Poets in the pond:
James A. Ritchie
--for my father
My thoughts pull over,
and the motor stops.
I climb out.
you nose through
the cracks of these hills
like a gopher.
I step into the grass.
The moon trots ahead,
a tame, white dog,
on the cliff edge.
Below, the sea
rocks back on its heels
with the face
of an outlaw.
gleam in the sky.
I run my tongue over them,
My mind opens
like a baby's mouth.
The garble of whales
washes in with the tide.
My thoughts sail out
in a ghost ship.
-first published by Owen Wister Review.
- Deborah Finch
Deborah Finch lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico and works as a wildlife
biologist for Forest Service Research. She has published poems online
in print in The Harwood Review, Avocet, Owen Wister Review, Melic
Samsara Quarterly, 2 River View, and others.
Too Large a Truth
I wish the government would stop
wasting so much time banning trivial
things like drugs, tobacco, firearms,
you name it.
They should concentrate on banning
more important, meaningful things.
I've already banned mirrors
from my home,
And try to avoid them
When in public, but
I can't, they're everywhere.
Everywhere, I tell you.
We need an agency in charge.
Vicious men with vicious weapons,
who will enforce the law.
Mirrors tell much too large a truth
for me. Even my heart
cannot convince me they lie.
Ban them, I say. Ban them all.
--James A. Ritchie
James Ritchie has five novels published under his own name. The
last one was The Wagon Wars. His short stories can be found
in a number of
magazines, including Ellery Queen, Sports Afield, and Far
West. His last
published short story is in the July 2000 issue of Cricket.
for his novels to go out of print, he paid bills by ghost writing.
is now out of print, and he has given up ghost writing in order to
write novels again.
"Silences make the real conversations
between friends." --Margaret Lee Runbeck
The one sound where we sat
was the shallow breath of pages
turning in the books we read.
All day we sat, and I read
the silence between us
as love, as not doubting
each other's being there.
We waited for Aunt Ruth to die.
Every hour we tiptoed
down to her room to see
if her own heavy book
had at last been put down.
Even then we were silent,
holding our breaths along with her
till it seemed she must surely
be gone. Again and again
she surprised us with one more
parched inhalation. Every time
it made us jump. Like children
we filed back to the waiting room
to take up our stories. We watched
the clock hands make another
slow circle, handed each other
a tissue when we fell out of our books
and into a memory. At five fifty-five
the nurse came to announce
a last chapter had ended,
an end piece completed.
You looked at the purpling sky,
one wine-red ribbon holding our place
in the moment, and spoke
the only words uttered all day:
"That is a beautiful sunset."
- Sandy Supowit
Sandy Supowit is a Michigan poet whose work has appeared in many
journals and magazines. Her first collection, Halves of Necessity,
was published in 1999 by Plain View Press, and is available from
Whenever I saw him
I felt the cold
A kind of deep chill
That passed through me
Numbing my insides
And the ice that formed
On the outer edges of my words
Was skin tingling
In the same way
His kisses were snowflakes
Melting on my cheeks
I would always wish him gone
Just as I would hope
For winter's passing
And long for a trace of color
In the pencil sketch landscape
That is February
And now that he is
A season past
There is mildness in the air
And a stirring in the earth
Of things ready to grow
- Doug Tanoury
Doug Tanoury grew up in Detroit and still lives in the area.
Doug is exclusively a poet of the Internet with the majority
of his work never leaving electronic form. He is published
widely across the World WideWeb.
Each year before lovers lock
in sweltering heat, before
skinned knees of spring heal,
she chooses us.
From Brandt River she toils
to her resolute spot
like a hearse with a
freshly boxed corpse.
Her claws as shovels
unearth our worn path
where tractors convene
and four wheelers play.
She digs deeper
into grub laden soil
with our dead dog's remains.
Her final performance
this mother's charade,
hatchlings are buried
With a pat of her tail
nature's duty complete,
mama turtle goes home
and never looks back.
Swooping over fresh plot
Cooper's hawk stakes his claim
with a baneful screech,
meal in mind.
And I wonder each year
as she chooses us,
does this mom know
she's digging a grave?
- Mary Bohm
Mary is a former journalism major turned aspiring poet. One of her poems
was published in the May/June edition of Hodge-Podge magazine.
Maury River Walk
The air has a lingering wintry snap,
but dogwoods are at peak bloom,
fluffing the meadows and mountains
with lacy clusters, snow clouds.
Along the river running well within its banks
we hike a former railroad bed,
dwarfed by limestone formations
locomotives once grazed.
At the bend we peer down at eddies
where the trestle fell a century ago,
pulling cars and passengers
into the flooded tangle.
On foot we cross a more solid bridge,
iron arch, where elderly women in lumpy fleece
cast lines over the handrail.
Their chaperone, younger by only years,
smiles beside her SUV and sips coffee,
glad to be sheltered from the huffs
of a cold front honing the razor wind gusts.
Across a low-lying field a turreted farmhouse
waits like an ancient storyteller.
The trail emerges from leafing thicket
and we stop, blocked by a locked pasture gate.
Young cattle turn and lope
to protests from the herd. We turn
to start back, past the women still doubled
over their rippling lines, past the limestone
turning shape-shifter in the falling dusk.
Now the sun is behind the mountains
and we stumble through chill shadows.
There's hot tea at the cabin, and bourbon candy,
an electric candle in the window,
tiny beacon through the dogwood.
Cincinnati, OH resident Nancy Breen has published work in such magazines
Scriobhaim, Words, Art/Life, Clifton Magazine, Thema, and
for Children, as well as in the anthology, Down River,
a collection of Ohio River poetry.
She is the new editor of Poet's Market for F&W Publications,
beginning with the 2002