Out on a Limb
Standing alone, off to one side
in the chlorophylled fullness
of grass and sky –
all seasons are parked here:
the petal pinks of Spring,
bronzed Fall, Winter crouching
in hibernation. The tree cries
shade for stragglers or lovers
who meet in the glade come Summer.
Wild flowers and weeds spring up,
tickle among the roots – fickle
wanderers move on.
If I lift my eyes to the left
I see a rarity of blue, an egg,
a mood, a kindred spirit.
If I can raise my foot
from where it’s rooted
I just might be able to approach it.
Betsy Mars is a Connecticut-born, mostly California-raised poet, educator, mother, and animal lover. She holds a BA and an MA from USC which she has put to no obvious use. Her work has recently appeared in Verse Virtual, Praxis, and Anti-Heroin Chic, among others.
Whatever colour I was, I am now
bilious. The sun staggers
across the slow day to a ratchet
of cicadas. Every living thing
has gone to ground, buried
in shadow. As in a besieged keep,
I hold my breath. Ideas die in me,
reabsorbed like eggs. These hours
won’t come again, yet I’ve
done nothing. Perhaps the heat
will tire of laying waste
and retreat. I’ll part the branches
to the dust of its leaving, lifting
a hurried bloom in darkness,
a cap of flesh bearing spores.
Devon Balwit teaches in Portland, OR. She has numerous chapbooks and collections, including We are Procession, Seismograph (Nixes Mate Books), Risk Being/Complicated (A collaboration with Canadian artist Lorette C. Luzajic); Where You Were Going Never Was (Grey Borders); and Motes at Play in the Halls of Light (Kelsay Books). Her individual poems can be found in The Cincinnati Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Aeolian Harp Folio, The Free State Review, Rattle, and more.
Van Gogh's Green
Who can help me breathe what I see?
And if you arrived,
the One I thought I called for,
would I embrace
or try to shatter you?—
you, with your brittle demand
breath by barely tolerated breath,
the verdancy of high summer
in a still place
where solitude already torments,
its fierce pleasures
piercing with the threat of ecstasy.
Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of three poetry collections and two novels. Her most recent book is The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh: a novel (Blade of Grass Press, 2017). Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: https://shirleyglubka.weebly.com
The Poet’s Garden
Apparently you never penned a poem,
yet I glimpse poetry in all your prose.
You loved the painter-poet Jules Breton,
Longfellow, Moore, Rossetti and you chose
to weave some of their themes into your art--
the autumn mists of Keats, calm seas of Heine,
Breton’s wheat fields, his peasants, and his larks.
You turned to others’ canvases; you mined
The Angelus, that painting by Millet--
That’s it. That’s rich. That’s poetry, you wrote,
then copied it. And now I see the way
your willow weeps, one mournful, plaintive note
that echoes through the garden its refrain,
reminding me of other poets’ names.
Sharon Fish Mooney
Sharon Fish Mooney is the author of Bending Toward Heaven, Poems After the Art of Vincent van Gogh (Wipf and Stock/Resource Publications, 2016) and editor of A Rustling and Waking Within (OPA Press, 2017), an anthology of ekphrastic poems by Ohio poets responding to the arts in Ohio. She has presented ekphrastic poetry readings in multiple locations including the Arts in Society Conference, Paris and Groningen University, the Netherlands. She won the inaugural Robert Frost Farm Prize for metrical poetry. Her ekphrastic poems have appeared in Rattle, First Things, Modern Age, The Lost Country, Common Threads and several anthologies. Website: sharonfishmooney.com
Before the Mistral
In the poet’s garden, the painter
sweeps green with a feverish broom
into the grand bassinette
of a late summer day, then wires the sky
with golden yellow of winter wheat.
But he does not forget
the quicklime fires of twilight
and hears their weeping
in the pinhole whispers of blue.
Before the dream, the edges mattered--
the only way to hijack a hidden horizon
so the weeping can be contained.
Amy Nawrocki is the poetry editor for The Wayfarer and the author of five poetry collections, including Four Blue Eggs andReconnaissance, released by Homebound Publications. Her work has appeared in many print and online publications including The Connecticut River Review, Fox Adoption Magazine, Sixfold, The Loft Poetry Anthology, Reckless Writing Anthology, and Wildness: Voices of the Sacred Landscape. Her latest work, The Comet’s Tail: A Memoir of No Memory, published as part of the Little Bound Books Essay Series, has been awarded a Gold Medal for the Living Now Mind-Body-Spirit Awards. She teaches literature, composition, and creative writing at the University of Bridgeport and lives Hamden CT with her husband and their two cats
We only meet on Sundays. He picks me up at noon sharp. We don’t talk while he drives. Instead, we only sing our favourite tunes, exchanging loving glances.
We leave the car at the side of the road and walk into the park. Clear is the sky, as if the universe silently agrees with our plan, always bright and sunny the day, warm like our hearts each time we follow the path into our favourite habitat. We walk and walk, away from people, into the most secret places, far from the crowd, away from comfort zones. Once we reach the clearing, we throw away our clothes and run around the weeping willow naked, chasing butterflies, before we end up into each other’s arms.
We never catch them. Butterflies are sneaky and fast and fly in mysterious ways. Like human souls. Yet that’s the fun of it. We wouldn’t know what to do with them, should we get them in our hands. Butterflies are not to be caged. Neither are human souls.
We then lie on the ground, under the clear sky, embraced for hours, talking, playing, flapping our wings against the ground, immersed in pleasure.
Those are the times when I wish I had him beside me every day. I hold on to him, bursts of dopamine reinforcing my fixation, as if he’s the cigarette I hold in my hand and shouldn’t smoke, yet a typical chain-smoker can never resist the temptation.
“No strings attached,” he says.
“No commitments,” I reply and we laugh our hearts out.
We have been repeating the same ritual for years. I have trusted him for so long that I have forgotten how it is not to trust him.
My younger self watches us from afar. She frowns and stares, as if asking me:
“Was that really what you wanted?”
And I nod, because I was too young to know then, yet now I realize that this is all I ever wanted. My younger self can’t know yet what true love is, yet I’m grown enough to be wiser. That little girl has seen so many films in which the protagonists are all dressed up, married, living in big luxurious apartments or idyllic cottages or beach houses that she thinks these are the necessary preconditions to nurture love.
I smile to comfort her, yet she walks away in disgust and she can’t know, yet that’s exactly what she longs for too, only she’s too young to realize; butterflies are not to be caged for perfect days to last.
Mileva Anastasiadou is a neurologist. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in many journals, such as the Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, Asymmetry fiction, the Sunlight Press, Ghost Parachute, Gone Lawn and others. https://www.facebook.com/milevaanastasiadou/
The Ekphrastic Review
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