The Beach at Lighthouse Point

A beautiful villanelle I found today by Michael Flynn Ragland.

^^^^^^^^

But she had told me even stranger things.
I shook my head and gazed off down the shore,
the cirrus twilight filled with seagulls’ wings.

A hallway of insistent mutterings
still echoed with the four-inch heels she wore.
(And she had told me even stranger things.)

A beauty, dressed in black among the strings,
she played such passages as soon would score
our cirrus twilights filled with seagulls’ wings.

A man who once had brought her jewels and rings
had left her sprawled, her head gashed, on the floor.
Yet she had told me even stranger things.

Had I loved her? Another autumn brings
her ghost. In dreams she murmurs from the door.
In cirrus twilights filled with seagulls’ wings

her hand takes mine: “A lonely mermaid sings.”
She kisses me. “Hear, through the breakers’ roar?”
But she had told me even stranger things,
those cirrus twilights filled with seagulls’ wings.

– Michael Flynn Ragland
Photo Source

Bio:  As a kid in the Ozarks, I lived in an old, stone house atop a cliff; as a teenager, by a stage road along which had been fought the last major battle won by the Confederacy. After an aimless decade in college and graduate school, I lived on a barrier island. I’ve taught English in high schools and universities, worked as a photographer for an advertising firm, and kept the books at a medical clinic. Writing that appeals to me is introspective and steeped in atmosphere.

First Husband

“Poetry is . . . emotion recollected in tranquility.”
― William Wordsworth

I found his obit on Google,
hadn’t seen him, barely thought
of him in forty years
since the day he loaded his car
with half of everything – blankets, pillows,
dishes, albums (we fought over
who’d get “The Graduate” poster of Hoffman
and Anne Bancroft’s leg) – and drove off
to I-didn’t-care-where.

Once, 20 years later I learned where he was
from his buddy John and called.
He still taught drama and directed
summer stock in a small midwestern town.
We laughed together, comfortable,
finally, in our separate skins.

Now an obit with pictures and two columns
in the paper. A well-loved, prominent citizen,
it read, wife, three kids, grandkids. He wrote
a children’s book and “left the town
with memories of comedy and drama
that enriched our lives.”

Our marriage wasn’t mentioned. No need,
I suppose – a youthful take off
and crash landing best forgotten. But I wish
I had a chance to say goodbye.

– Sarah Russell
First published by Silver Birch
Photo Source
for dVerse Poetics

Stillborn

My friend Ryan Stone has a poem in the August issue of Red River Review.  I’ll reprint the poem as well as links both to his blog, Days of Stone, and to the journal.  Many fine poems on both venues.

 

Although science, with clinical wisdom
declared her not yet a person,
a heartbeat argued defiantly
for a night.

We visit the cemetery —
hands entwined, minds
in different hemispheres,
hearts mangled. In a quiet corner

where the sun lingers late in summer,
where gelid moans soften in winter,
we become broken pieces
of something once much stronger.

– Ryan Stone
photo courtesy of Jikoman

 

 

If I Die First

“. . . Store me beside the poetry.”

No one could give better instructions than Wendy DeGroat does in this poem.  Her chapbook Beautiful Machinery was published last year.  You can read more about Wendy here.

After the burning’s done, pour
what’s left in a Mason jar—nothing new,

but one washed clean of applesauce or pickled beets,
the clear kind that kids keep fireflies inside.

Let my cinders rest there
like sand art in jelly jars carried home from the fair.

If the small or gray of me unsettles you,
pin flannel or fleece around the glass,

leaving a gap, thumb-wide, under the rim, enough
to let sun and moonlight in. Store me beside the poetry.

When it feels right, talk to me, sing, or sit by quietly.
For a wheel of seasons, take me down. Hold me open—

to campfires, fallen leaves, a lilac’s laden bough.
Press me deep in moss and snow.

When my birthday comes, add a pinch of salt,
toast to us with good bourbon or dark rum.

And when you’re ready to move on, release me somewhere
we once were. As dust blurs through your fingers,

quick or slow, know I miss your touch, and let me go.

– Wendy DeGroat
  First published in Rust + Moth