Cantare: Camping near the Platte River

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Sleepy pre-dawn lit
by sing, cry, squeal, and crow,
brew, bawl, bray and bleat,
moo, bark, mourn, sigh,
plainsong limestone
terrain plains speech,
woo, grunt, huff and puff,
prayer pause, jaw and harp,
stream spring churn, ripple,
knuckle-rap, sap-spludge,
knee-crack, face-slap,
thigh-scratch, denim-scritch,
belt slap, buckle slip,
cinch, pinch, hawk-kik,
hen-peent, caw-caw,
wing-thud, flip-flap,
awkward cranes of praise
lifting skyward from my lips

 
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Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife. He works in mental health. He has work in Nature Writing, Terrene, The Monarch Review, The Nervous Breakdown, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Poetry Prize.

Fieldnotes in February at Dawn

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What you hoped to find,
what you longed for and couldn’t
let go, a pink and purple
sunrise over a frozen lake
where deer stand below
the scotch pines
highlighted by snow,
won’t be here,
won’t wake you
into wonder. Instead,
a cloud cover
low enough it greys
the tops of trees as dawn ends
and light begins to slide
onto the frozen landscape,
the way you opened yourself
to yourself until
you realized you arrived
where you didn’t know
you needed to be
but knew it was right
because you could breathe.
Strange how change happens
so slowly you forget
you’re noticing
the colors of green
against the white of snow.
Look at how light crawls in.
What are you doing—
Where is the heart when— 
The questions stutter
their fragments
and you’re the loud one here.
What if the lack of footprints
could be enough?
What if you could become
what you see: stillness
in the spruces
even with the weight
of snow. Let go
of your longing
and listen: 
silence until
the first chirps
of a dark-eyed junco. 
Sign of waking life,
sign of singing
what you didn’t know
you knew.

 
Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson's poetry has appeared in Connotation Press, Great River Review, Tahoma Literary Review, The Fourth River, and elsewhere. She has received an Individual Excellence Award for poetry from the Ohio Arts Council and serves on the board for Lit Youngstown. Robinson holds an MFA in poetry from Ashland University and is currently the writer-in-residence at Akron Children's Hospital.

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Cool, crisp air nips at my face, as I start
from the trailhead by the visitors’ center.
My feet know the way, finding their rhythm
step by step. Sometimes the bones of my life
feel heavy, but in my heart along with sinew,
muscle and blood, there’s a receptor
that connects me to this land
and those who came before me.

A short way on the Twin Barnes Loop,
nature’s rock star perches in the afternoon sun
at the very top of a pine tree.
I use my binoculars to watch the bald eagle
slowly lift off. He holds his wings almost
completely flat rarely flapping and soars
higher than any other bird. Wonderstruck

I continue, the path winds through wetlands
where ducks paddle around in emerald-green algae
that looks like the surface of another planet.
Further along, a blue heron stands motionless,
so busy with his own happiness.

The wetlands give way to forest, light and shadow
dance across my skin. Here branches overlap
like fingers folded in prayer. I look up at the sun
shining through gold and yellow leaves
a stained-glass window in nature’s cathedral.
The moment so wide and so deep.

I come to the wood plank boardwalk
jutting into the marshland a full mile—
an out-stretched arm reaching toward
the depths of Puget Sound. I feel an ease
in my body as I walk the length
to the viewing platform. I take pleasure
in the long trough of silence
to eavesdrop as earth speaks to sky.

 
Pat Phillips West

Her poems have been published in various journals including Haunted Waters Press, Clover, a Literary Rag, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream, Gold Man Review and elsewhere.  She is a multiple Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.

Banner image courtesy the poet.

In the Pine Barrens

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The pines here are incendiaries: not
      content to wait for conflagration,

they brim themselves with pitch,
        living torches spoiling to be lit, 

dry needles kindling on the sandy soil,
        cones hard, uncrackable except

by fire, seeds dormant till released by flames,
        to fall unchallenged on the flame-cleared

ground. The trees don’t mind being scorched,
        as long as the barrens can be swiftly

re-sown by their progeny, hardy, reckless, fully
        as combustible as themselves.

 
Winifred Hughes

Winifred Hughes is the author of Nine-Bend Bridge, winner of the 2015 Red Berry Editions chapbook contest, and Frost Flowers, a chapbook of nature poems forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.  Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Atlanta Review, and Appalachia, among other journals.  “Dyslexic” was recorded for the Poetry Foundation’s permanent audio archive. 

I come to talk with the Bristlecone Pines (Pinus longaeva)

I come to talk with the Bristlecone Pines

I have questions to ask
about belief, longevity,
passage. I find myself
walking among ancient trees,
over 3000 years old,
straggling foxtail branches,
shouldered by naked trunks,
stunted, gnarled, twisted,
bare rufous wood.

The sparse forest
crosses mountain side,
etches treeline,
jagged quartzite rock,
deep azure sky,
resilience beyond my miles. 

I sit on a boulder,
feel the same wind the pines know.
I can’t stay long at 10,000 feet,
bite of the ripping wind,
first flurries of autumn.

I voice my questions to the pines.
We talk until dusk,
three ravens depart over the far ridge,
waxing half-moon rising in the east.
An elder whispers in the wind:
Go slow.
Feel the strength of your roots.
 

I take a long, deep breath,
take in the thin air, breathe again,
feel the rhythm of my heart,
start the trek down the mountain,
one foot,
then the next.

 
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Francis Opila has lived in the Pacific Northwest most of his adult life; he currently resides in Portland, OR.  His work, recreation, and spirit have taken him out into the woods, wetlands, mountains, and rivers. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Soul-Lit, Windfall, Parks & Points & Poetry 2018, The Avocet, and Clackamas Literary Review. He enjoys performing poetry, combining recitation and playing Native American flute.

Banner image courtesy the poet.

A Stillness Rose

A Stillness Rose

First hike down    a stumble,
new boots in bluish light.
I stand up dizzy, staring

past rippled stone to water,
through rippling water to stone,
the setting sun
angling prismatic.

Full-moon switchbacks,
purple shadow walls,
the light changes

and I start over
differently. I need the turns,
the time, the roar
of the blazing river 

imprinted on my mind.

 
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Carol L. Deering has twice received the Wyoming Arts Council Poetry Fellowship (2016, judge Rebecca Foust; 1999, judge Agha Shahid Ali). Her poems appear in online and traditional journals and anthologies, and in her first book, published fall 2018: Havoc & Solace: Poems from the Inland West (Sastrugi Press).  http://www.sastrugipress.com/books/havoc-and-solace/

The Changing Light

The Changing Light

Last night I saw the changing light
pink-luster like the inside of a conch shell
            hauled from the beach, collecting time
            its shell crystals primordial dust--
perhaps the last gasp of a dying galaxy,
small pinpricks of ancient light 
flowing like water carving the hillsides
behind Mt. Tam.

I stood and watched the clouds of Marin,
moving methodically over the hills,
            like a medieval scholar scouring the heavens.
I could see across the bay, find my rooftop,
touch the tips of my tallest redwood trees, spot
my cat playing with a fallen baby squirrel. 

I saw the light change to deep crimson at the 
horizon, soft purple bands melting silhouettes
sharpening my gaze on the fog-blanketed Headlands,
lights from the red bridge haloed across Sausalito
motioning me back to the last waning light above,
the first stars stitched onto blue-black tapestry
like primitive beacons, signaling me home.

 
Kathleen Meadows

Kathleen Meadows was born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in the rural San Joaquin Valley. She holds degrees from UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley in English and has taught in schools throughout the Bay Area. Since retiring, Kathleen has studied poetry at the Writing Salon in San Francisco with Kathleen McClung and at Berkeley City College. She lives in the El Cerrito hills, her backyard a grove of redwood trees overlooking the San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais.

