To Eat Ice by Dianna Mackinnon Henning

To Eat Ice

A tree-frog found its home in our dog’s fur. Not
a log-cabin, geodesic dome or even

an A-frame. No, the architecture
of convenience was at work, and our

dog snored while the frog dug deeper
into Sakari’s dense double coat. I mulled

over hiding places, igloos built
from snow, summer huts,

support beams of birch poles. How
fast we love a thing—fasten it to our souls,

peel the birch to curl into small canoes;
eat the ice of our homes and strike forbidden fires;

flames fanning silhouettes on our hard
packed snow. When we got so

cold we thought ourselves hardwood, we mad-
dashed inside to the stove’s fire, where

we counted lives inside each spark that sent
its star across the dark.

by Dianna Mackinnon Henning

Editor’s Note: This poem’s meandering narrative leads the reader to believe it will end up in one place, but then it travels to another, and one is left richer for the journey.

Photo of Snow in the Suburbs by Alan Walowitz

Photo of Snow in the Suburbs

The snow that began the night before fell far into the day,
leaving just enough time as the moon rises,
so we can take in some of that utter whiteness
before the cars are unshovelled and their leavings get stirred in
with all the other mess humans can make.
But for now, the snow tops the neighbor-evergreens
like a row of strollered infants in sun bonnets sleeping softly at the park;
streets still glisten where the plows haven’t hit bottom
and left a coat of ice for tomorrow morning’s melting;
no one’s out except for us who had been house-bound
and stir-crazy for a night and day of too much TV, too much wine,
and the never quite surpressed fear built into us humans
that we’ll never get anywhere again.
But here on the street the air seems cleaner somehow
that way it gets after some little cold sun
warms everything just enough to help our lungs work easy
and make us swear we’ll swear off drink and the great indoors.
You say you want to try to get a picture of it all—
the moon, the street, the snow caps, the air, the evergreens—
and you climb to the top of the pile of snow some shoveling’s made
into a modest mountain. Always the arbiter of what’s impossible,
I’d tell you it can’t be done, but you’re determined
and I wait patiently at the door instead of rushing inside where I’d prefer.
There’s no danger out tonight—by now plenty of moonlight–
even the raccoons that get more brazen each night
are tucked beneath the porches and into our basement wells.
I too want to take it all in, as you angle for that picture–
destined never to be looked at again,
you know I would be happy to say.
But mine would just be you
and I will keep it in memory’s well where
what’s truly impossible might find the perfect place
where it can permanently reside.

by Alan Walowitz

Editor’s Note: This is a perfect beautiful love poem, meant to be read again and again.

Blue Fingertips by David P. Miller

Blue Fingertips

Out of the flood of high-schoolers
who saturate this bus wall to wall,
a long tall young woman,
her hair gathered high overhead,
plugs the gap next to me.
She whips fast through
Chinese flash cards done by hand,
jabs the characters with her finger,
moves her lips with each, flip flip
flip. Crams the deck inside
a lime-green box, stuffs the
box in her backpack, rifles the pack
for a book. Grabs her pen.
It’s broken. She stares shocked
at her wet blue fingertips,
motions them about
like new and strange things.
The old guy at her side, me,
hands her a wad of tissues.
An olive-shaded woman across the aisle
hands her a spare pen. The girl thanks us,
begins furiously underlining
her paperback of Brave New World.

by David P. Miller

Editor’s Note: The careful imagery in this poem creates a hyperrealistic portrait of a young woman, and then elevates the entire narrative with the surprising nod to dystopia in the last line.

From the archives – You sped off in angry darkness and struck something hard. by Kelley J. White

You sped off in angry darkness and struck something hard.

Turning back, you cupped two hands around the shell
of the broken turtle, to ease it to a place
where it would be more comfortable in dying

down by the river, the flat slap of dark water dying
beneath a dim streetlight, beside the shells
of broken factories, an empty silent place

you knew alone. You moved gently to a place
of moss and sand, a soft cool place for dying,
to honor to be faithful to the turtle, the shell

pealed from her tender dying places; you broke your shell.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, February 20, 2017 — by Kelley J. White

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim.

