POETRY: NELS HANSON – GUESTS

Guests

A lost dog and at his side

a lost friend are running day

and night across blue rivers’

bridges, down red roads not

clay but pavement, from state

to state each a map’s different

color. No time for rest or sleep,

to eat, only random wild root

or berry, quick short drink from

a cold spring. Each hour I hear

them growing closer, closer,

expect at any second one kind

paw scratch at my screen door,

the whisper of patient knocking,

muted, shy, polite but unafraid

no one will answer after their

long journey as I rise to greet

my two guests, the strangers

I’ve waited all my life to meet.

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Poetry: Matthew Heston – Dear Kelly

Dear Kelly

 

Some things exist only to be seen by

those that need them most. As a

 

child, I watched a young theologian

reduce the divine to a chalkboard

 

sketch. Time is a circle that we live

inside, he explained, and that the Almighty

 

exists outside of. How simple

the universe is, sometimes. I’ve driven

 

down enough country roads to know

what loneliness is, walked down enough

 

city streets to know the isolation of

crowds. Wherever you are, you are

 

small amidst the vastness of the unknown.

I am standing atop a bridge, surrounded

 

by strangers, watching an eclipse

overhead. One whispers to another,

 

“We are witnessing history.” It’s true.

In eighteen years there will be

 

another, and by then none of us will

remember each other’s names.

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POETRY: Yoni Hammer-Kossoy – Scrawled on a Yosemite Park Map

Scrawled on a Yosemite Park Map

To the couple from the orange tent

whose amorous shushes

crept around the campground

long into the night like a bear

looking for leftovers,

I’m sorry if my kids

happened to slam the car doors

a few too many times

on our way out to an early morning

Ranger-led flora and fauna walk.

 

Staring at a lineup of RVs

crammed with wildlife-gawking

selfie-stick swinging day-trippers,

he said: the valley

had become a petting zoo.

Better head for the high country

if you’re looking for something wild.

 

So we did, and found more people and cars

but also endless pine, something blue

called sky, and mountains rising up

with a shrug that said: if not wild

then closer. Maybe it was the thin air,

or not showering for five days,

but I’d recommend the ice-clear lake

I dove into, for once not wondering

how much time was left on the clock.

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POETRY: RITA ROUSSEAU – REMEMBERING

Remembering

 

I walk in the shadow of skeletal trees,

their fearsome, naked branches reaching out

in desperation, pleading for redemption

like ghostly soldiers back from war in search

of peace, an end to dreams

of screams and shattered flesh.

Scattered underneath, concealed among

withered, blood-red remnants of last year’s

flowers, lurk spiked seed pods,

tiny, inobtrusive land mines

set to detonate at slightest touch

exploding everywhere new seeds

prepared to sprout, to conquer, and

to dominate all lesser growth

exhibiting their red magnificence.

Until, again, the glory ends

in stark, bare desolation.

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