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Contributors to the Summer 2017 Edition

Roy Beckemeyer
Jane Blanchard
Kim Bridgford
Margaret Brinton
John Brugaletta
Lida Bushloper
Selma Calnan
Jo-Anne Cappeluti
Ted Charnley
Victoria Crawford
Thomas Davis
Ann B. Day
Eugene S. Fairbanks
Michael Fraley
David Horowitz
Bronwen Hudson
James Hudson
Page Hudson
Jenni Wyn Hyatt
Margo Irwin
Anderson Kelly
Dorrith Leipziger
Paul Malamud
Stephen Malin
Constance Rowell Mastores
Susan McLean
James Miller
Arthur Mortensen
Katy Rawdon
Tom Riley
David Rosier
Ron Searls
Elizabeth Spencer Spragins
B. E. Stock
Ann Struthers
Annabel Thomas
Herb Wahlsteen
Christopher Wiles
Paul Willis

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SAMPLE POEMS FROM SUMMER 2017 ISSUE

FIREFLIES, by Katy Rawdon

Pawfalls on the grass, my companion lifts
his bristle-head and pants: first fireflies
of summer.  Fairy lights and fire, it’s
rockets in miniature, the night’s bright eyes.
Through the fence crack the atmosphere shifts,
the haze of distant galaxies: the neighbor’s yard
alight with phosphorescence.  Closer in,
pin lights open/close, the dusk air starred.
My dog joyfully swallows all he can,
leaping fish-like, snapping furry shark,
ingesting stars –whole solar systems, then
curls into rest with one last low-pitched bark.
The dark envelops us where we belong.
Stars above and stars below whirl on.

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DAY AFTER MY BROTHER’S FUNERAL, by Ann Struthers

And how is it with you today, old Mole,
where solitary wasps drill nursery holes
in loosened soil, then drag the newly stunned
cicadas in, lay eggs and tuck their young
into the carcass so when hatched they feed
on living tissue? There the polished seed
bursts its case, puts down white, groping fingers
penetrating dark, long searching tendrils
to try the grave.  Their blind eyes can’t observe
the underworld.  With grief I don’t deserve
I wait above.  Sorrow fits heart’s socket
like arm to shoulder, picture to locket.

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CALL WAITING, by Susan McLean

For Leo Dangel, 1941-2016

When LeeAnn phoned to tell me you were dead,
I heard the beep, but didn’t take the call,
deep in another.  You’d have understood.
Your partner, patience, was dependable
and steadfast as a hound.  It came to stay
after the crash, when you were paralyzed
at twenty.  You were an ordinary guy,
funny but shy.  And then you chrysalized
into a poet.  Now what?  You’ve become
words on a page that murmur at my ear
in your dry, deadpan voice, and slowly I’m
comforted that, though absent, you’re still here,
waiting in screenshots of the lives you led
unseen, the ones you lived inside your head.

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MY GHOSTS, by Dorrith Leipziger

My father’s ghost from time to time appears

His stethoscope in hand, calming my fears.

(I do not have a terminal disease.)

I take his smile and trust his expertise.

My mother’s spirit says hold on to what

I own of comeliness, if small, and that

It matters as I age to use my art

To focus less on mirrors, more on heart.

My cherished lovers visit off and on

To whisper they are not forever gone

But will stay with me, teach me how to cope.

They keep me whole and speak to me of hope.

My ghosts and I live in a magic space

That neither time nor dying can erase.

……………………………………………………………

(for Teresa), by Tom Riley

There is no comfort, daughter, I could give

That you would be inclined now to accept.

Wisdom in such a case is just inept

And offers nothing to us as we live

Beyond initial shock.  Initiative?

What point in being earnest and adept?

Beyond all calculation we have stepped –

Or else been dragged.  Our floors are one vast sieve,

And we, the substance, newly liquefied,

That falls away, the absence well aware

Of emptiness.  Philosophers?  They lied.

At their prescriptions we can only stare.

Your loss is real –and in it you abide.

Cling to your loss:  the friend you lost is there.

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THEY’RE HERE TO PROTECT YOU (FROM THE BOGEYMAN), by Ted Charnley

The Bogeyman will get you if he can;
at least, that’s what they say.  If so, perchance
he lies in wait, he loiters under beds,
he haunts the closet next.  Your lurking dread
awakes on cue, is running loose again.

They tell you, when the lights are out, he plans
to do you harm, then hide in ways you can’t.
He’ll jump you from behind, his cloak outspread,
that Bogeyman!

That’s what they said, creating new demand
from scary tales.  They’ll offer now to ban
the conjured childhood monster they have fed
–for modest fees (they have their overhead).
And you?  You’ll pay until you understand
the Bogeyman.

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AMBIVALENCE OF SUMMER, by Bronwen Hudson

So what do you recall of Summer days
And nights gone pale and sinking like the stars?
Already crickets dirge the seasons, praise
And eulogize with echoed ‘au-revoirs.’

A pull, a blur, ephemeral as wings,
A roll, a smile, immediate as eyes
For all the golden dust the summer flings
Has glittered, vanished, gone with faded cries,

Consumed in pastel skies of laughter spent.
Do you remember much of June? –The wine
Obscures somewhat, shy memory laments –
Or sweet July, the queen, how fades her shine!

And regal August, bold was the intent
To seize the lion, hold tight with all resolve:
But Autumn stands, face full of discontent,
Holds out his hands, so willing to absolve.

Now all the months are ghosts, perfect in mind,
Lovely in dreams.  And what do you recall?
All things unwind, return to undefined,
There is no line to draw ‘twixt spring and fall.

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