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bspink1.jpg
Caribou, oil painting by Brent Spink

Elisha Webster Emerson

 

 

I went to the wilderness, once

 

I went to the wilderness, once.

I left a lover to get there

and two homes. I traveled marshland, mainland, grassland.

I watched the wild sky expand,

buckle, and strain against the air.

 

The mountains roared and moved

beneath the light, indifferent light,

coral light, crimson light, cerebral blue.

The trees laughed real low. It’s true,

they multiply behind your back and out of sight.

 

Without street, store, or sidewalk,

the wilderness unwound unbounded,

then spiraled into itself like a shell

or a worm taking its tail

into its tiny mouth to feed.

 

The wilderness is at first gasp a swoon,

a sweeping outward of august proportions,

footprints in snow, clean air, a muse,

a welcome home, a balm of wounds,

at first, its dark nature softens.

 

But be careful: That loud dark will stalk you.

It will eat you if you stop singing

out your warning, though it cares nothing for poetry.

It is poetry.

Take a dog. Bring a gun, tiptoe

 

careful not to wake what, in dream will eventually find you

like it found me. Those days I was surprised to find

myself following myself, and I’m not talking

long voyages, I’m talking a short walk down the hall. Walking

my head, that object, as if it were a balloon on string.

 

I fled the wilderness, bewildered by light,

flung songs against its impossible magnitude,

that miniscule worm. 

 

I went to the wilderness, once

and now the wilderness comes to me.

 

 

 

 

Several of Elisha Webster Emerson’s short stories and essays have been published, most recently in ALL THINGS GIRL. Her blog, MY INCONVENIENT BODY, was honored Nickelodeon's Parents' Pick Award in 2009. Her novel, THE ABORTIONIST, currently resides in the hands of her agent, Jon Sternfeld.

 

bspinkcardinalovergarlicmustard.jpg
Cardinal Over Garlic Mustard, oil painting by Brent Spink

Cara Lorello

 

 

Late Spring

A villanelle

 

Shopping for geraniums in May

Under a gray sky afternoon,

I picture my mother’s garden in summer.

 

Planters with long shoots and a few buds

Are snatched up in droves by patrons, like me,

Shopping for geraniums in May.

 

Among an army of ground covers,

Two sisters select fat twin pony packs as

I picture my mother’s garden in summer—

 

All foliages and blossoms

Opened full beneath a late August sun.

Shopping for geraniums in May

 

Means hauling large planters indoors come

Winter, months of watering dead, yellowed shoots.

I picture my mother’s garden in summer.

 

A new rush of shoppers, eager to plant,

Are already fretting over fall bulbs while

Buying geraniums in May.

I am still picturing my mother’s garden in summer.

 

 

 

 

Cara Lorello is a former award-winning journalist, and graduate of Eastern Washington University. Her work has appeared in Northwest Woman, Eve, Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living, and a number of independent literary journals.

 

bspink1a.jpg
Oil Painting by Brent Spink

Maureen Kingston

 

Volunteering at the Home

 

As I button her shirt

she looks away,

her useless hands

at her sides, swollen

salt-glazed jugs. 

 

The nodules

on her joints pool

like spent candle wax

and I long to prick

her paws, to deflate

the arthritis that

torments her so.

              

And I wonder

which lost motions

propel her dreams,

cause her muscles

to twitch in her sleep?

 

Simple acts, perhaps,

like counting change

or scratching.  Or maybe

complex piano riffs

or tracing a lover’s lips.

 

She gazes

at her breakfast tray,

at the steaming mug,

smiles when I squeeze

lemon into her Earl Grey.

 

 

 

Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Commonline, Hobble Creek Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Red River Review and Third Wednesday.

Evan White

 

 

Monsoon Wedding

 

You are in your cups again. I will go

mistake the rain for a natural grammar.

Carefully he placed inkwells

on the balcony railing.

In the rain he heard woodblock syllables.

No secret lexicon in that.

At the market an Englishman said

Learn the local customs and they will

forgive you everything. Instead

he wrote a story and his wife the heroine. 

She had a population of 378,721.

In the morning the puddles were perfect

mirrors, except they were very deep. 

She put on that one really birdy robe.

It was like she might drink salt water

at any moment.

I am content.

I wash my feet in all your ink

and none is left.   

 

 

Satyr Lyric

 

The choristers wake

from a long sleep off-stage

 

and learn to speak as one. 

The cast say here is a name.

 

Our name is Now.

Armies stir loudly along a file. 

 

Spears beating on shields

like a rain.                 

 

When the sun runs sideways on a paneled wall

a silence puts on its wingspan. 

 

Then Age-ago girl, voice in a bell:

“My brain rings the very tell on the mattress.” 

 

I am the old Chorus-men

sleep-walking on the proscenium.

 

 

 

Evan White lives, teaches, and writes in Chicago. His work has appeared in elimae, decomP, Prick of the Spindle, Papaya Juice, and elsewhere.

 

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