This month of your birth
has crept in upon me again,
slipped over the window sill
and into the corner of my room
where a perfect square of moonlight
seems to have up taken residence
and, outside, where the birds,
a whole choir of them, whose names
you never bothered to learn even when
mother recited them over and over again
as she pointed to the secret places
she thought they were hiding
under eaves or in the tangled branches,
are singing their hearts out
as she would always say then
and where now the boisterous cicadas
are joining in that twilight overture
This month of your birth
I asked sleep for a few favors.
So a lightbulb became
the sun’s sojourn;
a notebook, the expectant grass;
a crayon, the watering pot;
a scrawl, the gathering dusk;
a train horn, the private night.
Clubs you like a rank bludgeon,
it does. It’s in the hallways, waiting
at the elevator doors. Smell
like an elbow bent six years
and peeled open. Shelled
spongy scruff, a man-shed oyster
that stink, like the sea’s,
is rich with promise. It’s not all
charnel. On every tide an elegance
of power in skaters
fast as gulls and as fierce.
That greedy wheedler the aspen
shakes its golden leaves. In earth,
its shoots snatch another foot.
And a young woman suddenly died,
quietly, from a quiet well-loved life.
No cause is known. Her eyes
that flicked like lizards closed.
For thrum of yellow through sycamores and slant of sunlight through milk jug’s rounded edges. For gold-ignited summer and star-spangled boneweed on the road.Read more "Thanksgiving in Hometowns"
Muskrat She walks past the pond, up the road,toward illuminated shape—sunshineorbits its body, an auburn luster. Behind oak, near maple, she cloaksits remains with autumn’s leavings,honors its life. At bedtime, she smooths her grandmother’scoat, the mink repurposed into coverlet.Its plushness weeps with needless death. Animals have covered us long enough. Jeannie E. Roberts has authored four […]Read more "Muskrat"
Grant’s Tomb From its roof, pigeons explode, their wingsthrumming like playing cards, clothespinnedto our bike spokes when we were kids. A jogger briskly thuds through growingpiles of leaves. One snags on a straywisp of her hair before it zag- zigs through the air. Sword-crossing spans,one dappled pair soar out beyondthe traffic’s flow. Through clouds of […]Read more "Grant’s Tomb"
September This month cuts its own hair, the trees’ dream of going bald and old roses sport candelabras. The mosses cannot hold on as tightly as they did in June. The forsythia droops like a girl’s braids at the end of the first day of school. Black-eyed Susans flirt over the heads of dead-headed daisies. […]Read more "September"
Wooly Mammoth Eventually the permafrost surrendered him To genetic speculation. Gog and Magog, the door was agog. Sort of goes without saying though. Now I know I have to get Myself out of trouble. Before leaving town Check the weather and your luggage. Many words spoken to me have seemed English. He instructed me in […]Read more "Wooly Mammoth"
Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in The Wayne Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pinyon, San Pedro River Review, North of Oxford, and RipRap Literary Journal. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he serves as co-coordinator of The Litchfield Tea […]Read more "The Strongest Love"