The River Witch

The weather here was slaughtered
by a spinster with a cane.
When she died the river dried
like the blood in her veins.

From her heartbeat birds were drawn
by the fallow harvest moon,
arthritic crickets chiming in.
For disappointment soon

would find a fetus in the meadow
like glue dried to a rock,
widows’ riddles walking circles
with the rolling eyes of clocks,

and a scampering of souls
tracking through the barren dust
snacking on each other.
A pickup truck’s rust,

with the uprooting oak,
out of tact made a pact
for us future folk.
We gave thanks for a puppy

flattened on the interstate
when scowls turned to howls
and love made love to hate.
When answers to questions

questioned questions in return,
the river roared and we were bored,
the brittle bridges burned.

Featured image: The Coven, by Iain Andrews
50x60cm, acrylic and oil on canvas

Image used with permission from the artist.

To See a Starstruck Star

step into the photograph
reveals dimension and depth
of a spectrum once thought
one shade of red carpet.
Ripe grapes within reach
turn out to be clustered planets
in middle distance – not looming
but imminent, nor aware of you
enough to know they tempt.
A front rumbles over, a cloud parade
nourishing the fallow with mere greatness
and not a drop of rain, since
advice seems violent – storms
breaking over grass
too yellow to be green.

So fame is somehow like the weather –
predictable but prayed to,
destructive sustenance
for aspirers – the hurt that helps.
Might artists be so bent on greatness
they’d sacrifice integrity for presence,
spread so far and thin they become
like air – invisible and essential, so omnipresent
they’re forgettable?

Blooms in autumn
shed their white hair seeds
carried where the wind insists. It is this
that tells me – not the photo –
that they still exist, the shoulders of giants
lighter than air, which lift the future
so confined and dense,
letting it land with thoughtful
careless coincidence.

Featured artwork: Union by Gudrun Newman

Image used with permission from the artist.