Willawaw Journal Fall 2022 Issue 15
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ARTIST: David Memmott
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page One: Kenneth Anderson Frank Babcock Jodi Balas Louise Cary Barden Page Two: David Memmott Carol Berg Robert Beveridge Ace Boggess Jeff Burt Natalie Callum Page Three: David Memmott Dale Champlin Margaret Chula Richard Dinges Rachel Fogarty Matthew Friday Page Four: David Memmott D. Dina Friedman David A. Goodrum John Grey Allen Helmstetter James Kangas Page Five: David Memmott David Kirby Tricia Knoll Linda Laderman Kurt Luchs David Memmott Page Six: David Memmott Stacy Boe Miller Kathryn Moll John C. Morrison John Muro Toti O'Brien Page Seven: David Memmott John Palen Darrell Petska Vivienne Popperl Laura Ann Reed Erica Reid Page Eight: David Memmott Lindsay Rockwell Beate Sigriddaughter Jeffrey Thompson Elinor Ann Walker William F. Welch Page Nine: David Memmott Charles Weld Kevin Winchester BACK PAGE with David Memmott
Listen— to your heart knocking in the gallows
of your chest, bewildered & exhausted—
as cavalcades of clouds corral the sky
deep forest streams whimper
& a cold, cruel chill ferrets
the minds of those we do not understand.
into a cacophony of hate
slay skin, feather, even stone—
& you lie down upon a bed of prayers
turn, turn & turn
distant, delicate, broken.
Had you wings they would not fly
covers they would not warm.
There is no East.
Scent of wind sometimes takes you
home, more often leaves you lost.
Listen— your knocking heart, bruised & clamoring wildly,
is seeking some instruction.
As your gaze trawls the sky— listen.
As you bend, become the meadow— listen.
When you balance mercury & fire
wrestle angel’s veil of death & fan the flames
of ghost fires left behind— listen.
A tide arrives to wake you.
You for whom light drops to shadow at your feet
for whom sleep slips endlessly away
& stories left behind leave you inert, belly up—
There is a currach waiting, rocking softly
in the dark, to paddle you, slow
& steady, with oak oars carved of kindness
through mind’s invisible cloak that wills its work upon you—
for you have dreamed
a world of light a million times.
Lindsay Rockwell is poet-in-residence for the Episcopal Church of Connecticut as well as host for their Poetry and Social Justice Dialogue series. She has been published, or is forthcoming in, Connecticut River Review, Amethyst Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, Sky Island Journal among others. She won first prize in the October Project Poetry Contest, 2020, and the 81st Moon Prize from Writing in a Woman’s Voice, 2021. Lindsay’s new collection, GHOST FIRES, will be forthcoming from Main Street Rag spring/summer 2023. Lindsay also holds a Master of Dance and Choreography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is an oncologist.
Thank you for the miracle of flesh and bone,
of eyes, ears, lips, of splendor all around.
Give us this day our daily joy
(two lizards on the trail, the tissue paper skin
of an ancient woman jubilantly stopping
with an encouraging smile under the blue sky
to let me pass in my habitual hurry, then
two books from a poet friend in the mailbox)
despite the news that rolls like bitter wind
across the land (headlines howl
with blasts of unavoidable intensity)
and forgive us our huge disappointment
(with bigotry, racism, misogyny, injustice)
as we forgive those who flavor our days bitter
(with bigotry, racism, misogyny, injustice)
and lead us not into indifference
(so much trash tossed on the path,
so many places troubled with confusion)
but deliver us from numbness
(we often feel so small that it is difficult
to imagine how we can even make a difference,
and we can, and we must)
for you are the colors and the seeds, the water
and the sun, and the breathtaking beauty and power
to give us strength and hope to do our part
in your magnificence. Thank you for the miracle.
(oh, look! a young bird brave in its nest!)
Beate Sigriddaughter, www.sigriddaughter.net, grew up in Nürnberg, Germany.
Her playgrounds were a nearby castle and World War II bomb ruins. She lives in
Silver City, New Mexico (Land of Enchantment), where she was poet laureate from
2017 to 2019. Her latest collections are short stories Dona Nobis Pacem (Unsolicited
Press, December 2021) and poetry Wild Flowers (FutureCycle Press, February 2022).
In her blog Writing In A Woman’s Voice, she publishes other women’s voices.
The sky is a sheet
In my hands and my eyes
Open on the riverbank
Where dreams lap the water.
The river is the light
I watch by.
