— Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
Down in the dank, poorly-lit basement—
racks of old furs and garment bags
hang with dresses from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
She fondly caresses each one,
memories of youthful days,
weddings, dances, second honeymoon,
all filled with promise and romance.
Her glasses fog as she remembers.
A whiff of mold clings to each dress
she holds to her aging body.
She carefully straightens the hangers
so each shoulder is secure—
returns them to their bags, zippers locked,
her memories intact. She drifts back
to the jitterbug contest and first prize.
FEED & SEED
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
I love how you sunny the depths of barn
as I back my car in. Your arms
brown as buckeye on the tree.
How you murmur to your partner—
it sounds like wind in orchard grass.
How you lift the bale of hay
with twin hooks, like an offering,
and place it gently in my little car
so the springs sigh. How you manage
the trick latch of the hatchback
like putting a cranky child to sleep.
How you make no promises
beyond “have a nice day, ma'am,”
and ask, in return, nothing at all of me.
(an earlier version of this poem
first appeared in Innisfree Poetry Journal)
HER SECRET GORILLA
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
…dancing and dancing with a boy
she wanted to date in high school
she said we’ve never danced together before
someone came up to her and said
your black slacks are pulled down in back
your underpants are showing
she left her partner
left the ballroom
saw the elastic had broken
put on another pair of black slacks
underpants still showing
they were red satin; she let it be
her partner nowhere in sight
ran to the cliff
down another flight of stairs on the cliff side
at the bottom
saw a gorilla running down the stairs after her
heard the gorilla singing
he had a deep, strong voice
night and day you are the one
only you and you alone under the sun
whether near to me or far
it’s no matter darling where you are
I think of you night and day…
the song made her sad; she turned around—
standing behind her,
he was holding the gorilla head under his arm;
he smiled; he had nice eyes,
an older man
she thanked him
THE HORSES OF ULAN BATOR
are coming to get me
they are pawing at the house gates
they are knocking them down to get me
my friends and I will ride across oceans
we will ride the winds on these horses
we will ride
the horses have golden eyes
sport pearl handled reins
emerald flecked foam
from their silver nostrils
they ride the sea
A FINE FALL DAY
—Trina Drotar, Sacramento
Wet leaves cover grass left unmowed
A white cat sleeps, its tail curls about its body,
under the drooping cypress, on a patch of dry dirt.
Birds sing – bodies unseen.
A single coral begonia leans from its basket
You sleep while I write.
A car in the shade of that spicy honey-
flavored Dijon mustard that Grandma
poured every afternoon from jars with
lids that often rusted pulled beside me
in front of the library on Grand Avenue
where I’d spent summer days instead
of in the art classes I begged to take so
I wouldn’t have to stay with Grandma.
Boards covered the windows I once
stood in front of, and only one lion
remained, its roar long gone. The lace
curtains I once wrapped around my head
were likely dusty and cobwebbed, and the
plaster trim had lost its gold. I glanced
at the driver and wondered.
A PADLOCKED TOWN
Key or combination
Red, yellow, gray
They adorn the door—
call for service
One door unlocked
Key and combination
Red, yellow, gray
lock the rooms
where people live
Thanks to today's potpourri of poets, and to Michelle Kunert for the photos of last weekend's Chalk It Up benefit for art education in Sacramento. We're talking about Secret Admirers this week, but it's never too late to work on any Seed of the Week for our busy Kitchen; see Calliope's Closet on the green board (under the Snake on a Rod) for the gazillions of SOWs which have come before...
Dave Boles reminds us that his journal, Primal Urge, which appears both in print and online, is always seeking submissions; check out the guidelines at www.primal-urge-magazine.com/submission.htm
Another NorCal journal for you to check out is Robert Cesaretti's Ginosko, which is now completely online. See www.GinoskoLiteraryJournal.com for his tenth issue.
Palm trees lean against
tandem ocean calm breezes
to the left the sun appears
—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA