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

From the archives — from The Survivor by Jenn Koiter

from The Survivor

I speed, late as usual,
to the ceremony
thirteen days after your death.
You hated my driving.
Slow is smooth,
you said, again and again,
smooth is fast, but
I never slowed down.

In your brother’s living room,
your white friends sit solemnly,
trained by church, while
your Indian friends relax
and chat quietly, trusting
the ritual will go on
just fine without them.

Marigolds draping
your photo, spot of vermilion
on your forehead, the drone
of the pandit’s chant: the atheist in you
would have hated all of it, but
you left. You don’t get to pick.

The pandit says your journey
to the afterlife takes a day
for you, but a year for us, that finally
you were leaving, having lingered
these thirteen days. Though
I hadn’t felt you there,
or at your house, or your memorial.
Even my dreams, when I dream of you,
are only dreams. Perhaps,
as usual, you left early.
Lord knows you hate to be late.

Couldn’t you linger
just a little longer, just this once?
Slow is smooth,
smooth is fast. Surely
you can make up the time.

by Jenn Koiter

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, July 1, 2021

photo courtesy of Day Eight

From the archives — Dandelions by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

Dandelions

You squat in a sun puddle, tug petals
from star-faced dandelions, sprinkle
their crushed remains, like seeds,
across the ground. I try to teach you

the art of arrangement, pose
limp stems in jelly jars, like I did
for my mother, or to stuff your cheeks
with air and blow

their feathery seed-heads to the wind,
but you prefer your own game, wrestle
your bruised treasures from me and fly,
a hummingbird at twilight. Frantic

before torpor, you dart through the yard,
swipe a fistful of clover, grab
at daffodils on the other side of the fence.
You don’t yet understand

why you can pick dandelions
but not tulips, columbine or love-
in-a-mist. I have not yet found
the heart to explain it.

by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

from Autumn Sky Poetry, Number 10, June 2008

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim