by Barbara A Meier
Your words are like crumbs on my path.
Scraps scattered to blaze a journey, a passage home.
I gobble them hungrily, like the black-capped chickadee
darting, pivoting, hanging upside down to feed:
a balancing act on Queen Anne's lace and beggar's lice.
My days, nights are consumed with caches of your words
I've stored in dead bark, leaves, and clusters of conifer needles-
a 4G data plan- till my 28-day memory fades.
The words putrefy in the morning light on that 29th day...
like manna, words were never meant to be hoarded,
kept a prisoner in the brain...like cankers and galls on oak trees.
I count the words on my fingers-
I tick them off.
Flicking my fingers in a chant-
like the Northern flicker on dead wood.
It is not enough.
Instead, I would be the jay:
stellar, raucous, cackling, cawing,
flaunting my presence in the boughs of pine.
Flashing blue in the tangle of a manzanita maze.
Stealing kibbles of dog food and oily black sunflower seeds.
A sentinel in a watch-tower of mammoth sugar pine.
I dip, carry, hide- loud in my protest at your entrance,
disturbing my feeding, my growing, my changing.
I would also be the Gier, King of Sky,
not groveling ground-ward, sedulously scurrying,
mindlessly amassing the soupcan you've strewn upon my path.
My olfactory lobe piercing the litter of the forest floor.
I reign in confidence, kettling skyward on thermals.
I know what I want: not morsels of words
or Hackelia virginiana buried in your socks,
My life is…
and crumbs on forest floors leave me hungry.
Bio Barbara A Meier moved to Gold Beach, OR a year ago to teach kindergarten. She was and is looking for new adventures. This year she will be teaching first grade and is looking forward to a more comfortable year. In her spare time, she writes poetry, pausing to look out her window at the Pacific ocean.
by James B. Nicola
The solitude of later life
affords him time to sweep the stairs
and dust things underneath, once theirs.
The day his wife became his wife
he swears he heard her say “I do.”
They raised her daughter, had a son,
and then she said her job was done
and left him and the young son too
to move with the girl to a southern state.
The boy's a teen now, way too mad
to visit mom or stop for dad
as he calls the boy to remonstrate.
The boy bolts by and the father sweeps
recalling now that she'd said I do
but never actually I love you.
The son eats, swears, screams, slams, and sleeps.
Bio: James B. Nicola's poems have appeared recently in Greensilk, the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews, Rattle, and Poetry East. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His two poetry collections, published by Word Poetry, are Manhattan Plaza (2014) and Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016). sites.google.com/site/jamesbnicola.
by Robert Beveridge
There is gentleness
in the large brown beasts
pulling the sulkies
and the men with whips
gentleness and promise
as they promenade past the stands
and look over at the crowd
knowing someone out there
has confidence in them
each, maybe, hoping
he'll be the forty-to-one longshot
that pays the rent another month
Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Algebra of Owls, and Main Street Rag, among others.
by Gary Beck
The moon rises
in a darkened city,
fearful, confused, bored,
for electronic devices
that dominate waking hours,
the sun will rise again.