Sandra Ketcham

September Garden Burning

Flowers open like fireworks. 
Their reflections caught in bubbles, 
in mist, in the shower of sprinklers.
They explode, high, higher, 
then fall. 

The wet and heavy petals of 
the Mexican Bluebells 
drape melancholically, 
leaking color on the brick planter, 
dripping purple quiet onto 
the burning ground.

And I see your face in the spray, 
in the dirt, in the sky, 
in the arrangement of fallen 
thirsty leaves.

And I see your face in the tree bark, 
rough and crumbly 
and sticky with sap.
Sticky in my memory,
in my mind.

The Spiderwort and 
the feathered yellow ferns 
and twist 
to wrap you and choke you.

The Black-eyed Susans watch and follow, 
then turn from your shade 
to face the sun, 
ashamed of temptation.

You linger,
rooting and spreading and stinging and smothering 
like prickly weeds, 
like nettles, like darkness. 
Like memory.

Tetman Callis


It should go without saying but in case it doesn’t, if you don’t spend
all your money on drugs, you’ll have money for food. You’ll feel so
wealthy. For instance, this guy sitting at the window here, he can’t
believe how wealthy he feels. Attorneys in private practice, plastic
surgeons nipping and tucking, senior civil service workers, they might
think—he doesn’t know what they might think. They might have trouble
making their Porsche payments or finding decent help with housekeeping
and gardening, but he has a bowl of peanuts. Salted and roasted Virginia

Good food.

Fresh salads, other healthful stuffs, he has those, too.

He nibbles at a hangnail. Then another. Not part of any accepted food group.
Scratches his head. Digs the oily dead skin, the tiny bit of it, from
under his nails with his front teeth. Chews it. Small chews, like
nibbles. He likes the texture of it, the tiny, soft adhesion.

Wipes his fingers on the paper napkin—no wiping on the pants! Or on the
shirt, none of that, he doesn’t spend all his money on drugs, he has

Two gnats are at the window, the afternoon sun coming in. He reaches for
the peanuts, eats several. Damn, they are good. Damn. He doesn’t deserve
this, this good stuff, after all the crap he's done. Good food, safe
home, quiet, time to look out the window. Clean bathroom. Decent bed,
though it sags a little. But clean sheets. And a washer and a dryer,
right here on the premises, and clean clothes. He doesn’t deserve any of
this. He knows where the bodies are buried.

He nibbles at another hangnail. Chews the little bit of dried flesh that
comes off. Eats more nuts. Looks out the window. Doesn’t even think of
eating the gnats.

Nicolas Grenier

English translations by Emmanuel Cheiron

Neige prise de vertige dans l'air,
Retournant presque à l’origine ;
- La blancheur du nuage retombe
Sur le paysage en silence.

Snow, in the air taken, dizzy,
To the origins quite coming back.
(White cloud falling back
On the landscape, silently.)


Étendue comme un long rêve,
Tu contemples le ciel
Et retournes à l’air éphémère.

As a vast dream lying
You stare at the sky
Back to the air, fleeting.


À la rencontre du ciel et de la terre,
La neige apparaît comme une Beauté
Qui à chaque instant renouvelle
La forme du paysage.

Between sky and earth,
Snow, as a Beauty
Which is changing
Every moment
The form of the landscape.