" ...the mind unable to comprehend balks at how she managed it...."

More Perihelion:

Issue7: Passages

Issue6: No More Tears

BobSward's Writer's Friendship Series


Needto Know



Aquick list to poets featured in this issue:

Julia Connor

Ruth Daigon

David Humphreys

Kathleen Lynch

Walt McDonald

Jo McDougall

Julia Connor

Photograph in the Landscape
of My Mother
From the M(other) Series

A thing of darkness
perhaps a purse
a clutch of rage, yes
it's perfectly clear, now
perfectly clear

Here she is big-bellied again
one eye freshly bruised & a
garland askew on her head
half sunk, half silly, she
holds the child up and away
as if a trophy for the

-- like a little prow this first- born is
a tiny masthead for a tiny ship
sa mere
or perhaps the baby
is really a mer - maid
this bowsprit with a crust of milk on her lips
riding on top of another sturdy little craft
already a-swim in her seas
and yet another (this one,
the poet) will follow in
the mother-ship’ s wake

she will go down
in a storm of shame and I
(the scavenger, the gull)
will dredge, will dive her wreck
...mother ....mother
wave after wave


reflecting her
For/To Anneal, from a series of poems
companioning the death of a friend

so this is the inevitability we were
always headed for this valley-wide
troth of absence scooped out by
her hands...
the mind unable to comprehend
balks at how she managed it
when it thought it was always watching her
but she knew... she knew
how to slip out -- a girl in a gypsy skirt holding a paper fan
stepping like an egret
smeared light


The Visiting Room

Stuart tells me how he shot his baby sister
when he was four and she was three
playing bang-bang with his daddy's gun
after watching cowboys on TV
           are they hurt he'd ask his mommy
no no it's just for fun...see...
           how they get up again
so he told his little sister get up...get up ...
was mad and was kicking her when his mother
wakened from a nap rushed into the room

he tells me this in the visiting room where
incarcerated men meet with their mothers,
wives, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, sons
but we are alone the room empty now
but for our poetry interview and Stuart
tells me he thinks there may be a connection
between the banks he's robbed for 20 years
and this first terrible mistake that the "damaged
collateral" he's become, it has just occurred to him,
may be the result of something he needs to say

what did they do to you, I ask. They sent me, he said
away to relatives and when after several weeks
I came home again everything about her had
disappeared -- they, we, never mentioned
her again...I think... I think... please...
he said
please ,will you stay...I think I need to say
her name ....
we sat by a broken candy machine
eyes downcast until he whispered it ....Katie ...
then more urgently... Katie...Katie...
...sorry.....so sorry.....
he said
           working inside I have been
instructed not to touch the men
but I put my hand on Stuart's that day and we
sat there nodding our heads
in unison in the empty visiting room
with a siren that screamed on TV



under the arbor
the ardor
of September’s
my thumbs polish
the claude-glass memory
of childhood’s
little mirrors
little terrors
I will devour
one by one


the rescue of ignorance

there can no longer be any mistake
the angels have traded in their haloes for hard hats
they carry bowls of fire on their backs
bent by the dead white heat of grief
"you can’t go in there", we shout
but hip to planetary need
they enter everywhere
wings deftly folded into scapulas
black-gloved and dragging a hose
would you challenge their decision?
the pleats of heaven’s garb
are complicit with inquiry
conflagration is their familiar
this ordeal…it must enter you
it must burn clear thorough
to the truth of our vulnerability
pick up your hatchets, pick up your hearts
we are late
the transparency we must each become
waits desperate in the rubble


X-ing the Acheron

whereas Dante arriving at his fifth level

-- albeit he was going down
                             and beset by the burning tombs of heretics

then turned and asked his guide

are you sure
          you know your way through Hell?
        we, heretics

          these eight centuries later
(and we, too, are surely in descent)
        ask instead

how well do you know        


        we, few
                        who would set our tombs aflame
       by the light of the rising sun