Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Atlas Poetica, Number 24, March 2016

newly planted
evening-scented stock
at the end
of this careworn day
the sweetness of night


late harvest
the roar of combines
all night long
looming through grain dust
there be dragons


how we longed
for the circus to come
one last chance
to hang by our heels
from the high-wire moon


white-tailed deer
between tamaracks
our past
e l o n g a t i n g
with each golden hour


a black dog
slavers at the edges
of my mind
is there no escaping
this inevitable defeat


drum circle
my heart pounding
in my mouth
these words that taste of blood
and sound like thunder


she is small-boned
with beautiful plumage
this tanka bird
whose every short song
lifts us into glory

(for Kathabela Wilson)


Midnight Shift


Winter nights are never quiet when I spend them alone, brooding in bed like an egg in a nest of down.

A plane drones overhead. In rising winds, evergreen branches scratch messages against the windowpane.

Our clock chimes on the hour. The dog's nails tap dance across hardwood before she settles down with a sigh. The furnace grumbles through its cycles, struggling to keep bone-rattling temperatures at bay. My body tenses as a sharp crack splits the air. This old house speaks its own language, and the strings of my guitar respond with sympathetic vibrations.

the sound of tires
squeaking on new snow
a winter bird
rises from her rest
fluffing up her feathers






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