Ann B. Day, Poetry

Road To Tinmouth

by Ann B. Day

On the back road through Danby Four Corners
I was shrouded in fog and damp muggies.
Leaves and grass were limp in the humid air.
Light rain spotted the windshield,
I didn’t close the windows.

I drove up the hill toward a farm:
white, paint-peeling house on right,
gray-boarded, tin-roofed barn on left.
I slowed as a tan, black-legged Jersey
sauntered across the blacktop.
I stopped, turned off the motor and waited.
She stopped—gazed—and waited,
in the middle of the road.

In a moment the rest of the resident herd
erupted from a dark opening
under the rusted, over-hanging roof.
Black, white, red-spotted, manure-rumped bovines
wandered down the road past my parked car,
their empty udders swinging with their lazy pace.

A wet, pink-pimpled muzzle
was thrust into my open window.
Another cow inspected the left rear tire;
others just stared,
until the rubber-booted farmer
quietly moved his herd down the road,
his face wrinkled with a perpetual smile.

Rain splatted on the pavement
as I began to roll up my window.
He looked my way and waved.
“Nice day,” he said.

 

 

Lori Douglas Clark, Poetry

Lake Hymn

by Lori Douglas Clark

Clouds painted in wisps and puffs
hang motionless over the lake.
Languid blue sky day
when time stretches luxuriously,
like a cat in love with the arch of its spine.

A day when time loops back on itself,
this moment becoming past moments
filled to the brim with water and sky,
solemn trees canopied overhead,
witnesses to something sacred.

This day a gift:
Lake still and glassy at sunrise,
rising breeze ruffling the surface,
sunlight reflected underwater
in hexagons of golden light.

My arms slice the water,
finding the familiar rhythm of the crawl.
Trail of bubbles with each exhale.

Sunlight dancing on the lake bottom
brings me back to my past,
long string of summers swimming in this lake,
time once again looping and darting
like the little fish in the shallows,
water joining past and present
filling me with all the beauty I’ll ever need.

 

Ann B. Day, Poetry

Remembering Mary

by Ann B. Day

Every day I drive by her barn-red farmhouse
where she had lived since the turn of the century.
No electricity; at night an oil lamp
glowed in her kitchen window.
Against the wall of her linoleum-floored kitchen
her water, piped from a spring,
ran a steady stream into an iron sink,
a friendly sound.

When I visited her,
I drew in the smell of wood smoke
from her Home Comfort cook stove,
steam from the iron kettle.
The back door opened to the woodshed
with its well-grooved chopping block
and the privy.

From her afghan-backed rocker
by the kitchen window,
Mary watched for neighbors
and the mailman who’d stop in
on his daily route to bring her
a letter or the weekly IGA flyer.
She greeted them all with an ever-present smile.

She didn’t go out often, but never missed
town meeting on the first Tuesday in March.
On her ninetieth birthday we drove her
to Warren’s Fourth of July parade
in our horse-pulled buggy.

Mary died the following year.

Today I notice an air conditioner in the window
where the oil lamp used to be.

 

Mary McLaughlin in Fayston,
Vermont (early 1980s)
Photograph by Ann B. Day

 

 

Poetry, Stephanie Minteer

Late Fall—Keene, New Hampshire

by Stephanie Minteer

We did not get the early season snowstorm,
so was it national news or overtime envy
that pushed Public Works to be out
in their front-end loaders and dump trucks
to pick up leaves, piles and piles of them—
oak, maple, elm, and ash—along the boulevards,
heavy equipment at the ready
to round them up, hoist them high,
fill twenty-five ton 18-wheelers to the brim,
haul them off into bigger piles somewhere secret,
to wait for a big wind to gather them up again,
blow them back home.

 

Becky Dennison Sakellariou, Poetry

I will miss the strawberries

by Becky Dennison Sakellariou

I will miss the strawberry picking
the bending, heat on our backs,
red-stained fingers, bending, ecstatic sweetness
on the tongue
bending, filling baskets.

And the fourth graders reading
The Declaration of Independence in the town square
We hold these truths

And then the raspberries, harder to pick
than the strawberries.
You have to really want them, Rosalie tells us,
soft, falling off their buds into your fingers,
the fuzz liquefying as soon as your lips touch them.

And the balloon festival, children open-mouthed,
the sun in their hair, on their heads, in their eyes,
holding someone’s hand tightly, wishing to fly,
such wonder, even desire, at blue and yellow flight,
sky and shapes.

The roast beef supper at church, the strawberry shortcake,
the fiddles and banjos around the newly painted gazebo —
salmon and turquoise with fish and birds around the inside walls —
(in case of rain inside the Vestry),
people spread on blankets, tablecloths, oh there is Joan,
 so glad she is here, and who is that
with her? Her son, Andrew? How tall he has become.

And then the blueberries. I would go like Sal did,
picking, bending, eating, clinking in buckets,
bells around our necks, maybe even a bear
and her cub, mountains of blue fruit
enough to bring home for breakfast, pies,
ice cream, even fistfuls whenever we open the refrigerator.

And the cupcake auction with the Hot Mustard  Bluegrass Band,
later, of course, a blueberry bash to plunge into, dark mystery
of cream, teeth, chin, throat, slightly sour from the heat,
going home slowly afterwards

where your breath waits,
the sudden pull against my neck,
my skin moving against your tongue.

Previously published in Smoky Quartz

Poetry, Tom Sheehan

Night Forgery

by Tom Sheehan

Just before dawn
a shadow makes tracks
in the dew‑lit grass.

Later, a whisper
and a scent follow
the forsaken imprints

Not a leaf stirs,
but if I watch closely,
blades of grass ease upright,

a loam granule
is released to airs
staggering under stars,

and the whisper, vague,
is familiar, perhaps stripped
from gists of old conversations.

Years ago
at a Red Sox game I
became separated from my father.

All the goblins
of young creation hung over
my hysteria, poked at my terror.

When he found me,
pawed, frayed, diminished,
he said he’d never leave me again.

This soft forging
in the night grass
is a kept word, a vow.