"Children claustrophobic in their skinsfanning out like fish bones."

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


Learning Not To Kill Them

The dead complain we lack
the skill to keep them buried.
But that's the grave's job
and there's no safe burial ground.
They'll shine up through the earth
spreading their affection.

They're offered refuge
under markers and memorials
but they refuse and wait
for us in unlit places,
tapping their white canes
with the terrible patience
of those possessing time.

In the slow caress of years,
our weight is doubled by
the burden of others
we cultivate and carry,
and deep in the future
children keep us alive.


Since I have learned not to kill them
things have been easier
though I prefer my ghosts
to inhabit the dark.

If they come by day
I'll leave all the doors open.
I watch them mouthing secrets,
smiling as if there were two heavens.

I recall simple equations in the heart's circumference,
each sum exquisitely fixed in my memory.
Women in sweet and sudden rages
for fear the future comes when they're not looking.
Children claustrophobic in their skins
fanning out like fish bones.
Younglings piercing love's delicate membrane
to taste the fleshy core.

Friends in the gray solfeggio of autumn
and the ritual smile.
Together with them the seeded hours pass
until a spill of sun, a sweep of shade

and under the ashen stars
my dead are growing old.


Sleeping With the Invisible

She dreads the thought leaving
empty-handed as her life leaks out
and words beat against each other
into alphabets of silence.

She fears the wind
with its invisible rope and scaffold,
the sea with a thousand eyes
and rain like a dance of knives.

Held fast in amber of memory
are breathy remainders of those
with a past of ashes
and ash their only future.

But in her secret world
she sleeps with the invisible
in the long and late afterward,
safe in the warm and yeasty dark.

She hears once more
summer harps, choirs of insects,
cinch pods mating
and dandelions snuffing the air.

Night spans out in a slow glide
as a voice deep in her heart's hollow

Look long and longer
before the drum rolls of morning
herald the naked earth
no bud time no seed time
and the sun like a dead heart
at last.