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.
Bad blood congealed from the outset.
Cleft-footed child roped with sin
Like the goat whipped into the wilderness.
This offspring who steals and lies.
Won’t look you in the eye. Conspires
With ruffians. His siblings whisper
In fear and hate. Years later, he returns
Smiling like the devil in his velvet coat
And boots of Spanish leather. Slaughter
The bullock. Set the banquet table..
If you loved him best it was
Because he took the worst of you
Into his burning soul and saved you.
Photos Found in Camera
Grizzly in a high meadow
Looks bovine, head down, grazing
On what—ground berries, herbs, particular
Grasses. Or something small and dead.
Bears, like men, omnivorous.
Next shot, closer, focused on a
Patch of green. The grizzly raises
His head, scenting. Doglike snout, piggy
Eyes, red brown as an animated
Shag rug. Captured in a moment
Of bemused suspicion.
Back at the meal now, he’s busy,
Bigger, biting something. Teeth and claws
At work, a bit nearer you’d see
The discoloration like a stained
Document. What a forefather.
Large, male, solitary.
With a few audacious steps
The zoom nails his massive jaws.. Conjecture:
An almost visible huff. Face up, peering.
Something dripping from the jowls.
Final frame: slightly out of focus.
Rearing like a giant from
A Grimm story. Battery of teeth,
Mouth wide open.
In exchange for access, you agree to be
Followed. What you admire, briefly,
Dogs you like the little stray
You stroked, then in dismay
Discovered an audience of fleas and ticks.
In the forest, you hoped to be
Hidden in the house of sweets
With a charged cell phone.
That’s not how it works, said the witch
Lighting the oven. This is the risk
You take in obedience
To the principles of get and give.
An eye watches your house
From weather to weather. It zooms in
To a vertical view.
Anyone can find your address.
For a little money your life story.
Whatever you scatter can be traced.
Independence Day — Long Weekend
Three a.m. and two days early,
This long weekend of the fourth.
The regular boom of fireworks
Like the heartbeats of a prehistoric
Creature wakes me from one bad
Dream after another. It’s liberty
Being celebrated by the inebriated
Getting a head start. Out on the
Blacktop, pickups roar past
Too fast with people yelling.
Soon the shooting starts,
The dogs already howling.
Who can sleep through this
Excuse for revelry
Or something worse: a faux war
Upon the universe. I can’t help speculating
That these explosions
Have a thin rind of joy
Over a rich pulp of anger.
The low-hanging fruit of independence
Within everybody’s reach. By the real
Holiday we ought to be
Exhausted with the violent cartwheels
Neoning night skies,
Parades that begin with marching bands
And end with squad cars. Children scrambling
For stale candies. Stars and stripes displayed
At every farmhouse where arc lights
Repel intruders. The volatile
Cocktail of how we got here.
Rockets and mortars blasting
The midnight peace to pieces.
Our neighbor with his deer rifle
Trying to bring down Ursus Major.
"At the Window" (1881)
Hans Olaf Heyerdahl
Hans Olaf Heyerdahl
If a woman is to pose
On a balcony overlooking
A city of roofs,
She needs a book
Which will lie open in her lap,
The unread words configuring
Grief or remorse.
She looks away
As the painter hollows
Her cheekbones, leans her elbow
On the wrought-iron railing
To prophesy sorrow,
Casts her gaze down ignoring
The frayed pages
With their sonnets or love stories.
A book accessorizes
The forlorn or insoluble,
How the woman is made to look away
From directives as the brush
Dresses her in blue silk,
Knots a ribbon in her hair.
© 2017 Joan Colby
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