Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Moon Sleep

I stick
my hand
out toward
the sea,
roll out my palm.
I offer a plank,
a trail for you to follow
into the salty stars,
where you stretch out
and give your heart
to this final moment
of the glass night sky;
draw me in—
sketch my face
on the edge
of a wave—
over ages of celestial
moon sleep and dust.

Michael Lee Johnson is a poet, freelance writer, photographer, and small business owner of custom imprinted promotional products and apparel:, from Itasca, Illinois.  He is heavily influenced by:  Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Irving Layton, Herman Hesse, Krishnamurti, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, and Allen Ginsberg.  His new poetry chapbook with pictures, titled From Which Place the Morning Rises, and his new photo version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom are available at:  The original version of The Lost American: from Exile to Freedom, can be found at:  New Chapbook:  Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems, by Michael Lee Johnson:  Michael has been published in over 25 countries. He is also editor/publisher of seven poetry sites, all open for submission, which can be found at his Web site:  All of his books are now available on  Borders:  Barnes & Noble:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Three Haiku by Ronny Noor

breaking the silence
of New Year's morning--
an owl's song
winter morning
brighter in my yard
white camellias
the snag in the bog
taken by a kingfisher--
end of winter

Ronny Noor teaches English at the University of Texas-Brownsville. His essays and stories have appeared in numerous journals around the world. His haiku have appeared in paper wasp, the Aurorean, and World Haiku Review. He is also the author of a novel, titled Snake Dance in Berlin.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Poem by Steve Klepetar

Homecoming, Minnesota

Falling through a hole in the clouds, floating like a thick-veined

leaf, I skimmed hard crusted snow, came to rest at the foot

of an oak. My fingers scraped against gray armored bark.

Nothing in my green dream-life had prepared me for this thrill of cold.

Mine was the breath of frogs in summer morning mist, mine

the buzz of insects on still nights, sun lingering with its last kiss

in the western sky. But now my breath is milk and frost, my own

cloud rising to branches heavy with snow…

and then I waited in silence: your hand leading me home.

Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Flutter Press has recently published his chapbooks “My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word,” and “My Father Had Another Eye.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Sample from your Editor, A.J. Huffman

I Dream of Living

Christmas trees, thirt-foot pines
lightly tipped in pristine white, morning
snow, delivered daily.
Cardinals and chipmunks flit
through branches, barely visible.  Flash
hints of color, feather and fur
for added flare.  Resting
beneath the brightest star, golden halo,
radiating sun.

A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press ( ). Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at and!/poetess222.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Poem by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Unexpected Irises
Based on Irises, by Van Gogh, 1889
The untended ground knows just what to do,
for here is the undisturbed
with something special to say.
The humble always keep to themselves.
They are always the ones worth listening to.
It is the simple breath that creates the wind.
What is the emphasis here?
Among this resting,
are marigolds, red earth patches,
green leaves cutting irises
into breathtaking memories
of things we should not change.
The humble never need to speak up to be heard
in order for me to know
they have important things to say.
I watch as they keep quiet to hear what is not said.
I wait to learn something to keep to myself.
Like the untended ground, I will know what to do.
Martin Willitts Jr retired as a Senior Librarian and is living in Syracuse, New York. He is currently a volunteer literacy tutor. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 5 Pushcart and 3 Best Of The Net awards. He has three full length books "The Secret Language of the Universe" (March Street Press, 2006), and “The Hummingbird” (March Street Press, 2009), and “The Heart Knows, Simply, What It Needs: Poems based on Emily Dickinson, her life and poetry” (Aldrich Press, 2012). His forthcoming  poetry books include  Waiting For The Day To Open Its Wings” (UNBOUND Content, 2013),  Art Is the Impression of an Artist” (Edgar and Lenore's Publishing House, 2013), “City Of Tents” (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2013), “A Is For Aorta” (Seven Circles Press, e-book, 2013), and “Swimming In the Ladle of Stars” (Kattywompus Press, 2013).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Poem by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark

Snakes Dance
Empire of the snake that sheds its skin for the unraveling,
Is not as you'd suppose, for their unmoved by feet led travelling.
Scaly walls that slither show a rapier folk of tongue,
That leaves you far and well alone from a tree top dominion hung.
But if you have the audacity to seek their lair for sport;
To poke and prod this cousin of a Jurassic span left short,
You'll see their power rising, then from your corpse they'll slip away;
To look for something warmer in a much more present pray.
Nathan J.D.L. Roward is a poet, horror novelist, and founder of Horrified Press.  His latest work, Hilltop Manor -- Gale's Story, is available now from Kobo, Amazon, Smashwords, and

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Three Poems by Felino A. Soriano

in the dragonfly of rhythm

blur, begins
nascent reinvention of the unseen alphabetic


each turquoise ring wears
fingers of angled oscillating

then, into an absence a
halo involves sacred explanations
of orated silence
in the storage of a shadow’s
undulated expand

in the butterfly of rhythm

altruistic hover hardened
to the onlooker of disabled intuition:
realized relic of past
temporal invention the
black/gold silhouette
sliding into silvered
examination of age and
adage’s clich├ęd commonality,

in the crow of rhythm

self places itself
across the rising edge of a wing’s
numerical order

Felino A. Soriano has authored 56 collections of poetry, including In the parallel of pursued occurrences (Fowlpox Press, 2012), Quartet Dialogues (white sky ebooks, 2012), and Of language|s| the rain speaks (quarter after press, 2012).  He publishes the online endeavors Counterexample Poetics and Differentia Press. His work finds foundation in philosophical studies and connection to various idioms of jazz music. He lives in California with his wife and family and is a case manager and advocate for adults with developmental and physical disabilities. For further information, please visit

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Two Poems by Nels Hanson

The Green Valley

I sat gazing at the wallpaper, white
farmhouse, red barn and silo and down
the path the red mill where the blue stream
turned the brown wheel, 20 paddles wet

and dripping. One night I dreamed my father
lived alone there, pouring sacks of gold
kernels as the round stone turned on the grinding
floor. I couldn’t see him clearly—he wore

a bandanna across his face in the room
filled with flour dust. Forty years ago
on the south bank of the Kings River
Aaron Winters built a great wooden

wheel, 30-feet across, with hinges, sand
bags, traps. People came to watch, it ran
for three weeks—someone said if it kept
spinning the War would end, until it began

to slow and finally stopped, its motion not
perpetual. The mill and farm and hill
of wheat made a world repeated 50 times,
each blue sky balanced by a yellow

sun and two clouds. A door slammed
and for a second I thought it was the white
door to all the wallpaper houses. I looked
over at the framed picture of the remuda

clipped from a magazine. The grass grew
up to their knees. Their heads were bent
down as they grazed the lush stems. Last
September 10th I counted the horses

as I listened to the second storm ruining
the raisins, not wanting to look out
at the rain like black bars. There’d been
two hurricanes, Mexican from Baja, Belinda

and Charles, the emergency weather
station blaring on and off with its red light
flashing, the forecast a certain inch and
a half, no wind, high pressure backed

up from Reno to Kansas. And three
days later the grapes blew up into frog
bellies, the moldy stems turned canary
yellow, before the fruit went dull black

with botritis. The raisins stuck to the paper
trays, good only for cheap brandy or wood
alcohol, $50 a ton. There were 53 horses.
Had anyone else ever counted them?

I had given them names. Under the pine
tree, shadows on their backs, Smoke
and Blue and Rusty browsed. How sweet
the grass was! How green was my valley!

Before Harvest

While I cooked the light had changed, the lawn
chairs’ shadows thrown like scaffolding across
the drive. The Hollywood plum was darkening,
red-purplish leaves turning bluer and suspended
from the limb the dinner gong looked sooty,
a burned overturned plate. The knife’s rasp
against the grinder had stopped and I stepped
onto the porch where no vine leaf rustled, no
crow or top-knotted quail called. My husband’s
faded denim shone burnished gold as he stood
by the great yellow wheel. The tandem disc
with rows of round blades made a dozen setting
suns and the green Oliver tractor with orange
terracer waited forever past the glowing barn.
The trash barrel near the peach tree was awash
with light. Catalpa, white barn, running-horse
weathervane, Delmus, his cap a bronze helmet
with lifted visor— Everything was kindled,
revealed by the lowering sun. His shadow lay
stretched on the straw-colored dirt as he
stared at his knife, his shadow looking down
at its three-foot sword beyond the long oval
and webbed shadow of the grinder. “Dinner!”
I called suddenly at the screen and he lifted
his head, frowning toward the house, maybe
sun in his eyes. It was in the south now, crossing
the paved road, the direction the terraced earth
would lean to catch the light mornings and late
afternoons. What a simple, innocent, dangerous
thing to do, tend the vines all year until the grapes
turned yellow-sweet, pick and spread them on paper
on the ground to dry, in the wind, under the sun,
the moon and stars! From the corner of the porch
I could see one of Mrs. Watkins’ walnut trees,
the trunk and branches amber, the lit leaves
moving gently, all one way, like blown palm
fronds on a tropical isle. I turned back to the kitchen
and opened the oven. The biscuits glowed, twelve
wheat-gold days and with my glove I grasped the tin
sheet, tilting and letting them slide into the basket,
and tonged the crackling chicken from the pan.

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz and the U of Montana and his fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award. His stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals. "Now the River's in You," a 2010 story which appeared in Ruminate Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and "No One Can Find Us," which was published in Ray's Road Review, has been nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prizes.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Seven Haiku by David S. Pointer

milk cat
first to tip porch bottle
and mat drink

college mascot
chewing up playbook
0-10 team

reindeer sky lane
geese move V formation
to the right

old Army war horse
loaded on Navy ship
to serve Marines

mallard ducks
atop snapping turtle rock
getting bossy

elm leaf hole
lady bug hotel
near tree house

night fishing heron
side by stream side
with the fisherman

David Scott Pointer currently lives in Murfreesboro, TN. He has new a new poetry collection “Sinister Splashplay” from “Virgogray Press” sold through Also a political poetry book “Sundrenched Nanosilver” is forthcoming from “Brian Wrixon Books” in Canada through “Blurb Books.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Poem by Heller Levinson

in the wilderness of knife

cut → cut-throat → cut-out → cut-away → cutlery → cultivate → cultivation → cultural


early instrument/tool

enabling entry entrails, eatery

passage passageway Prussia prudence puckish

from sharpening this edge

sharpness: an essential survival tool

: the knife edge is sharpened to facilitate invading an other edge

dullness: an extinction mechanism?

blade: a facilitator,

a primitive -- credit card ?

a cut, an edit, -- the choice of incision, that decision, itself, being a sharpness, acumen, to keen in, knife-like, to pen e trate

the geography of penetration

the first knife

the first man to hold a knife – a cut above,

cutting edge = advantage

being advantageous = being penetrative incisive sharp creative

insert incise inscribe enscript embed en-formation in-formation

the information the knife delivers/releases → upon the blade, misting from the blade [knife & know-how]

smelling knife

smelling blade

information releasing aromatic lily foam

knife extract

Knife: “A gift that allows you to extract the gifts from nature.” – Eagle Heart

sharpness a privilege

the ability to delve deeper, cut cleaner

(in field dressing the animal

take care not to puncture the intestines)

truism ://: blade ://: fornication

blades provide feed

the fed-upon no longer fornicate

the look of the animal struck = quittance

the look of the striker = ?

there is romance to blade

a sexy slippery sin-u-osity the

substantiality of slip(ping) InTo

(en-try try trial trench → trust

. . . trickery

I propose that if you are alone in the forest, your most important/valuable tool would be the survival knife. The knife will offer comfort, companionship, a support, equivalent to none. It will offer a sense of completeness. Void of knife, -- denudement.

The knife appears, then, as appendage: --

As the big tooth of the hand.