The sun is a stone
Half buried in silt.
Clouds robe the moon.
The current carries the rain
Past me and cottonwoods
Cradle the wind.
Dawn is a net
Catching the tracks.
The tracks stretch all the way
Jeffrey Thompson was raised in Fargo, North Dakota, and educated at the University of Iowa, where he studied English, and philosophy, and at Cornell Law School. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he practices public interest law. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including North Dakota Quarterly, The Main Street Rag, Passengers Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, The Tusculum Review, FERAL, Unbroken, On the Seawall, Willows Wept, and Burningword Literary Journal. His hobbies include reading, hiking, photography, and doom-scrolling on Twitter.
Elinor Ann Walker
–for my father, 1932-2013
My father loved tomatoes that he called
old-timey. He meant not sweet but tart fruits
that reminded him of childhood. In old
envelopes, he saved heirloom seeds. Planted,
they refused to germinate—or rooted,
leaves withered in blight, or birds pecked
the flesh, or fruit fell to rot at blossom end.
When his own diseased cells blasted blood
and marrow, his breath shallowed. He could not
swallow. His lungs were a flood. We had thought
the end would be his heart. That last August,
his breath was so short, he could not eat.
He never came home. There’s an acid bite
of summer sorrow in all that is ripe.
I was born in a month of heat & drought
when the light through the trees flickers
like phosphorescence in the ocean, here
then gone as shorter days subside in tides
of mosquitoes whirring, no venerable
emperors but bats dipping into the sky
and everything sponsoring the question
did I just see that? I pay attention to wings
in keeping with the word akin to augur,
wonder what’s consecrated now, what
I might divine, what sign is favorable
for gathering, harvest, boon, foretelling
with promise like the Old Latin suggests,
augos to increase or avis for bird, auspicious
flights & trails & entrails, whatever can be
studied in this the eight month, Gregorian-
wise, while the goldenrod waves its yellow
feathery goodbyes on the roadsides, fruits
in the garden are ripe to bursting, falling
apart on the vines, tomatoes splitting down
their sides while from their bird-pecked
skins whole kingdoms of ants spill out
in paths I examine, guessing only that
what they mean is panic. They do not seem
august or ordained, but surely their frantic
exodus implies something about divination,
elusive signs, omens, what can and cannot
be prognosticated by seeds or ceremonies.
Elinor Ann Walker’s recent work is featured or forthcoming in Northwest Review,
Pidgeonholes, Whale Road Review, Gone Lawn, and The Southern Review. A Best
Microfiction and Best of the Net nominee, she lives with her husband and two dogs,
is the mother of two young adult sons, and prefers to write outside. Find her online
at elinorannwalker.com and on Twitter @elinorann_poet.
Say Goodbye, Catullus,
to the Shores of Asia Minor *
Peregrinator, passing through small towns,
passing through solitude, what will you remember
about today? Even if you write a few notes
in your book, or record a memo—even if
you assign a room for this quiet place
in that house where you keep memory in order,
your green is not the green of new leaves.
Your recollection of the scent of pine
is imperfect, you discover whenever you break
the boughs of an evergreen. Though somehow when
you recognize that odor, you say—it could be nothing
else. And looking across the river, you see
strange smoke billowing, ragged, dense in spots,
in others a thin discoloration—and call it
without hesitation—green. But you envy the ability
of water to take the shoreline and sky into itself
completely, or only embellished with a few ripples
where midges test the difference between the sky
above and sky below. To go five years without seeing
a face, to go ten—are you sure you can
recognize him? You hope that as with these
details, with odors only occurring in one place,
with colors observed just once a year,
you will know—you will answer
that is my brother—that is his face—
without thinking, without second-guessing
the glimpse beneath the shroud.
And you will remember—already,
you’re preparing yourself—that face
as it was one afternoon
when he pushed you into the current
from the light skiff in which he floated,
beautiful with anger, his arms glistening—
his face like a lily in the middle of a pond,
everything made deeper-seeming by him,
by the weight of his presence. You will remember
his expression once he realized what he had done.
* The unofficial title of a painting by Cy Twombly
housed at the Menil Collection, Houston, TX.
William Welch lives in Utica, NY where he works as a registered nurse. His work has appeared in various journals, most recently in Nine Mile, Rust+Moth, Hole in the Head Review, and Stone Canoe. New work is forthcoming in The Healing Muse and The Comstock Review. He edits Doubly Mad for The Other Side of Utica (doublymad.org).