Morning Catbirds


Midway through our walk, we are brought up short,
to stand motionless, and watch a gray catbird,

the first we’d seen in years, flit from ground to safety
ahead of us into dense thicket along the path

across the causeway between ponds. Stock still,
five feet away, we watch the male skitter along

a branch, flash its rufous tail patch in bold
courtship display, utter its strange kitten-like call.

While the bird is watching us, its instincts gauging
how much it ought to be alarmed, a quick movement

beyond the male signalled the presence of the female.
Were they a mating pair and were we near their nest?

Or was this male a rogue, touting his availability,
trying to entice a new mate? We left the pair to settle

their affairs as birds doubtless do, no less than
in the world of human voyeurs and eavesdroppers.

Glen Sorestad



Weavings

Gossamer spider webs
Shimmering wisps of summer
Nature’s tatted silk lace
Capture the imagination
along with their prey
Dew drops cling as glistening spheres
Reflecting tiny prisms of light
in the brilliant sun
Vibrating softly
with each gentle breeze
So many dreams vanquished
Life and death coexist side by side
in the lethal beauty of the orb’s web

Ann Christine Tabaka



The Sheep

The sheep have escaped again. Lying Elysian
under the tree on that grassy bank beside the stream
we drive past resignedly on the daily crawl.

A teasing, tranquil scene. Yet someone will call.
Rounding them back up to the farm, until once more,
sensing a moment amiss, they abscond back

to this same spot, where, again, passing by,
we can only wonder -
staring back at their indifference:
wheel after wheel slow-turning,

always delaying our destination.

Peter Burrows

First published in The Riggwelter Press



Old Snow Carver

He says Any day
you get to see a raven
is a lucky day.
This challenged
my thinking perched
next to a husband
in a faraway hospital.

I’d watch the ravens
pirouette at the window,
short daylight hours
spinning shimmer
into matte.
When the carver
from the north

posted his raven lady,
I loved her for her stature:
shapeshifting woman-bird,
heaving breast and crouch.
If raven carried my man
away on her back,
it would be her.

Kersten Christianson

White Goat


Along a ledge
of crumbled rock,
she steps, stops abruptly,
stares at me,
like she is remembering
another life.
A goat, on a ledge
of crumbled rock,
she stops, and looks
with gentle eyes,
turns away,
becomes a goat again;
down the rocky slope she runs
to join her herd. I have seen
those eyes before.

Ion Corcos



Requiem

Nearly thirty this month, the paper says,
washed up. I want to hold them, comfort
them, hear their song, the release of the
wisdom accumulated
over such a life.

When I was a kid I drew whales. They
cropped up again and again, such a
pleasing shape, an easy one: the arc of
the big, round body, the neat curve of
the tail, an eye, some water from a
blowhole and some wriggly lines to
swim in and there
it would be.

I had many styles: the realist whale,
the abstract, swirly whale, but all were
happy whales. That was essential. I
would sweep the upward curve gently
across their front, splitting my whale
like a planet. The thought of making
one sad – I couldn’t do it,
even to an image.

There were orcas and dolphins jumping
and dancing on the wallpaper I that I
vaguely remember choosing for my room
as a toddler. They’re still there, actually.
The décor hasn’t changed for all that
I’ve been away.

Elizabeth Gibson

First published in The Fat Damsel



Dance of the Sanderlings

Little sanderlings
Playing tag
With the incoming tide
Feet ablur
While racing the waves
For tasty morsels
Buried in the wet sand
Bully gulls invade
Scattering the smaller birds
Circling around
They land once more
To continue their eternal waltz
With the ocean

Ann Christine Tabaka



Milligan

A cat from the wrong side of town
abandoned at an early age
living on scraps from bins,
the waste from Indian take-aways.

Stealing when he could
starving when he could not
sleeping in boxes on the streets
a loner longing for a home.

Rescued he savours warmth,
the company, the food,
then – familiar odour sensed
he strikes and drags to floor
a Proustian memory
of large Peshwari Naan.

Roger Bloor