—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
Granddaughter is in FFA, raised a pig
To show at the county fair.
Yorkshire: white, with
Sweet little eyes, great lashes,
And a charming smile.
Named him Oscar, after
Her great-great grandfather.
I’m not too sure how I’d feel
About that, but great granddad
Is ninety-two, a retired miner
From Southern Illinois, where
It is a great honor to have
Anything above ground and
Breathing named for you.
So he was happy with it. And
Until last Sunday, auction day,
The pig was happy with it;
Jordan was happy with it.
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole
Once at crossroads
of growing up
got lost in fog
once she tells herself
she is a survivor
she becomes a seed
—Claire J. Baker
The moon flowers
into full bloom
We cradle hands
for mystical light
We have waited years
for such a night
into cupped hands
like a prayer
we were born to
(first pub. in
—Photo by Taylor Graham
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
The sheep are waiting for their shearer.
Winter coats, rich with dried dung and field-
duff, will slip off in cloudy piles. My sheep
have scant memory of last year’s rites
of spring. I doubt they would will their wool
to spindle and shuttle. They’re forever hungry;
watching me through woven stock-wire
as I shear away clover intertwining mint and
lavender, oregano. My fingers unravel the tough
runners. So much green to hold the earth
together. All by itself, clover wishes to weave—
no, invade—the whole solar garden. It’s
hard as sheep to keep within bounds. But
sweet. What shall I do with so much bounty?
Fling a handful over the fence, in a spring-
lamb’s heartbeat it’s gone.
Still it goes on, like the sad music
of humanity; but it’s our sheep. They’ve
survived the coyotes’ lamb-of-the-month club,
and the horned owl whose talons leave
no evidence, just sheer disappearance and
everlasting conjecture. This morning
our sheep reached the final objective of their
spring portfolio. They’ve been shorn.
Now they wander from shade to shadow
as if blind or in a daze, navigating without
sextant; hiding from the sky; bleating the beggar-
song of creatures too poor for tatters.
Even their hooves were clipped, as if to mark
their passage over thin ice. But at sundown
they’ll come to my call for a bucket
of garden greens, half a flake of hay, their
nightly lockup. Will they dream Coyote
the great shearer? or tomorrow—
will they have forgotten everything?
This morning a mouse lay beside the Universal
Dictionary in the dusty room of books.
Quite dead, the mouse. Stiff as a spine of the
Encyclopedia of Natural History. On the back
steps swept by night-wind, I found a rat not quite
dispatched by the neighbor’s tabby. What
happened to the dark-eyed junco, the alligator
lizard? What coyote killed but didn’t eat
the lamb? Bare cartilage. Heartbreak of each
creature, and hunger that nothing can fill.
On which dusty shelf might we find The Idea
of God, the Secret of Knowing, the Household
Manual for removing stinks, stains, and this
all-pervading mortal dust? Take down
the latest volume of The Passed Ones, inscribe
each name; give it a place in the dark
of the moon. Inkwell of deepest blue. Is there
no word for death in the Night’s language?
BACK TO HEAVEN
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
Pulling at my broken wings
she’s got me back to heaven,
this poet of surprising words,
painted, whispered phrases—
she and I remembering
the nights and days of falling off
the squawking perch… the
writing desk… falling off,
—Carol Louise Moon
Fireflies line up along her path.
She comes in flow of a golden moon
which rises high above a mirror-lake.
Circles form like dawning mists, like the
greening fern she finds along the way.
High time she finds this thing—no elusive
promises this time.
Evening comes, she finds herself
a long way off from home—no mirror
there—nor here a shadow mirror.
Hollyhocks rise high in rows along
the meadow fence. Elusive in the drying
grass are butterflies which fly in close
enough to touch. One comes and lights
among the mirrored patterns of her dress.
A long way in the distant cool
a solitary hawk: sky wings mirrored…
GATHERINGS FROM A POET FRIEND
—Allegra Silberstein, Davis
Let us live upon the earth
near the holy place we walk.
I am neighbor to this spot,
a secret way of knowing:
you touch me so perfectly
my bones begin to dissolve.
Soul could be this kiss, this flame.
(A 49er poem based on words from
D.R. Wagner’s poems on Saturday, May 25, 2014)