The World is Not Coming to an End

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

One one by four oak plank,
a water logged salt stained antler of driftwood,
the soft skin of butternut bark and scar.

The world is coming to an end, she said,
and the young girl down the street
tied a dog’s leash around her neck
and went for broke. Elsewhere,
a dust of clouds rose from the shoreline,
smoke from a mountain shaft tinged the air,
an airplane let loose flames that blackened in the light.

How much strength to rise each morning,
eyes injured on a disfigured face,
the rocking of the body, the rhythm of what is heard
and what is not heard.

The world is coming to an end, she said,
and a boy was born to the mother of a soldier,
the son of a veteran in another round of war.
Count the fingers, count the toes,
how does his face look?

Years will go by,
a tree will mature and grow strong.
The world will not come to an end.

Let’s gather wood on the beach near the dunes.
You know the place–down the thick sand trail,
across a few ridges, near the graveyard of branches
where leaf changes to stone.

Once we dug a hole in the sand, placed sleeping bags
for flooring, built a roof with whatever wood
we could find. Openings filled themselves with night
and we slept well.

First published in


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.