by Jean Wollam
He stares ahead to make the furrow straight.
Bracing against handle bars burnished
By callused hands, my father pushes the plow.
Blade turning soil, spreading shine of sweat,
My father inhales, exhales.
Like stone to gold:
Seed to tasseled stalks, placental tomatoes, rainbow melons,
Dusty tracks, then loam to feed a flock.
He loves the Eden in the autumn.
That early evening he moves aside the plow
So I can step inside his boot prints. I am three.
I stretch to grab the wooden bars, my ruffled
Dress rising, half-moon pantaloons flashing.
With her Brownie box camera, my mother snaps this photo—
Like a nineteenth century daguerreotype.
My nostrils still breathe the odor of that black soil;
Here no one dies or disappears.
by Jean Wollam
Egyptian funerary figurines placed in tombs to act as laborers for deceased royalty in the afterlife.
My father’s the mold—
Tiny plough stuck to his thick brown hands,
Seed sack over one shoulder,
Harvest basket on the other.
So that priests and pharaohs,
Concubines and queens can revel,
He quickens when called:
I will do it--
Picking white-fleshed casaba and green honeydew,
Cutting corn from scratchy stalks,
He touches the thin red skin
Of the tomato to his cheek,
As if it’s a newborn.
My father holds up that afterlife:
He reaps the emmer wheat,
Roasts nutty sesame seeds.
His strong hands burst pomegranates,
While dates and grapes
Grow splendid in his care.
Even Gods depend on him.
Bio: Jean Wollam holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from the University of Utah. She is most inspired by the red rock landscape of southern Utah, the Rocky Mountains of northern Utah, and the open spaces of Abiquiu, New Mexico. Her work has previously appeared in Existere and Haibun Today.
Arising from slumber
by Shannon Cuthbert
September comes awash in elegance
And she hoses the hedges and car
Till they bleed, sopping down the streets
For the stray cats to see themselves in
All rancid angles and amber eyes.
Her husband sleeps at another house
Where a woman holds him like a coatrack
And wears away his hard edges.
And the days proceed the way they do
When all you have is a cherry sun
And a car between your legs
To take you to homes you’ve never known
To show you the flat side of the earth
Where cacti run crooked
Through the loose-toothed land.
This is the place she picks to build.
Begin again, with nothing but light.
That and a map, a mile of seed.
Her hard skin breaking bricks of ground
Eyes slitted all the way into October.
Calcification of a star
by Shannon Cuthbert
I grow into a lodestar,
The kind of biologist youths study in classrooms
Bent over microscopes mouths agape
Studying my slides
Of fertile microbiomes
Lovely as lace even in death.
I have stood on the shoulders of giants
And surpassed them all.
Hours in isolation imagining
What I should have said when I had the chance.
As children, my face a lamp
Absorbing always, turning on
In the study, the garden,
The plentiful home shut off from the rest.
Building a world was a task fit for one,
So I learned to eat my meals alone,
To chew and swallow without choking once.
Neighbors knocking would not understand.
Watching them leave
My eyes grew windows,
Through them my mind ticked, tallied up
The comfort of the known, the invisible friends.
My mother planted beneath,
Fungi running red
Through the flower of her face.
Built myself back from the ground straight up.
The giants turned stone,
Only letting me fall, again and again.
Learned to ignore their whispered song,
To bleed my work into stains of slides,
Join dusty pages of a book, living still,
So still you’ll hardly notice me there.
Bio: Shannon Cuthbert is a writer and artist living in Brooklyn whose poems often focus on the natural world. Her poems have appeared in Liquid Imagination, Gingerbread House, Bluepepper, and Enchanted Conversation, among others. She currently edits poems for The Beautiful Space, a literary journal focused on issues related to mental health.
by Carolyn Wolfe
I picked an October flower
orange and sudden
with remembered life
I turned it into a headdress
so that its memory would become mine
thinking only of how lovely
the last memory
was of sun
caressing its petals
of a selfish fleshy hand
ripping it asunder
by Carolyn Wolfe
In the woods
I saw a lady
made of leaves
soft Brown earth became her hair
highlighted by shimmering red Maple
her eyes, though half closed
were bright with wisdom
she sat there
wrapped in a Cocoon of age
and the dreaming sentence
of a softer change of season….
As I was leaving the Woods
wondering at such a vision
I saw her rustle
and turn gently
giving to me
her powdered smile.
Bio :Carolyn Wolfe is a free-lance writer, published poet, and author of eight books, four of which are illustrated children's books. Those include, "Am I YOUR Pet?", "The Drowsy House," "The Bedtime of The Sky and Other Sleepy-Bye Stories" and "The Unhappy Little Dragon, Lessons Learned." Her books for general readership include: "Miracle Paws, A Love Story" a story of rescue and light romance, and "The Moonsparrow Collection" which is a collection of her short fantasy stories. Ms. Wolfe has also published two collections of her original poetry" Notes From the Shadow Self" and "Making Waves," as well as an adult Sword and Sorcery novella, "Blade's Magic" which is about dangerous magics and an attraction that spans two worlds.All her books are available on amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Books-A- Million- (online).Ms. Wolfe lives with her photographer husband, Scott, and a houseful of her own rescued, animal companions.If you would more info about this Author, here is her website info: http://wolfecarolyn.wix.com/carolyn-storyteller