I have written poetry and short fiction all my life and published a lot of it. My day job is editor of a trade publication Illinois Racing News. I live on a small horse farm in northern Illinois with my husband and various animals. My latest book, "Ribcage," (from Glass Lyre Press) recently won the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. I also am an associate editor of FutureCycle Press and Kentucky Review.
The End of August
Heat billows through the screens
Into the upholstery,
Hangs in suffocating draperies,
Blisters along the rugs,
Fits us like clothes
We can’t unbutton.
You come home
Glistening with sweat
Carrying a sack
Of tomatoes, sweet peppers,
Snap-beans and zucchini,
All ripened with heat.
You sink into the overstuffed
Aura of estrangement.
Between us like
A crookneck squash.
First published in Tipton Poetry Journal
In the Shade
From the road you can’t see the house
Secluded in trees, the barrier
Of lilac bushes, maples, hickories,
Interiors dim in filtered light
Like undersea grottoes where eels lurk
Or mermaids comb their seaweed locks.
Living in shade is similar
To reading complicated novels
Full of Russian patronymics,
Plots that mislead lovers
Stations where trains rarely stop.
Some people would cut everything down
For clarity, bless the raw light
That pours its benedictions equally,
The blacktop that glistens and melts
Sunflowers grimacing in satisfaction
Noontime drinkers, shadowless.
This place though is for the grievers
Those who know how darkness
Indemnifies. The ray at sunset
Edging through like a believer.
First published in Freshwater
Grandiose with humidity
Leaves sag with absorption
Like a woman faced
With decisions The streets
Bleed, gunshots pepper a night
Of incensed temper. Heat clouds immovable
Windows painted shut for centuries.
You understand why disease
Proliferates in such climates.
Missionaries on their knees
Tending the stricken. Here it’s simply
A phase of a season that ends
In crescendos. In the cooled rooms,
Everything is dark and abnormal,
Oxygen flayed into ribbons.
What you breathe rankles
Like the heavy effusions
That still the trees
And silence the birds.
First published in Pyrokinectics
End of Days
Flush with twilight
The farmhouse settles into its miasma
Colonized with mosquitoes.
Fireflies carry their lanterns,
Love letters inscribed in blinks
Like the click talk of savages
Or the crickets invoking their cymbals.
The sad question of the mourning doves.
The bats emerging like tracers.
A slow breeze anoints us.
Observe the willows, how they have been stricken
with the shaking disease.
First published in Cottonwood Review
©2016 Joan Colby
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