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Editor's Note


SNR's Writers


somebody dies
and somebody says she's your mother
and from that day onward
somebody has picked out your tombstone
and it sits ticking like a bomb or a clock
outside your bedroom door
and from that day onward
you are charged
with writing down your life
and determining what they'll write
on your gravestone
more aware of what's ticking away
than ever before
and in your weathered old house
you write of clouds scudding by and rain
and sunshine and snow, the elements
of sadness and talent unslowed by age
a growing burden of sameness and excitement
you carry it on your back
and turn toward the sun sometimes
shielding your eyes and hoping to discern
what to keep
and what to leave out

Why we write
rare rain during last year's drought
came down hard pummeling the flowers
and running off the hard ground
like a murderous thief
yesterday's daylong rain
came down gentle as an eyelid kiss
the lawn this morning was soggy
I felt the miracle of walking on water
saw the trees with their new spring leaves
hold up the mist in the distance
hard to believe I've seen
the change of seasons
only fifty times or so
seems like an eternity
and in an hour I'll be working
and in 10, 20, 30 years
I'll give up this anomalous planet
and I want to remember this
for as long as my forever is
The tao of dogwalking

The left wrist snaps
when he strains or snuffles.
Correction. Stand fast
when he pulls the leash taut so
an acorn of behavior
cannot become an oak.
My right hand loops leash leather,
Fashioning a falconer's glove,
shortening the span of rein
he's allowed.
So wrapped up
in these little things
it's a shock to stop
and notice autumn surrounding,
leaves cool fire and suede.
Woodsmoke seasons the air.
Alex sniffs and tugs a tad,
urging me to move.
This isn't the way
we usually go.
And I realize I've never
been here before,
not just this street,
but surrounded by these leaves,
accompanied by this dog,
on this particular walk.
It's taken me this long
to get here. And tomorrow
will be another walk,
another exploration.
Sometimes we need the leash
for correction. Sometimes the falconer's glove
as a platform for soaring.
Moving with the smoky scent
like an oracle sniffing
for signs to the future,
shrugging and settling
for another day's breath,
tomorrow to rise and again
tackle the blessed task
of trying to walk each day better.

Copyright 2008, Harry Calhoun. © This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.

Harry Calhoun is a widely-published writer of articles, literary essays, book reviews and poems -- with credits including multiple articles in Writer's Digest and The National Enquirer. A frequent contributor of poems and essays to magazines such as Abbey and Thunder Sandwich, he has recent publications in Chiron Review and Still Crazy. He also has poetry forthcoming in Abbey, LiteraryMary, Nefarious Ballerina and Word Catalyst, for whom he will write a regular monthly column. In addition, he writes an online wine column about quality affordable wines called Ten Dollar Tastings. Recently, he has been pleasantly surprised that people recognize him for having published a now-rare booklet of Charles Bukowski poems in 1985. He's happily married to fellow writer Trina Allen.