Posts for June 2, 2015

Rona Roberts

A Satisfied Man’s Daughter

A poet writes and reads
Her life with her father
And then he lifts away
To stars he once made fall for her.

My father jumps up:
“I’m a red-blooded American youth!”
He blows up his right bicep—a hard white ball—
And sleeps after lunch on the kitchen floor’s linoleum speckles.

He tells his saber-toothed tiger tale
And shows me the Red Sea after the waters parted
But before the Israelites crossed.
I am laughing at how he makes me laugh.

I smell his young damp farmer smell,
And the warm woods scent of the dry old man.
I feel his smart hands
Soothe my growing-pained shins.

He reaches up a green cornstalk and pulls a young ear,
Hands it to me, shucks peeled down,
Surprised when I lean back from such sweetness:
“Why honey, everything’s better straight from the plant.”

He sits in his chair at the table; I sit in mine.
“Show me where you want me to put your lima beans.”
Mother says, “Do you like these mushrooms from the Bijey field?”
“Sweetyface, anything’s good if you cook it in browned butter.”

Amanda Corbin


When she bounds down the steps each morning

orange-bellied robins burst upward in all directions

as her sleek black form zig-zags the yard.


Ears up, tail straight, paws searching

she sniffs the crevice where yesterday

a snake’s head emerged undetected by her

upright and shining

like an emerald-turquoise loch monster.


I wonder how she envisions

the secrets lying in that shadow

where rock erupts from soil

and the scent of reptile skin.

Jennifer Barricklow


five days have I come
down to water’s edge
and bowed, head touching
knees, so that the fifth
day I might begin

the long journey home

– Jennifer Barricklow

* go is the word for the numeral five in Japanese

Jonel Sallee

A Poem about Awe

“There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast…”  
                                           William Cullen Bryant

I don’t know much about God, Whitman said. 
Nor do I.
But I know enough of awe to say with Bryant,
There is a Power, 
Or as my questioning mind might put it, Surely there must be a Power—
     One that guides the same two Canada geese every year
To Stone Road pond 
To birth and nurture their brood;
     That guides the common murre to lay a single egg,
One per year, on some precipitous rocky ledge
Where sea storms send up raging waves,
And bald eagles come to hunt,
And to which the murre returns, always,
To its own egg, among those hundreds of other murre eggs,
Known to each bird by its distinctive spotted pattern;
     That makes a heart cell know to be a heart cell
And not a brain cell, and not a skin cell,
Sloughing itself off in due season,
     That returns those cells and those birds
And all of us
To dust
To mingle with the same chemical elements
That make up stardust.
     And so, I say again,
I don’t know much about God,
But surely I have seen
Mysteries enough
To know what it means to feel the expansive,
The sacred wonder
Of awe,
And perhaps that is all we know,
And all we need to know
Of God.

Mary Allen

On Reading Dibdin’s Zen

On Reading Dibdin’s Zen

I lusted
after Zen
on TV
but found
him not
so hot
the sheets.

— Mary L Allen


52 ways to play cards.

he asks if you
would like to see
a trick 

fans out cards 
in front of your face, 
invites you

to pick one. 
again and again he asks 
this one?

this one? 
no, you say, guess again
52 times he

guesses until at last 
he finally understands-      and tries a

different trick

Len Lundh

Burying the TBF Gunner (5 November 1944)

A forty millimeter round exploded above us. I don’t know how Denzek and I weren’t hit. You can see where the flak tore into the wings on either side of us, and all the way back to the elevators and rudder.

The folks at Grumman built her rugged. Even with all the damage she flew right and brought us home. Landing was as routine as any carrier trap can be. It’s a shame she’ll never fly again.

And it’s a shame about Loyce. I’m surprised the corpsmen found his dog tags and enough to fingerprint. He was a four-oh sailor, as good as they get. Cared about the young guys, the kids.

They’re pushing him and her over the fantail now. See her flip? All those holes and she still takes her time sinking. It’s a fitting burial for a sailor. The water below us will keep him safer than the air ever could.



Frog Eyes

You have giant frog eyes.
They don’t line up.
That isn’t the only thing
on your body
that doesn’t line up.

Liz Prather

Memorial Day, 1982

The night in Perry Park
is darker
than the 10 x 12 post office,
a window box geranium and the
lazy Lab in the street.

Mom does and does not
want “perpetual upkeep.”
Her pruning shears filed,
her clippers sharp,
for ivy and other creepers.

Seen from a car window
my stomach full of curves
needs a grape soda to settle
Route 22 to Gratz
a road that drops into the river.

Bearded irises, peonies and ramblers
In mayonnaise jars
wrapped in foil
We stop in Frankfort, Squiresville,
Salem, then Webster Springs

We pick through the graves
Like harvesters,
weeding out the fox tail, the dead nettle
asking strangers
“Who do you have here?”

Joseph Nichols

Of the Useless and Endless Years

                               – After Whitman

How now, when green stipples earth
like stubble to adolescent year—how now,
when mounting tangerine of sky drips
its blood, watering aqualucent, vast azure—

how now, when fallow years coalesce
reborn, with spring in their first, tentative steps—
and life, once again, all again
breathes rain-scented breath—

            do I sing of the dark?

 in the dusky shade of spent grounds,
and earthy leaves, spreading
spinach, turnip, arugula;

the flesh of wilder birds
turkey, pheasant, quail
with dirt in their veins

            I sing of the lived, and living.

It isn’t all strawberries, citrus, and cilantro;
we lose sight of summer if not for our Fall.

Give me oregano, rosemary, & thyme—
most of all thyme, & roots that dig deep
past living loam, to hollow earth

            where experience echoes
            the life grown rich
            in its passing.