Day 7: National Poetry Month - Berman, Johnson, Gjefle, and Brown rock the celebration!


Temporary loneliness makes her eat a little crazy, knowing she'll sweat it off later.

A bowl of honey-nut Cheerios, four caramels, a handful of almonds, a handful of gobbled chips.

My God, it hits her as it has too many times, mouth full.  My mother did this.   

Every morning on a sofa, Dorothy Sayers' mysteries and a spaniel for company on long days.

After two children her husband had no need for her body, which then ballooned or shrank 

depending on her ingestion of an ugly orange pill, unforgettably called  Appetrol.   

I want to die, her fit daughter prays, with at least one second more than she had, though convinced 

that pulling back from competition is a practice that provides too many kindnesses to name.

© 2015 Barbara Berman                    
San Francisco, California  

Barbara Berman, photo provided


* * *

Middle of Traffic

One year has become frightening
365 days passing too soon
Not enough,  the fear that followed
The fear that will pack up.
Just as I unpacked in a Saturday,
Back in may as I laid in an empty room
No mattress, shirtless
Only thoughts of Monday.,
The Monday in which a new career
Would begin.
This too passed along with 8 months
Now four remain, and I just may appear once again as a spec in the busy city streets.
Paved in success I haven't seen
Places I haven't conquered;
Soon a birthplace will return  a memory
Distant relatives grow far again
I've come to terms.
Not too soon, at least not tomorrow.
All at the end of my wife's contentment.

© 2014 Ryan Johnson                        
Lilburn, Georgia                     

Ryan Johnson, photo provided

 * * * 

To Work

To scarred knuckles
and grease that won’t wash out
of skin,

sunburned backs and wind-chapped lips,
swollen joints, bleary eyes, dirt-clod boogers,
and the same set of old torn clothes, worn

for weeks on end, to the curious
dogs wandering by, and smoke breaks
where no one says a word, don’t forget

to drive home slow and watch
for gusts.

    The fire waits inside
when it’s time to keep the cattle
fed and warm, when the field
turns to mud and the helicopter
seeds fall from the maple trees,

when it’s time to shove numb fingers
under the twine and toss
the last bale into the trailer,

a fine reward, a time
to feel all those disappeared

© 2015 Andrew Gjefle                                  
Vancouver, Washington        

Andrew Gjefle, photo provided


* * *


We trail our mother’s steps through seasons:
draw radius from our feet to the belly of her song;
draw path and leap from stone to stone—
but not too quick, not too high.
Blue green rains soft down sweet all over us
through far up holes in treetops along the way;
the sun comes down too, just in spots,
streaks our skin dark brown when we run there,

We find it on shore, our fingers dripping still and heavy.
The tide pushes her arms to kiss our feet, our ankles—
and with quick steps, we fall into her embrace, laughing.

© 2016 Jordan Brown                                   
Montreal, Quebec, Canada     

Jordan Brown, photo provided

 *   *   *
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