Lives of the Wood Lice
by William Doreski
More vicious storms pile up
to scrape us off the planet.
The light tingles with excitement.
Housepainters clean their brushes
and take down long quaking ladders.
The road crew rumbles its trucks
home to the town garage where
a poker game terminates the day.
We sip a late-afternoon latte,
large, iced, and too expensive,
at a picnic table running wood lice.
I watch these harmless creatures
bustle about their little errands.
They dodge around each other
without touching or greeting
in any discernable manner.
You ignore their tiny presence,
their bodies almost colorless,
their purpose almost transparent.
The hard rain won’t trouble them.
The steep wind won’t addle them.
Hail won’t impact their worldview.
We share the latte to the bottom
and dump cup and ice in the trash.
Someone empties the can every
few days without thinking
about the lives of the wood lice
unfolding a few feet away.
Whenever I feel small enough,
especially on days of heavy storm,
I fear my own transparency,
so easy for others to scorn.
Bio:William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Venus, Jupiter (2023). His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.
from… A Trail of Chinese Lanterns
by Michael Sofranco
The cares of this world
Follow a brown stream,
Even in deep August, when even
The heavy air cannot contain everything.
I am not a man who understands
The new moon, the turbulent seas,
Or the places beyond me
Where sorrow is sinking
The ships of sad sailors.
I always imagine a moon that illuminates
A silent flat sea, and a soundless skiff
Without a sail
That silently carries my soul
Along in its constant longing.
Bio: Michael Sofranko received his MFA from the Writers Workshop at University of Iowa. He received the Sean Christopher Britton Award for his collection of poetry, Homing Instincts, and the Antonio Machado Prize for his collection, American Sign. He co-authored The Vapors, a series for television. Michael lives in Houston, Texas.
First, The Yellows
by Kim Hazelwood
In the hue of You,
Whispering by way of such golden hair,
Lots of things begin twigging,
Into the bargain,
Refashioning the showpieces
In these disrobing woods,
These amber queues of September.
Ideals of bright pastels get derailed.
A little world weary but enkindle,
Earth tones and ardent yearnings,
Initiating first the Yellows.
The Yellows say hello.
Greetings in constellated sunbeams
Applaud the saffron decorum stored all year.
A turmeric gladness of paid attention.
But then Yellow becomes,
Or would rather be,
With just a little time,
Costumed in gold.
Dreaming, into the echelons of gleaming.
Thoughts of jewelry, chains and wedding rings,
A few discarded.
Orienting into Orange.
Then the Oranges, some say Rusts, claim hello.
Was there ever a more gorgeous color?
That coppery gingering of lost, new pennies,
Lushly prospering on cinnamon toasted ellipticals,
With sunrise and sunset
Whichever you muse,
The alpha and omega of the day,
Bedecking butternut rays through marmalade curtains.
Radiating into Red,
Then the Reds trill hello.
A garnet lit by firelight,
Of this you must see.
The lost in time dust of rubies,
A prepossessing scarlet capper,
Applying ruffled rouge on crimson laces.
Pleased with the patience of it all,
Then the Purples tip their hats hello.
In the momentum of a mulberry wine furtherance,
A dark, never shrinking violet, grapey, eggplant,
Passionately twirls to the last dance,
In aubergine skirts.
Finally, The Browns.
Maybe not heralding in the most exciting of ballads
But very much the real star in the fullness of time,
Salutes hello, and goodbye,
Maybe a bit of a sad bow-out.
It was a very long tour,
From the humming, palmy pear fern branchlets,
Chockablock with those first meanderings of sprigs and sprays,
To crunchy raked drifts
Through banded herds of genius ghosts.
In the last stretches of a tawny yawn,
Imparting the slumberous, brought about beam of real contenders,
Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple
Encompassing all the blonde-gray colors in between, still and all,
Fade into the Earth,
By and by.
Bio: : Kim Hazelwood is the founder and poetry editor of The Green Silk Journal. She is the author of a poetry collection, The Way You Just Shine (2021) and a children’s book, CoyoteBat! (2011,2021) She has been published in Still Crazy and others as well as Green Silk. Currently she is crafting a second book of poetry, when she is not painting or gigging with her husband in their 70’s folk rock duo and enjoying precious time with her granddaughter.