TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 3
Poem by Al Ortolani
Poem by Laura Garrison
Poem by B.Z. Niditch
Poem byCarol Shillibeer
POEM BY AL ORTOLANI
The Wind We See
The sunlight falls unabated
through bare limbs—the sky empty,
branches free of birds. Everything tawny
moves in the wind. Even the river,
brown, ferrous, slides over the shoal—
wind caps lapping towards the sluggish
Kaw. A car battery, overturned, cells
open to the river, is wedged in a windfall,
a perfect dumpsite, close to the road,
remote from highway eyes.
South of here—a tractor
plows through an Osage trash heap,
unearthing pot shards, arrowheads,
axe blades. Stone Age decay is slow,
slower than Styrofoam. I leave the battery,
60 month label fluttering at the edge.
Somewhere nearby is Blue Jacket Crossing,
a natural ford, the old pioneer trace.
I search for its limestone shelf—
the wind in the flying leaves.
Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Midwest Quarterly, The English Journal and the New York Quarterly. He has four books of poetry, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge, published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, Wren’s House, published by Coal City Press in Lawrence, Kansas, and Cooking Chili on the Day of the Deadfrom Aldrich Press in Torrance, California. He is an editor for The Little Balkans Review and is on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writer’s Place.
POEM BY LAURA GARRISON
One dreary Tuesday, Teacher brought a god
to class for show-and-tell. His name was Bane,
and his glass temple rested on a broad
pine shelf below a window streaked with rain.
That afternoon, the sun appeared and spun
his scales to liquid gold. I watched his tongue
dart in and out and longed to be the one
to earn his trust. When the last bell had rung,
and all my friends had scampered off to play,
a cardboard box appeared, and, sick with fright,
I shuffled up to where the corn snake lay.
The offering was small and pure and white.
She thrummed inside my cupped hands cold as stones,
while all the pencils rattled in their cups like bones.
Laura Garrison is creeping slowly southward like an unstoppable fungus that subsists on caffeine and gummy bears. She likes dandelions, old cemeteries, and barn owls.
POEM BY B.Z. NIDITCH
BY MY FALTERING SEA
Under a long needed rain
writing lines in the sand
along my home harbor
in the delirium of a stupor
of a lost latitude of words
hearing island sea bird voices
by the bluffs along the port
taking off my sweatshirt
on an environmental blanket
I make myself
without any slave labor
unable to catch any rumors
on the short wave
of a tsunami near my kayak
by my hand full of ditch water
exploring for a poem within
yet never too late for a swim,
one more time.
B.Z. NIDITCH is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.
His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including: Columbia: A Magazine of Poetry and Art; The Literary Review; Denver Quarterly; Hawaii Review; Le Guepard (France); Kadmos (France); Prism International; Jejune (Czech Republic); Leopold Bloom (Budapest); Antioch Review; and Prairie Schooner, among others.
He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.
POEM BY CAROL SHILLIBEER
early winter, Deas slough
huddled with a notebook by the tidal pond
low tide black earth, muck forgone of shelter
blue clouds swimming
yellow light on water
by unburdened v-shaped trees
rancorous clamour of words
cement trucks at the distant gate :
air moves through them
with a lung’s sigh
cold dew on the grass
winter comes seeping
through fall’s sweater
on the pen’s metal skin
the pinging of backing trucks
the peeping of calling woodpeckers
in this small circle, o to simply be;
earth’s under-bed made up
with the downy comfort of nothing to do
but sleep & wait
for the breaking of the tide
the return of the circling sea
Born of a union between an artist (ethnicity 2c) and a scientist
(ethnicity 5b), Carol Shillibeer believes in fertile connections.
Multiple ways of thinking, of hearing the world speak: adenosine
tri-phosphate is a fundamental life metaphor. Her poetry and/or images
and/or sound files have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals.
You can find her at carolshillibeer.com.