Metamorphism

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Know The Canyon’s History, Study Rocks Made By Time
Is what the sunburnt river runner said
At the Three Mile Resthouse

As we were coming out.
Because the shift and settle, wrench
And uplift

Are a largess
We can neither grip or grasp
Without resorting to mnemonics.

Dust and heat and sky and shadow;
Shale, limestone and sandstone  —
From small to large and back again,

All has been ground down
Into the finest powder
Of its elements.

We went down by one trail.
Came up by another.
The canyon wrung us out,

Exerted pressure, burned off
The unnecessary,
Left the best,

The whippoorwill’s call,
The scouring red dust.
The implacable mineral gleam
Of  water birthed,
From the very bottom of the dam.

 
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I only recently started submitting poetry; I have had poems published in Southwest Review, Ruminate, Places@DesignObserver and Flyway. Eggs for Young America, my first collection of short stories, was awarded a Katharine Nason Bakeless Literary Publication Prize for Fiction and chosen as a New York Times Notable Book. My fiction has been published in quarterlies including American Short Fiction, Five Points, The Yale Review, Shenandoah, Crazyhorse and anthologized in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and Best American Mystery Stories.

For the Escape and the Bonding

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We went to nature again, to Big Bend,
for the heat and the strangeness
of cacti, mountains,
and javelina.

The worst part was when we summited Emory Peak,
the last ten minutes bouldering with a bulky
backpack messing with my balance, my
wedding ring scraping against each
hold, the top narrow and windy,
and I too dizzy to
look around.
I felt old.
When I was young and single, I thought,
I might have felt freaked out, but I
knew then how to ignore it.
But I wasn’t sure
that was true.

The best part was when we swam in our underwear in the Rio Grande.
We waited for the canoe groups to go by, the river just a narrow
current there, so shallow the boats scraped against
the stones. Then we piled our clothes
like soft cairns and waded in.
You showed me how to do a push up to dunk myself in shallow water,
something you learned from your uncle who drowned in a river
almost a year ago and half way around the world,
disappeared like you once did,
500 miles up this same
Rio Grande.
We were rafting, and you fell in, completely submerged.
It was just for a moment, but in that moment,
I couldn’t believe how quickly and
entirely you were gone
from my world.

On the drive home, we pulled over at the immigration check point.
And where were you born, the soldier asked you.
I forget that you have an accent.
It never occurred to me
to bring our
passports.  
But I’m a born and raised American,
which was apparent to the soldier,
who trusted in fragile
belongings and
waved us
on.

 
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Elizabeth Paul has an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her texts and images have appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Carolina Quarterly, Sweet Lit, The Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Reading Girl is a collection of ekphrastic prose poems based on paintings by Henri Matisse. Liz served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and currently teaches writing at George Mason University. Learn more at elizabethsgpaul.com.

Blue Ridge, November

Blue Ridge November

Up at the cabin we would watch
the seasons change on these old hills.
Summers we’d swim naked in the dark
river where you dove for the lost ring
you never found.    

Once, on the dusty river road, a horse
black as the night he ran in pounded
up so close we felt the sweat swing wildly
off him and breathed in the exhalation
of his startled snort. 

Soon, snow will cloak the young pines
on the slope below us, glazing
their needles with ice.

Now, our old bodies nestle restful
shape against shape
   soft swell of your belly   
            curve of my hip   
like hills worn down by time
and the sheer weightiness
of worldly things. 

An almost welcome veil descends
on us these short dark days—but in the end 
who knows what light may shine. 

 
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Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some 75 print and online journals and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is The Unknowable Mystery of Other People (Poetry Box, 2019). She is also the author of Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table. A former magazine writer and editor, Zakariya lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two cats. She blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.

Banner image/ Virginia State Parks / CC BY 2.0

Raven’s Second Lesson

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My travel companions left me behind hours before,
somewhere in the Nano Koweap Formation,
so I hiked on a snowy Hermit’s Trail
out of the canyon on a March day, alone. 

I kept going,
swearing at them loudly.
Then Raven appeared.            Picked at the
tassel on my hat, I swatted to shoo him away.
He pulled on my ponytail, yanked on the strap
of my backpack, pestering me.
I stopped.

