TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 12
poem by Steve Dieffenbacher, poem by Richard King Perkins II,
poem by Margaret Bobalek King, poem by Collin Irish
POEM BY STEVE DIEFFENBACHER
The Last Sasquatch
There were never many of us, our journey perilous
at night far from your camps, the crossing icy
as we crouched, forming words with hands
that lightly touched hair in polar gloom.
We welcomed the damp of these deep woods,
living on plants and small animals
beyond your hunters’ sight, always moving
farther under the canopy, carrying our young.
We never tried to be more than we were,
two-legged wanderers hearing your villages rise –
then watching – leaving footprints too deep
to erase, retreating to hide our dead.
Now strangers seek us, haunting forests
I wander alone making marks on rocks for no one,
remembering the fires we once stood outside –
as spectral messengers no tribe would kill.
Steve Dieffenbacher’s full-length book of poems, "The Sky Is a Bird of
Sorrow," was published by Wordcraft of Oregon in 2012. The collection
won a ForeWord Reviews 2013 Bronze Award for poetry, and a poem in the
book, “Night Singer, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico,” was named a 2013 Spur
Award poetry finalist by the Western Writers of America. He won the
Cloudbank magazine poetry prize in 2010. He also has two chapbooks,
"Universe of the Unsaid" (2009) and "At the Boundary" (2001).
POEM BY RICHARD KING PERKINS II
Miniscule and colorless,
the ghost shrimp
lie invisible in nearest bacopa.
Their delicate pipettes,
ruffled by barest currents
specialized to dig, brace, clean
like tiny surgical tools
made of glass and cartilage.
They hint at my own fragility,
precise and fracturable,
struggling in an alien heat.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.
POEM BY MARGARET BOBALEK KING
Imperial Loosestrife more purple than red
dazzles, entrances, but has a price on its head.
Brought here by unwitting Colonizers enjoying
its beauty, the invasive invader soon was destroying
our native plants -- our eco-system took a hit.
Now the Audubon protectors didn’t like this one bit.
They armed themselves with sacks, shovels and spades
and dug in northern marshes down to everglades.
I, too, joined with my sack and shovel, well meaning
to fight this losing battle, or so it was seeming.
Its lavender spires rise to larkspur blue skies.
As it grows by the lakeside, I plot its demise.
Yellow puffs of bumblebees are disputing my right
to grasp its stem and pull with all my might.
It yields to my hand but I can see more
growing close beside me in the muck of the shore.
Into the sack goes the quivering lavender flower;
I’ve been pulling them up for at least half an hour.
Here’s another! Down on my knees I go in one
last effort to dig all loosestrife that live under the sun.
Margaret Bobalek King has been writing and publishing poems since 2005 while living in New Hampshire. She was a 2016 finalist from the Marsh Hawk Press for a first-book of poems. She belongs to the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.
POEM BY COLLIN IRISH
The Trust of Speckled Horses
inspired by an unpublished poem by Robert Bly
Speckled horses stand like clumps
of wild flowers decorating the prairie.
A slight movement and their ears twitch our way.
Nostrils flaring, they wonder if we pose a threat.
They present a danger to us,
to the untamed places of the heart
that could, at any moment, turn away
and gallop down into hidden canyons.
Or the hot blood might rear up,
lash with brush sharpened hooves,
and crack the air above anyone
trying to come too close.
They shy even from the caring hand,
they shun the healer’s touch.
Too many gunshots, too many ropes.
Even a clear sky could bring a thunderclap.
Our wild and untamed places are hiding,
clumped together in lonely prairie fields.
Their ears twitch when we approach.
Collin Irish, originally from Arkansas, has lived in Colorado for twenty-four years. He volunteers as a mentor for teenage boys and has served as an emotional process facilitator and storyteller for mentoring circles in Colorado and Arizona. His poetry is inspired by his dreams and is the truest compass for his inner walkabout. Collin is also writing a historical fantasy novel titled Clockwork Crow. He lives with his wife and two children in Denver.