Willawaw Journal Fall 2023 Issue 17
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ART: "Misty Chief" by Sam Siegel
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page One: Rick Adang Ken Anderson Frank Babcock Lawrence Bridges Page Two: Sam Siegel Jeff Burt David Capps Dale Champlin Kris Demien Amelia Díaz Ettinger Page Three: Sam Siegel John S. Eustis Ann Farley Suzy Harris Wendell Hawken Gary Lark Page Four: Sam Siegel Stefanie Lee Marilyn McCabe Frank C. Modica Cecil Morris John Muro Page Five: Sam Siegel LeeAnn Olivier Darrell Petska Vivienne Popperl Lindsay Regan Erica Reid Page Six: Sam Siegel Sher A. Schwartz Roberta Senechal de la Roche Annette Sisson Derek R. Smith Connie Soper Page Seven: Sam Siegel Jude Townsend Pepper Trail Arianne True Lana Valdez BACK PAGE with Sam Siegel
Small Table in Evening Dusk
–after Henri Le Sidaner’s oil on canvas (1921)
the small, round table set
with two possibilities
teacups, thin porcelain, a gold
lidded teapot, raspberry tarts
second possibility two raffia-wrapped
wine bottles, wine flutes, and
crusty rolls pushed against
little table’s edge
the small blue table
silver pitcher beaded in sweat
could have served either possibility
two friends or two lovers
yet the blue raspberry tarts were
pecked over by sparrows
crystal flutes clean
wine bottles uncorked but stoppered
ripe camellias dangling
their branches reaching over
the canal––the ladder-backed
chairs awaiting bodies other
than their own––twilight
blue spindrift coats everything
Sher A. Schwartz is a retired University of Alaska Southeast-Ketchikan Assistant Professor of Humanities living on a two-hundred-acre historic farm in eastern Oregon. She is currently working on a chapbook, plays old-time fiddle music, plants gardens for pollinators, and trains bird dogs.
We wear smooth all beloved things,
even though life itself might fail
from overuse, from all that touches us
over time, however softly.
Even gods erode from too much care
and must endure their lack of place in sky
invisible, inarticulate, while we go on
talking out loud, unthinking.
Shall we now lie down in the house of the sea
where the planet’s pulse is unfelt
the passing birds unseen,
and take its darkness as a lasting love?
Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an historian and poet of Miꞌkmaq and French- Canadian descent, born in western Maine. She now lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review; Vallum; Glass: A Journal of Poetry; Yemassee, Blue Mountain Review, Sequestrum, and Cold Mountain Review, among others. She has two prize-winning chapbooks: Blind Flowers (Arcadia Press) and After Eden (Heartland Review Press, 2019). A third chapbook, Winter Light, and her first book, Going Fast (2019) are published by David Robert Books.
Daughter, Driving at Night
I slide into bed, turn toward the curtains.
Outside, a clear midnight sky,
moon and dippers wheeling across
the galaxy. I begin to drift. A girl
shrieks, frenetic particles of sound,
her voice so piercing it might
have cracked the window. The cry
shivers the air again. I shake
myself, scramble to the front door—
silver dusting the silent walk,
stars’ bent ribs of light.
From the screened porch in back
katydids chant, crickets trill,
a tranquil night. Inside, my phone
jars the table—you’ve driven miles
beyond home, whisper of gas in the tank,
your signal too faint for digital maps,
and you can’t tell left from right
without Google. Parked on an unlit shoulder
you shudder, marvel that your call jostled
me awake. You don’t know the quake
of your need had already torn me from the sheets.
Annette Sisson lives and works in Nashville, TN. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso PR, Birmingham PR, Glassworks, and Rust and Moth, among others. Her book Small Fish in High Branches was published in 2022 by Glass Lyre Press.
She was born somewhere
That no longer exists
Well… it’s there, but no longer a known place.
Its tiny downtown absorbed by a larger metro area;
Its streets adopted into a growing sprawl.
Missing is the rural small town my grandma once knew,
My dad was also born in that nameless place,
That same Virginia town of Phoebus.
From the Greek for Apollo-
Light and radiant.
Imagine the hopefulness
Naming your tiny village as such.
A shining beacon of a little place
That one day will be swallowed
Off the map.
I grew up in the place that my spirit is from
A land of beautiful cracks and struggles
Where you’ll find a goofy little nothing town called Ishpeming
(Our people’s word for the heavens).
Here summers go forever
As little barefoot kids chase the sun
All the way down to meet the horizon.
Where deer often overwhelm agriculture,
And some of us, we cheer them softly on the sidelines.
Waawaashkisha (our word for deer)
It’s name also the sound
Deer make walking through tall grasses.
Here weather feels as expected,
Perfectly correct on your skin
Even while you complain about it being too cold or too hot.
Soft breezes blow and I know that I’m home
Because of the distinct perfume of leaves
In newness phase or rotting phase,
Or silent leaves compacted under winter’s crystalline waterbank.
My body feels belonging in this place.
The special way my feet snug into the earth here.
In the moccasins my parents made,
Derek R. Smith (he/him) is a public health professional, Anishinaabe two-spirit, wanderer, who finds it hard to not write poetry. Born and raised in the land now called Michigan, adulted in the Bay Area of California, now residing in small town Oregon. Some like their poetry elegant, academic, fancy. The proud Midwestern style herein shared is not as such, as any given poem was probably composed in a Denny’s booth. He has 2023 poems published in Great Lakes Review, ¡Pa’lante!, euphony, and Lucky Jefferson. There is no space for distance here, in poetry, and isn’t that a beautiful thing?
Where I’m From
I come from many places, and all of them
live in me still. Now I know that when you leave
a place, it doesn’t leave you.
California, Athens and Hamburg,
this shoreline I walk every day—
I am descended from a blue-eyed people—sturdy stock
who left their home so I could find mine.
Who sailed away willingly, without regret.
Their seascape belongs to me now—passed down
like a genetic geography, an ancestral visitation.
Here’s the family tree with names of those
I never knew—who died by suicide, alcohol;
or just wore out like unwound clocks.
Sometimes I shake the branches of that tree,
hoping to find a secret liaison, smoky love
in a Parisian cafe. But, I come from a country of women
who canned peaches and jam, pickled beets,
glued what was broken. Women who left
North Dakota, Idaho, and Saskatchewan
to follow their fathers, marry their husbands.
I carry the dust of those places, too.
I am the daughter, the granddaughter, the great-granddaughter
of women who never spoke of loss, who settled
into their lives wherever they were,
even if they wanted to leave.
Who moved on, even if they wanted to stay.
Connie Soper is a hiker, beach lover and poet who divides her time between Portland, and Manzanita, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review, Catamaran, Cider Press Review, Gyroscope Review, and elsewhere. Her first full length book of poetry, A Story Interrupted, was published by Airlie Press in 2022. She is currently at work on her second collection.