More submissions for our 2020 Poetry Issue

IN THE AFTERWORLD I ENCOUNTER ALL THE THINGS I'VE LOST

Mark L. Anderson

Vultures lift into rotten egg wind in this desert

of the afterlife, guarding my still spit-moist 


retainer. Straight teeth don't matter here, but it's 

on top of Platypus, my stuffed best friend. I miss him, 


his fur all matted like Bud, the mud-colored mutt 

we rescued half-dead, two-thirds blind, mewling 


with her paws trailing red in the snow. Abandoned, 

ugly Bud. Bud who just disappeared. She's here, barking 


at a blue cooler, wagging up dust. The dust is really 

paint chips I peeled from our front porch last summer, 


turning the deck ugly, exposing it to rot. It's fun 

to peel the paint off like a scab. I'd do the whole thing. 


Stop barking, Bud, I'll open the lid. It must be 

so dark inside that cooler where we put 


our captive grasshoppers. I forgot. Went inside.

Those vultures are really robins, I can see them now.


They're the baby robins who hatched by my tree-house,

who I climbed up to and pet. Their bald heads are really


cracked blue eggs. I knew their mother

might leave them to die them if I reached my hand, 


but I still did, giving them small,

soft strokes. What could it hurt?


Bud, I remember I wretched,  opening the lid

of that cooler— bugs baked in the heat.


It must have been so dark as the grasshoppers

writhed over each other, kicking to leap 


against the plastic walls and lid with a click, click,

click that must have been the biggest thing they ever knew. 



The Day Was Found

Karen Mobley

And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their

enemies. Joshua 10:13


I.

The day is found. It was returned to us and the gospel was revealed

in a hard wind filled with dust, bones, pollen and hair.


II.

The moon dust glazes over our eyes as it is struck by the sun.

The rain comes from the west, virga showing her skirt, pushing us

like small grains of sand. The sadness is like the grit

in the bottom of the bottle of wine – settled but lingering with bitterness.


III.

Who will be present for this journey? Who will go with me into the echoing canyon?

Who will stand with me in my own light? Who will lean with me into the dark,

while I cover my eyes with the blankets of sorrow?


IV.

The rules of my tribe are vague.

Hold onto the earth so it will maintain its tilt.

Throw things into the river, rocks, sticks,

Gaze often at the sky so as to assure yourself

the sun is not standing still.

Smile at strangers.


V.

Our eyes are prevented from seeing God.

The chosen path, singled out, deliberate,

removed.


VI.

Amazon of joy, island of depression,

Cyprus, the navigational pull controlling the human path

down the arm, the gap between brain and planet that is the hand,


moon and stars of deep grief, stroke damaged abyss,

the grand canyon of tumor, gunfire to 25,000 genes in the brain,

100 billion neurons.


VII.

Trial by ordeal.

Not dead but lost.


VIII.

For someone, today will be the end of the world.

For someone today, it is the end of the world.


IX.

The sun is a clock. I am standing in my own light.

Cats are not clocks. They sit. Close, open, close, open, close their eyes.

The day is now. Today was the exact day. The day of cosmos and sunflowers.

The day returned to me.



The Promise

Victoria Mantello

My search begins

on the river bank

where ice clings to cold earth

at the river’s edge.

The ground is frozen beneath my feet.

Changing course I see patches of snow

blanketing the hillside

where muddy mounds of leaves and twigs

make walking difficult.

Rain begins to fall first gently

then in torrents mixing with my tears.

Like a retreating soldier I turn back

but a voice in a gust of wind reminds me

to find the first buttercup of Spring for her.



Some Things I Wanted to Tell You: One,

Kate Peterson

I went driving by the blue house again,               I know

it’s self-torture and the same eggplant curtains,

same moth-bitten neighbor smoking under the porchlight 

looking at me like he wished he could have done something.

I’m sure he saw us that night.                You 

spiraling in the snow           

gasoline on your breath

trying to                           make us blossom —


                          But today,

at the bottom of the hill

where the trees thin out and it’s nothing 

but intersection, I saw a small doe step gently

onto the road, obviously lost and yet unflinching

like she was in a dream. I just wanted to tell you how strange

it was to stand in front of that empty house. 

                                    Even the flowers are gone.



Spring Returns

Susan Coe-Lundstrom

Old man winter sighs

With elongated goodbyes

As spring shows her face


Giddy buttercups

Celebrate with crocus friend

Tulips remain shy


Sunshine has fallen

Earth sings sweet hallelujahs

As new spring returns




Planted

Travis Naught

I’m only 14 inches tall / There’s biodegradable material covering important parts /

It will fade away and I will become / a part of the greater system / I will become a

giant version of myself / Movement is easier, until then / I am miniature, now / The

process has yet to begin / Resource availability is an important factor to the viability

of my success / At this point, I am vulnerable to so many possible consequences /

Being dwarfed by those who have come before me is very real / But, if their support

were removed / my sustainability would be threatened / They carry me to safe

spaces found in between / My survival’s most reliable away from the extremes / I

feel the warmth of Mother Earth and grow mature with Father Time / Until my

roots take hold / I’ll need help to stay alive / Support structures roped to me / keep

the wind from causing too much sway / I pray the one who set me up helps me fight

summertime’s hot sun / with a little more than natural rain / Others have made it

organically / Jealousy would be ridiculous since I never would have / existed

without someone else’s assistance / The least I can offer is to provide a lasting

legacy / The pair of hands that released me is not / expected to last as long as the

product of their good deed / With a little luck, I will make it / to better than 100 feet

/ with oh so many rings



equinox

Terran Campbell

tug of war between winter

and spring

dark soggy nights

yanked into temporary sunshine

snapped back into steel grey clouds

daffodils, tulips and gladiolas

in my yard cheer me on 

and help me remember

my skin is not gore tex

and my feet are not blundstones

“it will not always be this way”

the earth whispers.

I fear that in the future

winter will win

the bravery of spring

vanquished.


Silent Soak

Kailie Knutzen

You strong and courageous woman,
set down your shield of shame

take off your trying
let go of your loneliness
and come and soak your sorrows away
become the burn of your skin
and let the weight of the water
wash you whole.
You were created by the Master himself
look around you wild woman–
the trees are transforming, the sky evolves and the birds continue to fly!
sip the sweet mountain air
feel the mist cling to your eyelashes
notice how it is easier to breathe right here. right now.
As you lay here with your heart and soul open to the sky, baring all you have
don’t forget that you were made
of wonder and whimsy
that like the mountain sky you are never done.
while you may feel like a dried up and lonely tree – be patient.
Your roots are energizing. Your spring is solid. Your passion untamed.
but here. now.
soak the sadness from your bones.
feel the fear drip away.
trust the timing and the truth
and when you are reminded
of who you are
revel in it.
become it.
the river does not stop becoming because it meets a rock.
it reroutes. it revamps. it rushes on.
this is your reminder- that like the river you will not stop.
You may rest.
You may reflect.
You will rejoice and be renewed.
and as your body temperature rises-
and you feel the flicker of the flame deep down
take another moment to breathe in
the wonder of it all.
and when you rise and leave this sacred place —
leave all that no longer serves you. but please, please
don’t forget to embrace all of you
as you enter into the
magical adventure that
has been waiting for You.



Student/Youth poems


IN SPRINGTIME

Ella, age 9

Spring comes

And the robin sings

In the spring melody

An instrumental tune

In the air

Comes with the blossoms

After rain

The delicate petals open

To warmth,

To change



Spring Blooms

Barrett DeMoville, age 8

Springtime is in the air.

Butterflies are in your hair!

You see a fox in its lair,

but the bear does not care.

Flowers are blooming

and bees are humming.

Grass is growing

and sunshine is coming.

Trees are growing growing green.

Birds are flying on the breeze.

Squirrels are walking -

branches shaking!

No more snowing!!

Spring is waking!!



Spring

Odessa White-Neff, 6th grade

Flowers blooming on asphalt

Petals ruffle, curling, preparing,

For the grand entrance, all await it,

They wait, watch, as she straightens her stem,

And positions her leaves just so,

And she bursts up, awake, at last,

Ready for the warmth and light to tickle her feet.

The passing child dares not pick her,

The hungry rabbit dares not come forward,

Caterpillars and aphids avoid her leaves,

For when was the last time you saw her,

A beautiful flower,

Blooming on asphalt earth?

A rose, just as healthy as yourself,

Blooming on asphalt?

The roots dig down,

Past the hard rock, to the soil.

Her leaves stretch up, happily inviting

The other seeds to join her.

And soon there will be a garden on the asphalt earth


Flowers in my Rib Cage

Alexa Marsh

There is a flower growing in my rib cage

Its roots grow down to my stomach

Feels kind of funny

There seems to be a boring flower in my rib cage

It keeps getting taller

It grows up inside my neck

There is a simple flower in my rib cage

Its roots dig deeper

Feel them in my legs

There is a nice flower in my rib cage 

It justs keeps getting taller 

Leaves rest against my teeth

There is a lovely flower in my rib cage

Its roots wrap around my feet

There is a mean flower in my rib cage

Its keeps going up

Petals poke out of my eyes

There is a ugly flower in my rib cage

Going down to my to toes

There is an angry flower in my rib cage

Its shoots up and out the top of my head

There is a deadly flower in my ribcage

Growing up and roots digging  down

 There was a garden in rib cage

I can see all of my garden 

My springtime garden 

It keeps on blooming in my rib cage

All of spring keeps taking over my rib cage 

Flowers on my left 

Flowers on my right

Flowers when I look down 

Flowers as I fall up 

Flowers over there

 Flowers over here

Flowers, flowers everywhere 

Spokane Valley Farmers Market @ CenterPlace Regional Event Center

Fridays, 5-8 p.m. Continues through Sept. 18
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