You, My Love by Aparna Sanyal

You, My Love

You smell
Of Friday, fishbones and fenugreek
Fermented mustard, cumin, a dash of cayenne pepper
Overlaid polished pebbles, toughening gleaming, oiled leather

You feel
Like motor oil, grit under fingernails
Sawdust and grease layer soft skin
Folds of it speckle with sweat pheromonal
Sweet, sour, electric, multi-tonal

You pulse
Chaotic jazz, a drumbeat feral
A war gong atavistic, jumping fences
Galloping stallion, wild, majestic
Push past all notional defenses

You taste
Like nibbling things
cherries and dried salt sweet cranberries
Chocolate darker than my dyed soul
Mixed milk and saffron in a honeyed bowl

For you, my love
No aphorism or apothegm would, could ever suffice
The layers of you from day to night
Beggar definition by wont of will
My every-flavored morning, afternoon, nightly pill

by Aparna Sanyal

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Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem functions as a series of metaphors for love, because some emotions can only be fully described via comparison (and often even that is not enough).

Then. by Neil Creighton

Then.

Then the earth went quiet.
No creature called.
No background hum.
No crickets, cicadas, frogs.
Birds gasped, opened their beaks,
held out their wings to cool,
then fell to the ground.

Then water took low atolls,
covered dunes,
inched up river valleys,
covered abandoned houses
and twisted war machines,
lapped tall towers
still standing like strange sentinels
in the orange tinted tide.

Then, on the far horizon,
the sun flamed dirty smudge,
lit the mountains
and the haggard faces
of the survivors
moving higher and higher
over the pock-marked land.

Then suddenly it dipped
into impenetrable black.
No silver pepper of stars.
No moon, though the ocean
still ebbed and flowed.

Then only darkness
covered the face
of the mighty deep.

by Neil Creighton

Editor’s Note: This poem’s chilling imagery posits a future dystopia that seems inevitable to many of us. Art reflects our failures and our fears.

Before the Change by Katarina Boudreaux

Before the Change

The day long
like a wet bed sheet,
we lingered near
the water and
considered the
strengths of several
varieties of wildlife
until I chose an egret
and you chose
a catfish as
our spirit animals.

We compared
the strengths
of our bicycles.
Mine was
nothing special,
but rolled like
purple thunder.
Yours was pink
and glorious.

We heard the
song before we
saw the truck,
and fueled by
heart and hunger,
raced across
the clover field,
you in the lead
as always,
riding free handed,
your smile fuller
than a rain heavy sky.

Your body was
beautiful in
the sweating air,
clean and beating,
your eyes only
for ice cream
and lakefront
revelry that summer
before the change
when blood did
not mean death
but life, and words
were no longer
for butter but
cutting flesh.

by Katarina Boudreaux

Katarina on Twitter: @mignonfleur

Katarina on Facebook

Editor’s Note: In this poem, short lines reflect the fleeting nature of childhood just on the cusp of the teen years, with all of its attendant angst.

From the archives – Baby’s Breath by Kole Allan Matheson

Baby’s Breath

All day hiking long blue mountains, three
tiny strides to match your mommy’s step,
little duckling flapping upward,
patting along the path,
panting breaths escape your weary face
until the color of a flower leaps onto your lips,
“Look, Da Da!”

All night in the dozing Shenandoah,
the wheezing zees of wind inside the forest,
weaving with your breath,
rhythm in the air,
little nest of baby blankets on your chest
rise and fall, rise and fall.
Silver walls of night light,
shadows in the window,
midnight’s cold and colored voice,

no more to my core
than your breath asleep.

from Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, June 23, 2016 — by Kole Allan Matheson

photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Vintage verse – A Bird came down the Walk by Emily Dickinson

A Bird came down the Walk

A Bird came down the Walk—
He did not know I saw—
He bit an Angleworm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass—
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass—

He glanced with rapid eyes
That hurried all around—
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought—
He stirred his Velvet Head

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb
And he unrolled his feathers
And rowed him softer home—

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam—
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon
Leap, plashless as they swim.

by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

Sonnet: Uncertainty by Martin Willitts Jr.

Sonnet: Uncertainty

Think of rain. Think of it bringing a message. Think
of the rain singing, and how its melody is getting closer.
Notice how the rain is smiling. It is thinking.
Think of the rain as a guest. Treat it kindly.
Think of rain catching in a deer’s antlers. Think of rain
being as large as forgiveness, but also as less
than a gram. Think of small, wounded words.
Think how rain can start with tiny baby-steps.

A person receiving a transfusion, lays near roses
someone delivered, and now the patient is too tired
to notice their bloom, fading. It’s a kind of courage
to watch a calendar change while minutes
become less abundant, more uncertain.
Rain concludes on the windows.

by Martin Willitts Jr.

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Editor’s Note: Once again this poet’s sonnet series presents a lack of meter and rhyme that nevertheless supports the meaning of the title. Careful imagery and enjambment show that even free verse can be formalized into an emphatic emotional metaphor.

Rain by Wendy Gist

Rain

Let it rain, Let it rain,
Open the Floodgates of Heaven—Psalm 97

Black birds balance blades of grass,
fan feathers, and, at the entrance
of the park, a blue water fountain full

of cat, tail extending.
Erratic lizards sprint and spark
ahead of a wogging woman.

The burrowing owls can’t be seen
and near holes in the sand
a bottle empty—

Ants frenzied.
Monsoon clouds kick like flaxen horses
in the wind at noon, while thoughts of rain

spill at the corners of the wrist watch
she watches.
Ticking her umbrella

in a single blink
to the horses wild and free
she utters: “Wash us clean.”

by Wendy Gist

Editor’s Note: The protagonist in this poem doesn’t speak until the end, but her three simple words transform the poem from simple imagistic verse into a psalm.