The wind picks up. Encased in a tent, I’m attached to a kite
about to take flight,
and tonight I’m thankful for plastic.
The rain fly strains at the sown straps, tent stakes, and plastic snaps,
and I, tucked inside, watch the walls bend and buckle,
then snap back in place.
Dry, I peek out the transparent screen knowing the low clouds
reflecting the city lights of Santa Fe,
make the plateau a dull gray as a smattering of raindrops fall.
In the morning, green grass, white cactus flower,
Indian Paintbrush, brown volcanic rock,
and two unknown peaks, bathed in morning light, frame us as we pack up.
The wind picks up. On my bike, I’m attached to my bike pedals by shoes,
and my legs push at the pedals
and today I’m thankful for muscle.
All the guidebooks suggested I might see horses,
but we don’t and find our way back to the road
and set out towards our car.
How much personal space must a cow need?
Clearly timid and afraid, they run, never away or across the road and up,
but together they run in the same direction that we travel
Separated from others by a barbed wire fence,
two calves run away from us and along the fence with the others
on the other side.
They always run, and at times,
the calf has to skirt too close as the fence line and road converge
and it panics, skips ahead even faster causing the others to full on sprint as well.
Finally, they somehow squeak through the fence and find themselves with the others.
I can’t find a break in the fence
and wonder how they suddenly crossed?
What process did it go through to go through the fence?
To decide that enough was enough?
To suddenly find themselves with a fence behind instead of always in front?
Are there fences that I run along?
Are there fences that move on without a break
that I can just walk through?
For 10 years we ran along the fence
and never looked for a break
and now we see the family that may never be ours.
Science has its limits.
No more clomid,
the hysterosalpingogram was enough to say stop.
In a room, with diagrams and machines,
all the plumbing’s in place and the data confirms what we know.
Time is a calf running out. Life is a series of fences.
Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
―for the children of Gaza
I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
Michael R Burch
Eros shakes my soul:
a wind on desolate mountains
―Sappho, fragment 42, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I’d leap into the torrent!
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared more than 2,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, Writer’s Digest and hundreds of literary journals and websites. His poetry has been translated into Arabic, Czech, Farsi, Gjuha Shqipe, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Turkish and Vietnamese. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com.
*Translator’s note: I consult a wide range of sources before I do a translation, since I’m not an expert on other languages. For instance, before doing my translations of Basho and Sappho, I studied hundreds of translations and comments about their work by various experts.
An alias? Don’t be an ass!
clouds of incense
sewn with threads of
the Silver Cord,
out of body nakedness
stitch-by-niche drifting under
the moon, luna parts the dark side
of her thighs to let in some ethereal light,
’tis the passerine
bird who scolds us out
of the physical body into
the astral body –
assemblage of the
songbird, the evening
grosbeak branching on
what is balanced of All-That-Is
going out on the astral limb of a
protector of love –
the eros thimble
under the moon of
the evening grosbeak
to repel the puncture of
the needle; the closer I get
to the honeycreeper’s nectar
the more I drip with sweet prophetic
Copyright © Ms. Sage Sweetwater, firebrand lesbian novelist
On a balmy summer evening
the scent of jasmine’s in the air
and I sit on my balcony
counting stars – just killing time.
I breathe the night air
and an awesome sense of comfort
comes over me.
That taste of vanilla on my lips
such sweet essence
suddenly turns bitter in my mind
It was so long ago,
another time, another place,
a different moon, and peaceful nights
and you were there,
then you were gone.
Perhaps my fault,
no… no perhaps
I know it was.
Some nights, when I sit on my balcony,
I hear the sound of broken voices,
muddled bits of conversation;
so I close my eyes and dream of yesterday
when life was good
when we talked to each other,
and whispered little secrets,
and I wish I could hear them now.
Some nights I hear the neighbors argue.
Their voices are harsh
and I struggle to remember yesterday.
And the guy from-thirty six B
makes frequent visits to twenty-four A,
none of my business…
I’ve seen misery happen once or twice,
but last night,
hard to tell who was racing hell
and I don’t care.
Night time is cool in my balcony.
Let the neighbors sprinkle their dust
as they go along.
Let me just dream of vanilla
and pipe tobacco…
…my own dirt’s under control
neatly tucked inside tiny terracotta pots.
She stares into a pool reflecting midnight stars
A scrying glass of mystic mystery
A portal to dimensions where the brave may pass
Without a password or a golden key.
The shimmer of green oceans in the mind’s third eye
Reflects a myriad of distant lands
A chalice raised; a sip that brings the lips to sigh
Wingbeating spirit hears and understands.
The trees are hung with lanterns giving amber light
The sky’s festooned with stars in veils of cloud
Reflecting in her eyes. In decadent delight
She takes another sip and sighs aloud.
The light green potion lingers lightly on her tongue
Unfolding tastes of mint and aniseed
Promising deeper pleasure while the night is young
Where evening moths and fairies stop to feed.
Sara L Russell 5/6/12
Poet, Artist, Cartoonist, Goth, Time Traveller, UFO Spotter, Friend of cats everywhere. Former Editor of Poetry Life & Times. Founder of