From the archives – There Is Always a Way to Stop Falling by Jan Mueller

There Is Always a Way to Stop Falling

Shake yourself, wake up! And you said yes,
it would be simple enough to leave.
But you stayed, to sweep up
your husband’s rage, even as
your footing slipped, and you
decided to finish the nightmare.
What is it like to plummet,
eyes frozen wide, paralyzed,
the earth rising to break you
like a light bulb on the kitchen floor?

What makes you stand, animal-dumb
on the track with the train blinding you?
You chose your witness carefully;
the moon went full twice that December.
A white paper plate tacked on indigo cloth,
it had earned a second chance to watch
over you as you ended the sentence,
and you were clever about it,
parked in a barren field, in neutral gear,
with a full tank of gas. Period.

Three nights later, a freckled moth
flirted with a hot bright bulb
to distract me from my task of writing
a eulogy on behalf of the neighborhood.
Do you know what he told me, earlier
that day? Obituaries must be purchased,
and he would have no part of that.
While you lay refrigerated in a drawer
that is what he said. Oh! You deserved
so much more than this draining of life.

The final judgment your actions begged for—
sainthood? Damnation? never made it
past the questions. We all went spinning
like whining tops for days, and me,
I could never figure why, except
there was some unsettling pain
that I shared with you, and your absence
rendered it acute and intolerable,
as if we were partners in tug-of-war
and you let go. I do not know

where he shook the contents
of the glossy red box they gave him
“like a goddamn Christmas present.”
Haven’t seen him since. We are
still here though rearranged a bit,
painting over your dark green walls, taking up
your office files, hitting the backhands
fast and low over the tennis net, like you used to.
Me, I struggle at that same end of rope
and I miss your hands being there, helping.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 3, December 2006 — by Jan Mueller

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – No Place Like by Laurel K. Dodge

No Place Like

Don’t say that my heart is the moon;
you aren’t the earth and my love is not a distant

satellite, pulled. My heart isn’t that sharp curve,
a scythe that rises only under cover of darkness.

My heart is not that hole when the moon
is new and its light, absent. My heart is not full;

it does not call to wolves or signal harvest.
My heart is a witch. My heart is a dog

My heart is a brick. My heart is a tornado,
a wind spinning back on itself. My heart can tear

a house apart. Don’t you get it? My love is oil
and straw. My love is a fear-filled roar. My love

is the red field that lulls. My love is heels. My love
is the road. My love is the impossible journey home.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 4, March 2007— by Laurel K. Dodge

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – Details by Ayesha Chatterjee

Details

I have lost you in the clutter
of such ordinary things: bones
picked clean, piled neatly
in the November sun,
pennies recounted like thoughts
on the kitchen counter,
the flutter of electric bulbs
across continents.

I can recall the exact
colour of your eyes, the taste
of your breath, the lope of your stride
and feel my heart
beat whole and strong and separate
as though you never were.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 2, September 2006— by Ayesha Chatterjee

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives – First Aubade by Jeremy Heartberg

First Aubade
Cut through blue and night, a sun
edges against you, a stray
cat or tired warmth. It is
no thin outlined body that
I have felt for in this pause
before the blue blurred light comes.
Tender, tender now, the snaps
of song move, undone, through trees.
Is it a morning thrush? Sleep
gentle, sleep gentle; nothing
is wrong; I swear, my dear, this
is not wrong. A bird of light
pulls me soft upon its string.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 3, December 2006 — by Jeremy Heartberg

From the archives – Picture of a House by Paul Hostovsky

Picture of a House

There are several V’s in my daughter’s drawing.
One is a gable and the rest are birds
flying off into a spiky yellow
sunset she’s coloring in on the kitchen table.

From where I sit across from her, writing
a check to the Hartford Federal Mortgage
Corporation, the birds are houses
and the house is a large bird, a vertical triangle

from eaves to ridge, ready to take off
at the drop of a letter, rooftop flapping
over the treetops to Hartford, Connecticut. . .

I sign the check as she signs the picture
in the bottom right-hand corner, and the birds
migrate softly into my hands as she gives me
the house. For keeps. No strings attached

to the birds which could also be houses,
or the sun which could also be time
running out, going down like a diminishing
crayon stub still eking out, incredibly,
enough yellow to warm a house 30 years.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 7, December 2007 — by Paul Hostovsky

From the archives – And This Remains by Cynthia Neely

And This Remains

I heard your mother found you
in your bed as if asleep,
your affairs all tidy, neat.
The glass sat in the sink, clothing
folded at your feet.
And this remains

your mother’s final memory of you,
one she has to keep.
You waited until spring,
thought the timing would be right
and planned it just as carefully
as how you threaded skis through
tight white-mantled trees.

Why antifreeze, I wonder?
Wouldn’t sleeping pills suffice?
As your gut disintegrated,
did you think it might keep ice from
forming in your soul,
a man who so loved winter, only snow
could keep him whole?

I have to think I’m lucky;
my last memory of you
is a swirl of snow in vortex
behind a disappearing back,
sweeping, swift down Cowboy Mountain
in the trail of your deep tracks.

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 4, March 2007 — by Cynthia Neely

From the archives — The Prospector by Dennis Greene

The Prospector

A long day I’ve had of it,
and a tiring one,
and little to show
but this loose scree of words
like dinosaurs;
the fossilized remains
of once great moments.

They tell me beauty’s truth,
but still I fail—what use is it to me
that Keats once wrote,
thou still unravished
bride of quietness,
and tore
the language from God’s living
throat. I fossick, find, make space
back of the truck—say virgin girl
lets go. It’s time to fuck.
. .

by Dennis Greene

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 3, December 2006

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives — broken open in history by Brion Berkshire

broken open in history

It was the hinge of a door
when you left me. A door
closing down like a small fire
that has come to know destiny
in its own intricate unraveling,
a fire which is cold and burns
like the infamous past
and what are we made of
but curiously glowing embers
frozen out and locked in place?
Still, there’s that perfect hinge
that says here, here is where
your life swung unhinged
magically, a screen door afloat
on a gyring river, the same one
that escapes twisting through
the sacked and abandoned
landscape, scarred and sacred
as a burned out trailer park
where a fat lady with a cane
and glass eye knows exactly
the price and cost of every
known and necessary thing,
and wouldn’t I care for some
sweet tea?
-as she pirouettes
gracefully for one painfully
useless eternity and opens
just a bit as if I had been
expected all along
to pass through

by Brion Berkshire

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 2, September 2006

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

From the archives — So Near by David Ayers

So Near
for M

First love’s best, love.
You, days from the womb, already master
of the long jaw-movement; me,
near thirty, still seeking where I might fit
in every bone of your face.

I watched
over the sterile blue drape—
that first startled breath, before the blue
body’s rest slipped out of her
slit belly. Then, you cried,

but where the cord wrapped
twice around that ox-like neck,
there’s not a mark to show.

As if life hadn’t hung
on a strapped
piece of flesh. As if, floating in the dark,
those eyes hadn’t first
opened and grown wise.

by David Ayers

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 1, June 2006

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim