To Clare, a Rehearsal

by Kathleen Wakefield

        Die lieder sind verweht . . .             (“The songs trail away in the wind”)                  — O Kuhler Wald                      Johannes Brahms, Opus 72, no. 3 I am sorry to disturb you so late in the evening. You see, I’d … Continue reading

“A House upon the Height–”

by Corinna McClanahan Schroeder

A House upon the Height recording —Emily Dickinson The fence that runs the road hems the house in, thigh-high grass and clover tight, pushing back through the wire slats.  The farmer’s wife next door says teenagers used to trespass and … Continue reading

Nightingale Capability

by Robert Wrigley

Italy, May, 2011 We’ve been in Bogliasco a week before we understand the bird that’s wakened us each miserably early morning is a nightingale. I am pleased by this just as I was years ago, when I had my picture … Continue reading

First Person

by Robert Wrigley

 One lies on one’s back in the woods, savoring the sun, and for some reason one has opted for what Fowler calls the “false first person pronoun”—one, that is, over the other.  One brushes an ant from one’s ear. One … Continue reading


by Andrea Null

 I am a woman; I am a mountain, I hover over you, a thumb laid hard across the thickest vein that pulses fuel down your neck. I’ve locked my knees beneath oceans, and for nine hours at a time, I’ve … Continue reading

First Lessons on a Whore’s Mouth Harp

by Andrea Null

The best still play all tongue, and most with old love letters and lungs. But sinners choose to kiss all tooth and grind that steel as pelvic bone, or bit, or even burden. Coo arrives less like a doe’s wet … Continue reading


by John Casteen

John Casteen– Passage Bollard & bulkhead, cormorant & clew, spindrift, scene: the pitchkettle Tropic of Capricorn.  The city.  The sea in its unsurprising windrows; the glyph of the break- water.  Each wintry glimpse, scene briny as a mollusk. Clear-lined and … Continue reading

Bear Goes Metaphysical

by David Huddle

Huddle – Bear Goes Metaphysical If I’m not a bear, thought the bear– and wistfulness rose in him, maybe he was a falcon, a redwood, a slug, a raccoon–but then his bear brain made him look down at his chest … Continue reading

Strangers at Twilight

by David Huddle

Huddle – Strangers at Twilight  The black mare with the white diamond lets me bump foreheads with her across the fence, Then we’re at a loss.  I was lonely the whole afternoon.  All day her girl didn’t come  to ride.  … Continue reading

The End of Southern History

by Rebecca Black

And I return to the bear, claw marks and scratches on the tree, was it oak or pine, where the tinker chained his pet while he went from house to house hawking knifes and patching pans. A story told to … Continue reading

Meditation on “In Memoriam”

by Brett Foster

Not “is survived by,” that gravely passive voice to deactivate the dead, but “He leaves his wife of fifty years, Constance,” as if the journey were his to determine, and compared with this life the more important thing. There is … Continue reading

After the Meeting, a Red Fox

by Lisa Russ Spaar

 If ever more ravened, junked, numb-sconced I could not recall it, sopping in aftermath dusk’s blossom bock, ink-musk ale at rusted window screen, the annual carnival a neon embolism blurring the horizon’s black seam that from the brine of my … Continue reading

Swift Among the Willows

by Lisa Russ Spaar

 “all are mere productions of the brain”     J. Swift, “On Dreams” Midnight in the deanery, gangrenous flies, his mind having moved from honey pot to excrement, as when God invades the ear. Vertiginous, silver, trees of the past are … Continue reading

Cinema Verité

by Linda Pastan

 The movie I grew up in was in black and white, or sometimes in the sepia memory tints things with. The soundtrack was a Victrola playing “I’ll Get By.” The stars were a father with his important mustache; a maid … Continue reading


by Linda Pastan

Into this furnace of color                  a cold rain starts to fall,                  as if to warn the populace of leaves  to pack and go, the armies  of winter are on their way.

Rock Wallabies

by Henry Hughes

              Because of their isolation, many colonies             of wallabies are going extinct                                                 —Sydney Morning Herald  At dusk I kill the truck and scan the craggy caves of magnetic stone where the last rock wallabies wake alone, long-faced and … Continue reading

The New Moon Economy

by James Harms

We’ve all been in towns that wouldn’t have us, whose woods beyond the cemetery hide houses made of leaves, their windows lit low by peat fires, the slow stink of heat rising through trees then sinking into grass, the mounds … Continue reading

The Story of the Mountain

by Maggie Smith

Home is not what the woman had imagined. Late fall, the fields are cropped to stubble, the mountain already rust and smoke. The trees must have flamed here but she’s too late. The man has threaded himself through the trees … Continue reading


by Maggie Smith

 The man has been gone so long, his own child won’t know him. She and the woman, they must have their own stories now, their own songs— some for hauling wood and water, others to sweeten the girl’s sleep. The … Continue reading

What Enters, What Alters

by Nance Van Winckel

Many men moving, trying to get something out of the lake. Bending. Pulling. From a raft with yellow crime tape around it. I have to stop dancing to look. I have to find the binoculars, and turn off the music … Continue reading

In the Pentlands

by Allison Funk

Allison Funk: In the Pentlands Here, where I am buffeted,       barely able to stand, a kestrel hangs       impossibly still in the wind. I envy its otherness,       its look of being somewhere else— far from where I’ve scrabbled       up the slope, … Continue reading

Zebra Finch at Petco

by Karen Holmberg

Holmberg Zebra Finch at Petco The male tweezes a bald millet stalk off a sahara of graveled paper. The pert watch movements of his head ignite a ember on each cheek, buff bright the beak’s rose hip hue. His elderberry … Continue reading


by Richie Hofmann

Richie Hofmann – Braying This is the time of day we hear them coming back, when the first sunlight drops to the field like an animal being born, slick and shivering where it falls.  Their hooves grind against the earth, … Continue reading

Working with Stone

by Margaret Gibson

Making a wall stone by stone as you used to relish doing, or stacking stone on stone in the woods to make a cairn, is like building a sentence word by word.  If that’s so, this poem is a word … Continue reading


by Margaret Gibson

Hayscent fern in one windowpane, rhododendron in another, red barn siding— you’re staring out the window, as if what you see out there might wake the inner word you want, that fugitive, unfaithful word wed now to silence.  As we … Continue reading


by Margaret Gibson

The leaves are turning, one by one carried away in the crisp wind. In one letter he penned Coleridge turned away, calling love a local anguish he meant to leave behind him.  Away, away, says the blue and gold day, … Continue reading


by Leslie Ullman

All these greenings and gleanings in the fields, and her own body moving easily in and out of the weather. Her parents still themselves in their glowing home far away, poised to welcome her. Sometimes the memory of another house … Continue reading

Night Opens the Foothills

by Leslie Ullman

Mind walks through the house turning off every lamp but one, leaving a trail of small relinquishments— a book turned face-down at the spot where sleepiness overtook the little cogs and wheels, a cup of tea tasted and then forgotten. … Continue reading


by Rebecca McClanahan

Pushing the envelope that is his mother the kangaroo joey rides his first heartbeats. As does the wombat, wrapped in darkness, and the cuscus, the sugar glider, flying possum, dasyure. Wise nature, to stitch onto even the smallest pouched-mouse a … Continue reading