Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Heartbreak Spring

Novelist Bill Pieper reads at SPC's
Fiction Night Monday, April 16
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
the child lies in bed
hearing songs from the birches and maples
birdwing flutters against the leaves
the smells of eastern Spring
Grandma’s garden comes alive in the backyard
moon vines climb the playhouse lattice
and wait for warm night to blossom wide
forsythia petals clump the yellow corners
cherry trees at budburst
mother bird hides in the fat bush by the porch
yesterday the child peeked in, parted the thickness
it shook, a baby fell from the nest
the child cringes in memory
hides under the covers
may the barberry hedge prick her knees
may the sun burn her cheek
may the wind scramble her hair
she has killed a creature from another species
a little bird like herself
at the mercy of Spring         


12 January 2012
—Kim Clyde, Sacramento

The lot
Takes up nearly half the semicircle
Where I live.
The crotch of the dog leg
If you will.

The owners
Foreclosed upon early last summer
Don’t visit to check the mail anymore.
Nor do the dogs escape
To visit me
Late in the night.

The north end fence
Spans the walk way
Down the side of the garage
And is guarded by a
Stone raccoon
Its boards perforated
Like tear-out paper
In a student notebook.

The squatters
So diligent
Have not given up
This shelter
But have instead taken down
The south end fence.
It is better hidden
In the overgrown

I have not seen them
The only tenants
I can remark upon
Are the rats
Living in the crawlspace
Under the add-on
Where the home gym lived.

The Koi pond
And waterfall.
The pond,
Empty now
Held the fascination,
Of humans
And quadrupeds

I recall a gunshot
Ringing out
In the wee hours
The owner
Shot a raccoon
Who came to fish.
His dogs fought it off.
Must have been a pretty good shot.
None of the dogs got hit
With the bullet
That killed the ‘coon.

Its remains
Are still there
In the grass
By the fence
Where the squatters
Gain access.

The Koi are gone now.
The pond is dry.
They were left behind
But somebody finally got ‘em.
Big feast.

The squatters are quiet.
I guess I don’t mind them
Invisible as they are.
But being humans
I know the potential
Of their habits
And find
I prefer the prospect
Of the
Four-legged critters.


—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville
We settle into warm, fragrant-
itchy grass, my puppy and I. A breeze
stirs air heavy with April
pollen, hum of bees and promises
of nectar; stirs
green seed-heads and the soft
sable guard-hairs over puppy-ribs.
No undercoat at all, yet.
Hardly any flesh. So thin—
bowlfuls of puppy-kibble disappear,
transform to energy, un-
sprung spring synapses of sheer
mischief. She'll never
grow into her choke-
collar, her ears, her whimsy, while
this morning I'm heavy
as clay under heat of a sudden full-
spring Tuesday. But that's OK.
My puppy lolls, tongue lazy
among grasses, for-just-a-briefest
moment, this Zen garden.


—Taylor Graham

love her—I
love her not. Each weed
I pull, she grabs and dashes
puppy. How
shall I ever get
things in order, for instance
this April
day, so warm and drow-
sy, thoughts, weeds, and puppy at


—Michael Cluff, Corona

Ivan has enjoyed
spring fever since 1973
always wears surfer shorts
and tongs to work
when neutral dress shirts
heavy drab oxford leather shoes
and subtle ties were preferred
by the power-
ful-of-it people.

Today he is as happy
as ever he can be
even though he is
tight brown belted
and neck-choked by
perfect dimpled paisley cloth
that joins collar to waist
in a Freudian blatant way.

He is interviewing
for a new position
somewhere overlooking
the shifting blue to green
to brown sea
far from the pollen that does pollute
his internal system but comes from plants
and flowers that pepper and delight his soul.


Today's LittleNip: 

In poetry, you must love the words, the ideas, the images and the rhythms with all your capacity to love anything at all.

—Wallace Stevens


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors! And be sure to check out the new Poetry Now at—new format, new editors, and very accessible.

Scott Evans with the latest issue of Blue Moon Review
at SPC's Fiction Night Monday, April 16
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento