Poetry Spring 2008-pg 2
The Rule Against Perpetuities
by Robert K. Omura
A life must be the measure of even legal fictions,
the dabbed ink runs deep, grinds bones to seed,
settles secessions, sometimes,
the gentle tails of fees hacked off, simply;
ah, but the dead, like Shelley, still speak,
always making their mortmain pleas,
determined or inchoate, but vestable nevertheless
their long letters reaching from beyond the grave.
Circle it in red ink on a map,
mark its distance with stakes and laser-surveyed lines,
precise blocks outlined in erasable pencil
weigh its worth in gold, sell each green moment
out from the back steps of a marche ouvert,
beside chopped up tiger paws and bear's feet
Time is bought and sold, traded like extinction,
and the dead and dying dream, too.
But what if all of Blackacre is indeterminable?
Even perpetual fictions have their limits;
where the best laid plans, fail and flail,
like Chernobyl or Bhopal or the Love Canal,
and the golden sunset is strip mined and emptied of light
the jewelled earth remains vested.
Yet when remaindermen drop like flies
the remainders never divest back to the earth;
see, stewardship always has a price
and everyone knows, even cemeteries are owned.
Bio: Robert K. Omura lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada where he practices law. He is active in education, law reform, the environment and the outdoors. His fiction and poetry appears in anthologies, literary magazines and ezines. In April, 2008, he read his work on CBC Radio for National Poetry Month. He is currently working on a novel.
The Myth of Grace
by James R. Whitley
All across the field,
dawn begins to peel back
the night’s dark duvet
like a scab being picked at
to reveal the ripe skin beneath it.
In the unblinking gaze of
this late summer morning,
death, the rogue thespian,
dons its many masks—
early worms caught in
the unforgiving mouths of
robins, a blight of dandelions
suffocating the tulip bulbs in
their own bed, pearls of dew
dripping from the green tongues
of crabgrass like last rites.
Don’t turn away.
That there might be a path
through all of this falling
that will leave us unscathed,
unscarred by experience,
is lunacy, a mere fabrication
woven by the overly hopeful.
Who are we to think ourselves
more deserving than even
the oak speared by lightning,
less vulnerable than these
jaundiced roses hopelessly
besieged with aphids?
In time, burdens are assigned
to all things marked with life.
In autumn, the somber
whorl of dying leaves
scattered about as an omen.
In winter, all the valiant
reds and greens
surrendering finally under
the pummeling fists of snow.
Bio: James R. Whitley's poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize as well as for The Best of the Net and has appeared or is forthcoming in several publications, including Barrelhouse, Controlled Burn, Mississippi Review, Pebble Lake Review, Poetry Southeast, and Wheelhouse. His first book Immersion won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. His second collection, This Is the Red Door won the Ironweed Press Poetry Prize and will be published soon.
She Said to Me
by Cherilyn Fry
There is one thing you need to know, she said to me...
always remember that there is a crone in there, somewhere
waiting to spread her wings and fly...
you need not go on~ mindless of thoughts and feelings of those women
who sacrificed~those women suffragettes that fought for the cause
those women who burned at the stake because somebody accused them of
challenge this thinking she said
and whatever you do
make your voice heard, damn it.
Bio: Cheri lives in Vancouver, she is happily married and works in Vancouver. She has been writing poetry on and off for years. Cheri is also an artist and recently has been doing more art in hopes of showing it. She is published in Taj Mahal Journal.