A Poem by John Grey

A rough road rose just west of Landsborough,
through dairy country,
past an emu breeding farm,
a hermit’s shack with a rusty tireless truck out front,
into wooded uplands.

One summer night, we drove up there,
a couple of friends, our girls,
windows down so wind blew sticky air through air
as the dust we raised
left a trail of frenzied clouds.

With headlights that glowed
like possum eyes,
we bumped and bruised our way
to the abandoned dam
half way up a hill,
probably snake-infested
but we were young
and already bitten by lust.

In the distance,
I could hear my buddies
going at it open-mouthed
but Katie and I merely
sat for hours talking movies.
She had a crush on Robert Redford.
I was a Clint Eastwood kind of guy
in thought though hardly in deed.

We held hands.
I kissed her once or twice
but was far too uncertain to go on with it.
Even when her hair dropped on my shoulder,
I left it there, like a gift under a tree
to be opened who knows when.

Yet, I felt elated, inspirited, just sitting with her
and staring toward the east.
The coast resorts were a distant pinkish glow
then all went dark
before sunrise restored the horizon’s coral sheen.
It was the first time in my life
I could describe a night just so.

MARY OLIVER (1935-2019)

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

–who wrote my favorite volume of poetry, “The Leaf and the Cloud”.

She will always be the onomatopoeia of flowers,
the metaphor of fourteen-year old locusts and the old oak branch,
an alliteration of dogs, unleashed, exploring
swamp, puddle, briar patch, bramble of leaf, sieve of earth:

Can you not see her in black snake
dipping herself into black pond too early for dawn?
In the imprint of bent clover wet with dew?
Near the stone of the slug where garden snail glistens?
In the soft petals of the apple tree painting both tree and earth?

Ants and thorns, love and stars, moon and a litter of light across water,
fox and her teeth, wolf and her courage, spider and her thick strands of silk.

Published in Medusa’s Kitchen: