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ducks sat :: michele glazer

Where ducks sat we sat next

And wanted to be Dutch.

If we would walk upright and not

Glance right or left the intersections

Would not come at us

Sideways, is what we thought.

But after a time it is hard

To keep feeling you are making this the best time

To look back on.

We talked. Some times I would walk

By a beetle thrashing

On the rocking of its domed-back and flip

It rightside. To say I’m here, and you be there.

Now the cicadas. Their long curving

Sound, and I turn

The thick line of their music into

Us. Even the ducks.

Then look back at the trip, how

Better than to be on it it is to be

Well bathed, and able to read the coins

And translate their value.

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falling back :: tasha graff

Something shifts
in that in-between
November light—

sends questions
of color, cold
and time
through my body.

The birds sleep.

Am I mistaking morning
for gloaming? Perhaps
the other way around?

Something in my lungs
remembers: The leaves
have fallen, snow

is coming. I changed
my clock.

inarticulate :: ani gjika

I have no memory of it.
I believe a river caught up with us
when we curved the foot of the mountain.
Men and women got off the bus to drink.

My father cupped his hands
and I gulped mouthfuls.

Snow patches led the way to the cool
black smoke of the woods. Over our heads
eagles played tag with the white sun.

The way we changed the valley
entering it like winter shadows.

I never dream of it
but I remember being watched
as I stood at the edge of water
stirring images with my foot.

you were you are elegy :: mary jo bang

Fragile like a child is fragile.
Destined not to be forever.
Destined to become other
To mother. Here I am
Sitting on a chair, thinking
About you. Thinking
About how it was
To talk to you.
How sometimes it was wonderful
And sometimes it was awful.
How drugs when drugs were
Undid the good almost entirely
But not entirely
Because good could always be seen
Glimmering like lame glimmers
In the window of a shop
Called Beautiful
Things Never Last Forever.
I loved you. I love you. You were.
And you are. Life is experience.
It’s all so simple. Experience is
The chair we sit on.
The sitting. The thinking
Of you where you are a blank
To be filled
In by missing. I loved you.
I love you like I love
All beautiful things.
True beauty is truly seldom.
You were. You are
In May. May now is looking onto
The June that is coming up.
This is how I measure
The year. Everything Was My Fault
Has been the theme of the song
I’ve been singing,
Even when you’ve told me to quiet.
I haven’t been quiet.
I’ve been crying. I think you
Have forgiven me. You keep
Putting your hand on my shoulder
When I’m crying.
Thank you for that. And
For the ineffable sense
Of continuance. You were. You are
The brightest thing in the shop window
And the most beautiful seldom I ever saw.

seasons :: czeslaw milosz

by

Transparent tree, full of migrating birds on a blue morning.
Cold because there is still snow in the mountains.

lines written in the days of growing darkness :: mary oliver

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into a rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out

to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing, as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married

to the vitality of what will be?
I don’t say
it’s easy, but
what else will do

if the love one claims to have for the world
be true?
So let us go on

though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.

backside :: chika sagawa

translated by Sawako Nakayasu

Night eats color,
Flower bouquets lose their fake ornaments.
Day falls into the leaves like sparkling fish
And struggles, like the lowly mud,
The shapeless dreams and trees
Nurtured outside this shriveled, deridable despair.
And the space that was chopped down
Tickles the weeds there by its feet.
Fingers stained with tar from cigarettes
Caress the writhing darkness.
And then the people move forward.