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Summer 2016: Poetry

Caramel is Made at the Verge of Burning

~For my father at 85

The years have swallowed my possibilities yet I carry
your unfed hunger fierce and clanging in my body—
it rushes along my spine, persistent as the river

that carved the canyon below. Burnt sugar sifts
from the ponderosa that hold the edge steady
and their scent reminds me of cooking caramel —

how you and I would wait for the sugar to darken
to copper and bring it right up to the verge of burning—
because we knew that timing is all.

Your fierceness hides in my bones and I still dream
of a flight two thousand feet above the earth,
the Cessna with a skim of ice along its wings,

your voice hushed and urgent as you spoke to ground control.
Now, you have grown patient and grateful and some days
you spend an hour lining the sill with sunflower seeds.

When you roll your chair back into shadow,
chickadees come to teeter and tip along the ledge
and you tilt your head in a faint echo of their query.

Mornings you wake surprised by another day and a new sky—
sun washes your cheekbones as you nudge the shells
into a speckled path and I notice your eyes have faded to gold.

Tell me: is this the way it goes—as the hours dwindle
do we lean in towards revelation and throw fuel
on the fire even as it stutters and burns more slowly?

Heat gives way to ash and wood that won’t catch
but lingers, singed and charred, marked by a sojourn
so close to our longing, so far from the blue above.

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        Isabel's Purse by Deborah Akers

        refuge by Deborah Akers

        Kiteboarder at Road's End by Cathy Cain

        Caramel is Made at the Verge of Burning by Deborah Dombrowski

        Controlled Burn by Linda Drach

        Approaching Seventy by Carol Ellis

        Zygote by Nancy Flynn

        In Collision by Delia Garigan

        My Mother's Hair by Leanne Grabel

        Sheen by Leanne Grabel

        Allegiance by Melanie Green

        on my two thousand, seven hundred and fourth sabbath by Melanie Green

        Sitting Shiva on My Birthday by Andrea Hollander

        Laws of Physics by Andrea Hollander

        I Want to Unfold by Tricia Knoll

        My Stairway by Tricia Knoll

        Fancy by Barbara LaMorticella

        How to Know When You are Dreaming by Jone Rush MacCulloch

        Didn't We Touch Clouds? by Eileen Pettycrew

        Playlist by Suzanne Sigafoos

        No Exit by Charlotte Udziela

        Living Alone by Pat Phillips West

        My Husband's Handwriting by Pat Phillips West


        Let Me Explain by Carisa Miller

        The Itching by Elizabeth Scott

        Ben by Edee Lemonier

        The Passenger by Alex Behr

        Risk Takers by Ashley-Renee Cribbins

        Cooking Lessons by Joanna Rose


        Featured Art by Jeni Lee

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #1 by Katherine Mead

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #4 by Katherine Mead

        I Never Promised You a Rose Garden #5 by Katherine Mead

        Stasis by Sarah Laird

        Candescence by Sarah Laird

        Candescence (detail) by Sarah Laird

        Homage to Comfort Women Throughout the World by Carolyn Campbell

        The Beguiling Beauty of Life in Distress by Carolyn Campbell

        Reflections of Transitioning by Carolyn Campbell