Tag Archives: Gyroscope Review

On the Occasion of 50 Years of Poems by Alan Perry

In this season of remembering
what came before us,
I think of snow.

Kaleidoscopes of flakes
that blanket bare spots,
gently fill footsteps

of trails to follow,
and groove the streets
to guide me home.

As each crystal melts,
it leaves a vanishing mark–
a point of clarity condensed

on skin–its final essence
blessing me with a tap,
comforting me with a presence.

But this poem doesn’t adore snow.
It loves the people who stepped
in and out of stanzas,

forming verses and images
of lives between the lines.
Each one’s unique countenance,

like a snowflake found
nowhere else, coming down
to touch the earth

and become it.

Alan Perry is a Minnesota native whose poems have appeared in Heron Tree, Right Hand Pointing, Sleet Magazine, Gyroscope Review, Riddled with Arrows, and elsewhere, and in a forthcoming anthology. He is an Associate Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine, and was nominated for a 2018 Best of the Net.

“Northwoods Christmas Orphans” by Nancy Austin

We caved to the kids visiting in-laws on the real holiday.
No, not chopped liver, I reassure my husband, coax a scarf
into his ungloved hands, point to crystalline aspen and hoar-frosted
huckleberry under the just-shaken snow globe sky.

Tires crunch a path around the lake, a doe darts across the wooded drive.
We kick off boots in a knotty-pine kitchen fragrant with cardamom, bacon, vanilla.
Winnie whips up her cream cheese frosting, mammoth cinnamon swirls yield
to our knives thick with sweet butter cream.
Emily, energizer bunny of this geriatric cohort, converses too quickly to think
between gasps of air, My friend can’t see with her immaculate generation.

We gather around their woodstove after breakfast.
Emily’s husband Ray recalls the year their Ford Fairlane
broke down near a rural tavern/general store,
Emily fills in every other phrase before he can finish.
Bologna at the bar. Crackers that Christmas.
Winnie and Ron remember a holiday alone,
Rotisserie chicken with our fingers in the parking lot.
They held one another’s gaze like a warm hand,
as if to reaffirm life’s slights and disappointments
form the glue that bonds, that comforts.
I nodded to my husband with that same knowing glance.
He narrowed his eyes, muttered chopped liver.

Nancy Austin has lived on both coasts, but prefers the land between. She relishes time to write in the Northwoods. Austin’s work has appeared in Adanna, Ariel, Gyroscope Review, Midwestern Gothic, Portage Magazine, Verse Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Poets Calendars. Her poetry collection is titled Remnants of Warmth (Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books, 2016).