Some of what friends are for by Charles Carr

Some of what friends are for

That dog years
are seven
to a human’s one,
explains why
you run ahead
then back again
as though you can
hardly wait for me
to get where you
already know
what happens;
your head
on the arm
of my chair,
half an hour
in five minutes
is the look
in your eyes,
like they see
at the speed
sunlight speaks
and you are
only trying
to repeat
what it just said
as it crawled
in the window
from the end
of afternoon,
the wind lifts
a branch
to catch a bird,
hurries a leaf
to the side
of the road
from the path
of a car approaches
or perhaps it’s just
another dog barks
for no apparent reason
than what it hears
is the sound
we make is

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: The short lines of this poem hurry the reader along in a delightful reflection of the poem’s central theme.

The Crow Knows Where I Am by Gareth Culshaw

The Crow Knows Where I Am

When the fields unfold into one another
and a buzzard holds up the sky.

I am somewhere but where?
only the crow knows. Sheep take

the day with them and six flying
jackdaws pass their call to each other.

A bobbing flock of redwings hide
their shadows from the sun. The crow

knows where I am.

The fields creep under the hedgerow
thinning the road with each walk.

Then the road is gone and I have nowhere
to go. The crow knows where I am

. . . . . . . .even when I’m gone.

by Gareth Culshaw

Editor’s Note: The personification of landscape and animals in this poem gives it a lyrical sensibility that suits the narrative.

Swallows of Capistrano by Bob Bradshaw

Swallows of Capistrano

the fork tailed swallows
swooping and dipping
in the warm air currents,
our own hearts light
as scarves?

After you left me,
I was a mess,
everything an effort–going
to work, making dinner–
my heart heavy,
weighted in muck.

I glance at the tourists,
half-expecting to see you,
the crowds thinning on this,
San Juan’s Day,
like a kettle’s dying

A swallow hangs
high above the stone mission,
one of the last swallows
leaving Capistrano
for Argentina

–but my heart has no place
to winter. Like me
it has become a stranger
in Capistrano,
with no where
to go.

by Bob Bradshaw

Editor’s Note: This poem of loss is made all the more poignant by the real life story of the swallows disappearing.

Common Grounds by Cathryn Essinger

Common Grounds
Bluffton, Ohio April, 2017

As the barista hands me my coffee,
I read the word REGARDLESS
inked along the inside of her left arm.

After grading way too many freshman
essays, I consider complimenting her
on her grammar, but just tip my head

for a better look. The tattoo seems a bit
pouty, a little punk, but I don’t see that
in her face, where there is only a soft

weariness and a slow smile. Oh, it’s not
finished, she says. I’m saving my money
for two roses, here and here, and maybe

someday a butterfly and a name. And now
I hear it in her voice, an old sadness that
should not have taken hold in one so young–

a loss, an injury, a bruise so deep it remains
unseen? Still, there is a touch of arrogance,
a resilience that I hope will see her through.

She bites her lip, pulls down her sleeve,
hands me my change. I think it best not to ask
and try to imagine the roses, regardless.

by Cathryn Essinger

Editor’s Note: This poem’s quiet narrative belies the understanding that lies at the heart of the story.

The Poem of the Future by JR Solonche

The Poem of the Future

The poem of the future will be smaller.
It will fit in the palm of your hand,
on your wrist, in your ear.

The poem of the future will not need
bulky batteries or cumbersome wires.
It will be powered by moonlight and weed.

The poem of the future will be automatic.
It will go for months without routine maintenance.
It will be faster, smoother, with a digital tick.

The poem of the future will be lighter.
It will be made of plastics and exotic metals.
It will be available in hundreds of shapes and colors.

The poem of the future will make our lives true.
It will perform in a second what it takes
the poem of the present a day to do.

The poem of the future will talk to us.
It will say things like “Buy IBM,” and ” Friend me,”
and “Pulvis et umbra sumus.”

by JR Solonche

Editor’s Note: This poem’s bold irony begins with the title, and moves through the lines until the grim last line.