Secrets You Know, by Bobbi Buchanan

Secrets You Know
By Bobbi Buchanan

The sun watches you on that long walk,
drapes light and love across your back.
You want to be the perfect companion
like sweet gum to the warbler.
Swallowtail on goldenrod.
White ash samaras falling to their destiny.
Every tiny little beauty tells you her secret.
What else for that lukewarm heart of yours?
Take that love and burn.

Bobbi Buchanan is the author of the essay chapbook Listen: Essays on Living the Good Life, (Ginkgo Leaf Press, 2013) and founding editor of New Southerner, an e-zine that focuses on self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship, and local economies. Her essays and poems have been published in The New York Times, Brain, Child Magazine, Sojourners, GreenPrints, Still: The Journal, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, The Louisville Review, The James Dickey Review, and Kudzu, among other publications. She is co-founder and host of the Homegrown Art, Music & Spoken Word Show, an open-mic and arts exhibition series held bimonthly in Shepherdsville, Ky.

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Scale, by Alan Toltzis

Scale
By Alan Toltzis

In slow motion
small white patches
on the azalea stems
and under its leaves
are ravaging it.

*

Without a word,
our two white birches
instinctively offer
pages of curled blank bark.

*

What’s happening
to the roots
of our crape myrtle
in this killing cold?

*

When warmth feels impossible,
I remember
the pink phalanx of cherry trees
welcoming me back to a parking lot
in California.

Process Notes: “Scale” began after meditating on the idea of how a small change, barely visible on the surface, can indicate something much more troubling internally. That led me to the scale on my azaleas, the deep cold now, and my optimism for spring soon.

Alan Toltzis lives and writes in Bucks County, PA where he is working on a book of poems that are modern expressions of our relationship with God and the world around us. His poems have been published in print and online publications including Focus Midwest, Burningword Literary Journal, The Jewish Literary Journal, and the upcoming issue of Soul-Lit.

A Dozen Poppies, by Marilyn Braendeholm

A Dozen Poppies
By Marilyn Braendeholm

Mum loved plastic flowers,
silk ones, too. She once made
a dozen oriental poppies from
red and orange crepe paper,
all twisty-turnie around black
pistils and stamen centres
the shade of a menacing thought.

Then she sprayed them with cologne.
Evening in Paris at first, later
Avon Skin So Soft because she
was saving toward Christmas gifts
from Avon. Those were the days
before loyalty cards, and no one
collected points. But Avon saw

the future, and offered vouchers
for money off your next purchase.
Mum sprayed Avon everywhere,
even on last summer’s dried
hydrangeas, and she had
the softest crepe paper poppies
a florist could ever hope to touch.

Marilyn ‘Misky’ Braendeholm lives in the UK surrounded by flowers, grapevines, bubbling pots of sourdough starter, bottles of fermenting apple vinegar, Molly, her Springer Spaniel, and a small camera that she keeps in her pocket. She never buys clothing without pockets. Her work has found homes with Poetry Quarterly, Curio Poetry, Mouse Tales Press, Four & Twenty, Sprout Magazine, Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, inclusion in three international print anthologies, Pyrokinection, B-Gina Review, and few more. She also co-edited the 2014-15 Winter Issue of The Red Wolf Journal.

Whistler’s Annunciation, by Ron. Lavalette

Whistler’s Annunciation
By Ron. Lavalette

Mister Whistler looms
down the gloomy street,
hoping to meet the morning
but limps himself back home
before dawn.
                             When the sun
comes scrambling up at last
over the staring and eggy town,
sleepy in its early kitchens,
all the yellow curtains
in all the yellow windows
burst into Sunday flames
and fall, burning the countertops
and leaving their feeble yellow ash
on Mister Whistler’s sad and
unswept morning floors.

Ron. Lavalette (Barton VT) has been widely published, both in print and online. A reasonable sample of his published work can be found at Eggs Over Tokyo. Ron. blogs at: Scrambled, Not Fried.

http://about.me/rlavalette

Chase, by Ron. Lavalette

Chase
By Ron. Lavalette

The old man scoops another
thin scrape of riverbank, dips
the rim to drown the till,
swirls the pan. Part of the dig
slips over the edge with every
circle. The murky water clears.
Sandy granite. Schist. A glint
of mica. The man looks up.
The sun is gold in a blue sky.
The man sits still, resigned.
He sighs; scoops; swirls; spills.
He wills himself to wait.

Ron. Lavalette (Barton VT) has been widely published, both in print and online. A reasonable sample of his published work can be found at Eggs Over Tokyo. Ron. blogs at: Scrambled, Not Fried.

http://about.me/rlavalette

Sundress, by Ron. Lavalette

Sundress
By Ron. Lavalette

She thinks about how she looks,
about how she looks in a sundress;
puts it on and steps on out
onto Main Street, pushes her stroller
down past the Creemee stand
where the hunks hang out,
admiring each other’s tattoos
and planning their romantic assaults
on the wide-eyed waitress at the Valley House,
making bets on who among them is
most likely to get to second base first.

She knows she doesn’t stand a chance
of catching their full attention
or holding it very long, but she’s
hoping there’s enough breeze
to flutter her sundress,
lure at least one of them
into a second look, hold his eyes long enough
so that her red hair and lipstick
sends him a green light, tempts him to
come on over and chat her up.

But the stroller’s working against all that.
Sundress or no, lipstick or not,
she knows she’s made her bed;
she just doesn’t want to lie in it alone.

Ron. Lavalette (Barton VT) has been widely published, both in print and online. A reasonable sample of his published work can be found at Eggs Over Tokyo. Ron. blogs at: Scrambled, Not Fried.

http://about.me/rlavalette

A Miser’s Life, by Barbara Young

A Miser’s Life
By Barbara Young

The trees in the Art Center courtyard are small.
Elms—I think they are; I’ll call them elms—
with stiff leather oval-round leaves that turned
yellow overnight and fell the next night
onto the white gravel. And the wind heaped them
beside the walk; and I had just arrived
when the damn sun suddenly struck coins, right
before my eyes. I had to set my purse down,
had to bend and scoop a double handful.
If the leaves were nasty underneath with damp,
dead bugs and cigarette butts, it really
didn’t matter. They fell through my fingers,
and I was Scrooge McDuck, living large
in a top hat, my hands dripping gold.

Barbara Young is aging without grace in Middle Tennessee. She thinks she’d like to be a poet if she grows up, but won’t bet on it. Her blogs went South for the winter holidays, may now be in Cuba.

To: Despair, in Mid-assembly, Watching, by Barbara Young

To: Despair, in Mid-assembly, Watching
By Barbara Young

the directions–translated
from Ikean
by evil elves–
go blowing off.

Should you chase it? A sad, wild-armed
uninstructed,
pink, chaotic
ornithopter.

Bury your face and cry? Quick, hide
the evidence;
pretend you don’t–
just sometimes– hope.

Barbara Young is aging without grace in Middle Tennessee. She thinks she’d like to be a poet if she grows up, but won’t bet on it. Her blogs went South for the winter holidays, may now be in Cuba.

Love Is A Dream, by Barbara Young

Love Is a Dream
By Barbara Young

She dreams and, clumsy as an axe,
drops her name on a looking glass,
shattering the sky with lightning.

Love is an immense gray cat,
spike-full of shocks. It crackles,
and rubs against the hills,

purring thunder,
threatening
to splinter her.

The sky will settle and rain.
The mirror will be whole again,
but love is frightening.

Barbara Young is aging without grace in Middle Tennessee. She thinks she’d like to be a poet if she grows up, but won’t bet on it. Her blogs went South for the winter holidays, may now be in Cuba.