An Astounding Perimeter

A poem by Richard King Perkins II

It’s not a dream
but a slightly bygone world
covered in frozen mist.

Sparrows alight on the small shoreline
of an astounding perimeter—
a sanctum whispering in white.

I study the icebound bracken and reeds,
gazing past the embankment
to this vacancy of snow where your car once slept.

In the old meeting place, I still look for you—
where our conversations spilled upon gentle light;
simple confessions of twigs and soul.

But we’re left with only a few desperate sentences;
having spoken of things to deny or embrace,
the evergreen ghosts of our endless north country.

Now you’re stranded on a bridge in St. Louis
with no money and no credit cards
and your passenger side window broken out.

I’m in the bristling pines laced ivory
where someone once wrote a song about you;
how your eyes extinguished sensibility,
how your eyes painted light into every corner of darkness.

Can you recall how desperately we believed
that the return of robins and sharp shadows
could change everything;
that crocuses would ignite life in themselves?

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois with his wife, Vickie, and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

What face?

A poem by Allison Grayhurst

A moody afterglow – the error of thoughts, hopeless
when it comes to laughter and the power of worship.
On the table there are self-deeds, failed
revelations, kneading and prying wide a soul
that doesn’t want to be recognized. I want you
to allow me this success, to find the flavour of your eyes,
shape them with tools and my thumbs, to press the flat
hard edges of my palms against your cheekbones, press and
form the cause of your pride, your loneliness that seems so
important to maintain. Curled toes and chins, your chin
is becoming, shifting from strong to soft. You are neither
masculine nor feminine. You are privileged – to be so
beautiful and uncommitted to a single way of looking. Look.
Your hair – long or cut off? In real life, there is no
perfect symmetry. You are bold, accurate –
your nose and the lines around your mouth are my contemplation.
Let me know you. Be courageous.
Let me pry, split and mould your inner
workings until they are as clear (for both of us)
as love.

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications’ “Best of the Net” in 2015, she has over 1100 poems published in over 430 international journals. She has had sixteen books of her poetry published—seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay… Visit her website!

Land Line

A poem by William Doreski

All day you tie up the phone,
the land line that anchors us
to the English-speaking world.

Meanwhile the latest hurricane
twirls and spits and fizzles
in the shallows off Nantucket.

We could have used its rain
to cheer the ghost of our garden,
could have basked in downpours

the summer has wholly withheld.
The wind would have toppled us,
but also leaved us with the ghosts

of colonialism, dredged from
the mud of the Caribbean,
where treasure ships lie sulking

in a litter of wormy timbers.
You tie up the phone because
your imaginary lovers deploy

actual voices in the ether
that sometimes come to earth
to roost and crow in colors

perceptible to innocent eyes.
I don’t mind the lovers but object
to the wear and tear on the thread

of wire that leashes us to worlds
larger than this one. In these hills,
cell phones often fail to connect,

and non-European languages
sometimes intrude with phonemes
thick peasant tongues can’t replicate.

At least the land line’s secure
from that overlap of history
shy people like me avoid.

But you’re on the phone all day,
talking so briskly a stranger
would mistake this for a two-way

conversation, unaware
that no one ever answers your calls.
Instead, old-fashioned slow-dial phones

ring in demolished houses
where only the wind and rain
of failed hurricanes might answer.

William Doreski’s work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis. (AA Press, 2013.)