Poetry Issue 10

Childhood in the North
by Edward Tick

Soon after I learned my first words –
“mother,” “father,” “when” and “where” –
I strung them together like colored ribbons
making the tail of a fluttering kite.

Where is my father? I asked.
He is a soldier, she said.
When, Mother will he come home?
Go out with the other children, she said,
and watch for a man with a backpack
dusty and tired from his long walk home.

We played beneath the old banyan tree
where all roads I knew joined as one.
I hid from my friends, scratched faces in the dirt,
waddled with ducks and looked down lanes.

Finally one day beneath a burning sun
the man with the backpack came.
I ran to him, grabbed his leg, held tight.
Where is your home? his gentle voice asked.
He was gone so long he must have forgotten.

We hobbled together, me with a father,
he like a man with a wooden leg.
He pried and pleaded but I would not let go.
Mother had to peel me off
like the skin of an unripe fruit.

I watched his backpack bouncing
as he disappeared down the long road.
Mother cried and begged forgiveness.
She said she had teased me, said she had lied,
she said many soldiers died.
It was then that I learned and have never forgotten
the pain with no answer in the little word “why?”



What the Wind Said
by Edward Tick


When I ask you, Wind,
what you are trying to tell me,
a single bird twitters in the cypress
blacker than the mountain’s silhouette,
stones rolling in the nearby surf
clash like knucklebones of long-dead sailors,
dogs barking from inside the shadows
grate the skin of night,
and the Dipper widens and tilts
to pour more darkness over the sleeping earth.



Too Costly
by Bonnie Scot

(Adapted from Journal of a Solitude: June 15th
by May Sarton)

But I am surely at the thin edge
Of exhaustion these days
In a state
Where even joy becomes
Too costly
Where only dark and sleep
Are welcome

How does one rest?

Do it by not hurrying
By not allowing pressure to build
Do it one step at a time
As if climbing out
Of the deepest



by Donald Carlson

The inverted cathedral of light
spreads its tracery over us
in an elation of downward-pointed spires

Enclosing us in tall radiance
of afternoon just as our shadows
have grown attenuated

When this crashing down of light
corners me why does entrapment
feel like release?



Black Bellied Moon
by Richard Russell

a rose, growing
moon’s own belly,
maple leaf and gold,
will give birth before Winter’s Ending,
let us
out into the courtyard,
pick plums,
let us,
build stars with
create heavens,
soft handfuls,
of rainbow colored snow.



by Alinda Lord

deep.  deep.
as i reach to touch,
the velvet sky percolates
between my fingers
and slides over skin like the stain of ink.

oh, slowly.
it is too much
to behold all at once.
i breath it,
this midnight
this deep

and feel it permeate

making its home inside me.

explicit incomparable blueness.
as it pulses its existence
i absorb its vibrancy with senses
straining with wonder.
i am part of this sky.
it has touched my center
and stopped time.
i am midnight velvet
inked blue.
deep sky.

and all the while
in this expanse of deep-hued rhythms,
overhead, and
just about there,
hangs simply
a brilliant

i know.  i know
it is
the thumbprint
of an unknown god.



Shadow Play
by Roy Rosenblatt

Maya and I wander a trail
her leash taut or slack
measured by the will of her curiosity.
Pulled from soil beneath us,
my eyes sprint ahead

where the trail bends unseen,
thoughts grasping
to know, what is from here,
unknowable.  A flushing exhale
surrenders to silence.

Nose to soil, Maya vacuums path scents,
fixates on the wild fluttering of a butterfly
in shadow.
Seeing seamlessly joined with pounce —
once    twice    three times.

Beneath the canopy of an unformed question,
I wonder about the things that draw us,
the shadows they cast,
and whether my gaze was reply
to the inviting gesture in a wave

by something unseen,
felt in the playfulness of breezes.
Encouraged by the wind, browns and greens
of native plants, a patchwork of swaying
rise into the fullness of their forms,

tier by tier along the contours of hills.
The roofless blue sky
appears more spacious now.