A midwinter dustbowl
the dry-ice lake.
I've gotten up to ghosts
that walk waters
in a toga-grand conference
as if to solve
the conundrum of the cold
the cruel cold
a late-night listening
its northern lights
in the first measures
as a homeland
as an early memory
screen had gone to snow
and too swiftly
was the burning bush
lapping of skull and shoulder
delicately like some exodus
In the freeze
I coax evidence from those
who are cores
that they hope to be
as much at home
as the softspoken snow.
The neighborhood voted
to paint all doors black, reason being black’s
easy uniform, the old blue prone
to slant rhyme:
chemical suit for St. Louis,
swimming pool for steel,
shark for Seurat,
presidential for heartbreak hotel.
Now I come home to a rectangle in need,
an Elizabeth Taylor holdout.
I am charged each day I don’t darken, each day I wonder
when the shrouds shall sprout
like poems in a class
on the verse-forms of death:
burnt trout for graduation gown,
interview shoes for new tires,
eyelid back for closet Malbec,
fossil for fleeing octopi.
I hope our doors forever fail to comply.
Middle of October IV
I am the only one in the outdoor café.
The leaves rush across the stones like birds.
It is cold here where I am in shadow,
warm in the corner where light drapes the tables.
God, there is always one waiter, one more thing to do.
Night, Spring V
I want to talk to you, directly.
Who knows what to say?
My face floats like a mask
on the creek that courses under the houses.
The roaches are big as dogs, almost, and hiss.
Landscape & Car
A contract between light and the junked orange cars.
The earliest, tv moon past dusk, my dear.
A covenant between first sex and dark love afterward.
Dew oils the woods. We gulp each other.
Unfortunately, it may be always like this.
I am sorry, it is possible. No one knows who owns this place.
Creatures come and go, freely. The roof riddled with stars and bullets.
Katherine Holmes' creative work has appeared in Cider Press Review, Literary Bird Journal, The South Dakota Review, Porcupine, Barnwood, Eclectica, Beyond the Margins, Prick of the Spindle, Review Americana, Shadowtrain, Stirring, and Word Riot—more than 50 journals. Recently, her YA novel The Swan Bonnet was selected for the Editor’s Desk at HarperCollins’ Authonomy.com. Visit her website at http://home.earthlink.net/~klouholmes.
Quinn White teaches composition at the University of Montevallo, where she also received her MA in English. This coming fall she will begin work on her MFA at Virginia Tech. She has published poetry in Aura and The Tower and is the 2010 recipient of the Jeremy Lespi Poetry Fellowship.
Leonard Gontarek is the author of Zen For Beginners and Déjà Vu Diner. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Fence, Field, Volt, Verse, Hanging Loose, and in the anthologies The Best American Poetry and Joyful Noise: American Spiritual Poetry. Wesbite at http://www.leafscape.org/LeonardGontarek.