Friday, April 28, 2017

Time Is Strange

A moment can be as short as a breath,
or as long as eternity.
― Cornell Woolrich

There’s a gray squirrel twitching
on a picnic table. I’m not sure if he sees me
seeing him, but when a dry leaf lights
beside him, he takes note, takes flight
to the safety of the closest fir. He climbs
straight up, unaware that he is beautiful.
The breeze grabs hold of the leaf and sends it away,
leaving the mossy wooden picnic table empty
and all the way gray.

I woke up the other day headache-free.
Neither shoulder hurt. I was hungry
for oatmeal and toast. The very next day,
I woke up to the sound of horns honking
because the light was green. I could not remember
which way I was supposed to turn.
I stuck my arm out the window and motioned
for everyone to pass. It occurred to me then
that my pickup truck would make an interesting
coffin.

I remember the first time I saw her smile.
I remember the first time she smiled at me.
Those smiles were half a year apart
and those were good first days.
We share a hot tub now where I soak alone
in the evening and watch blue clouds fade
pink against my sweat. I lean back
into steamy heat, hold my breath,
close the lid.

A red-headed woodpecker bangs its way up
the squirrel’s tree. I don’t know what to make of that,
so it flies away. There’s lots of green here, the breeze
is an easy thing. The gray squirrel descends
upside down. Beautiful.
I can’t tell if he sees me seeing.
I just can’t tell.


First appeared THAT Literary Magazine  - 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Poems I Admire #31

Heaven
Andy Roberts

Albert don’t know shit from apple butter,
says my Dad, stirring a frying pan
of beans and franks. I’m seven years old,
watch some ash from his cigar drop in.
Maybe that’s what makes it taste so good, I think.
Albert, my uncle, can’t cook. Can’t drive a stick shift either.
I can drive a little, work the clutch and three on the tree.
Dad’s in a good mood. We skipped church,
let Mom and the girls try to get to heaven.
The only thing I liked about church were the
cookies and Dixie cups of fruit punch after.
I knew I was never going to heaven
because of my greed, the looks the pastor
and Uncle Albert gave me as I pigged out.
I told Dad I wasn’t going to heaven
and he laughed, delivered his comment on Uncle Albert.
Eat up while it’s hot, he says.
Mixes me a cup of half coffee, half milk,
four teaspoons of sugar.
It’s good and sweet.


First appeared in Off the Coast


Andy Roberts, a four time Pushcart Prize nominee, lives in Columbus, Ohio where he handles finances for disabled veterans. Since the mid-1980's his stories and poems have appeared in hundreds of small press and literary journals including Albatross, Atlanta Review, The Aurorean, Coal City Review, Chiron Review, Cloudbank, Fulcrum, Hiram Poetry Review, Lake Effect, The Midwest Quarterly, Mudfish, Pennsylvania English, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, The Sow's Ear Poetry Review, and Tule Review, among many others. His latest collection of poetry is Yeasayer (Night Ballet Press 2016.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Uncle Sam

His remembering is a silted bog of nose hairs and earlobes
grown long from his being everything he ever promised.

This is where he turns logs, bends grass, stains his bare feet
green, and balladeers his way to Paradise; where ferocious

pangs of nevermore lie somewhere between imagination
and crust; where his center culls the heat from a closeness

that tears at everything real: innocence; see-through love
emptied of wanting to hear the cold melt into a loud

and sweaty must; a hidden, never confessed match head
turned hot and sulfuric as the lingering of days grown soft

along weeks torn from flesh, red and stringy and raw –
until all that remains is wasting away into defeat

and gorgeous lines of battlefield – slick with red, wet, and soot
over pine needles as forgiving as layered down, echoing songs

of wispy reality remembered though never lived, and serving
as no real ending at all.


Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Poems I Admire #30

My Father Was a Vegetarian

When I was growing up he told
me that if you want to eat
an animal you have to kill
it yourself, and if you want to kill
an animal you have to eat it.
So when I killed a spider he let me
swallow it with milk, and when I killed
a worm he covered it in chocolate.
With his steady gaze I wriggled
the soft worm down my throat
trying not to chew. See how easy
I make things for you?
he said.


First appeared in Off the Coast – Spring 2013

Ginger Duncan is a writer of poetry, flash fiction and creative non-fiction. A native Oregonian, she lives and works in Portland, but always has her eye out for a new adventure.