International Falls, Minnesota, Winter (a few decades from now, a century)

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

–based on the writings of David Auerbach

In the sweet wish of day,
a scone of buttercup and dew,
a lisp of cloud, a wash of sky—

in the heat of the valley,
in the heat of the rock lines,
in the heat of Kabetogama,
in the heat of broken asphalt—

the song of the scarlet macaw,
vibrating toad, blue lipped frog,
and lantern bug. Everywhere
water lily, wild rose, snakes with limbs,
lists and lists of whitewashed bone.

first published by Plum Tree Tavern


A Poem by Michael Estabrook


As you get older after sleeping 8 hours
you do not wake up bright and bushy but instead
stiff, sore, stuffy and groggy but what to do about it?
Googling tells me get up, hydrate and take
a kickboxing class and I laugh and laugh.


Finally the day ended with my darling wife scowling
at me because I told her I’m not doing any more
of this house-fixing-up happy-horseshit now
it’s 7 pm so there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it
I tell her, but I’m not sure she heard.


Whenever I find a spider in the house I leave it
alone but sometimes one shows up in the bedroom
and my wife says “either that spider goes or I do”
and at times I confess I’m tempted
to leave the damn thing right where she found it.


A Poem by John Grey

Have to wonder how I ever took pleasure before this.
A cobra rising from a basket to the tune of a charmer’s flute.
Must be my love of conflicting objects.
Sweet melody. Toxic snake.
To be in different states
in the same moment
is now a possibility.
When sweet music plays,
when slithery danger lurks,
it’s almost a requirement.

Nice to Have a Hobby

Snow and ice storms, freezing cold (minus 8 at one point), snow shovels, snow brooms, snow blowers, icicles, ice dams, ice scrapers, ice chisels, ice brushes, ice melt, salt and sand, plows and sand trucks, power outages, knocked over mailboxes, trees and wires down, cabin fever raging within over the long dark cold months turning us into virtual wild slavering beasts . . . OK so I complained like crazy about the miserable winter we had here in New England BUT! finally beginning to see the light (we waste no time, skip right over spring) summer’s on the way bursting in all its life-giving glory: lawn mowers, fertilizers, rakes, mouse traps, moles, mosquitoes and gnats, poison ivy, wasp spray . . . ah the great cycle of life goes on and on and so does my complaining, what can you do, nice to have a hobby!

Michael Estabrook