The Orchard On Its Way by Laura Foley

The Orchard On Its Way

I wish it would slow,
not the train, but the ponies
shivering in a rain-soaked pasture,
a hundred geese fluttering
in a soggy field,
the eagles we saw this morning
from a station in Vermont,
their wild mating dance—
not the train, but the passing
into memory—I want it all
to last, the chimney falling
back to bricks,
the orchard on its way to bud,
the kiss you gave me
twenty miles back.

by Laura Foley, first Published in DMQ Review.

Editor’s Note: Nostalgia and yearning move through this poem. The last two lines are perfect.

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From the archives – Another vessel, as seemed good — James S. Wilk

Another vessel, as seemed good

The pounding in your studio
is house-shakingly violent.

Dishes rattle and tumblers
quake in their cupboards.

You are angry and punishing
the clay tonight.

The chthonic aroma of powdered
earth and water tickles

my nostrils as I descend
the stairs to watch you work.

It’s astonishing how deliberate you are
as you remove air from the clay,

your fists swinging the way
a mason’s sledge strikes the chisel,

how you and the art are at once
elemental and humorous,

how blood and melancholia,
earth and water are transformed

in the alchemy of kiln and glaze,
how proportion means more

than the ratio of height to width,
how perfect comes from imperfect,

and how a cracked pot may
make the ideal vessel.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, September 5, 2016 — by James Wilk

Video thanks to All Satisfying

After by Ciaran Parkes

After

In the weeks after your death,
your face, the sound of your voice
disappeared from my memory,
then came back, projected onto people
on the street, turning up everywhere, as if

you had swung into a darkness where
not even thoughts could reach, and then
echoed back, amplified. The dark side
of the moon perhaps, I remember you telling me
how the moon dragged all living things towards it

and we had to fight against its pull. Too late
now to balance out the pull
it had on you, for you to give your side
of this conversation, bring me down to earth,
tell me strange facts I hadn’t heard before.

Gone, like your pain and all the things
we could have done together, your smile,
your restless intelligence, your touch.
I could have phoned you once or wrote, but now
can’t reach to you, can’t lose you from my sight.

by Ciaran Parkes

Editor’s Note: The narrative imagery in this poem amplifies the confusion of grief. The heart still loves, even when the person is gone.

Transfigured by G.F. Boyer

Transfigured

Up it grew inside her leg,
the bindweed:

a convolution,
a cordage, an intricate rigging,

circling bone’s blanched trellis,
the slender tibia, the condyles
and epicondyles,

the larger
and tongue-twisting fibula.

There at the knee, an errant vine
coiled behind the meniscus,

the sesame seed of patella,
continuing to rise,

knotting
and twining the framework
of pelvis, the comfortable belly.

Then, flowering in the cage
of her bosom:

lush, unfolding—
a flaming blossom.

by G.F. Boyer

Twitter: @EditingHermit

Editor’s Note: This poem’s tight imagery and thoughtful line breaks lead the reader into the inner world of the body. What one finds there is unexpected.

Best of the Net Nominations – 2017

botncover

I am happy to announce the following poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net 2017:

Abiding Winter by Risa Denenberg

Affidavit by Terri Muuss

The Balance Between Us by James Diaz

Bone-Chilled by Martin Willitts Jr.

Poem Only Half About Myself by J. Rod Pannek

Tuesday Morning by George Longenecker

Congratulations!

After The Ghost Investigation by Christine Potter

After The Ghost Investigation

The local writer on the paranormal with her camera,
electromagnetic meter, and infared thermometer,
having stayed, as she explained she must, long past sunset,

came back downstairs egg white-wan, silent. Her colleague,
with his day job in law enforcement, looked lost as the ring
of brown feathers left after a cat runs into the bushes.

You have them. We found you two. In the room across from
our bedroom, in the room behind my office. Her voice might
have been shaking. Just old spirits who don’t care to leave.

Not harmful. The one upstairs doesn’t know he’s dead.
I offered brandy, which no one wanted. Later, alone, or
perhaps not, my husband and I went to bed and addressed

our new-found guests: How are you, Mr. Ghost? No–that’s
disrespectful! No–you can’t really believe… When I turned off
our bedside lamp, darkness I’d once understood occupied itself

fully as it grew larger and larger–a black bloodstain, a backwards
mirror glinting what sorrow? A distant headlight? Or just
the flickerings ghosts know, caught here if they are here, never

driving away. These walls, see how they’ve changed from
what they used to be? Our bodies, too: how they change without
our permission! And see how long, how very long night lasts?

by Christine Potter

Christine on Facebook

Editor’s Note: This poem at first seems lighthearted, but the ominous dread of the investigating characters slowly bleeds into the living hosts of the ghosts’ house.

Girl of Summer by Ann E. Wallace

Girl of Summer

I had forgotten the small town girl of summer in me–
the good New England daughter in plaid pleated skirts and woolen knee socks,
in penny loafers shiny stiff each fall,
swapped out for salt-water stained topsiders in summer,
the worn cutoffs, the burn turned to tan, the girl in love with the ocean.

I had forgotten that girl who tore through boat yards on her bike with the boys,
who slid to a stop, popped off, raced down the dock, wheels still spinning in the dirt,
forgotten how she sailed and sailed until she turned too quickly this way or that, defiantly ignoring the will of the wind
and toppled over, keel up.

I had forgotten how she splashed and laughed and cursed and feigned outrage,
hoisting herself atop the centerboard, bouncing her slight weight
to right the boat.

I had forgotten how she would be up again
and sailing, skimming along, tempting the ocean
with sharp jives until she dipped deep and the water pulled her in once more,
the allure of the capsize so strong
that she never learned to read the winds
and sail straight.

Day after day, she returned to the dock
sopping wet, devouring ice cream sandwiches
and French fries and BLTs, as shoes dried salty stiff on the deck.
Late afternoon, she rode home satisfied, spent, a shade darker.

Come September, the ripped jeans stuffed
in a drawer, the wild girl of summer drifted away,
and away and away.

But here now, you remind me that I was once
that girl who sailed with no regard for the wind,
with no desire but to throw myself
into the pull of the deep ocean.

by Ann E. Wallace

Ann on Facebook

Twitter: @annwlace409

Editor’s Note: Nostalgia for one’s past can often trap us in sadness, but the final stanza of this poem opens the emotion up with a more positive direction.