Featured Poet

Ann Lederer

( Lexington, Kentucky )



   The flax-weaversí wisps 
become objects
              sturdy as stumps in the wind-whipped field
As in its opposite, slippery
              How did he learn that story
                   disguised, sliding between the borders
Not, holed, as Lace
     clipped, rearranged gene chains
interrupted by intrusions
The patterns of elusive
Of unspoken instructions
     long sullen silences
acres of space between the edges of a bed
grudges holding grudges
As bubbles, thickly trapped in hand blown glass
warps of sounds as once familiar voices mumble
Stop: I canít decipher the twists and channels
 of your Low German
 microwave rumblings on this cordless phone


What were once boys breathe
   sleeping in separate rooms

While the dawn awaits
   and the night's snow settles onto 
the curves of branches

The young men soon will arise
   and gather their things
      take account and count again
their balances     their departures

As the dawn steadily pursues
   so do they prepare     their purposes

Inevitable, and proper
   as snow soon blown from branches
or seeping into the skins of trees
   Blankets over shifting gardens

Closing In

What was once sun, gone. A sound like a screech. No birds anywhere, just machines in
the near distance. The scratch of loose plastic, one edge. Things flutter. A progressive
whitening of the sky. Who and what is taking its noonday nap? 
Nudge down among the newest mints with magnifiers. Thick-skinned, cacti-like tokens
of the early season. Under-water urchins. Waxed protectors of the above-the-tree line.
Into this whirs one who protests a scene. A scene, he says, is untrustworthy, or anyone
in it. What he likes instead is a stance, alone. The lone stance of an individual, squinting
into sunset, hat tipped back. Eavesdroppers welcome, but not judges. He thinks aloud
with his fingers tap tap. Connecting dots. 

In the scene of the lone, disparate colors mute. A simplification towards the monochrome.
As tints of sepia, of old. The stretched, tangled taproot systems of the superficially planted,
twitching above the clay. Haired, eyeless mole noses, fanned out and across the tunneled
surfaces. Neurons, nearly. If magnified. Rawly exposed by cautious  archaeology: brushes
and tweezers. In this region, the frontier is the border, closing in.

One Percent

          How the headbanger looks
knitted cap pulled off
          That, you will not forget
          The rest, the papers razored
The censor's clean cuts
The walled off remains:
pressurized, weighted
         Suddenly, Someone slams through
              requesting your address
                   Your mother forewarns you
                    in a rare, evening phone call
One percent of captive animals:
They bite their own limbs
They rub their fur to baldness
     Exposed, the half tree still stands
     It is worse than burned:
That whole huge section somewhere transported
Yesterday, I ran for binoculars
The woodpecker disappeared
          I want me out of this picture, now
Erase me

Many of the visitors who fall from the gorge are from out of state.
I don't know why that is, unless they're not familiar with this type of terrain.
      "Red River Gorge Deaths Reach Record Levels"
            Lexington Herald Leader, 10-19-95

Names translate the same
from every language but our own.
Sirocco. Santanta. Fohn.
A weird wind is blowing in.
Witch. Devil. Poison.
Air sparks with positive ions. 
Jaybirds scream,
Children whirl on playgrounds.
There is no healing in wounds.
Squirrels, propelled by demons,
leap up from branches.
Lawyers proclaim innocence.
We barely hold on to our senses.
There will be guardrails soon.

Next - Jim McCurry


Current Issue - Winter 2005