Saturday, July 02, 2011

This Day Will Not Come Again

Origami birds by Robert J. Lang
Linsey Wildlife Center, Walnut Creek
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

My parents’ bittersweet plums have come for the summer season
My mom, who can't eat them anymore, lets most drop on the ground
The tree, now old for a dwarf hybrid Santa Ana, doesn't produce as it once did
Once it produced enough that I could give some to friends
Even a chef friend gave me a jar of jam he made from its fruit
and it was among the best jams I've ever tasted to spread upon toast
as if almost made with the same kind of "love" my grandma would add
But now there's not that very many to spare
with most bug-bitten and bird-pecked, squirrel-eaten or smashed
I eat the gleanable in the "raw" state, and
flies have had their fill of the rest—
just good for garden compost or the green waste.

—Michelle Kunert


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

dim at night here
not many lights
can’t find my way from the train station
murmur of voices a distant whirring
at the next turning:
main street and a large square
people standing watching TV
outdoors! on high-mounted sets
or in store windows
is this their downtown?

walking to the Hotel Intercontinental,
on a hot dark night
smudged plate glass
the street a solemn pool of
old people hunched over
sullen, silent
crowding into their hovels
a hush of despair
shadowed by law and the
harsh power of a third world
no room to breathe
the young pent-up,
dizzy with dreams

this was Kabul
when I last saw it
or did I dream it?
is it still like this?


—Mary Rudig, Austin, TX

I wake again,
in a damp skin
of sheets, twisted
around me like a
tangled skien.

I am never
more alone than in
the moments between
waking and sleeping.

When the sky pales,
I know it is
aghast at my face.


—Mary Rudig

I awake, half
scared the sun
has set and
again to

Watch you
treasuring the
rise and
fall of your
and the
morning light

hollow and
every hair
on your
chest and

I want to
be jealous of
each beam, but
I am still
half-afraid that
last night did
not happen,

That a
stray word might
bend and break the
fragile truce that
allowed me to
creep back
to this—

your bed,

your heart.


—Mary Rudig

I thought
with wants
and needs

But then
I have coffee
and remember—

This same mug
in your hand
on a cold
winter morning.


—Mary Rudig

In the evening, we
sat outside, the
air cicada-deep.
we drank cheap
beer, smoked too
much, and then,
fell, half-clumsy with
love into unwashed
sheets and the sweat-
soaked skin of the


In the morning, I
collect the beer
bottles, find two
cigarettes, smoke part
of one, while I
listen to the run
of the shower, and
fumble with the

coffee maker.

It'll happen again,
over breakfast. Our
eyes will slide past
each other's like
fingers on wet glass,
you will ask for
gas money again,
I'll dig out a



—Katy Brown, Davis

The cello leans against the corner,
silent chords held in its body—
scent of rosin on pegs and scroll:

remembered music in twilight
and the sway of bow pulling
haunting melody from taut strings.

Clouds curve around the rising moon.
Humid air oppresses.
Varnished wood of inlaid willow,

polished smooth where fingers
slid along the neck, coaxing
chords that seem to weep.

In layers of shadowed light
and heavy air . . . thunder . . .
and a burst of rain.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The moon shines silver
as I listen in dream to ancient
texts I've never read—secrets
not to be unlocked by dawn, nor
changed to machine-speech
and analyzed for clues. Fossils
of the heart, and the soft oar-
sounds that limbs make as they
move in sleep; breath-release
in and out of this dream
already fading to mirage.
My dog twitches as if
examining his soul. And
somewhere in the unseen,
my black cat crouches, still
waiting for the owl
of the night-country.


—Taylor Graham

From the old gravel mill-road
along a maze of skid trails
through incense-cedar woods,
I'm following my dog.
The wind has gathered scent
on a bush and threaded it
leaf to leaf. How long will it stay
when rain is or isn't coming?
Ravens tell such forecasts
from the treetops. I look for
scuffs on rutted hardpan,
scrapes in duff: evidence.
Who walked here? Secrets
in a slant of light, on layers
of air. My dog knows so much
more than I do.


Today's LittleNip: 

A sweet summer afternoon. Cool breezes and a clear sky.
This day will not come again.
The young bulls lie under a tree in the corner of their field.
Quiet afternoon. Blue hills. Day lilies nod in the wind.
This day will not come again.

—Thomas Merton


—Medusa (with thanks to today's contributors, including Mary Rudig, our poetry guest from Texas, and apologies to the Voices of Lincoln poets: their contest deadline is actually JULY 30, and I've been saying June! So you have more time! Go to for the entry form.)

—Photo by Michelle Kunert