“As the big tooth of the mind.” -- Eagle Heart


“from sharpening this edge,” 7th line from top, appears on page 47 of from stone this running (Black Widow Press, 2011)

Heller Levinson lives in NYC where he studies animal behavior. He has published in over a hundred journals and magazines including Alligatorzine, The Cartier Street Review, Counterexample Poetics, ditch poetry, First Literary Review-East, Hunger, Jacket,The Jivin’ Ladybug, Mad Hatters’ Review, Mad Swirl, Mid-June, Moria, Omega, Otoliths, Poets for Living Water, Skidrow Penthouse, Street Cake Magazine, Sugar Mule, Sulfur, Talisman, Tears In The Fence, The Wandering Hermit, The Toronto Quarterly, A Trunk Full of Delirium, Venereal Kittens, and Wood Coin. His publication, Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008), was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize. Additionally, he is the originator of Hinge Theory.
His latest book publication, January 2012, is from stone this running, Black Widow Press, order from,

Or Amazon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Poems by Janet Doggett


The summer her garden no longer grew, gardening felt like
Child’s play making mud pies. Every dead  flower turned over
And touched the dried soul: marigolds, begonias, roses, gardenias.
How she envied the other gardeners especially the kind who with magic
Hands could make the flowers sing. They were the ones who could tame
Hummingbirds, teach them to eat from their palms or sing on cue. What
She wouldn’t have given for a little pink petal or a red crest to give her
Some summer color. But it was her place to fail so the others could win;
Hers to sleep so the others could dance. If only her begonias weren’t too
Sodden to rise, if only her rose buds would open rather than remain tight in a bud,
Then she could unleash herself, extract from the shadows of her life beauty,
Her sol as soft as silk – beautiful but useless – like a garden resting at the bottom
Of the sea.

The Catch

Black blank faces staring straight into space,
Holding a cool steel bar so as not to step out
The bodies move with the rails
Feet planted like ballet dancers all in a line
Bending and arching as if to music
An impossibly short old man
Fits like a puzzle piece between passengers
And somehow holds his pose.
Everyone keeps to himself for fear of offending,
Fears of startling or starting someone or something unwanted.
I return to a childhood dream of fly fishing midstream
And catching iridescent fish midair
The screeching and grinding snaps me back and the
White faces who won’t look at me, who won’t touch me
But stand oh so close are continuing in their cadence
And then the old, old man begins to fall out of rhythm
Awkwardly, he launches into my arms.
His silver hair glows.

Janet Doggett is a writer-poet with a master’s degree in creative writing from Texas Tech.
In 2003, she won the best writing award as a graduate student at the Albuquerque Pop Culture conference. 
She has had numerous online publications including non-fiction essays on and The New England Writer’s Association website.
She also has had essays published in the literary journals So-to-Speak and Tangent. Her poem, “Death, Maybe?” has been published online in “Drown In My Own Fears” Issue # 20, and three more poems will be  available in print this spring by Scars Publication’s “Down in the Dirt”. She lives in Massachusetts where she is working on a poetry chapbook.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Poem by Nels Hanson

Finding the Cave

An October day, following a trail of broken
arrowheads, I stumbled on the entrance
to a cave. Cap was skittish, maybe scenting
a rattler. I grabbed my flashlight and pistol

from the saddlebag and squeezed in past
fallen rocks blocking the door, then spooked
nearly fired a wild shot, hearing my own
breath rebound off the walls. In the dusty

beam, two skeletons of different size embraced
like lovers on the stone floor. The bear’s teeth
and claws bit and raked the white shoulder
blade. The woman wore a ripped deerskin

blouse, long skirt and moccasins. A medicine
pouch lay beside her. The tall willow basket
with leather straps had been torn from her back
but her bare fingers held an obsidian knife

between the bear’s ribs. The Paiute woman
gathering firewood took shelter from the sky
and Thunderbird, the sudden lightning storm,
found the dry cave where the grizzly slept

lightly. I could hear a roar and the echo
of her cries as the two stumbled in the dark
room, holding each other in the terrible dance
that would end only when they lay quietly

face to face. Their white skulls didn’t turn
from the light, the hollow sockets didn’t stare.
The furious sounds of the secret battle
had changed to silence, joined the weatherless

breathing of rock. They were part of the stone
hymn, the faint mineral singing that was time
itself. The bones seemed holy, blessed by granite
centuries, and years ago I left them undisturbed.

