Thursday, 7 October 2021

Sonnet by Aaron Novick

Listen: you can hear
the silent thunder gathering
before the clouds unload the loud, rude ring
that stupefies the ear.

Not yet insensate, here
in the slurred rain, you feel each thing
that cannot be becoming, thickening
from nothing, drawing near.

What world is this, that streams
with solid fog? What empty glut
of all just as it seems?

And, when real thunder fills
the sky, and these things vanish—what?
It is your mind that stills.


Date: 2020

By: Aaron Novick (19??- )

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Migrations by Kathryn Hunt

The pale-yellow blossoms
of the hellebores remind us
of winter’s long resolve.

In the south, the Western tanager
is aflame with nectar. Wasps,
cicadas, love. Bird camouflaged as

guitar lick, a zodiacal sunrise.
Smoke from smoldering tires
in the valley of Oaxaca.

Come, ungovernable blaze.
Little god. Summon us.
Torch the naked branches.


Date: 2021

By: Kathryn Hunt (19??- )

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Her Lot by Alwyn Marriage

Genesis 19

Fleeing a city’s devastation with his wife
he was witness to her transformation,
stopped in his tracks aghast, then tentatively
took two steps backwards without turning round.
He spoke to her, gently at first, then cried
with rising panic in his voice,
put out a hand to touch her cold white form,
but withdrew it as he felt the sculpture burn
with the salt tears of strife.

Licking his fingers in disbelief, he briefly savoured
twenty shared years in which she’d added flavour
to his life. Ozymandias in the desert wastes
couldn’t have looked more lost and isolated
than this woman he must now leave behind,
as abandoning the strange and yet familiar
column of solidified sea water,
he set his face to the impassivity of rock
and continued on his desert way, without looking back.


Date: 2020

By: Alwyn Marriage (19??- )

Monday, 4 October 2021

Medieval Dream Poem by Lois Marie Harrod

In the middle of my middle age I awake
to my sister telling me she wears
her street clothes to bed, What’s the point,
she asks, changing? She’s angry.
Someone at the Senior Center
has told her she smells like a dog.

In the middle of the bed I awake
to my dog, wrapped in purple polyester
that she does not shed. She’s smelling
of rancid mutton, which I don’t like,
not even those little lamb chops smothered
in mint, chop chop, says Detective Frost.

In the middle of my mystery I awake
to Detective Frost, my hand numb
where I had grabbed the suspect’s knife,
clenched it as if my life depended on cutting
off my fingers, and in that life, it did.

In the middle of my sullen art I awake
to a knife slicing the Mona Lisa from her frame,
worried as I roll it that the great cameras
of the Louvre, all those pinholes into pictures
will catch me at work and I will pull down
my hood and hobble out.

In the middle of the night I wake
to naked skin, and this time it is you
touching me, gently, as I always wanted you to touch
me. Nothing comes of it as nothing comes
of most dreams, but you touched me.

From: Harrod, Lois Marie, ‘Medieval Dream Poem’ in Gyroscope Review, Spring 2021, Issue 21-2, p. 6.

Date: 2021

By: Lois Marie Harrod (19??- )

Sunday, 3 October 2021

What Do You Mean, Praise? by Ann Silsbee

Yes, we could die tomorrow.
A two-car crash, a second’s misjudging of speed.
Another plane might ram our woods. Anthrax
could do it, a heart attack, cancer, even a stupid
fall down the back stairs. But for now we’re staying,
counting on this burdened world to go right on
budding up next year’s leaves. I need to know
how to praise what keeps on trying, sun gifting
rooms with color after days of gray, streams
talking rain after August’s silence of drought.
Or what I don’t notice, like the taste of air,
the way my lungs know exactly how to breathe.
Or the friend I’d thought I’d lost, whom I feel
singing in my own songs. How even in grief
I remember her laugh, and savor my hunger
as onions and mushrooms sizzle on the stove,
reminding my body of a cook no longer here.

Haven’t we always been in line
for some kind of ending? It’s enough for now
that our son’s on the phone, telling us today’s
griefs, yesterday’s joys. What matters is to tug
lightly on the thin line of his voice, stretch it
over the hills and woods — what pulls between us
will not break. This must be what praise is, singing
the young men our bodies began, who go on
in this world with their wives, girls, boys,
the mothers and fathers who go on in us, too,
and ancestors we never knew who dwell unsuspected
in our corpuscles and ganglions, smiling us,
weeping us, walking with us all our lives long.


