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lrwitnessessuddenlywait.jpg
"Witnesses Suddenly Wait" by Linda Rzoska

Michelle Reed

 

 

Letter to R

 

 

1.

 

 

It’s August, and we finally sold

your house. We took every book

 

out of your study, all the rhinestone

brooches and dangling pearls

 

from your dresser. We tried to scrub

the stains away from the kitchen’s

 

gold linoleum, but they wouldn’t

budge. You spilled a lot of wine

 

when you were alive. We ate

cold bologna sandwiches

 

on the floor in the dining room.

We talked about the time

 

we lost you in a department store,

and found you hours later

 

reading The Prophet on a suede couch

in the home department,

 

wondering what took us so long.

 

 

2.

 

Yesterday, I went for a walk

and saw teenagers playing Frisbee in the graveyard,

 

spread out between headstones with arms

outstretched, one of them cradling someone else’s

 

white lilies. That’s the kind of place

I live in now. A town that takes

 

even from its dead.

My apartment here is crowded with

 

your furniture. I spend too much time

on your couch, painting spirals

onto canvas. Sometimes I imagine

that you once did the same thing

 

in the same spot––sinking

into the cushions as you married

 

colors into something

like the silver of a rain cloud.

 

 

3.

 

I would translate the moon

into blue morning light

 

if it would bring you back.

I would keep every firefly

 

in Pennsylvania in my ribcage.

I would let the mountains envelop me

 

in their darkness. I would silver

the valley with paper lanterns

 

from my mother’s garden.

I would make lemon cake every night.

 

I would plant iris in my driveway.

I would follow the sound of water

 

back to you.

 

 

 

In 2011, Michelle Reed finished her BA in Creative Writing at Western Michigan University and completed her MA in English at Bucknell University this past spring. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Albion Review, Air Poetry, and The Columbia Literary Review. In her spare time, she edits her own (fledgling) magazine, Pink Slayer. Michelle works as a freelance writer and editor in Chicago.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

 

 

 

Polyp Removal, Left Vocal Cord

 

 

Living through snow and the days of silence, my head fills with

unarticulated words,  transitive verbs. Another day of silence.

 

The arrow just nicked the swan’s neck. They mate for life, you

know, mute by choice paddling into another day of silence.

 

Old Indian bells, snapped fingers, glaring, a broken bowl perhaps

on purpose conspire to disturb the noon silence.

 

Monographs of swallowed words feed the undisturbed mentation

(thinking of you, Stephen Hawking) of those consigned to silence.

 

Where is the end of this padded corridor? Longing for echoes,

reverberation. (FYI: Charades are the kazoos of silence.)

 

Proscribed days of voice rest, frustrations, staying away from

human temptation, but I finally settle into silence.

 

On the sixth day, I wake up singing show tunes: “Company!”

Elizabeth was born to test the width and elasticity of silence.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Kerlikowske's chapbook Last Hula won the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Center (Ohio) chapbook contest. It details the last days of a father/daughter relationship. This is Kerlikowske's last semester as a full-time professor at Kellogg Community College in Michigan.

Tom Blessing

 

 

Winter Suite

 

 

like a king lost in the gale

eagle drifts above the trees

ravens watch

they know he is more

pirate than king

 

*

 

this morning

through the snow

a calligraphy

of ravens

in the sky

 

 

*

 

walking by the pine

snow falls down my neck

raven laughs

as he flies away

 

*

 

snow is falling

softly outside our windows

our old dog is curled

by the heat vent

the little one is snuggled

between us on the couch

 

you knit, I read

on TV people are looking

for houses in some foreign land

they will not find what we have

 

softly outside our windows

snow is falling

 

 *

 

black tea with orange

snow drifting behind the house

the shovel can wait

 

 

 

Tom Blessing lives near the village of Calumet on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula where long winters provide time to write.

 

Elaine M. Seaman

 

 

Redefining Similes

 

 

The woman on the porch remembered the phrase

like deer in headlights, which connoted frozen panic,

then spastic flight, but this deer in her yard was quite calm,

chewing her rose bushes while she whupped at it. She could

have put a saddle on it, it stayed so unaffected.

I, too, have wondered about scared as a rabbit

and dumb as a bunny. I can walk right up

to a dining rabbit and it will acknowledge me before

it returns to my hosta. Which, by the way, it only chews

one bite of through the stem and lets the rest lie.

A comedian has compiled an Animal Conspiracy file

which documents squirrels and donkeys and carp et al

that go against norm. The carp fling themselves out of the water

at the crotches of men in boats. Aiming precisely, he says. With intent.

But perhaps people have miscalculated. Evolution

isn’t just for humans. We are just the ones with words.

And words get us closer to the truth, like jays after seeds at a feeder.

 

 

Elaine M. Seaman grew up in Iowa but has lived in Kalamazoo for 35 years. She has written two books of poetry, Rocks in the Wheatfield and Bird at the Window. She shares her yard with deer, rabbits, chipmunks and lovely, lovely birds.

 

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