Willawaw Journal Fall 2021 Issue 13
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ART: Babette Barton (see Back Page for bio)
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page 1: Hugh Anderson Frank Babcock Robert Beveridge Jeff Burt Page 2: Babette Barton Natalie Callum Dale Champlin Babette Barton Dale Cottingham Richard Dinges, Jr. Page 3: Babette Barton John Dorroh Amelia Díaz Ettinger Jamie Gergen Brigitte Goetze Ash Good Page 4: Babette Barton John Grey Suzy Harris Robin Havenick Amanda Hiland John H. Huey Page 5: Babette Barton Marc Janssen Karen Jones Tricia Knoll Callista Markotich Daniel McGee Page 6: Babette Barton Nathaniel Mellor Kate Meyer-Currey Cameron Morse Susan Morse John Muro Page 7: Babette Barton Ione O'Hara John Palen Vivienne Popperl Marjorie Power Tom Sexton Page 8: Meghan H. Sterling Doug Stone Lynda Wilde Ellen June Wright BACK PAGE with Babette Barton
At My Door a Beggar
Eyes asking for plenty,
seeing I have enough,
he stands in the doorway
graceful in his rags.
I have enough to share.
I face my abundance,
his gracefulness, his rags.
Can I give what he asks
from my abundance?
He’s unbroken in his silence,
asking me to give
a morning no longer mine.
I’m broken in the silence,
lean away, smell what is
no longer mine: morning,
breakfast, tonight’s bed.
I lean away, but he smells
like music, forgotten yet
familiar as breakfast, bedtime.
Arms outstretched, he’s here
with music unforgotten,
here to take nothing,
long arms outstretched
inviting me to dance.
He’s here to take nothing,
eyes asking for plenty,
inviting me to the dance.
I stand in the doorway
Ione O’Hara has taught English as a Second Language at a local community college and at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has facilitated poetry workshops, volunteered as a writing teacher in elementary schools, and has been awarded an Arts & Science Regional Artist Grant. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The title of her chapbook is A Passing Certainty.
Listening to the Katy Train
The back yard was where my mother
hung laundry out to dry between two crosses,
her homesickness and our shabby house;
where my father nursed his weariness alone
and hid the empties under the trash.
Between our lot and the Katy tracks,
tangled, scabby apple trees went feral.
That was where I found near-sightedness,
squinting through an air rifle’s notched iron,
the blurred distance closing in.
I was eleven the year Stalin died
in his own cramped quarters in the Kremlin.
Fixing supper, I heard the news on radio.
That night, beyond the ruined orchard,
the Katy train blared and rumbled out
to open country, shaking earth.
John Palen has poems forthcoming in Delmarva Review and Spoon River Poetry Review. A three-time Pushcart nominee, he recently received his first Best of the Net nomination from Sheila-Na-Gig. Mayapple Press brought out his most recent book, Distant Music, in 2017. He lives on the Illinois Grand Prairie.
Spessart Forest Near Fulda, 1977
–with a line drawn from Charles Swinbourne (Hendecasyllabics)
Last night I dreamed Hansel and Gretal knocked
on my door. They asked for water, for shelter.
In the month of the long decline of roses
I overcame my distrust. In their pink cheeks, their
blue eyes, I saw the ones I’d lost. In their blond
curls I remembered silky hair I’d caressed,
tied into long braids. I ushered them in, asked
their names, took their coats, served them broth, piled up straw
for their beds. Through the steam and the candle light
a trick of the eye lulled my fears. I thought I
glimpsed my own beloveds, now lost. I offered them
the dolls, the carved horse, the silver hoop. I showed
them the porcelain cup, the fur hats. I ignored
glinting eyes, sidelong glances, jabbing elbows.
The townsfolk thought I burned to death. That’s what I
heard the girl tell the boy after they pushed me
into the basement. I crawled through the coal cellar
trapdoor before the floors collapsed. I hid under
bracken and ferns, gathered branches and herbs, washed
in streams, patched my shoes with tree bark, ate berries, slept rough.
This morning I stand at the cottage door, wooden
spoon in hand. Becassine, our black Belgian shepherd
stretches out on the floor. A family of
wild boar dashes into the clearing, picks up
Becassine’s scent, turns tail. A woodpecker tap taps
high in a Douglas fir. I tie back my dark
curly hair, stir the stew, add garlic, pepper.
Thin high voices of children singing ride the
wind. They troop single file into the glade, settle
into a circle, unwrap sandwiches. Becassine
dozes on the stone threshold, her black ears point
toward the glade. After lunch, the children play catch.
They spot the cottage, sidle up to stare. Becassine
lifts her head, silent. The children crane necks, try
to peek inside. I retreat into the shadows.
My fingers tighten around the wooden spoon.
I am a dark curly-haired woman with a
black dog alone in Spessart forest near Fulda.
Vivienne Popperl lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in Clackamas Literary Review, Timberline Review, Cirque, Rain Magazine, Poeming Pigeon, and other publications. She was poetry co-editor for the Fall 2017 edition of VoiceCatcher. She received both second place and an honorable mention in the Willamette Writers 2021 Kay Snow Awards in poetry.
–after rereading “Saying Your Name Three Times
Underwater” by Sam Roxas-Chua
If, After the Collapse
of Africa’s last elephant, I get to keep going, and keep a book,
I’ll choose this one. Sun and turquoise ocean on the front,
undertow hard at work in the text. Here, a minnow
manages to flick its silver, glide and turn and flick.
When ocean overcomes the city of my birth, flinging fish
and trash and garish hues into rush hour traffic – if I get
to revisit all those languages and shouts – I’ll stand by a walk light
on my good foot and crutch and read my one book aloud.
This ancient Chinese oracle whose author’s
from the future, born on a planet yet to solidify.
Saint Patrick powered the snakes out of Ireland
even though snakes weren’t known there.
Come and hear – you’ll leave prepared to draw them home, alive.
Marjorie Power‘s newest poetry collection is Sufficient Emptiness, Deerbrook Editions, 2021. A chapbook, Refuses to Suffocate, appeared in 2019 from Blue Lyra Press. Publications which have taken her work recently include Barrow Street, Commonweal and Southern Poetry Review. She lives in Rochester, N.Y. near family, after many years in various western states.
On the Death of Seamus Heaney
He is crossing those four green fields now.
On the horizon, blossoms falling like snow.
A chorus calls his name. He does not break stride
toward a small house. He can hear his mother’s sigh.
Now he eyes his father holding a tall ladder
and at the top of the ladder stands his brother
skimming the gable, shaping the letters S.H.
in wet plaster. It covers his hands and knees
as blood did on the day he died. They turn
to go inside where his mother is churning butter.
“On the Death of Seamus Heaney” from A Ladder of Cranes by Tom Sexton, copyright© 2015. Reprinted by permission of University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks. All rights reserved.