Photo by Katy Brown, Davis
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
My hands are filled with light.
I am able to touch objects and have
Them transform themselves from
My imagination into manifestations
Of radiance. Here a house
Rises from a small rabbit’s foot.
Here a road unrolls and stretches
Out from my desk all the way
To Atlanta. It is like magic.
It is like longing. It is like looking
At photographs and trying to make
Them blueprints for emotions.
There is no future in the past.
As we come closer to the moment
Veracity seems almost under our
Fingertips. The photograph is always
Less cluttered than the world.
I look at your photograph. I am happy
To be seeing you for a moment. My
Hands turn it over. There is white
Space, like snow, like this moment.
I’m not telling you my name.
I’m not here for very long.
I’m just a voice inside your head.
I’m just another song.
A TINY FIRE
And if rubies could burn
That color, of blood
Near the heart.
A SWEET WHISPER
A sweet whisper clipping the tops of waves.
The humidity changing the colors to pastels,
Opening my eyes in already late morning.
I can hear the birds arguing in the palm
Trees. It seems they have important things
To do. They abandon the yard.
I am working over the lyrics to a song
I can barely remember. It says that heartbreak
Can be overcome if one stops feeling.
I am amazed at the way afternoon
Lopes into the room, recognizing everything
But how my heart understands distance.
I begin to sing my own song. There is a
Moment where everything that prompted it
Becomes real again. I can hardly continue.
The birds return and gather near my windows,
Silent except for their beaks tapping the glass.
Coming over the edge of the slope
We headed toward the shore. The
Sea was an exquisite blue-green,
Roiling, filled with floating ice.
From all sides the waterfalls boiled
Over the cliff edges. Thin veils
Of ice formed curtains in front
Of the waterfalls. They were everywhere.
Amazingly, it was warm with snow
Everywhere. Here is where my studio
Would be, in this pulsating land
Separated from the world by my skin.
I watched the boats toss in the waves.
These would be my ideas today.
I would stand on the edge and move
My mind toward the deepest waters.
When I looked to find you,
You were gone. It was like
You were never there at all,
Then I could hear you singing.
I began to write these words.
Photo by Katy Brown
HOW HE TURNED OUT THE WAY HE DID
—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks
Whenever he misbehaved
His mother would intone
“There’s a pickle jar
In the cellar,” instantly
Scaring him straight.
Said it always worked
And that he never questioned
Till he was twenty-five, twenty-
Six: Pickle jar? Cellar?
But by then it was too late.