hang in clusters on delicate vines. The plants
are caged, potted in the driveway. All summer
they have drowned in rain and hose water until flowers
became hard green cysts that grew, ripened and split
wide open. I salvage what I can into folded shirt-basket
though I know no one will eat them. Most have fallen
onto rocks below, dots of bloody pulp punctuate stone.
Photo by Nate Dworsky.
Salzano’s bio can be found here. For more of her poetry at WIZ, go here.
Who gives away their weeping
cherry tree, my husband wants to know. Mature,
in bloom. He says it deserves
a fighting chance. He will prepare
the ground, dig the hole by hand,
home burial or new beginning, we won’t
know for months. Once
the blossoms fall to the ground, pink
petals could mean something
other than what they seem,
if we want to search for metaphor.
The baby robin in a box yesterday
was pointless, he says. Cycle of life
stuff. Evolution. Food chain. Hawk
treat. They will give it
a nice size root ball, the orphaners.
It’s not like a breathing thing.
It won’t even know it has been taken
from the ground, not like a flower
in a glass of water, naked stem dangling,
suspended in prisms, shriveling, severed
from nutrient supply. The mother
robin is searching for her baby
that was taken home with the babysitter.
She comes with worms,
chewed and ready to regurgitate
into an open beak that is not there.
Photo by Nate Dworsky.
For more by April Salzano at WIZ, go here. For a recent bio, go here.
I love the state I’m in,
its mountains and cattle grazing
under billboards beside highways,
silos standing phallic in foliage, farmland
and stretches of nothing along ribbons
of winding roads. I count phone poles
and fields as landmarks, see the ghosts of steel
and loss of populous to warmer weather,
cattailed lakes and plenty of pine, travel
narrow bridges, salt-pocked streets in
my dogwood, draft horse of a home.
Recently nominated for two Pushcart prizes, April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow, and Rattle. Salzano also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.
Photo, “I80,” by Nate Dworsky.
We saw your massive golden dome from down
below, a baroque body oddly out
of place. I snapped your picture by the brown
limbs hanging near the roadside fence, devout
old guards, one hundred years had left behind.
We leaned across your speckled balustrades
beside the river, where worn paths entwined
and crisscrossed near the watery cascades.
Then, hiking grassy slopes around the charred
magnificent old court, adjacent to
your holy place, we found a heavy door.
Surprised at how we easily slipped through,
we scramble in like heathens, unaware.
Inside were angels winged with elegance.
Subdued by stained glass, carvings, heaven’s air,
we marveled at your ancient relevance.
The pious moment passed, and then I thought
of all the souls who sat within your pews;
the offerings and sadness that they brought.
Your wood grain’s worn, as if it might transfuse
into a blemished song, or ancient phrase,
that mutely sings of suffering and praise.
Photo by the poet, used with permission. For a recent bio of Kelsay, go here. For a comprehensive list of her poems published at WIZ, go here.
He keeps his diving helmet in a shed.
The memories that it buoys up, aren’t dead—
that heavy hat of bolts protects his pride.
He seldom ever has to look inside
the wooden crate beneath the old work bench,
where all his man-things: chisel, hammer, wrench,
as if in dry dock, wait to be reused.
His wife told him to toss it, he refused.
You’re eighty-five, you’ll never need that thing!
But somehow, he can never seem to bring
himself to entertain the thought. The brass
is surely worth a fortune, and the glass…
The chance is slim, but yet he still regards
an abalone dive as in the cards.
Photo is of the poet’s father, and is used here by permission. For more by Kelsay at WIZ, please see the bio here, and a comprehensive index here.
She spends her afternoons beside the tree,
where Mr. Lizard’s made his home. Last week
she caught him in her mouth, and forcefully,
my husband pried him out. She doesn’t seek
this reptile, or a patterned, scaly prize—
just itches for a thrilling chase. For days
she’s turned into a sphinx. Unblinking eyes,
and breath held in her breast. Her mind’s ablaze
with thoughts of how he was in her possession.
He watches from the wall where he’s protected.
They play their waiting game. No intercession
at dusk is needed. She comes inside dejected,
and marches to the house to scheme and plot.
Tomorrow she will have another shot.
Karen Kelsay, native of Southern California, is the founder and editor of Kelsay Books. Her poetry has been widely published in magazines and journals. Nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, she is also an award winning poet. Her latest full length book, Amytis Leaves Her Garden, was published in 2012, and received the AML award. Karen lives in Hemet, California, with her British husband.
Photo of the poet’s cat, used with permission.
Tell me, she whispered, when the kids were down
And the dark of day had drifted over like a welcome shroud,
What is your love? Continue reading Pillow Talk at 18 Years by Jonathon Penny
Look with wonder on the world
And on the walkers in the world
Familiar and strange as if on God,
For gods they are, unknowing. Continue reading Look with Wonder on the World by Jonathon Penny
I wish I had a home—
No, not my own—
A place I’d shared with others
All the summers of my life
Or all the winters.
But, as it stands, the candidates
Are fallen into disrepair
(False friends!), or usurped by
Some false, pretending owner
(Who would, her eyes askance,
Refuse me ingress or relief),
Or scattered as the family bones. Continue reading Dreamhome by Jonathon Penny
In addition to writing poetry, directing memoir groups, and writing stories for her grandchildren, Judith Curtis is a Master Gardner in Phoenix and a volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden. She has published poems in WIZ, Irreantum, Dialogue, Segullah, Exponent II, Sunstone, and Fire in the Pasture. She is currently poetry editor for Exponent II and participated in the Mormon Women’s Writers tour in 2010 organized by Dr. Joanna Brooks and Dr. Holly Welker