February Beach, Uisken, Isle of Mull by Seth Crook

February Beach, Uisken, Isle of Mull

Cold whack, bladderwrack.
We’re down at Uisken with a fishbox,
filling up on seaweed good for veg.
Dad strolls, in search of laver bread,
but only finds the barnacles
and, disappointed, must make do
with the low tide’s chunks of marble,
Iona green, and the aluminium bones
of an old cremated caravan. And I‘m amazed
by the long, low foreshore wall,
missed before, by blindness, mine,
of someone not quite looking.
Dad looks and sees the laboured edges
of some poor crofter’s rent to dukes.
I hope, we hope, he fled to Glasgow,
liked it, or at least enough,
and never did come bobbing back
to the cold whack, bladderwrack.

by Seth Crook

Editor’s Note: Tetrameter and scattered caesurae lend this poem a strong backbone that nicely echoes the subject matter. Sandwiched between a single repeated line, the images of a cold coast and seaweed lend a simple family outing a sense of history.

From the archives – For Ed, Who Lost JD by Gabriel Welsch

For Ed, Who Lost JD

I drove the familiar tonight,
Berwyn to Lancaster, rutted route 30
through the once-nothing
studded with light, now-smaller fields
rotten with manure and heaped grass—
where once we raced your dad’s Renault
in the small hours, adrenalized
with pushing the meager limits
of our age and time. You sang
Johnny Cash with an abandon
I still cannot muster, and while I distrust
memory, I know these fields were empty,
that all I passed tonight—the halogen
gas stations, the glittering cul-de-sacs
like landing pads guttering in the dark—
all I passed had grown anew. We are rootless,
having moved from every place we ever lived,
now making some new place with people
we could not foresee, who came to love us,
awkward as we were and yet are,
wearing paths around us as your dog did,
as I read in your letter, who you had
to put down. I started at the line
you wrote, how his path in the yard remains,
though his feet no longer tell the dirt
of his domain. It will take years for grass to return,
and I think of you and that dog, you I have known
for so long, how you carry your depth
of hurt and care, how you hold tight
those you love, how you, without thinking,
give in to abandon, give in to what love
of other places, times, and things demands.
But now, I have decided to stop the cruelty
of trying to understand, and instead hold out
my hands, to gauge the weight of your grief.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 17, 2015 — by Gabriel Welsch

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

The Sculptor, Dead at Age 34, and Her College Admirer by Michael Cantor

The Sculptor, Dead at Age 34, and Her College Admirer

Beautiful and dark
with a vague foreign accent,
she never looked at me.

I joined a literary group to meet her
and passed around my bullfight poem
which was all lower case,
with the perfect last line
about mister death.

She said it was derivative,
and for three or four days
I thought that was a compliment.

Her rope sculptures hang
in the Whitney and the Tate.
An obituary said
she loathed being called
beautiful.

by Michael Cantor

Editor’s Note: The narrator gets the last laugh in the last line… or does he instead suffer from ego? Regardless, the careful enjambment and repetition of ‘beautiful’ serve this poem well.

(It Could) Have Gone Either Way by Paul Dickey

(It Could) Have Gone Either Way

It could have gone either way. The moon
was dripping alphabets, on the one hand.
On the other, she was saying everything like:
Now we can be friends. I can get married again.
We can put the children in a private school. You
will have all day to do whatever it is you do.
I appreciated the concern, but the truth was
I hadn’t done anything. We didn’t know why
other people get so excited about what are just
daily affairs. Everything now is better for all
concerned. We didn’t mention what we’d do
with the children’s first alphabet, or our old
high school’s moon. If we had, we would not
have known how it all would have turned out.

by Paul Dickey

Paul on Facebook

Editor’s Note: Everything in this poem is allegory—meaning must be assigned by the reader, yet it isn’t difficult to acknowledge that a moon might have something to offer on the great mystery of human relationships.

Earth-bound by Rosemary Badcoe

Earth-bound

Tonight we’re waxing gibbous, giddy
with our arms out-flung in late-night light from stores
that stock their windows high. We sow distraction,
lope in doorways, carve our immortality
in bus shelters and benches. Here’s where hares
shovelled starlight on the recreation ground,
the mound like broken glass flinging reflections of our feet
up to a sky boxed in by banks of tenements.

Like leverets we’re born in shallow scrapes, eyes wide –
no chance to set a burrow where there’s space to grow.
We sling the stones that burst the lighted panes.
The hares pursue the moon into the sky
and squat there, pestles pounding rice cakes,
faces turned away.

by Rosemary Badcoe

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this loose sonnet is rife with surrealism. The slant rhymes lull the reader into a world that seems ordinary, but is ever so slightly unrecognizable.

Tomorrow Will Be Cold by S. Thomas Summers

Tomorrow Will Be Cold

At least, that’s what the weatherman said.
The temperature will drop like a brick hurled
off a mountain’s peak, like a falcon that’s tucked
its wings close, diving to nab a rabbit that darts

about the forest floor, searching for a few more ribbons
of dead grass to line its burrow before curling
into its heartbeat, clenching all the warmth it can.
Wind will sweep over the hills, weave through trees,

straining the spines of elm and oak, exciting the chimes
that dangle from my backyard birch into panic;
they’ll ding and clang, shiver discordant songs
above the neighborhood stray, a gray cat, that, I assume,

will find its spot among branches of Holly,
tangled arms collecting silence and shadow.
I’ll peer out the window, wrapped in a sweater,
my hands curled around a hot mug of coffee

as steam rises from its mouth as it would a cauldron circled
by witches, weird sisters, stirring a foul concoction,
chanting, rhyming strange words, each sound
meant to make thick the blood of all who find breath

where fires flare and hearths are warm.
That’s what the weatherman said.

by S. Thomas Summers

Twitter: @summerspoet

Editor’s Note: Personification illuminates the cold landscape in this winter poem, giving us dull humans a glimpse of another world where chimes have a heart and trees have spines.

Talking with Sakis by Cally Conan-Davies

Talking with Sakis

My aunt is no longer
in her life he said,
as if her life remained
where she had left it,
holding the air behind
the soft click
of her last breath.

As if a life, as it were, could be ever
so gently woken
to breathe for a moment
here, by the pearl-grey bridge
where the quickening gulf
stands wide open.

(Antirrio, Greece, 2013)

by Cally Conan-Davies

Editor’s Note: The careful enjambment corrals the imagery in this poem into quiet moments where the reader can reflect on all that is said directly, and all that is not.

From the archives – Trigger Warning by Larina Warnock

Trigger Warning

This isn’t what you think it is.
It is, instead, a memory drawn from a well
of memories so deep as to mingle with ghosts.
It is a shadow crossing
paths with the light just right, so that flickers of yesterday
become quicker than today, become the ray
of whatever isn’t shining through the window,
something similar to something we’ve felt before, but not so
much more than a disguise for the prayer we don’t feel a right to.

It is déjà vu, but less exact,
like a pact was formed between morning and eve
that the day will forever be
neither and both. It is ether, a flask
filled to the brim with emotions forgotten and unforgotten,
longer felt, no longer felt. It is stronger than aged
brandy, but weaker than the edges of a dream.

It is reverse masonry, chiseling away at brick,
dusting the remainder of mortar from our skin, finding it
filling gaps between who we were then and who we are now,
who we wanted to be and who we became, one tragedy and another,
my tragedy and another’s, some other
feeling forgotten to make room for something old and something new.

It is holding up a shattered mirror
and seeing some past version of myself,
trying again and again to create an end
that never did,
that never can
exist.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, November 19, 2015 — by Larina Warnock

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim