miller's pond

Summer, 2002
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Volume 5, Issue 2, Web Edition
Poets in the pond:
John Sweet C.E. Chaffin
T. Shamblin Laurie Byro
Lawrence Jordan   Wynne McClure
John Sweet 


                    when the baby is

                    when the sun has no
                    strength left
                    and the sky is a
                    silver smear holding these
                    houses to the ground

                    will you read what
                    i've written and

                    will you believe in objects
                    that cast no shadows?

                    it's not blood i ask for
                    only faith

                    only for your hands to
                    put down their weapons
                    and for your heart
                    to unlock itself

                    there will always be
                    other days filled with
                    nothing but time
                    to grieve

  - John Sweet

landscape with blurred figure

                    this picture not of you
                    but of the 
                    sky that surrounds you

                    of the shadow
                    you almost cast
                    of the smile that isn't there
                    and i have forgotten the
                    specifics of this day

                    have lived through it
                    a thousand times over with
                    my eyes closed in the
                    room of empty chairs until
                    all meaning is lost

                    until our words are
                    distorted and
                    buried beneath the sounds
                    of approaching trains and
                    nothing remains but

                    brown grass
                    and bare trees
                    and every empty space
                    i have ever called

                    a hand caught in the act
                    of reaching out or
                    pushing away

                    all of our failed attempts
                    at grace
                    captured effortlessly in
                    this one simple gesture

- John Sweet,

John Sweet is thirty-three, has been writing for twenty years and publishing in the small press for fourteen.  His most recent chapbook is approaching lost (Via Dolorosa Press,  His website at features more than forty of his poems, and he adds to it a few times a month.

T. Shamblin


In this strange town
the funeral home lurks
across from the county hospital
the porch on the pink house sags
while the rescued mansion next door
becomes a monument
the newly-built wall a medieval
illusion of concrete and stone
steep streets and their names
an awkward accent in my mouth
unheard by twin babies swinging
the young couples gardening, the tee-ball
teams practicing in a triangle park.
I swing around potholes
and take unexpected turns
finding forgotten graves tucked
in the north corner of town
wildflowers bloom purple
under a twisted old tree
while its naked limbs clinging
to bird-missed berries
reach up to remain
a testament.
In this strange town
on a bittersweet drive
I notice the presence of absence.

- T. Shamblin,

T. Shamblin has an MA in Creative Writing from SUNY Brockport, teaches college composition, and is writing every morning all summer. 

Lawrence Jordan

Town Meetings

Amid the clack of chairs
On the hardwood floors,
I noticed the two of them,
Their discontent, their covering glance.
Didn’t you see it?
The way they kept
Quiet when we all laughed. She’d
Curl her lip when he spoke
To me. In the lull between
The gavel’s call, he’d turn 
And I—well, I should have shushed,
Should have said nothing at all. 
You know how it goes.
I noticed their absence when they 
Stopped coming. I saw who
Sat where they usually did.
I missed his gentle howdy-do.

                   The streets
Are narrow and the chill seems early.
Chair legs rattle in the hall.
I watch the door with a glance,
Too frequent to be discreet.
When in he comes, alone I notice
My pulse in several speeds.
I scoot two chairs and raise my brow 
And—well, you know how it goes.

-Lawrence Jordan     
Lawrence Jordan is the Retired Postmaster of Columbia South Carolina, presently working as a fund-raiser for the not-for-profit world of health and human services. 

C.E. Chaffin

For Teresa

You are a straw
pounded through a board
by a tornado.
The wind is your home.
It takes all your energy
to sit still.

Feel the weight of you
in the wet sand,
how your patient shoulders
have borne your head,
your hips your shoulders.

The sea freezes
in your footprints.
Gingerly you remove
the ice from its molds.
Never has your path
been so clear.

Hawk and Hawk

A red-tailed hawk
clung to my balcony's railing
like a vampire bat, wings outstretched
above the dying dwarf asters
in the planter box.

Splayed against the balustrade
he seemed a desperate, feathery
crucifix seeking sanctuary
from the smaller Cooper's hawk
(golden-breasted birder,
no fat rat catcher)
who missiled his beak
into the left wing
with calculated fury
and dislodged him.

The red-tail fell, recovered
and fled to the palms below,
again forgetting how
speed trumps size and strength
like a bullet.

 C.E. Chaffin,

C. E. Chaffin has been widely published online and in print. He edits The Melic Review and tutors poetry online. His first book of poems, Elementary, is available through

Laurie Byro

--Lark and Owl

Evening, you claim feathers
and majestic flight. I seek
mossy darkness
to pour myself under

I stumble along your trellis, look
for an opening through your window
but you've gone to haunt the woods
or some other room

The branches make totems
we can distinguish
from dreams

Owl, we are never in this place
at once. Midnight, lighting trails
with our eyes

Mine, closed tight

I, the shadows singing
You, the light

 Laurie Byro

Laurie's short stories and poetry have appeared in a dozen or so small presses.  Additionally, her work has been published in The Literary Review, The Rift, Critical Mass, Single Parent,  Silk City Review, Aim, Chaminade Review, The New Jersey Journal of Poets and others. Her children's poem "A Captain's Cat" has appeared in Cricket Magazine and a textbook Measuring Up to the Illinois Learning Standards.  Her work will be appearing in the print version of miller's pond, in an anthology of shore poets, and in The Red Rock Review. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Michael.

Wynne McClure

Nub of the Rug

I   Albuquerque Train Station

 The bright southwest sun
 hot upon the back
 Indian woman
 at her upright loom
 arms in horizontal sway
 weaves symbols of her life
 -- now for sale

II Carpet Industry 1930

 In the Mohawk Valley
 in clouded Amsterdam
 people of the town
 trudge the hill
 because of the loom
 manning machines
 for carpets—for profit

 threading our days to
 the fabric of tomorrow
 on the back
 of the woman in the sun

 previously published in Five in the Afternoon, Process Press, 2001

 Wynne McClure

 The Embrace

 There is innocence in the breeze
 gentling through fields
 sensing the guile
 of wildflower beauty
 the foreplay of wind
 purposing thrust for life
 leaving pollen messages
 the archeologist shall read
 a thousand years hence

 all of us the seed

 Wynne McClure

Wynne McClure has been writing all her life.  Now retired, she was a professional creative copywriter, and has been 
writing poetry since the seventies, when she was associated with the Rochester Poetry Society.  Her poems have been published in RPS chapbooks,, Hazmat Review, and an anthology of five Rochester poets, Five In the Afternoon.  She is beginning to seriously submit from a large body of work.

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