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz and the U of Montana and his fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award. His stories have appeared in Antioch Review, Texas Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, Montreal Review, and other journals. "Now the River's in You," a 2010 story which appeared in Ruminate Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and "No One Can Find Us," which was published in Ray's Road Review, has been nominated for the 2012 Pushcart Prizes.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Two Poems by Diana Woodcock


On the northern culmination

of Dukhan’s anticline, beside

the discovery well drilled 1938-

39, I take my time gazing out

over the Gulf of Salawa to Saudi,

thoughts drifting from oil and

gasfields, eyes happy to follow

the elongate fold abruptly rising

from flat plains. Disturbed by

the sight of field installations

and pipeline mazes, I search

in Diyab on the flanks further south

for Selenite gypsum crystals among

acacias and scrubs, grazing camels

and Spiny-tailed lizards.

On the anticline’s eastern flank,

amid terraces and limestone table

mountains, I dig with spade, pick

hammer, axe. And I vow I won’t

relax till I hold one in my hand.

I ignore hydrocarbons and Jurassic

reservoirs, sour wet gas

and tarmats—all well and good

in their own way. I’ll take translucent

Selenite crystals any day.

You’ll say I’ve stayed too long in the hot sun, wandered too far alone in the desert, but I swear I hear the sidra tree speak loud and clear. Its words spilling out as a kind of enabling rhyme, epitaphs as telling as photographs, quick as life. Of what does it speak, you ask? A mysterious mix, submissiveness and rebellion. Of the human spirit’s need to be meek and receptive to truth, to stop lording it over Nature, to remember even as we live out our time in the sun, the darkness is waiting for everyone. It speaks of zaman,* of life’s brevity, the sanctity of every part of it, creation’s oneness, possibility of harmony, heaven on earth. It says no matter what, choose nonaggression, love, the unswept path; let the silence of autumn’s crescent moon seep into your heart; and never forget that pork barrel politics, not nature, was at the root of the disaster (scandal) called Katrina. The sidra tree calls to mind there’ve always been trading systems—Roman and Mogul empires, Chinese dynasties—but these did not lead to the ultimate travesties of today’s global powers. In its shade, I listen many hours as it speaks of man’s turn from the earth—governments’ ecocidal policies, consumerist lifestyles, the roots of anthropocentrism and the view of nature as a threat, earth nothing more than a vale of tears as we make our way to the Holy City . The sidra advises trail the camels as they graze sparse desert scrub, and stand forlorn beside dried-up wadis, waiting for winter rains. Don’t mourn, the sidra warns, the ephemeral nature of desert flowers, the parched cracked earth. Remember the universe is expanding all the while you, camels and Persian nightingale are waiting here wishing for rain. And at last, the sidra speaks of a joyful peace that can be found only in solitude and silence. Then just like that, it ceases speaking, silence reigns, and I could wonder if I’d heard all this at all. Or was it only the whisper of the shamal? Its voice, direct and unadorned, has in effect torn me from my comfort zone. Ah, the sidra tree has completely seduced me with its sweet, honest words, its stance of leaning in to listen, to weep with me—with a sweep of its branches skyward—for the whole world.
Diana Woodcock’s first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders—just nominated for a Kate Tufts Discovery Award—won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize for Women and was published by Little Red Tree Publishing in 2011. Her chapbooks are In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (Finishing Line Press), Mandala (Foothills Publishing), and Travels of a Gwai Lo—the title poem of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar since 2004. Prior to that, she lived and worked in Tibet , Macau and Thailand .

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two Poems by Smita Anand Sriwastav

The Sunlit Sigh on My Lapels . . .

On an aromatic morning

reminiscent of cinnamon rolls,

I walked out into the streets--

quilted seemingly in flying fire flames;

smelling the coming rain

in fondling breath of nutmeg breeze,

as the leafless trees pronged

the blue skies as though

trying to fork out dumpling-clouds

from the platter of lolling sun.

