but I never
went to his funeral.
If I didn’t have sons
of my own
I’d have gone.
But I do, so I know
that no force on earth
could ever make me
There’s a lot going on in the world
today. My TV stays off
for morning’s sake.
Another plane. Child. Innocent.
Betrayal. And that flag hanging
over it all.
I almost feel guilty when sorrow engulfs me.
How does an old paw print
eclipse any of that?
But my sphere spins slowly, the breeze
carries ghosts, familiar barks—
a smell of wet coats.
Birds don’t stop in this town.
I see them fly past, black peppering
blue, going someplace. I’ve given up
dreaming wings. This town
will know my bones. Condoms
sell well in Joe’s corner store – boredom breeds
but breeding’s a trap, a twitch in the smile
of those steel-eyed shrews
who linger late after church.
I walked half a day, out past the salt flats,
after they closed the movie house down. Smoked
the joint she’d brought back from college
when she returned to bury my dad.
I remember how pale her fingers lay
across my father’s hands –
coal miner’s hands, tarred like his lungs;
like this town.
First published in Eunoia Review, July 2016.
Winner of the Goodreads Monthly Poetry Contest, August 2016.
First Place in Poetry Nook contest 101, November 2016.
Until I saw those wasted hands,
brittle as chalk, I hadn’t thought
how fast the years make ghosts.
I heard them once called brawler’s paws.
For me, they were always more:
cobras, poised to strike.
But his brawling days are gone now;
I could kill him with a pillow,
if I cared enough to try.
Thin sheets press tightly to a bed
more empty than full, his body broken
like the promises of childhood.
Haunted eyes betray last thoughts
of a dim path, spiralling down.
He hopes to make amends.
“Forgiven?” he croaks,
barely there, as always,
and I’m wishing that I wasn’t.
With the last rays of day as witness,
I turn my back with purpose
and hear the silence roar.
In a late-night bar I catch my reflection
swimming in a glass of bourbon;
but I’m staring at a ghost.
First published in Writers’ Forum Magazine issue 163, April 2015 – first place
A beautiful new poem from my talented friend, Sarah Russell.
dust the ferns with my ashes —
there, among the aspen
trembling gold against the sky.
Let them settle, sighing,
on the still warm earth of autumn
where the next peak calls your name.
Snow will come. The wind will show me
paths the doe and vixen know. The moon
will call me with her crescent mouth
and share stories of the embered stars.
You won’t recall that ride through the walnuts,
one fey afternoon in fall — a city boy
on penance in the country, I’d never ridden before.
You were kind in a time of rough edges,
shared your saddle along spice-scented rows.
I swayed behind you, astride your palomino,
never more aware of a girl. Heat rose
in places where the lines of us blurred,
flared when my hand brushed your breast.
I almost kissed you when you turned to talk,
wish I’d kissed you instead of still guessing
just what you meant when you told me
not to let go.
first published by Algebra of Owls
Hi, gang. I apologize for being absent for awhile – a nasty wrist injury has kept me away from my computer and in a bit of a slump as I’m forced to consider the effect it will have on my career.
This link will take you there if you’d like a look – For the Girl in the Grove
I’d also like to thank Paul and his editorial team – Algebra of Owls is a wonderful site and the staff do such a great job reading and responding to submissions. Definitely a site to check out if you haven’t visited before.
Enjoy your weekend 🙂
Another wonderful poem from my talented friend, Sarah Russell. Please leave any likes and comments on Sarah’s blog, rather than here – I know how much they’ll be appreciated.
Keening in a bruised sky,
follow the coastline south –
imperfect V’s, left wanting
on one side or the other –
testament, perhaps, to those taken
by foxes, hunger, double barrels,
their skeins unraveling autumn.
– Sarah Russell
Posted for dVerse Open Link
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