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Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream, Volume 25, #4

The little one sleeps in its cradle, I lift the gauze and look a long time, and silently brush away flies with my hand. Walt Whitman


WATERWAYS: Poetry in the Mainstream
Volume 25 Number 4 Designed, Edited and Published by Richard Spiegel & Barbara Fisher Thomas Perry, Admirable Factotum *April, 2004

c o n t e n t s
Richard Kostelanetz James Penha Ida Fasel Patricia Wellingham-Jones Susanne Olson Herman Slotkin 4 5 6 7-8 9-10 11 Geoff Stevens Charles Pierre Kaye Bache-Snyder Robert Collet Tricaro David Michael Nixon Lyn Lifshin 12 13 14-15 16-17 18 19-20

Waterways is published 11 times a year. Subscriptions -- $33 for 11 issues. Sample issues — $3.50 (includes postage). Submissions will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self addressed envelope. Waterways, 393 St. Pauls Avenue, Staten Island, New York 10304-2127 ©2005 Ten Penny Players Inc. *(This magazine is published 1/05)

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Three Blue Flies — James Penha Your breathing blows the blue fly away, little one. I hear the thunder in you rumble seconds before a second flash and burp blows a blue fly this way. While I may giggle in the ripple of your flurry I wail with worry inside. Funny how your laughter blows the blue fly my way.

At First Sight — Ida Fasel All that was said when we were introduced was only “How do you do?” But after that, I had a hard time keeping my eyes on those I was talking to when all I wanted was to look at you.


Sea Creatures — Patricia Wellingham-Jones
for Marty

Sturdy as a bollard, she crouches beside a tide pool. Lug soles grip rock slippery with braided ribbons and air-puffed bulbs of just-flung seaweed. With the gentle stroke of a mother’s finger on baby skin, she stirs the cupful of life caught in the salt crusted rock bowl. Raises eyes brimming Pacific green. On her back, snug in the rising wind, her first-born, late-born daughter sleeps.

Only days from her swim in mother fluid, the infant cells fill with fresh sea air. For this pair the swirl of the tide is hardly distinguished from their heartbeats, skin drenched with ocean spray, rinsed in falling rain, as natural to them as tea by a landlubber’s fire.


Child Lost — Susanne Olson Grief heavier than death fear darker than night’s veil fate beyond despair eradication Black grips the heart vain quest for diamond’s solitary cave grave unknown

Life’s marrow robbed despoiled in pain’s unfathomable depth yields ransom of own blood Life’s artery pierced by mea culpa’s purple arrow mind lost


Grandchild — Herman Slotkin You are an infusion in the blood, an insinuation in the muscles and bones, the knowing, growing steadfast look of love, the strobe-wink of flashing future. You are chips off many an old block, building your block-chip rocket, making your own fuel and additives to soar to your singular space.
Published in Villages News Magazine, November, 1997 11

Geoff Stevens Should they share the cost those outside that are behind the curtains too and get free privacy from your eyes that could otherwise pry on their homelessness?


Conklin’s Mill — Charles Pierre At a barren time in midlife, blind to the seasons’ wheel of transforming vistas, when the year lay stripped like a wasted field, devoid of color, climate and shape, I walked to the farthest edge of our village, where vines had claimed an abandoned mill, and climbed the stairs to a room with windows all around, the highest vantage on this swath of Atlantic coast. And with an arc of eye that clocked the horizon, I looked out at the landscape to foliage, snow, buds and flowers, in a tumble of months, in a sweep of seasons, that gave the stark terrain of my fifty years its portion on the varied wheel of time, and with a surge of late emotion, accepted the mild, frigid and torrid days of my life without regret, the weather turning before me in a cycle as full and fresh as earth’s first.

Outsiders — Kaye Bache-Snyder Ours are the only footprints in the virgin snow this Christmas Eve: a childless couple, walking deserted streets from someone else’s church. I huddle close to you against the bite of wind and ponder how we celebrate The Nativity. There must be others outside like us tonight, glancing from sidewalks into picture-perfect windows at these rituals of stuffing and stuff.


Next year, let’s not again seek this holiday as it ought or used to be. Let’s not buy each other gifts or even have a tree to remind of other trees extinguished down the tunnel of our years. Let’s break trail to a frozen, alpine lake, come home for steaming soup, warm bread and wine. On this Silent Night, let’s burrow into bed and exchange the candles given us with each other. Through such simplicity may we conceive a faith newborn on this loneliest of nights.


Whiteness Becoming — Robert Collet Tricaro The room was almost white; no sign Of sorrow. It seemed the sun’s incandescence Dried the tears. Then an open window Brought a voice to break the silence. Only when the man wearing black left her bedside, Was there whiteness all around her, Even the pale yellow box with dim-sum Her mother made and left for her. Breaking point white reflected from The sheet that covered her, from the foot of The bed, to just Beyond the crown of her head.

Only a blush, on top of the night Stand was noticed—beside a blood pressure Gauge under a crucifix mounted on the wall. A pink—as though an enzyme was working To wear the redness down To make it part of the whiteness. A tenacious red of a single rose I left for her, the night before.


Inside the Land of Sleep — David Michael Nixon There was a tree with its skirts brushing the ground— willow beside a bright stream with calls of birds from somewhere higher. I sat inside the swaying skirts, cool afternoon touching my face and hands.


My Mother and the Phone Books — Lyn Lifshin stacks in the closets stacks on a shelf tall as a totem pole you’re not sure couldn’t fall on you while sleeping. “Lowell, North Boston, Rochester, Rockland County, Marsfield.”

If you love me you’ll bring a phone book she’d coo. “New Bedford, Montreal, Rockville, Spring field, Rutland.” When I threw the torn Albany phone book out she was as hurt

as if I’d tossed her and I had to order a new crisp one, here for me now clearing out the apartment. “Portsmouth, Exeter, Syracuse, Manhattan,” as if she could just reach out and touch what

she hadn’t. Or maybe she felt with so many names squashed in a barricade between her and the outside, so many people on the line, with their numbers bared for her, there waiting for a ring she could never be lonely

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