Raven flew off.
I drank some water, ate some trail mix, at Four Mile Spring.
Regrouped——rested——remembered that I had the car keys.

I resumed my climb,
Raven called encouragement
as I made my way up the Chuar Group, the Great Unconformity,
the Tonto Group and the steps carved into the upper layers,
until I reached the rim.

 
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By training DeAnna Beachley is an historian, by avocation, a poet. When she is not teaching U.S. History and Women’s Studies, DeAnna travels around the Southwest and Pacific Coast finding new trails and  inspiration.

Nature Worshipers

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When I was a fifth grader
during the Eisenhower
era, my family of four
took a summer driving
trip in our beat-up Buick
from the Southside
of Chicago to the Grand
Canyon before Zion and
finally Bryce National Parks.

Middle stop, Dad gave me
two dimes to feed vending
machines, plus told me
(like always it seemed)
“As older brother, you
are responsible for your
sister,” then added for
a first time, “Mornings
let Mommy sleep in.
Instead of downing what
leftover food is here, as
a very special treat, have
your breakfast over at
the central mess hall’s
all-you-can-eat. Afterward use these coins
to buy your favorite candies.”

That was the full extent of it
I thought to myself regards
getting out of the concrete
city into beautiful wildlife
—except past those Cowboy
Cabins, where supposedly
there were prairie dog villages
which, truth be told, we never even saw.

Sixty-three years later one
daughter WhatsApped
plus sent several photos of
courageously canyoneering
through awesome soaring
narrow slip rock monolith
corridor slots. Although
apparently alone, she
somehow had managed
a short video of dropping
forever into swirling red
waters. The text message
simply read, “💖 Zion.

 
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Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for Pushcarts and Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Arkansas, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Slippery Rock, Appalachian State, American Jewish University and the University of Edinburgh. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such U.S. outlets as Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Blue Mountain Review, Danse Macabre, Canary Eco, Fiction Southeast, Military Experience and the Arts, Poets And War, Cliterature, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. His pieces have also been accepted by Chinese, Bangladeshi, Hong Kongese, Singaporian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scotch, Australian, New Zealander, Australasian Writers Association, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Romanian, Swedish and Fijian among other international publications. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2017. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons and looking forward to future granddaughters.gerardsarnat.com

Untamed

Untamed

Because you’re drawn to vistas
I choose the macro
exploring moss
on the north side
droplets of water
on tender leaves.

You seamlessly switch lenses
f-stops and shutter speeds
I prefer to open wide
wander in the shadows
fungi found beneath
felled trees
a bud not
yet broken.

At Artist’s Point
we hold hands
unable to resist
the river
snaking
for miles
rushing
falling
surreal
animated
refusing
to be captured.

 
Amanda Lin Costa

Amanda Lin Costa is a New York-based writer and filmmaker and enjoys escaping to national parks when possible. She writes poems in the middle of the night and furiously between subway stops. You can follow her work on Twitter & Instagram @theloneolive or say hello at theloneolive.com.

Banner image courtesy NPS, Yellowstone NP.

Micro-poems

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The Alps in Unassailable Daylight

The great mountains are silent
in the light shadow
of their snows.
I am above them, and mute.

Margarita Serafimova

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Looking Up

Silver glint
of wings
in flight
cast confetti
across
the cerulean sky.

Dorothy Swoope

Me in my jet fighter

Me in My Jet Fighter

Above Grand Canyon
Some thirty-five thousand feet
Earth’s fractured landscape

Robert McHugh

 
Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017, Summer Literary Seminars Poetry Contest 2018 and University Centre Grimsby International Literary Prize 2018; long-listed for the Christopher Smart (Eyewear Publishing) Prize 2019, Erbacce Press Poetry Prize 2018 and Red Wheelbarrow 2018 Prize, and nominated for Best of the Net 2018. She has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in  Agenda Poetry, London Grip, Waxwing, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, A-Minor, Poetry South, Great Weather for Media, Orbis, Nixes Mate, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Mookychick, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, Writing Disorder, Birds We Piled Loosely, Orbis, Chronogram, Noble/ Gas, Origins, The Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, Central and Eastern European London Review, Blue Mountain Review, Califragile, TAYO, Squawk Back, Guttural, Punch, Tuck, Ginosko, etc.   Visit:  https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel .

