot define.

It’s like an aunt dead and buried,

the one I’ve got a picture of but have never met.

 

What is it about such a word and its elusive associations?

I pause a moment. Neither of us speak.

We watch a small wind lift dust and fumes of fertilized soil.

I turn to her. She smiles shading her eyes from autumnal light.

Ambiguities remain. Doubts will come and go.

Ephemeral simplicities renew us.

 

headshotjohnmflynnIn 2015, John Michael Flynn was an English Language Fellow with the US State Department at the Far Eastern State University in Khabarovsk, Russia. He is now back home in Virginia, where he teaches English part-time at Piedmont Virginia Community College. His most recent poetry collection, Keepers Meet Questing Eyes, is available from Leaf Garden Press. You can learn more about John and his published work at www.basilrosa.com.