by Mark Weinrich
I was trespassing in Granny Peterson’s wild orchard.
I had outlawed there many times before like Robin
in Sherwood. I was drawn to wildlife like an arrow
to a bow. A clumpy creature was perched near the top
of an apple tree and I had to know what it was.
Granny’s house was right out of Psycho. If the back porch
door slammed, beep-beep like road runner I was off.
My head was craned back and I was in a state of wonder;
animals were like constellations for my soul.
I was fascinated by that brown clump the size
of a magpie nest. It was like seeing the Big Dipper
for the first time when I realized it was a porcupine.
I didn’t even have time to name it Pedro, Peter, Polly,
or Pam, when neighborhood kids noticed
I was looking up. Soon they were pelting the poor
creature with apples. Some bounced off and some stuck.
I felt each whacking thump into his back and sides.
His attackers were having such fun, but I was more
than upset; my bleeding heart was seeping inside.
And I knew one of the kids was just looking for
a reason to dent my fenders. So I waited until they
tired of making that porcupine a Christmas bush.
Now what was I going to do? I was afraid of heights
and I knew I couldn’t pet a porcupine. And I couldn’t
tattle on the cruel kids cause I was trespassing.
I had such a sense of defeat, because in my heart
of hearts no matter how crazy it sounds
I should have defended that porcupine.
Bio: Mark Weinrich is a gardener, hiker, musician, cancer survivor, and pastor (for over 38 years). His work has been published in numerous literary and inspirational magazines. He has also sold eight children’s books and currently has two fantasy novels on Kindle.
Ode to a Bone
by Beth Duncan
On my small altar,
next to a statue of Quan Yin,
a yellow ribbon and a shell,
of tan and brown bone,
a piece of broken
hip rests silently.
Young whitetail, you slipped
into this world quietly, sipped
mother's milk, stood
on speckled haunches,
among golden dandelions.
of calcium and collagen
held you up.
In warm spring sun you grew
steady, pirouetted with grace,
chased a white moth,
to your death on the road.
The young jump with joy
into the reaper's teeth.
If only old bones could leap
with such faith.
Bio: Beth Duncan has an MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, has self published two books of poetry, and her poem Leaf Wisdom appeared in The Best of Spiritual Writers Network 2016. She lives in Frederick, MD, with two mischievous cats.
A Rainy Day
by James G. Piatt
A heavy mist in the air covers the yard and creates past memories. Potholes filled with water from the overnight rain gleam faintly, sky gray with moisture, air filled with dampness, and the hint of things never pronounced, or noticed, all swept in by a soft breeze into our aging bones waiting for warmth.
Pink blossoms on the newly planted dwarf fruit trees, basking in the favorable wetness, along with the odor of wet wood and soil lining the garden waft into the atmosphere. I am listening to the land’s yearning as my mind, hiding in corners of silence and wondering is leaning against images of the past, trying to find comfort in the wet stillness of the afternoon, shuffling towards tomorrow.
The sweet aroma, of freshly baked muffins baking in the kitchen, mingling with the odor of strong coffee, drift pleasantly into rooms unaware of the rain or its tears left upon the window panes. Two elderly people in the library warm themselves in front of the fireplace to escape the outside coldness concealed in the thinness of air, talking of things present and past.
Cheery songs of Sparrows feeding on seeds in the bird feeder heard above the groan of the wintry breeze, which burrows into their feathers. Our old Tomcat, begging to go outside to check out the birds, is rethinking his decision as the gust of sprinkles flutter across the backyard into his furry coat. His haphazard meowing at the back door is a reminder of his hasty decision-making.
Bio: James has had several poems nominated for both pushcart and best of web awards, and many were published in the “The 100 Best Poems Anthologies.” He has had 3 collections of poetry, “The Silent Pond,” (2012), “Ancient Rhythms,” (2014), and “Light” (2016), 4 novels, over 1,080 poems, and 35 short stories published. His fourth collection of poetry, “Memories and Musings,” is scheduled for release this year. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University and his doctorate from BYU. He lives in a replica of an 1800’s eastern farmhouse in Santa Ynez, California with his wife Sandy, a loveable old cat named Barney, and a new Australian Shepard puppy called Scout.