Margarita Serafimova was shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017, Summer Literary Seminars Poetry Contest 2018 and University Centre Grimsby International Literary Prize 2018; long-listed for the Christopher Smart (Eyewear Publishing) Prize 2019, Erbacce Press Poetry Prize 2018 and Red Wheelbarrow 2018 Prize, and nominated for Best of the Net 2018. She has three collections in Bulgarian. Her work appears in Agenda Poetry, London Grip, Waxwing, Trafika Europe, European Literature Network, A-Minor, Poetry South, Great Weather for Media, Orbis, Nixes Mate, StepAway, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Mookychick, HeadStuff, Minor Literatures, Writing Disorder, Birds We Piled Loosely, Orbis, Chronogram, Noble/ Gas, Origins, The Journal, miller’s pond, Obra/ Artifact, Central and Eastern European London Review, Blue Mountain Review, Califragile, TAYO, Squawk Back, Guttural, Punch, Tuck, Ginosko, etc. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/MargaritaISerafimova/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.

Dorothy Swoope is an award winning poet whose works have been published in print and online in newspapers, anthologies and literary magazines in Australian, the USA and Canada. Her memoir,  Wait ’til Your Father Gets Home ! was published in 2016. She resides on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Dorothy Swoope is an award winning poet whose works have been published in print and online in newspapers, anthologies and literary magazines in Australian, the USA and Canada. Her memoir, Wait ’til Your Father Gets Home! was published in 2016. She resides on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Robert McHugh, native of Baltimore, MD. USAF Navigator WWII, Jet Fighter Pilot Korean War. Retired. Sales and Marketing Consultant. BA degree Princeton, MBA degree NYU. GrandPals senior reading to kindergarteners at 5 different elementary schools in Hopewell-Lawrenceville-Princeton, New Jersey area for last 5 years. Amateur poet and memoirist.

Robert McHugh, native of Baltimore, MD. USAF Navigator WWII, Jet Fighter Pilot Korean War. Retired. Sales and Marketing Consultant. BA degree Princeton, MBA degree NYU. GrandPals senior reading to kindergarteners at 5 different elementary schools in Hopewell-Lawrenceville-Princeton, New Jersey area for last 5 years. Amateur poet and memoirist.

 

Searching for Glass

Searching for glass

At Seashore State Park,
I scan for a broken fragment
of something blue
among a low tide of
sun-bleached gull bones and sea foam.

 I want something man-made
and then sea-worn. 

There are whole things—
ark clams still intact,
iridescent oysters,
dead horseshoe crab,
and a sun-dried mermaid’s purse.

When I glean that smooth artifact:
a fragment of history, used bottle or glass,
I’ll take it home to rest
on a shelf or a chain around my neck
still
after decades of tumbling.

 
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Haley Hendershot received her MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her poetry has previously appeared in the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review. Currently, she is a dual enrollment English teacher for John Tyler Community College at James River High School. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Banner image by SA / Virginia State Parks / CC BY 2.0

Fossil Record

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We scurried over fallen locust limbs, thorns jabbing
the water’s edge like shark teeth we used to look for.
The Potomac edged its slate gray to the ancient beach
where cliffs rise out of Miocene sands. Layers of silt
and clay etched with history: lithography in shells,
scribed bits of bone, teeth blanched, earth stained.

I’ve gone back to study at the base of those cliffs
as if a child unfolding blank pages of a great book
and reading the history I imagined there, memories
washing free with every storm.

