From the archives – Love Poem No. 54 by Rosemary Cappello


Love Poem No. 54

I wish I knew how you create ceramics. Do you start with clay?
There. I show how ignorant I am when it comes to raw materials to shape
and heat to art; smooth, bright colored discs both square and circular,
bearing little semblance to their first consistency. You like your women
strong of body, pliable as clumps of dough under your rugged hands as you
sometimes seem to want to shape them into stone statues.
I’m neither clay nor rock. Though made of earth, my flesh is flesh.
But not my mind. There lies my strength, where you can never place
your hands, and yet you’ve shaped it into something kindlier as it absorbs
new sights and feelings. What’s lacking in my love: you won’t say love,
but the more that you stand firm in your denial,
the more I love.

by Rosemary Cappello

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 30, 2015 — by Rosemary Cappello

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Vintage verse – Acquainted with the Night by Robert Frost


Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night.

by Robert Frost (18741963)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

The Absent Place by Laura Foley

The Absent Place

Her husband rests
in the slanting Adirondack chair,
centered on the lawn he’s just cut,
for the first time this summer—
the one they know is her last,
though she’s not yet sixty.
He savors the fragrant spice
of shorn grass and blooming lavender,
forgetting, for a moment,
her countless tumors,
the malignant blooming.
She heats water in a copper pot,
stirs in sugar, simmers a new batch
of hummingbird nectar,
as the tiny whirring birds arrive:
one, then two, then one again,
hovering in the absent place
where the feeder once hung.

by Laura Foley, first published in Valparaiso Poetry Review.

Editor’s Note: Sometimes the sorrow happens before the death.

Soldier’s Home by Bruce Guernsey

Soldier’s Home

When my father came home from the war
two years after I was born
I couldn’t match his voice with his picture
and cried each time he came near.

Learning to talk, I called him “Doug,”
the way my mother did,
this strange man always trying to hold me—
how could he be my dad?

My father was there, right there in black and white
over my bed every morning
where I could see him with his uniform on,
boarding a train, waving good-by and smiling,

not that deep voice down the hall,
not those footsteps outside my door.
No, my dad’s a soldier who’ll be home soon,
so watch out you, whoever you are.

Then Doug went away like him,
leaving for work before dawn,
the knocker on the front door always tapping
as he closed it behind him in the dark,

the big brass knocker that brought me running
to peer through the mail slot
for him who never knocked, who never came,
only Doug, home late

each night from work, this man Doug
marching up the stairs, the hall light
fierce behind him in my doorway,
a blanket in his hand.

by Bruce Guernsey

Editor’s Note: The spare narrative style and dramatic ending of this poem clearly illustrate the disconnect that comes from families that must endure separation.

Idiot Hearts by Emily Laubham

Idiot Hearts

I rest on jagged pillows, rock beds by a dirty river.
I’m inclined to sleep through footsteps from the floor below.
A canary beats its wings bloody on a ribbed cage.
Still half awake, your fingers fall like crazy rain.
A telephone pole gets struck so hard it screams.
Light splits and crackles underneath my eyes.
Your spider-lashes crawl up my neck, catching freckle-flies.
A whisper climbs from your mouth and tiptoes in my ear
Latching to left and right hemispheres,
Laying eggs that won’t hatch for days.

I get caught in your undertow, a slave to the current.
I melt into the ocean and get thrashed against the shore,
somehow more solid than before.
You are sand in my teeth.
You are sand in my eyes.
But suddenly,
your face is tired and fair.
Out of your throat, a sigh.
I settle into your crooked stick of a body.
Like moss or mold, I grow there.
And they’re beautiful,
These idiot hearts.

by Emily Laubham

Emily on Facebook
Twitter: @Laubham

Editor’s Note: In this poem, gritty imagery firmly sets the concept of love in reality, even as surrealism takes hold within the lines, much like the current in a river.

Downstream by Michelle Boland


The ice is cracking;
the waters below begin to run.

The holdouts might search for prayers
to pour over the frail shelf at the banks

and find none that will serve.
The rivulets let loose and muddy

the fields made fallow nearby.
Words like hate, neglect

and leaving float down with debris left
from summer’s freewheeling ways.

I wash my last clothes.
Beyond here, old lovers

cannot trust their weight on the ice.
They anticipate the thaw and turn

away from the black waters
and sludge gaining below the surface.

by Michelle Boland

Editor’s Note: As most of us bake in the middle of summer in PA, this poem reminds us that nothing lasts forever, though we may wish it to, as old lovers do.

From the archives – Tonight We Will Bloom for One Night Only by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Tonight We Will Bloom for One Night Only

Tonight you must plow me a respite between the moonflowers,
mock orange, night phlox, and Epiphyllum Oxypetalum.
You must open me to the summer night like cereus.

You must pick my perversions like petals, allow them for one night
to bloom, frangipani wafting, a concupiscent wind humming at my door.

I’ve surrendered to your heady sweat of primrose, plumeria,
addicted to your outstretched arms of night-blooming jasmine,
my heliotrope buds hard and wanting, reeking of Madagascar vanilla with its
accompanying moral ambiguity.

I am more than a day lily.

We are each bodies, hard-wired for pleasure, destined for momentary blooming,
then extinction.

When the bats swarm and the moths sidle up to this one night of fevered
pollination, let’s be ready.

Let’s face them, our appetency the headlights they slam into again and again.

We will make our escape at first light. Singing.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 8, 2015 — by Alexis Rhone Fancher

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Vintage verse – The Heart of a Woman by Georgia Douglas Johnson


The Heart of a Woman

The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.

The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

by Georgia Douglas Johnson (1880-1966)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Rebirth on the Side of the Road by Kevin Stadt

Rebirth on the Side of the Road

a small, brown bird
freshly dead
on the side of the road
a stream of ants
busily disassembling
and carting off
its eyes
for recycling

it tires of the bird dance for now, and
soon enough it’ll
or dragonfly
perhaps spider

each time translating
forgetting for the pure fun of it

it’ll undoubtedly
and tree
and fruit
it’ll people and worm
then fly again
as if for the first and only time
as a small, brown bird

by Kevin Stadt

Editor’s Note: Dust to dust? Not quite. Nouns used as verbs throw the reader off-kilter, even as death throes one into the inevitable cycle of molecular reuse (throws/throes…. I couldn’t resist. Forgive me.).

Feedback by Ben Rasnic


This thing remembered—

tendrilled wisps of amber
groomed from sweaty plough blades
of Nebraska soil, waves breaking
the black earth into gold flames
ripening in air, rich with mirrors.

“It’s only wheat”,
she said,
“Just big dumb fields
of nothing but wheat”,

this harvest from my
loins, tawny fingers weaving
strands of sun-bleached
tasseled hair, face
flecked with straw

her bright smile,
her star rising.

by Ben Rasnic

Editor’s Note: Children say the damndest things. Perspective often requires several decades of harvest.