Quaker Gathering for Alice by JR Solonche

Quaker Gathering for Alice

It is simple.
In the center of the room is a table.
A candle is on the table.
A vase is on the table.

In the vase are yellow daffodils.
In the vase are white daffodils.
It is spring.
They burn yellow like yellow candles.

They burn white like white candles.
Sunlight shines through the windows.
The windows burn white.
The walls of the room are white.

We who are quietly gathered
quietly remember her.
We who are softly gathered
softly remember her.

She was simple.
For ninety-five years she was a candle.
For ninety-five years
the storms could not extinguish her.

For ninety-five years she was simple.
Now she is simpler still.
She is simpler than candles.
She is simpler than flowers.

She is simpler than years.
She is simpler than windows,
than sunlight through windows.
She is simple.

by JR Solonche

Editor’s Note: Some poems transcend grief in order to remind us that memory is the most important tribute.

Spring, Fever, Snow by Ann E. Wallace

Spring, Fever, Snow

Last night I had to outrun a Zamboni
which isn’t so very hard to do
but is treacherous nonetheless,
especially in a dream when you’re not sure
why you’re on the ice in the first place.

Yesterday morning I slept to pelting rain,
a rhythmic ting of icy drops that left no trace
so I wasn’t sure when I woke, feverish
but not, whether the sleet was real,
though the sound surely was.

And today schools are closed for a first
day of spring nor’easter, the silence
entrancing me through long morning
sleep, so I’m not sure when I wake
if it has even begun to snow, but it has
and large flakes like coconut shavings are
swirling down outside my window, already
blanketing the footings of sturdy daffodil shoots.

I rise woozy from fighting off the lingering
almost fever and outrunning the ice machine
in street shoes when skates would
have been better. After coffee and toast
and a small dose of slow grading,
I dress in ski pants, waterproof boots
and an enormous hat to protect my head
and neck from the frozen flakes
that disintegrate unwelcome into cool
damp patches on contact with skin.

In the white swirl, I push, scoop, lift,
toss snow into piles so people can pass
on the almost bared walk or climb
the slippery front steps, but no one does,
the silence complete save for the
scraping of my shovel and the rhythm
of my breath as I clear snow
and clear it again while it falls
in fresh determined layers in the bright
glow of this springtime afternoon.

by Ann E. Wallace

Ann on Facebook

Twitter: @annwlace409

Editor’s Note: Sometimes winter lingers for so long that feverish dreams can punctuate the imagery of a poem.

String Theory by D.E. Kern

String Theory

The mother knelt, one knee drawn back, three inches off the ground and
paid out the string a handful at a time using her fingers as a guide. Wind
caught the face of the kite and lifted, held it just beyond the reach of an
arm about the distance of a mirror from a face after a harried breakfast

two cups of coffee too few and the news another good friend was dying.
The child looked at it askance and danced to the music of the breeze
rattling the plastic against the dowel skeleton like Elijah’s bones, then
turned his attention to the next-best thing: a flash of color, sounds cutting

through the white noise in a busy park. But the mother kept kneeling
doled out life by the cuticle to balance the fragility of things against all
the wonders of possibility. She studied the kite’s burnished surface as if
expecting it to catch the right light for a reflection—perhaps the surreal

mélange gifted by glass in a funhouse—and I wondered if she had heard
the story told by a writer dying young. How after one last doctor’s visit
he considered the shirt he’d decided to be buried in, just back from the
drycleaners and swathed in a thread-bare layer of plastic pierced at the top

by a hanger. If she did, I imagined she’d rise and corral her prodigal son,
encourage him to bear witness to the way process gives way to payoff
tell him there is something holy, miraculous about the moment when things
take flight. There is a danger in turning away when the sun first breaks

the darkness with a laser shot of purple; when a ball meets a bat with a crack
that sounds like someone breached the wall between space and time;
when two lovers carry out the last sway in their dance and fly away together
only to land with a sigh. These are the things too essential for one to miss.

Instead she knelt, fixed on lengthening the slack, battling the squalls that
threatened to tear the kite into scraps of kindling and cheap-ass garbage bag.
Ten feet away her son danced to the music drifting in from another party,
a ranchera tune with a trumpet cutting slices of the high, cloud-mottled sky.

I found my feet bolted to ground and smiled, just half-certain God caught
the gesture, but believed the child missed nothing of consequence at all.

by D.E. Kern

David on Facebook

Editor’s Note: This poem’s meandering narrative draws the reader through one possibility and into another, until the last two lines arrive with great certainty.

