Love Is


Sometimes a most important truth is hidden,
like a small flower in an overgrown field;
but when some new thought comes along unbidden
and gives a different slant, that truth’s revealed.

I’ve thought that a supreme power moves or holds
each thing that is - by a resistless force
that, by precise, measurable rules, molds
its form and determines its exact course.

And so that power directs the force to make
all being – that which is from nothingness –
and so to strike the spark of genesis,
to form the human mind and forge and break
ionic bonds to light the consciousness,
where love comes into being and then is.

Robert Pelgrift



World Map

Hands smooth over different continents
Levelling out the creased paper of the map
Leaving every blemish untouched
And every word unsaid.
We reached to hold each other,
an instinct,
muscle memory.
As if it were where we were always supposed to be.

You made a disclaimer.
You told me, tentatively:
"I am worn by the weather, I am littered with imperfections"

To which I thought,
this is the most beauty I have ever seen in one place.
These eyes have never seen such humanity, such realness.
The night sky is laced into your skin. Everything that is nature has been embodied in you, compacted into something tangible.
The flood of your hair, all the ebbs and flows of your soul, corroding any doubts of my affections for you.
I have travelled the entire world in our intimacy,
and I know I will go astray without you.

Tallulah Howarth



I see you in bright colors

Eating red ripe watermelon
while searching verdant trees
for bluebirds flitting pass us.

Remembering how fields
of brilliant wildflowers
beguiled us as we inhaled
fresh mowed grasses.

You would smile fingering
purple passion leaves.

Your favorite hour when
wide awake you listened
to the sounds of dawn
calling all colors out to play.

We shared the calligraphy of
oceans watching orange sunsets
splash through waves.

No one else has ever evoked
such a shining palate as you.

Joan McNerney



Latitude

The crease
between your brows
runs north to south,
ends at the bridge
of turbulent waters,
emotions churning
high & low, whirlpools
of excitement: the last-
minute pack of camping
gear to paper checklist,
desire to hit the open road,
frenzied, edgy; eddies
of calm: long Saturday
sleeps, lazy morning
books, hot coffee, the length
of your warm back.

Kersten Christianson



Suburban development

The house of one married couple was broken into
and many mementos stolen.

Another had nothing more than a leaky roof
but that was enough to ruin some very precious things.

There was a fire in a third.
The couple escaped
but a room full of keepsakes went up in flames.

A fourth merely divorced.
The spoils were evenly divided.

Robbed, water-logged, burned
and hacked in two -
some days they seem like the only options.

We live in home number five.
We'd best make a go of it.
It’s either that or stampeding elephants.

John Grey



Thank you

I set Grandma's TV to Channel Seven. It makes no difference what program is on. It's the channel she always asks for. I give her one more cup of coffee. The knobs of the stove have all been taken off so she can't make another. I hope she remembers to put her pajamas on. She's forgotten the difference between morning, noon and night. Times no longer change, and every day is the same day. We sit together on the well-worn couch.

"I have to leave for the concert now. If I get to talk to Max, I'll tell him you said 'hello.'"

"Who's Max?" Grandma asks wide-eyed, crinkling her eyebrows.

"You know, Max and Trina, your friends from Brooklyn. They used to drop in unannounced all the time when we lived in our old house."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," she says. It's the way she answers most questions. Friends often comment how hard it must be for Grandma, needing everything done for her. But honestly, I don't think she really minds. Even when she was healthy, when my grandfather was alive, he was the one who did all the shopping, paid all the bills, and made all the decisions.


Max drinks wine and plays his saxophone. His fans wear buttons on their jackets with his face on them. He plays the craziest melodies I've ever heard, and his pieces never seem to end. He tells a story after each one. He tells his audience he's thankful to God to still be doing this. He thanks us for coming tonight and for liking his music.


When the concert is over, I introduce myself. "I'm Dina, Lillian Strata's granddaughter."

Max scratches his shaved head. He must be seventy now, but he still shaves his head like a young man. "Oh, Dina, yes. It's been many years. How's Grandma?"

"She's fine." I lie.

"Let me tell you something. Your grandmother changed my life."

"Changed your life? My grandmother? How?"

Max pauses a moment and smiles warmly. "It was when we lived in Brooklyn. Your mother must have been just a baby. Your grandmother was the leader of our prayer group. I was new at the parish. I'd been horribly depressed. All sorts of problems. I walked in and sat down with the rest of the group. She gave a quick look around the room at all of us and said, 'Now we are going to pray.' I got ready to do the sign of the cross, but all she said was 'thank you.'" Max smiles again and stops.

"Thank you?" I ask.

He suddenly looks at me as if snapping out of a dream. "Yes. She said, 'Thank you, God, for this sunny day.' So all of us, we said, 'thank you,' – changed my life. For me, it had always been, 'God, can you do this for me?' or 'God, can you make them do that?' It never occurred to me that I should be thankful just to feel the sun on my face." Max pauses again, the dreamlike expression on his face. He turns to me and looks deeply into my eyes. "She was right, you know. Because all we really have is just this day."

