by Susan DeFreitas
This morning’s creation wavers
below me, as special as any,
close enough to touch:
a fish with arms and
two tiny ruffs
sprouting from its head like
God’s own ferns
circulating in the current
of its ephemeral world.
All day, those diminutive hands haunt me,
the way they cling to nothing.
The way the words for what is rare are disappearing
the world of the future
the way it will be
Hummingbird in the Garage
by Karen Terrey
I opened my hand. The hummingbird tumbled
weightless in the grass, curled toenails shrouded
with cobweb. A false escape, to lunge
at the dirty light of the windowpanes again.
Again. Green chest heaving, my fingers
clumsy unthreading the spider’s threads.
That a trap for insects could catch this bundled
iridescence. Some desire of hers –
Food, shelter, love. Does it matter?
So quickly the scales can tip. Both of us
unfit for our tasks. Both trembling.
I left her in the sun and soon,
she was not there. And how should I love?
When I opened my hand I didn’t feel anything.
Snacking on the Plankton of St Kilda
by Seth Crook
Tides and light and you have life,
the multi-colours of anemones.
Dive with a breather,
and you can sit within a shoal of fish.
Without the bubbles
they don’t notice, or don’t care,
pass an arm’s-length from your face.
Sometimes the basking shark glides in,
so visible in un-silted water.
But it is sweet, with tiny teeth.
No more dangerous
than the one cloud weather system
that hangs over Boreray.
by Linnea Wortham Harper
Time must have hooked itself to a chain
of old elephants to be going this slow.
These circus ghosts, retired with health care,
have nothing to do but drag it around their
sanctuary all day like a bale of rotting hay,
leaving bits and stalks in their lurch.
Shall we hitch a ride on the back
of this beast? Take the time and slow it down
to a dull glide? Scrape it against the walls
and drag it through the water trough?
Unhook it where it washes up,
watch it dry in the slow air?
Or we could keep our distance,
maybe pellet the tough hides
with pebbles from our peashooters,
try to get a rise.
When they were young, and shapely women
in scanty clothing rode their proud shoulders,
did they quicken their pace then?
And did time stop altogether in the spotlight,
in the warm glow of public applause,
and are they all recalling now
their last bow, one knee on the floor,
hoping against hope
it will never start again?
by Michael Murray
Snails glide across pre-dawn pavement stones,
striated, colour-schemed, banded shells
their thin veneer peeling in places.
At twilight always they trek back to grass —
following their path, returning;
their wet passage dotted, morse-coded,
by shells dipping, rocking,
as they glide and draw, glide and draw
their muscular foot.
I doubt tonight they will come, the rods of rain
would knock clear any track,
and puddle mud on their route back.
Even the ants have gone deep, off centre
in their safer chambers.
Susan DeFreitas is a writer, editor, and spoken word artist. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry has appeared in The Utne Reader, The Nervous Breakdown, Southwestern American Literature, Fourth River, Weber—The Contemporary West, and Bayou Magazine, among other publications, and in 2014 her work was a finalist for a Best of the Net award. She is the author of the fiction chapbook Pyrophitic (ELJ Publications) and holds an MFA from Pacific University. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she serves as an editor with Indigo Editing & Publications.
Karen Terrey’s poems have appeared in Rhino, Puerto del Sol, Canary, Cider Press Review, Grey Sparrow, Kokanee and Sierra Nevada Review. Her chapbook Bite and Blood (2015) is available from Finishing Line Press. She teaches writing at Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra College. A graduate of the Goddard College MFA in creative writing, she lives in Truckee, California with her Cattledog Stoli.
Seth Crook taught philosophy at various universities for a number of years before deciding to move to the Hebrides. His poems have recently appeared in such places as Gutter, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland, Northwords Now, the Open Mouse, Far Off Places, the Rialto, Magma, Envoi, Antiphon.
Linnea Wortham Harper lives on a tidal slough on the central Oregon coast. Before she was a poet, she was a social worker, and before she was a social worker, she was a poet. At the age of 5, she introduced WH Auden to the poetry of AA Milne. This has been her greatest poetic achievement to date.
Michael Murray lives on the edge of the English Peak District. He has been involved in animal keeping and welfare for many years. He sees as proof against the alienation effect of modern life, and Rilke’s First Elegy where we are not at home in the world.