The Fourth Nor’easter of March by Robert Wexelblatt

The Fourth Nor’easter of March

Indignant neighbors all complain
that snow’s still falling and not rain
or sunshine flecking pale green hills
with pools of yellow daffodils.
They whine that winter won’t let go.
Weighed down with wet, belated snow
snapped branches mar the noiseless night.
Though dawn serves up a dazzling light
all value springs from scarcity;
snow’s pretty when a rarity.
No matter if the statue’s Greek
or if the storm’s a thrilling freak,
they’ve wearied of the ceaseless sight
of beauty that’s become antique.

by Robert Wexelblatt

Editor’s Note: This sonnet is a delightful lesson on the futility of complaints about the weather.

Borgau by Christine Yurick


We are staying in that little apartment above the pizzeria
and have been roaming the dry mountains like goats. It did not rain
for almost a month and we are both dark from all of that sun
and high from the fresh air and lazy from all of the beauty.
The waves hit the brown-orange cliff.
The sheer blue curtain billows in the wind
brushing my cheek in the room where we make love.
The waves come in and go out again.

by Christine Yurick

Editor’s Note: The conversational tone of this poem welcomes the reader into its vivid imagery.

Spring by Johanna Ely


has come
and flung
upon this tired world
extremely wet
and green behind the ears
the daffodils aflame
she came
last night
and sang herself a tune
the little old balloon man
whispered her sweet name
she came
into rain
has birthed herself
upon this weary world
bright eyed and winter wise
she collates leaves on trees
the bees
mistake her for a rose
high ho high ho
her blustery refrain
the rain knows
spring has come
the world
all lily lost
and dewy eyed
will never be
the same

by Johanna Ely

Editor’s Note: This poem’s short lines and airy imagery encourages joy.

From the archives – Vultures by by Laura Rutland


We come—the vultures of old houses—
Circling through grass and knee-high clouds of weed
To stare with eyes jeweled in vulture greed
Upon a corpse of battered rotten wood.
We tear at nails with the talons of our hands
And gorge our pockets with their rusty shapes.
You taste the woodwork, I sample the stairs,
While another simply waits—expectant—stands
Before a half-dead row of cedars that
Mark an already buried path. They will speak,
We say, if wind blows. Reluctant vultures,
Hungry for a trace of wind, the faintest creak
Of wooden voice or moan. And these dead walls,
Oppressed by breathless wind and vulture calls.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, March 13, 2017 — by Laura Rutland

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

the truth of it by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

the truth of it

would you believe that earth
round tilted mother of all living
was once jealous that
we wanted to learn to fly
perhaps she invented gravity
to hold such attempts to soar
to her flesh
pinned like butterflies
no, she is not indifferent or blind
she waits
and with her pull between ocean and moon

she waits. . . .still

with invisible threads

by Sister Lou Ella Hickman

Editor’s Note: The nod to Icarus’ flight in this poem is supported by vivid imagery and the personification of our planet.

Brando by JR Solonche


He’s a box.
He is wrapped in a tee shirt.
The tee shirt is a little too tight.
He wants you to see the shape of the box.

The arms of the box are akimbo.
The right hand of the box is under the left bicep.
The right hand is pushing the left bicep toward you.
That way it looks bigger, more impressive, sexier.

The left eye of the box says, Open me.
The right eye of the box says, If you dare.
Both eyes of the box say, Look but do not touch.
The box has a nose, but it is made of putty.

The box has a mouth, but it is painted on.
The box has a forehead.
The forehead looks like a third bicep.
Or does the box want his biceps to resemble two foreheads?

The box is bulging his forehead at you.
He does this by looking out from under his boxy brows.
He wants you to know there is a brain in there.
He wants you to know it is a big brain, a sexy brain.

He wants you to know his brain is bigger than yours.
He wants you to know his brain is sexier than yours.
So he points it at you, his forehead.
It is the same as telling you his biceps are bigger than yours.

This box wants you to understand something.
He wants you to understand he can beat you any way he wants.
He can beat you with his biceps.
He can beat you with his brains.

Other than that, it is hard to tell what this box wants.
It is a mystery box.
It is a heavy box.
It is an empty box.

by JR Solonche

Editor’s Note: Repetition is king in this poem.

Hot Yoga Chaff by Peg Duthie

Hot Yoga Chaff

Within the heat that some call infernal,
the wishful teachings make me grind my teeth:
“You’ll burn a thousand calories, sweat out toxins”—
I strive to press the blather away
the way a chef distills what’s worth preserving

from what was both the source and in the way
of succulence and essence. Trivia, tocsins—
I press it all to and through the floor, seeking beneath
my soles and palms true knowing: that kernel
of self that weighs not who’s deserving.

by Peg Duthie

Twitter: @zirconium

Editor’s Note: Clever rhymes, meter, and a startlingly apt homophone elevate this poem from floor to enlightenment.