Featured Poet

Helen Losse

( North Carolina )


Thunder and Blue Socks

Thunder rumbles behind a shallow den
where three young foxes suckle their mother’s teats,
after a rainstorm.  A scintillating wind—
the color of the sun-starved ocean—
blows through the mountains,
through the un-fruited fruit trees:
the trees still bent from the damage of ice.
When the sweet perfume of a springtime
breeze has tip-toed into a potter’s shed,
the potter makes a pot, paints it with care,
and places it on a windowsill.
A sculptor carves a statue from soapstone
then packs it away.
Years later—long after he’s dead—
his daughter will find the statue in the attic,
alongside several photos she doesn’t recognize.
She will by then be old enough to recognize its value.
But what happens to the aforementioned
statue—both before and after the lost years—
is fundamentally unclear. And honestly, who cares?
It is the daughter who concerns us, and why she spends
most of her days humming benign melodies,
knitting socks.  And the pot that is still in the window.

But Why Deer?

On Christmas morning, seven deer came
bolting across the yard toward the right of way.
My heart called for snow in mountain air,
but being too warm, nothing was white.
The grass in the yard looked like straw.  Thin
branches swayed in the breeze.  The sky remained
gray.  There were no stars, of course,
yet the house was dark enough for candles
and for the purpose of candle flames,
proclaiming our celebration of God’s Holy Promise—
immaculate and earth-born.  But why deer
on the day the garbage disposal became clogged?
The older deer stood guard on the ridge—
the stand of one deer following the stand of the former,
while the younger ones entered the safety of brush.



Far and away
in the mountain’s purple tint
are the ruins of
a burned-out cabin.  A single deer
enters the thicket, sure-footed,
a forlorn quail breaks the snow-blown
silence, while a crocus waits
for the light of morning.


Helen Losse is a poet, freelance writer, and Poetry Co-Editor of The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mastodon Dentist, Subtle Tea, Facets: A Literary Magazine, Tacenda, TimBookTu, Blink, Domicile, Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, The Pedestal Magazine, Sacramento Poetry, Art, and Music, Spillway Review, Adagio Verse Quarterly, Poets Against the War, Voices in Wartime, anthologies in the UK, and a micro-chapbook, Absolution, in the POEMS-FOR-ALL Series from 24th Street Irregular Press. Her chapbook, Gathering the Broken Pieces, is available through FootHills Publishing. She also writes book reviews for the Winston-Salem Journal.

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Current Issue - Spring Supplement 2008