Date: 2003

By: Ann Silsbee (1930-2003)

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Wealth by Dianne Stepp

It was an ordinary day riding home on the bus,
the sun slanting low through the window
where I sat reading a book, listening
with half an ear to the murmur of commuters,
the ring of the pulled bell, the driver
calling out the stops. I didn’t notice her
at all until she took the seat in front of me,
until the sun darted through the glass
to lay its brush in the deep plums of her lavish hair,
igniting tiny filaments of gold, molten reds,
burnished umbers, causing them to arc, crackle
a firestorm of snapping lights.
I remember how my body woke then,
how I wanted to dance, stand in the aisle,
shout and wave my arms, everyone to look.
And when her hand reached for the cord,
I remember how desolate I felt, yet grateful,
even then, when I was still ignorant,
how rarely, a gift like this,
how randomly, over a lifetime.


Date: 2020

By: Dianne Stepp (19??- )

Friday, 1 October 2021

Imaginary Waltz with a Woman Wearing a Dress of Virga by Christopher Petruccelli

Her silhouette is caught between windows and hanging
cigarette smoke thin as muslin—elongated in streaks
of vodka tonic, moving like a Midwestern storm. I want nor’easters,
Tennessee gales, sneaking wind with its creeping
cool – the smell of thunder, cold copper with a hint
of tin, ground wet before it even starts to rain.


Date: 2013

By: Christopher Petruccelli (19??- )

Thursday, 30 September 2021

After Life and In Between by Christina Stoddard

When you ask again if I believe in ghosts,
insisting I commit, I answer with
a vision my cousin had two summers ago
in Canyonlands. She was beaten

by a prisoner on work-release, her voice disabled,
drifting out, when our grandmother—
sixteen years gone—appeared above her. Solid
as the trees. Without an ounce of tenderness

our grandmother said Get up, girl. My cousin
does not remember crawling to the road
but a minivan found her stretched across
its lane. A family wrong-turned

in an unmarked branch of the park. The driver
used my cousin’s walkie to guide the helicopter,
and she woke from the coma
saying our grandmother’s name.

While you half-listen, I can see you arranging
your argument. The steely pearl
of your intellect. But my love,

you have never lain bleeding on any ground.
And there are things I knew
before I knew you. Which is why
I never told you what happened last spring

while the dogwoods bloomed,
a few nights after some god’s hand fished inside me
for the heart that was growing there

and plucked it out. In grief
I opened my eyes to a little girl, four or five,
standing quietly beside our bed. She held my hand.

If I thought you would listen, I would tell you
she was almost ours. That before she
vanished, she told me her name.


Date: 2019

By: Christina Stoddard (19??- )

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

For the Buyer of Breakfasts in Salem by Colleen Michaels

I wish for you a lifetime of eggs
over easy, poached, sunny side up
on a raft, scrambled with Vermont cheddar

I wish for you that every time you walk
into the diner on Washington St.
somebody says, “What do ya know, Jo.

You’re that guy, the one who secretly
shelled out to strangers. Just ‘cause.
Hot ticket. Mayor of the counter.”

I wish for you that when the story gets
english muffin dry and day old stale
you will still be known as a lumber jack.

Pass him the sports page, pass him the syrup
give him a warm up, little creamers on ice.
No, bring him the real milk from the cooler.

Every small generosity is now yours to pocket:
parcels and postcards, secret santas,
the resurrection of men’s hat departments.

All those hats worn by other nice men
who will search for you on sidewalks
just for the opportunity to tip a brim in your direction.

I wish for you full satisfaction:
not from the silver-dollar pancakes
which are on the house at my thank-you counter,

but because, when I took your cue
and bought dessert for the couple two tables over,
it tasted sweeter than cannoli.


Date: 2012

By: Colleen Michaels (19??- )

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

All I Crave is Intrinsic Peace by Jonathan Otamere Endurance

when i say my body is a parquet
littered with bones, i mean everything
i once knew is dead & what remains
is the fire you left behind.

in the garden, i mistake the redness
of roses for your breath—which
means i hallucinate about our pastime–
& when i touch the lilies by their necks
i realize how much of a shadow
you have become.

your absence: a flickering candle light
whose ray burns best in the darkest of day
which means i carry your absence like
a language left untranslated.

grief is an ageless animal. it’s months
since the ocean swept your remains
to shore, & here i am waiting
for the rain to wash off the bloodstains.

this body: an ignorant child to the touch
of grief. a crossroad between loss and fear.

i stretch my voice across continents
which means i am growing wings again.
which means i am not afraid to cross
borders with my grief, to wear your absence
like it’s the last thing you left behind.


Date: 2021

By: Jonathan Otamere Endurance (19??- )