In the Tin Can of Your Heart

–A poem by Connie Weineke

 

I wish

in the tin can of your heart

a flash flood

a tumble with horse-sized boulders

the dam you didn’t see

coming, the cement

of red sand and yucca seed, bones

the dog you killed and buried

ripped roots

the cottonwood pull, winter

ice to scour the rust

the remains of arrogance

from your seams,

and a spring that runs off

with the holes of your heart.

 

 

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Flat Creek Wetland Overlook

–A poem by Peggy Shumaker

 

Two dozen downy goslings graze

this stubbled verge,

three parents high-beaked, vigilant.

 

Beside the walkway,

wingfeathers, tailfeathers,

no blood.

 

High up then low, swallows careen–

calligraphy through

evening’s hatch of gnats.

 

A lone Northern Shoveler scoops

marsh muck, sifts and rinses

squirmy gulps, swallows.

 

One-note calls pepper darkening air

where red shouldered blackbirds bob

on dry reeds, furry cattails

 

long since gone to seed.

Frog calls round off dim edges

of evening, vowel chorus

 

come, come come.

Wild eyes we never see

track each step we take,

 

ease away among aspen.

Wide paws, the tawny

shimmer of muscle under fur,

 

mountains’ wildness made flesh,

fang, claw. Tiny brown bats tumble,

gasp open/shut. Echoes

 

tremble beyond our hearing.

Elk roam these flats, sometimes

thousands at a time

 

meandering these meadows,

thousands of elk breathing

out this air we take deep in.

My Icarus

–A Poem by David Romtvedt

 

It was on a Thursday when a young man

dropped from the sky into my back yard.

I know it was Thursday because that’s when

I do the gardening which between mowing,

trimming, mulching, weeding, and watering

takes all day. The mulch is my favorite part–

spreading the cut grass around the plants

to keep the ground cool in the desert heat.

 

The young man hit one of the railroad ties

I’d used to make raised beds for vegetables

and broke his elbow—the bend of his wing—

or that’s what I thought but when I looked

closer I saw goose feathers glued carefully

to a hand-carved wooden armature attached

with leather belts to his shoulders and chest.

 

So this is Icarus. How could he be here

so far from the Pacific and farther still

from the Aegean? When he fell, his father

came swooping down to find a sheen

of white feathers on the shining black sea.

 

 

He cried out and cursed himself

for inventing human flight.

He’d given his son the same warning

my father gave me—“Don’t fly too close

to the sun for the heat will melt the wax,

the feathers will fall off and you will fall.”

I’ve fallen more times than I can count

but keep trying to fly, feeling it is my duty

to get as close to the sun as possible.

Like other young men, I ignored

my father’s warnings and now

that he’s dead I can’t apologize.

 

I lifted the youth from the railroad tie

and saw that when he hit the tomatoes,

they cushioned his fall and he was smeared

not with blood but with the crushed fruit–

a mixture of too many Hollywood movies

and my aging eyes which I hate to admit

don’t work as well as they once did.

 

I helped him to a lawn chair,

gave him a beer with lime juice,

and went back to mowing.

I use an electric mower and the blue cord

trails behind, the jerky electrons turning

the blade to chew up the grass.

 

He coughed and set the beer aside.

Then he stood and came toward me,

pointing at the mower and waving his arms,

his cough so violent that I worried

he might hurt himself. When I touched him,

he shook off my hand and began pushing

the mower—faster and faster until his feet

barely touched the ground.

 

Darby Formation

–A poem by Bret Norwood

 

Rockhammer in hand, I strike the side

of the uplifted strata the highway exposed.

I strike her side, the mountain’s rib,

and she, whose dress is aspen and conifers,

doesn’t flinch or feel a thing.

I hold the radial fossil

I found in limestone,

preserved

to the ages of ages,

a brief salvation in stone

against the rise and fall of the range.

And I see the granite circum-cubic solids

strewn across her eroding face.

I see this fallen city not of men,

which once in former eons housed

incomprehensible geological spirits,

which house the same, though hidden, now.

I knock on the ancient doors of those who knew

the spiral fossils as they filled the sea,

and the first forested Devonian shores

that since became the mountains.

You spirits, teach me

to burgeon

beyond the beaches,

to colonize lands as the plants

that first forested the Devonian shores

that stand erect as mountains.

You spirits, teach me

to seed

the seas with spirals

and cones and claws and shells,

and, speaking, illustrate

life.

I Wish in the Ear of Your Heart

–A poem by Chris Martin

 

I Wish In the Ear of Your Heart

 

like it was the hidden

nest nesting

inside the anesthesiologist

or the vein

of ore moving slow

gold through the brown brain

of the morel. I wish

against the wall your throat

scales with each

wet swallow

and into the foc’sle

of this ark, where the loneliest

of creatures waits out

the storm, a single

ungulate wonder, whose

eyes sparkle with uncommon art

despite having lost

its partner

on the long, long

voyage of salvation.

In the Museum of Lost Wings

–A poem by Diane LeBlanc

 

A single thorax mold preserves a mayfly’s chance

to abandon light and lose the swarm

for the sink and pull of belly-cooling mud,

to sit in stillness while the species mates,

vestigial mouth and guts fat with air, barely there

then gone to wing-glint and imprint.

 

photobooth

–A poem by Aaron Holst

 

Neither smiles    both stare at

a future            blurred by growing

up a block away

worlds apart

 

Skeletons of battle      unseen bones

of more to come    whirled wars

with each other           at

each other

 

rageful campaigns        annihilations

empty

exhaustive

reparations

 

Years later       each will account:

how she married for sorrow

of his hard life             how he            too sadness

for a war bride widowed

 

In this worn    scarred black and white

two lives

exposed           wounds unhealed

Terse Protestations About Love

–A poem by H.L. Hix

 

Last frost past, I planted want

among the pitchpeas and crested squash

and Tentativity beets.  I wanted what

the heavens forbade, because they forbade it.

I bore the bucket back and forth,

despite my sense that thirst

tested me most, not this obstinate seedwaste.

2

How could I not wish now

that she had loved me then

a little more, a little less?

I could have imagined the worst

had I understood better.

Of what use is one love unless

to anticipate a next?

3

Here.  Hold to your ear this that I have held to mine.

Expect nothing.  Except you hear a sea.

4

Why not name it creosote instead,

or chrysalis or incarnadine?

Think what declarations might follow,

what pledges prove possible.

I am cinders and whiplash.

Braced against what gust soever,

I assent to any season you assert.

Bless you, blood-red bird dead in snow.

Apex Predator

–A poem by Matt Daly

 

Far away to the northwest, under winds

the color of ice, a mother polar

bear dreams of seals rising. She shelters her

young from dark skies over dark seas. Infants,

 

born pink and half-formed in the cold and dark,

suckle away, through her teats, seal blubber

she stored for them. Seals whose dream heads, mottled

like plover shells, she cracks between her teeth.

 

In her sleep, shadows of seals dart under

thinning ice, emerge to breathe the sun’s

bright spray. Her dreams portend her breaking through

the surface. Her paws churn the expanding

 

ocean. Her white bulk sinks under the waves

while hope, the vernal sensibility,

twitches its terrible secrets in her

sleep, stalks the horizon’s expanding warmth.

Agoraphobia

–A poem by Susan Austin

 

Don’t paint summer the color of blue flax

then the color of goldeneye, paint

two broad black strokes a river

dammed at the end of the porch,

a rhomboid tilted by the tenacious lure

of dandelions, and if there must be

a figure, paint the figure

a triangle woman with childish arms, her hair

a chaos of wildflowers, the whole of summer

falling between her hands.