 
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John C. Mannone has poetry in Artemis Journal, Poetry South, Blue Fifth Review, New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Peacock Journal, Gyroscope Review, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Pirene’s Fountain, and others. He’s a Jean Ritchie Fellowship winner in Appalachian literature (2017) and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He has three poetry collections, including Flux Lines (Celtic Cat Publishing, forthcoming in 2019). He’s been nominated for Pushcart and other awards. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, and Liquid Imagination. He’s a retired professor of physics living between Knoxville and Chattanooga, TN. http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

Banner image by Bob Diller / Virginia State Parks / CC BY 2.0

Ano Nuevo State Park

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At year’s end we hike from a silent old creamery
siding faded to a butter yellow
down to the raucous Pacific coast.
The marine fog layer descends
on an unseen zip line running
north to south, a forbidding darkness
yielding to warm splashes of sunshine.

Using seagulls as markers,
we follow lowland until we must rise
out of grass and scrub sage
to climb dunes, and, there, first,
a young male elephant seal
asleep on sand, then an exhausted second.

When we mount the final dune

O massive snorting flesh!

O the drop-jawed awe!

struck by the colossal herd,
a thousand in congregation
in a single view, weaners motive
while mothers snore, slumber,
lumber for a free spot,
a lone bull sneezes, snickers,
squawks, his stuttering thunder
caroming off cliff walls,
a roar of loneliness, of request,
of ambition, of defeat.

 
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Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife. He works in mental health. He has work in Nature Writing, Terrene, The Monarch Review, The Nervous Breakdown, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Poetry Prize.

Wimbleball

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It’s that last day of August.
Mushrooms crown and within
hours, age. Beeches are in
suspended detonation. I’ve taken
the children on one of the walks
on which as a child I was taken:
around the brimful new reservoir,
now ringed like a half-drained
bathtub. A heron hang-glides onto
the mud-flat shore, to the geese’s
rentacrowd derision. Knowing
the children will follow me
since they do not yet know that the way
round is further than the way
back, I’ve walked a half mile ahead,
to the place where the river
spools back to its source, becomes
something like its old self. I leave
my snack-loaded backpack
on the plank bridge and walk
a few yards into the trees.
Small flies are lined up on a twig
just by my arm, but when I unfold
the map they careeen around, then land
exactly as before, scrupulous letters.
The margin we must follow is weak
and ancient grasses surround us.
I hear the children shouting.
They are thirsty, and think they are lost.
The backpack they will find is
primed and fizzing like a bomb.

 
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Giles Goodland has had recent books published by Shearsman (The Masses) and Salt (The Dumb Messengers). He is a keen walker and sometimes manages to take his whole family on jaunts. But he is also happy walking alone.

Wellfleet

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On the upland heath above Marconi, I watch a hawk
keying into prey over broom crowberry and poverty grass,
above the ocean swelling with seals and the two souls
a great white and browning storm waves took into the dark
these last weeks. Controlled fire sustains this terrain—
management by match. After small burns, a renewal
of native brush, thicket of ground shrub. Could it be the same
with us? After we’ve destroyed each other, could cinder
conjure a new start? Gutted, glutted with the casualties
of argument—bleak but burgeoning as the dawn.

 
Rebecca Hart Olander

Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Crab Creek Review, Ilanot Review, Mom Egg Review, Plath Poetry Project, Radar Poetry, Solstice, Yemassee Journal, and others. Her chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, is forthcoming from dancing girl press in the fall of 2019. Rebecca lives in Western, Massachusetts where she teaches writing at Westfield State University and is editor/director of Perugia Press. You can find her at rebeccahartolander.com and @rholanderpoet    

Marconi Beach

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Midnight moon so bright
it made night
the negative of night.

Waves, late August,
foaming, the same mistakes
over and over

until what’s left
is the flatness of things:
this black stone worn down,

the beach grasses too,
the horizontal lovers
beyond the break.

 
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Sarah Stern is the author of We Have Been Lucky in the Midst of Misfortune (Kelsay Press, Aldrich Press, 2018), But Today Is Different (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014) and Another Word For Love (Finishing Line Press, 2011).  She is a recipient of a 2018 Pushcart Prize nomination and a five-time winner of the Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO Poetry Award. You can see more of her work at https://sarahstern.me/.