Helen Peterson

Funny, You Don't Look Like a Grandmother

The first time Sweet Baby stopped flowing
her mama bathed her in a tub
till her skin ran livid
as her sunset hair.

Next time, she forced her daughter to mount
her horse, bareback, and ride between stones
crowning through hills
back and forth for weeks.

Not once thinking
perhaps the poor girl's eggs
simply shrank from fear,

that all she needed was
to meet new people,
eat a good steak.

Stephen Roxborough

the molehill suite

1.  a big job

he must have looked at the mountain
thousands of times yet it never
and this disturbed him
because he knew change
was eternal
but from his perspective he couldn't fathom
how he could imagine
he wouldn't be able to see
the change
until it was too late
or he climbed the mountain
and it would change him

2.  perspective

from afar he said
the mountain is very beautiful
perfect in its own
well documented way

but up close up real
not so beautiful
mostly rocks
slippery edges of shake
that move
underneath you

very hard to walk on
difficult to see
feet slipping on top of a mountain
from the sea town
where i live

3.  invasion of the moles

when the mountains arrived
they tried to tell us
how big the gods are
how small we must be
but for the most part
we didn't listen
we wanted to conquer
the mountain gods
wound mystery
try to place us above
nature or feed ourselves
that illusion

4. the death zone

above the death zone
the mountain will eat you

above the death zone
life is suspended
time stops
logic impaired
weather kills
sun blinds
cold burns
toes and nose turn black
fall off
as gravity asks you
to fall

angels call
yet wings do not work
words are useless
you cannot remember your prayers
when you need them most
time kills
air is lonely
your money will not save you
strange voices whisper your name
all names are the same
time slows
time accelerates
radiation cooks your brain

hearts must rise
to the occasion

5.  the peak

you can see forever
you can live forever
forever is such a short time
time is compressed
no pressure to return
the world is at your feet
there is nothing to buy
perspective is lost
there is no sex
no drink no drugs
life is a dream
is further

Keith Moul

Dakota Swim

House lights here and there
in night’s deep pool flicker
like benevolent stars:
but black, Dakota air
douses each spark.

Or else we see our own lights
bounced weakly back
from aluminum cans
or prairie dog eyes.

Your silence comforts me.
I miss you when I blink.
I strain to keep
everything in sight.

No landmarks loom up—
so we could be in a sea
with fish that always sleep.

Some artist showed deft control
painting a perfectly straight
infinite yellow stripe.