The morning was

a potpourri bowl of memories,

as the smell of dead leaves contrasted

with remembered freshness

of raindrops peppering early spring,

while a complacent sun

poured sunshine tasting like

cookie-crumbs in honey--

lukewarm like coffee forgotten on

the table an hour ago.

Those songs sung by larks in spring time

and echoing in the monsoons

from rippling rivers by the hills,

have been broken and scattered as

whispered syllables in embrace of silence,

flamingo-feather clouds float

above like dreams of chirping magpies,

as the piles of raked leaves seem

like the wings of dead moths

heaped beneath street lanterns.

I stand drinking in the moment,

savoring the abounding flavors and aromas.

A feathery leaf apparently sunburnt,

lands on the lapels of my jacket

like a butterfly sitting softly,

fingers move to brush it off in reflex

then stop for it felt like

a memory yellow by time’s hands,

revisiting me as an afterthought

a long forgotten dream revived by

the whimsy of creeping moments...

epithets of summers bygone . . .
Fragments of shattered rainbows,

diluted by the smeared kohl of

reiterating tempest on stagnant august days,

shine on rims of tiger lilies--

as spectral droplets of manna dew,

or frozen sighs of night

at sun-caressed edges of plumeria.

In the fields of aureate wheat,

fondled by invisible summer breeze

the swaying promises of baked bread tease

nostrils of ravenous ovens,

while wafting aroma of yeast

hibernating in larders, awaiting

the rising of flour batter,

tickle memories of soft loaves

eaten sunflower-vased table at supper.

The hour of eventide

is the oasis of parched, elastic days,

when hues in myriad pastels softly hum evensongs

like parodies of transient aubades

sung by the clouds at resplendent daybreak,

and a perspiring sun with limp mane

returns to slumber behind distant hills

lacing the obscure horizons,

leaving succinct nights to ponder

over quaint rhapsodies of the crickets.

Sulky streetlights on sultry evenings

cast faint light over gravel trails,

while glowworms emerge from thickets

to string fluorescent twinkles

on threads of cool, summer breeze—

susurrus of unvoiced poetic thoughts

take flight to be writ in

the ink of platinum moonbeams,

on the rippling quietude of the bay.

the dense leaves of peepal tree

spin chiaroscuro to veil the blistered soil,

and sparrows chirp cinquains of happiness

to echo with droll musings

of gnarled old trees as they rediscover

something amusing in the chatter of squirrels,

water hyacinths bloom to adorn

the muddy anorexic lakes--

streamlined by thirst summer sun,

and aroma of raw mangoes wafts to tingle

the memories of tangy aampanna.
Dr. Smita Anand Sriwastav is an M.B.B.S. doctor with a passion for poetry and literature, has always expressed her innermost thoughts and sentiments through the medium of poetry. A feeling of inner tranquility and bliss captures her soul whenever she pen my verse. Nature has been the most inspiring force in molding the shape of her writings. She has published two books and has published poems in journals like the Rusty Nail, Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, eFiction India and Contemporary Literary Review India and one of my poems was published in a book called ‘Inspired by Tagore’ published by Sampad and British Council. She has written poetry all her life and aims to do so forever.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two Poems from Chris Crittenden

Glade Alone

lost snowflakes
walk a graveyard
of marbled spruce.

this kind of death,
unmarked and pure,
never reaches the metros.

when solitude
is your mortician
something has gone right.

when your priest is frost,
and only the moon


white sky electric,
a blank silence
starved of wind,
on hold,

suddenly spurred
by skeletons of sparks:
nude maples
shedding last yellow.

a faithful trust,
not known to waver,
buckles from the onslaught
of the approach--

scratches that flash
in jagged dark,
tormenting towers
and tender rooftops,

until mice of fear
in the underbelly of doubt
ricochet to swell
and plunder.

Chris Crittenden writes from a spruce forest, fifty miles from the nearest traffic light.  His full-length collection, Jugularity, was recently released from Stonesthrow.