"You were great, Max." One of Max's fans cuts in, shaking Max's hand. "Can I get you to sign my CD?"

"Sure," Max answers. He gently takes the CD from the man, looks at me and says, "Dina, please write down your grandmother's phone number. I haven't spoken to her in years, and I'd love to say, 'hello.'"

I say goodbye to Max and wonder how I'll ever prepare Grandma for this phone call.


Back home, my grandmother has fallen asleep on the couch. I picture her as the strong leader of a prayer group who inspired Max. That's who she was, and that's who she is. I watch her sleeping soundly and comfortably. I look up from the couch, skyward, and smile. 'Thank you,' I say.

Chrissi Sepe

Your love –

your love is
pure romance.
It makes me want to sing –
and dance.
It's the descant to my melody
the elastic in my pants.
Your love is just
a dead cert bet,
as safe as maiden aunts.

Your love's the top banana.
It is guaranteed
to float my boat;
It's the letters
wrapped in in tissue,
and the speech
that was keynote.
In the winter
when it's pissing down
your love is
my raincoat;
and, when life bites
me on the arse,
your love's my
antidote.

Your love,
your love's the acrobat
that catches
my trapeze
the itch that I
just have to scratch,
a veritable circus
full of fleas.
It's the salt with my tequila
and the Branston
on my cheese;
and, if I were writing
dialogue,
you'd be my
Socrates.

You're my fish & chips
on a Friday night
with buttered bread
and mushy peas;
my takeaway,
my home-to-stay;
my king-size seafood special
served with extra
anchovies;
when I'm happy
you're my music;
you're my hankie
when I sneeze;
and if I were a tragedy
then you'd be
Sophocles.

I could go on
and on and on
to fuller, sweeter praise.
Compared to you
the men I've known
were painted popinjays.
You're my comfy clothes
for every day;
you're heels and my
Little Black Dress.
You're a star, you are.
I paraphrase -
you're simply
my Valentine
Sunday best.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley



Heart Line

is broken
a highway
stretch of hyphens

telephone poles
no connections
busy signal

faint, curved
it searches
for yours

Kersten Christianson



All That Colour and Me

Blau:
Learned at aged eleven,
tastes of chalk
even though they have projectors now...
Germanic sensibilities of childhood paved a way
for that Celtic blood to shine through.

Blue:
Veins that couldn't face the grey waters
of teenage dares,
turn those see-through limbs to jellied eels.
Wishing for more freckles,
for more sunshine...

Azul:
Softens the tongue,
rounds long days of solo voyaging
through the Caribbean, Pacific coasts,
where heat melts away preconceptions
blinds, so no one is really looking
past their own reflection.

As I do with you,
gazing into a set of irises worlds apart from mine,
seeing only my own history reflected.

It is a selfish role the mirror plays,
holding myself to account
in all the flickering fragility of that Anglo Saxon blue.

A hue of teams that you hold dear,
of close proximity to relations,
of a gene pool,
the gaze of a well-chlorinated swimming pool.
Shine through tears that I can cause,
then remove,
then cause,
then remove...

It is a selfish role the mirror plays,
holding myself to a different account,
slipping up in the gaze
of your icy, winter blue.

Elspeth Vischer



Lying around

In our love nest
watching snow gather.

You say it's not as
pretty as I am though.

Unloosening my clothes
throwing them and everything

else from the bed.

Warmer warmer
we want our time together.

When the moon is full
faces of frost cover
our window.

We will nestle asleep
while storms
drift past the night.

Joan McNerney



Love Letter

I tear a piece of paper from my notepad, scrunch it up. Enjoy the crackle of its demise. I think of words, images, places… I hear his breathing.

I cough, but he does not wake. I run my hand down his side, touch his face, gently kiss his cheek. He shifts, but barely. So I take up my pen.

I place it on his chest, run it through the thick dark hair, across his soft skin. At first, I am cautious, shy; he would kill me if he knew what I was about to do. I trace a small heart in bright blue, near his collar bone. I fill it with ink. Around it, I begin with tiny flowers and progress with swirls of leaves and buds, which I run across the length of the bone, down under his arm, and right down his side.

I take out my pens and add colour—red and black—adding deep red roses and longer pretty twisted stems. I write words to him, the words of love I have not been able to give him face-to-face. I love you, I confess. I have never loved anyone like I have loved you.

My cursive is round, pregnant with love. My blood, my heart, my soul in every letter. The words flow down his smooth side and across his belly, curving around hair too thick to write upon. I write for an hour as he sleeps, and the hour after that.

He becomes a mural of my love, a tattooed effigy, who will wake later, to find that I am gone.

Lisa Reily