Karen Bonaudi

Scion Cutting for Spring Grafting

Now is the time to gather .... scion wood
for early spring. The first thing to do
is find .... variety. Some .... clubs
and .... societies make it a point to ....
make available scion wood to those
needing it.

Scion wood should be cut now and stored
away until early spring. The best ....
are those of average vigor, well-hardened
and free of .... pests. Scion wood must
be kept dormant in cool storage .... bury it
in a sawdust pile on the north side
of a building.

In March bind it fast to your .... hardiest
and most prolific .... root. Make sure no
air .... can pass between. Plant in a well-
drained, well-protected .... spot. Guard
against hungry .... slugs. Proper selection
and care of scion wood will assure
a generous .... yield.

Taken ... in parts ... from Northwest Magazine,
The Sunday Oregonian, January 3, 1982.

F. John Sharp

I'm Sorry I Didn't Finish Shoveling Next to the Garage

Favorite place-names swirl above me like snowflakes. I cannot remember the order in which I visited them, but I do know the slip of a sole, the feel of concrete upon cranium, and how blood, too, can taste the bite of wind chill. Darkness is not all in my mind, and my voice will not cut the wind, so I wiggle my hips in snow to make a bed.

I saw something like this once, on funniest home videos, after the segment with the piñatas. It seems no good can come of playing piñata; regardless of height or age everyone swings with a natural inclination toward the groin. I cannot feel my groin. Is it still there? What would I do with it if it were?

There is something sad about the start of a paragraph, every word diminishes the choices left to make. I have lost the ability to recite Shakespeare in the original, supplanting English for a language spoken with fuzzy consonants and mumbles, opting instead to simply call your name again and again. At least I think I am. I have a vague sense my phone is nearby, but I cannot recall the concept of pockets, which is for the best since I perceive to be missing my thumbs. And who would I call? Oh. You. I would call you. Speed dial #1. You are in a meeting and would think I am drunk. I would brace for an icy evening.

I never before noticed this about the cold, the way it warms up to you as you waver in the fringes. It's like a relative you can only stand when you're both at the reunion, together by the piñata. Piñatas are inescapable, it seems.

They say the red winged blackbird is the true harbinger of Spring. I would pay—I think I have a dollar forty-seven on me—for one to land right here and whisper into my ear. He would either tell me to hold on just a little longer because he is, after all, the harbinger of Spring, or complain I didn't keep the feeder full. In my defense, the feeder is in a particularly treacherous part of the yard and I worry about falling.

Just let me sleep a few more minutes. Then I'll get up and finish shoveling before you get home. I'm thinking about you naked, but you hate the cold so I'm quickly dressing you with my eyes. Now you're atop me but I'm still not feeling like waking up and there's this darkness. I was promised light. Why is the red winged blackbird singing our favorite song? Who invited Gandhi? Where is my camera? How can I get the taste of nothingness out of my mouth?

William Wright Harris

battle of fishes

scales of pencil and
fins of charcoal
giving way to crimson tinted
oil gore
hektor and akhilleus
standing on the sandy plains
of ilion
masson seeing
blood is red
in all languages