The portrait of Harriet Tubman burbling in the ink of a twenty-dollar bill. The way hands can be cupped to form eagles and bison when the shadows on bedroom walls slip through the jet stream of your imagination. The way women’s boots never go out of style. The way wallets are cluttered with unclaimed lottery tickets and Chinese fortune scripts. Take pleasure knowing chaos theory honors the wisdom of Japanese butterflies. Cherish this year of lunar wonders. October’s Hunter’s Moon. The November moon so close a heroine could step off of her hometown street into zero gravity. Hold your memory of a president racing his puppy through the White House halls at Christmas. Celebrate the happy accident of the newest blue and the oldest cherished songs. Sing Hallelujah! Thank the fog. Thank the way persimmons ripen during hard frosts. The taste of haiku lingering on your tongue. Take comfort in the assurance that scarves will always fit. Be grateful for the circle of light dancing above your head. It guardians the secrets in your eyes. Be grateful for the photographs of your most embarrassing moments. Be grateful for the impossible challenges before you. Be grateful knowing that, for this hour, gratitude is enough.
Michael Brockley is a 68-year old semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, Tattoo Highway and Tipton Poetry Journal. Poems are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Clementine Unbound, Riddled with Arrows and Flying Island.
The old women who rise early
must think me the hound
whose purest intention is to keep
his habitual round
as I plod the unlit county road
in the rain, nose to the ground,
led by a scent. No meandering
mutt am I, dog of hijink,
junkyard, or bog. Wet hair
dripping my lips perpetual drink
off the fountain of my nose
I suppose they think I have a link
lost in the chain of ideas, or missing
boxcar on the train of thought.
They don’t understand that out
in the rain on the same old route
I move at a pace which liberates
limbs of faith from trunks of doubt.
Rounding the bend and smelling the bread
Mrs. Woods has baked I spy
the waiting gait, and when I trod
straight the road gone awry
from spilling ditch near Emory’s pond
I chase the ducks but they don’t fly.
No longer a rushing cur am I.
Intemperate geese nip at the back
of my calves, and quacking ducks come
pleading for the bread that I lack.
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California. He has work in The Nervous Breakdown, Amarillo Bay, Across the Margins, and Atticus Review. He was the summer issue poet of Clerestory in 2015.
You drive with the sun in your eyes until blindness becomes another way of seeing. A corona of blue highways emerging from behind an eclipsed sun. You stop for any rumor of a restaurant serving berry pies that taste like the last woman you loved. If the waitress offers a coloring book menu and a set of crayons, you thank her for the gift. And order pie. Then weave through the curves and dead-ends of the mazes with wild orange strokes. When business slows and the booths empty, you move so the sunlight sets on your shoulder. Your vision filled with the rebus clues of your lover’s goodbye. The jukebox plays backroad songs only you can hear. Cracked rearview mirrors. A woman wearing a maroon dress. While the cook and the waitress laze over a game of backgammon, you connect the dots to reveal a cartoon turtle holding a fork and knife. Stay for the evening rush, for the aroma of home-made pie. The waitress pauses to dab sandalwood perfume on her wrists. You used to breathe Taboo behind her ears. At your booth you wear a crayon to its nub but find new colors at the cash register. Rhubarb and peach. After the Blue Plate Special, you finish another slice of pie and labor over the words on the menu’s jumble. SISK. RESEID. VELO.
Michael Brockley has had recent poems published in Facing Poverty, The Tipton Poetry Journal and Panoplyzine. Forthcoming poems will appear in Flying Island and Atticus Review. Brockley is winding down his career as a school psychologist and trying to learn how to navigate the world of e-submissions.