THE WIND’S COURSE, Elizabeth Cook

The Wind’s Course
by Elizabeth Cook

With sighing breath does the wind acquiesce
In mournful cheer, to be ever steered
By Hyperion’s chariot churning up our skies
By the ivory orb governing our tides
By fiery glows breaking from below
And by the woodwind’s greedy summoning

And with sighing breath does the wind acquiesce
To wander the wend of Earth’s curved bed
Not a nook or tree to be christened home
All to be left, and all to be known
In equal joy to sound airy heartstrings–
In equal love, to be mourned at parting

Elizabeth Cook is pursuing an MA in Economics, having discovered too late why it is called the dismal science. When free of school work and job hunting, she enjoys reading (books and manga), playing squash, and eating good food. She also has trouble saying no to a night out on the town.

Elizabeth blogs at Serial Outlet.

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GHAZAL FOR A NAMELESS STREAM, James Brush

Ghazal for a Nameless Stream
by James Brush

I walk as in an autumn dream
to this sweet and secret stream.

Cumulous roiled sky and leaves,
reflections in this cloudlet stream.

Come winter nightfall stars shine
time above this comet stream.

Raindrops pelt the surface of this
momentary wavelet stream.

Despite well known creeks, I’m drawn
each spring to this minute stream.

Turtles travel the muddy road
of this slow and temperate stream.

Summer noon, birds disperse; only
wind around this quiet stream.

How many days have I explored
and sat beside this favorite stream?

GHAZAL OF TREATY OAK, James Brush

Ghazal of Treaty Oak
by James Brush

Great Treaty Oak, a poisoned husk,
bent boughs beneath this ashen dusk.

The deals we reached beneath this tree
portended its pale and broken dusk.

I always dreamed I’d shoot your scenes
beneath theses branches at golden dusk.

Long years and days withered away
and swallowed you in barren dusk.

Odd limbs still live and mingle with
new high rise lines in token dusk.

Somehow you found the way back home
all through the long moth-eaten dusk.

And the songs of city birds suggest
the dawn of some new-woven dusk.

James’ process notes:
Treaty Oak is a 500-year-old southern live oak in downtown Austin, TX. In 1989 someone poisoned it. After a major recovery effort, it survived and the poisoner went to jail for a good long time. It’s still a big tree but only a fraction of its former self, yet ten years later it started releasing acorns again.

THE BACKYARD AT SUNSET, James Brush

The Backyard at Sunset
by James Brush

I pull a rake against dry oak leaves
the wind gusts and twirls

an invisible rope
coiling through the cooling air

sunset and shadows cover the ground
I can no longer tell leaves from grass

the purpling sky is a fading sea
tugging the live oaks against gravity

mockingbirds call and chirp
I don’t know what they’re saying

but I believe them

James Brush lives in Austin, TX where he teaches high school English. He is the author of Birds Nobody Loves, and A Place Without a Postcard. You can find him online at Coyote Mercury where he keeps a full list of publications.

STRAWBERRY JAM, Sabra Bowers

Strawberry Jam
by Sabra Bowers

plucked strings float their music and
the soft rattle of dishes brings running cats

strawberry jam tops freshly baked bread
a warm mug of chai lifts my spirit

while dreams still whisper in my head
a glorious sunrise escorts morning

Sabra Bowers lives and works in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. She enjoys all the performing arts and considers poetry her daily medicine for wholeness.

THE WORLD IS IN ME, Irene Toh

The World Is In Me
by Irene Toh

New moon. Smudged words I had been trying
to read. Dizzyingly thick, plots flew into
a witch’s pot. I tried tetchily to transcend.
What to toss? My faltering sight spiked.
Cupping eyeballs. Pray do not leave me now.

Prelude to change. Tempest unreconciled.
Green bottled drink. Lines break. Sensations
as discontinuous threads. A layer of moss.
Clumps sprung in green. My son begins
a new road. Gift of a rare red plume.

Time grew mythical. All my life sharpened into
a point. Then a wrecking ball. Which remembers
more, mind or body? What do we fear, having
nothing to remember? When both dissemble,
a crumbly matter. Others bear dull witness.

This February morning, bathed in the memory of
another. We have courted, opened as flowers.
Aquariums never die. My nephew sits, watches
corals, how the goby fish burrows sand. Who is
watching? Dry-eyed now. My term ending.

We’re a series of births & deaths evolving.
Spring’s rebirth. The memory of incidents
faded. Mouths opening like fish. I know now
what I want clearly. This is what was given me.
In the velvet of petals, filaments of desire

remembering, yet not of the mind, nor of the body.
Words seived in the receptacle: I am not in the
world
. Sand danced around the spongy edges of
radial corals. My son looked through the glass.
What could be a greater truth? The world is in me.

SAY IT. LIKE YOU MEAN IT, Irene Toh

say it. like you mean it
by Irene Toh

Calm is the feeling of big rock
not ousted by ravaging waves,
dampness seeped into boulder’s
blunt edges, slippery-like
fins ruthlessly circling,
smelling blood.

It is a numbness forbidding
love, the wintry cold smoking
plumes of fog. Michael asks,
must it always be like this.
Achingly beautiful corpses,
walking hope.

Say you don’t need cheering up.
You do. Say you won’t disappear
into the ether. Say ether.
Say it. Like you mean it,
holding a book, curling dog-eared
at the edges. Say I love you so much
you won’t bail.

KEEPSAKES LIKE A BREATH, Irene Toh

Keepsakes like a breath
by Irene Toh

My mother wore jade,
heaven made,
with no twist in fate
to unbend her, except heavenward,
life so sweet, if unmade.

I stared at the lilies
so pink, stayed in
the present tense, rumble
in the music,
in some chronological
sense, because it took as long
to figure out.

That time isn’t meant to
be one long string
tied to your ear,
it bends, it gets into
terrible knots,
creating sensations
like strings,
like music.

That gold glitters on
my sister’s neck,
linking her back to
a heart of diamonds
so sweet, my father’s
little keepsakes.

Irene Toh lives on a tropical island. She writes about fall and plums, spring and lilacs, summer and fishes, winter and bears. Mostly she’s inspired by the moon and the stars.