This is the summer of red dust. Everything
sucked dry—hollow as cicada husks, wedged
under eaves and porch stairs—waiting
for a wind change. On the road out of town,
empty grain silos loom, perched like headstones
over wheat-field graves. Harvesters sag, tyres
cracked like the asphalt. Rotting carcasses
litter riverless beds—tongues swollen,
flyblown, unslaked. First, a wheeze,
then my pickup spews steam. It dies in a ditch
under a burnt-orange sun. Tiger snake chunks
graffiti the hood’s underside, one blind eye bulging
from the torn head. It must have sought shade
or wiper water—sliding up from the parched earth
miles back. Now it’s just one more dead thing
in a land of dead things. This is the summer
of red dust. It swirls and the road ahead blurs.
– Ryan Stone
first published by Eunoia Review
A big thank you to Paul and the team at Algebra of Owls for publishing my poem – First Deaths.
I won’t survive this dark night’s lunar sea.
Waves crash against the fortress of my mind.
An endless ebb and flow of misery
Has seeped into the Labyrinth we designed.
No atlas, compass, sextant can give aid
In evil vaults where stars are loath to shine.
My tears and screams, once birthed, so quickly fade—
To drown with hope beyond the high-tide line.
I’ve raced before a tempest wind so long,
My hull is breached beyond my skill to caulk.
No dawn for me, I chase a siren’s song
To straits so dire, all but monsters balk.
On feathered wings of wax at last I see—
There’s no abyss except the one in me.
along quicksilver trails
thru the night
past the wall,
into the sky—
swallowed by infinity
I wake a full hour early
for the rare gift
of a walk in the woods
with my father.
He is a silent giant
among misty ghost gums.
I tell him, Watch!
See how fast I can run.
He doesn’t yell when I trip
and fall, but lifts me
At the end of the trail
I study my grazes—jagged
and bloody. He tells me
he’s leaving my mum.
On the walk home
I gaze at the gum trees
and fragmented clouds, thinking
they should look different somehow.
first published at Poetry Nook, 1st place Week 185
One drunken night, he lay on the coach road
and she lay beside him. He pictured a truck
descending–wobbling around corners,
gaining momentum. They spoke about crushes,
first kisses. He told her of an older woman
who’d stolen a thing he couldn’t replace.
He tried to describe the weight of lost things.
She listened until he stopped,
until I stopped
hiding behind he. I felt small,
watching the cosmos churn
while I lay on the coach road
one summer night,
speaking of big things
first published at Algebra of Owls, November 2016
Republished for dVerse poetics – Poems That Could Save Your Life – this friendship saved mine.
Wind, blow –
lift me high, don’t
far, above sand
take me, let’s chase
– Ryan Stone
soaked skies, sunrise
woke her –
seas lilt behind
On morning’s grace
– for Kara & James
It’s a fleeting moment–
a red sky at twilight,
rushing to the long night;
the last russet leaf
clinging to bough
as autumn inhales,
You know this, you’ve felt it
in the grey light of dawn,
in that pause
between waking and finding.
You’ve heard it whisper
through the dry grass
of summer–a promise
tossed on the wind.
blows over fields,
This hand in your hand
is the one, the only
under the sun.
From my porch
I watch thunderheads
battering high noon
into bruised twilight.
I see you climb
from under eaves,
by a pressure change.
As the storm inhales
you leap and spin,
leap and spin
your web — knowing
your time to build