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A Poetry Special

Douglas Lake Legand
By Donna Doyle

We are taking the long way home,
    road I have had no reason to travel
    since my great grandfather died, leaving
    his lakefront cabin, innocently, to drunken grandsons
    who discussed property value, mournfully,
    while he lay as quiet in his casket as he lived in his life.
    Nothing but feeling looks familiar, so I describe
    places that can no longer be seen.
          Small store, minnow-filled soda cooler out front,
          inside, hot hamburgers served slippery with mayonnaise,
          eaten
    spinning on red vinyl barstools.
          A few miles further the cabin,
          windowsills lined with old glass bottles, feathers,
          rocks, arrowheads and driftwood,
          walls papered with carefully clipped National Geographic photos,
          rows of recycled milk cartons containing hooks, lures and floats
          he did not need for I had seen him kneel on the dock,
          catch a fast-flopping catfish bare-handed,
          breath slow and steady like a line cast far out over water.
    From this view, everything swallows me whole,
    lake landscape echoing his name for me -- sister, sister -
    and, I am a fish, lifted by my great-grandfather's hands,
    held high, gills fanning fruitlessly, until your arms
    pull me close, returning me, slowly, to water.

Homecoming
By Donna Doyle

There are many paths.
    Here by water's edge goldenrod bows,
    bees suck some last sweetness,
    your dog pants like a tired preacher.
    When Canada geese fly overhead,
    their shadow touching your shoulder
    fills you with something you waited for
    all your life in childhood churches.
    Stray hymns and verses hum in your head,
    words heavy with sorrow, surrender and following.
    You do not know how souls can be scheduled
    for revival and homecoming,
    why yours rose up suddenly in geese shadow.
    Many are called, few are chosen.
    If you were chosen for anything it is for this:
    Following your dog's lead.
    Loving what cannot be named.
    Thanking geese.

Shaking the Linens
By Laura Still

Mammaw didn't just
    make the beds,
    all the sheets came off
    and we snapped them between us,
    the cool air
    easing through the screens
    with morning sounds
    of chickens and sniffing hounds
    prowling for breakfast scraps.

    I hear the whip, smell
    line-dried white cotton
    as I pull the comforter
    over the dark crumpled Percale
    of my own guilty bed
    and tumbleweeds
    of dust gossip
    in nasty whispers
    beneath.

Pivot Point
By Marybeth Boyanton

Ocular aberration or some trick
    of light, that horizon stuns: chance
    deception, raw color smack on blue!
    A crimson flame of trees burns bold,
    but without smoke or circumstance.

    No haze, no mythic mists impede
    this rare brilliance and immediacy,
    and what cerulean! Surely only autumn
    or Cezanne would dare paint the sky
    with such outrageous objectivity!

    Oh bright clarity, so sharp the eye
    seems pierced-one second vivifies
    in glinting, hard-edged glory the
    tinctured evidence of what just was,
    just what the month ahead belies.

    Blood and copper slash the line
    between the fading earth and space,
    to mark the ritual red-letting that's
    now come, announce the year's arterial
    drain, the greying and the loss of grace.

    What's left? Dark's already rolling in.
    It's gone now, but that instant held it all-
    and bated breath. At the pivot point,
    late afternoon atmospherics arrayed
    in valediction the full vivacity of fall.

Fall Talisman
By Judy Loest

An acorn, missing its cap, falls,
dull click to the dry hard ground, rolls
in my hand, light as a pearl, satin smooth
as varnished mahogany and perfectly round
but for pointed nib, pale button of cork stuffed
in its crown like an eraser worn down. This nut
this autumn meat, compact, dense and portable
as a prayer can fill a pocket of hope, break
open, sing like the sound of a word
as it falls on the page like a seed
to the earth, take root,
begin.

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