Poetry: “The World Until Yesterday” by Will Walker

For my father

 

You keep him alive with longing and regret,

memory a patient spider lashing someone

once living to that yesterday when his story stopped

 

and you became one of those spirits divorced

from morning sun, riding an iceberg

calved from the land, looking shoreward at dusk.

 

But all the metaphors are pretty, though sad,

and all the cells of your aching body feel only sad,

not pretty, and you are a wobbling top

 

running down, axis more and more uncertain,

someone cast out in a foreign land

unable to say even Help me, I’m standing

 

on sand in the face of a rising tide, I am bereft

and alone, however you might say that

in your unfamiliar tongue, I am too tired to weep,

 

too late to save anyone, a sack of skin and bones

a-rattle, no one on earth to point me home, no home

in what is known, the rest past words, unknown. 

 


Will Walker lives in San Francisco. He is a former editor of the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. His book of poems, Wednesday after Lunch, is available on Amazon.

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Poetry: “The Whole Sky Rises Up” by Linda Swanberg

one winter alone in your little cabin

you worked meticulously on model ships

fingers looped thread after thread—tied tiny knots

 

made sails: red silk sails

blue sails the color of cornflower

stiff white sails cut from a sheet, glued, and dried

 

from each deck you positioned cannons—

stealth down to the least detail

the mind of war…

 

all that was long ago

 

today no boat streams across a calm Point Caroline Bay,

but explosions in the surge and swell of choppy waters

still interrupt my sleep

 

who can say when our words

will fall back upon us

like a wounded animal’s last breath?

 

old lover, it is the deadlock hour—night closes in—

you are far from me, and I am old

I winter slowly—measure every step

 

when in dreams I meet your face

(pale blue eyes)

I find not love, but death

 


Linda Swanberg received her masters from the University of Montana. She now studies with Tobin Simon, co-director of the Proprioceptive Writing Center in Oakland, CA, and has studied with Richard Hugo and Madeline DeFrees. A lifelong resident of Montana, she lives in Missoula with my husband, Gregg, and tends a large shade garden. She is also a pianist and beginning cellist.