The Lintel Stone

No vestige of a cabin
remains where the lintel stone
lies anchored to the prairie
by a tangle of coneflowers.
No joists or tenons
but just this
tracery of fossils chained through
lichened limestone.
In borings where a bolt might’ve been
the black widow rolls her eggs
hope and death a red hourglass
ticking in the darkness.

By Pat Anthony

purple coneflowers at twilight on wah'kon-tah prairie.


To read more of Pat Anthony’s poems please visit middlecreekcurrents.

Photo of purple coneflowers at twilight on Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie by Tommy Brison

Nature

A bird trapped itself
inside my porch,
somehow found a way
in from the outside,
perched on the back
of the glider, the breeze
moving in then out
through the screen
as if interior were
exterior, one in the same.

By Lisa Stice

woman observing flowers in a garden


Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse who received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of a poetry collection, Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). You can find out more about her and her publications at LisaStice.wordpress.com and Facebook.com/LisaSticePoet.

Photo of the author

Walks

Our walks began at the old house
later burned by my uncles, and location
of the rust-reddened refrigerator that trapped
my oldest brother, nearly killing him.
Then our feet would continue past the tin sheet
that covered the old dog’s unseen grave
then to the place with swinging grapevines.
In my early years I walked behind my father –
as my legs grew stronger, we reversed.
After the vines, we headed into thicker woods
where once sturdy houses became rubble,
just a pile of stones and family names.
Around we would go, knowing the trails,
occasionally seeing snake or mutt
or being stung by rogue bee swarms,
legs moving in instinctual succession
forming the bones of stories in my mind.

By JD DeHart

 father and young son walking together in forest


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared in Gargouille and The Other Herald, among other publications. DeHart blogs at JD DeHart – Feature Poems.

Photo by Jozef Polc

To The Passengers In The Airplane Passing By 35 Thousand Feet Above Us

We just now caught a glimpse of your jet
Through the branches of the large oak
We are sitting beneath
To keep cool
As we mind our granddaughter
Sleeping in her stroller.
For the past half hour
We have been entertained
By a male redwing blackbird
In the nearby marsh
As he flies about in the reeds
Alighting briefly on one, then another
Puffs himself up
To show off his scarlet shoulders
And sings in his most virile voice
To claim territory
For one or several wives.
Closer by
A large yellow and black swallowtail butterfly
Performs a gossamer gavotte
In trees and bushes and flowering brambles.
The shade of the oak and a light breeze
Keep us comfortable on this very hot day.
When your plane passes overhead
We think of you sitting inside
And hope you are having a pleasant journey
That you have enough legroom
That the person next to you is genial but not intrusive
That the food is tasty
The movie entertaining
And that all is well with you up there
At thirty-five thousand feet in the air.
Down here
We’re just fine.

By Buff Whitman-Bradley


Buff Whitman-Bradley’s poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. He is the author of several volumes of poetry, most recently Cancer Cantata, poems written during his treatment for cancer in 2016. He lives with his wife Cynthia in northern California.

Signs of Decay, Signs of Life

Father and son looking at autumn leavesI took my twin sons to visit my parents this Saturday, a weekly two hour trip we take to spend the day. My toddler sons love going to visit Mimi and Paw Paw each week, and we spend most of the daylight hours outside in their big backyard.

My parents’ house has an enclosed back yard which is about an acre in size and enclosed by tall plank fence. Their yard used to be smaller than it is today, but after a neighbor decided to sell their yard, my parents quickly took the offer, which doubled the size of the lot. After they had the fence put up for the yard, they had a large deck built right outside the backdoor.

Each Saturday, I watch my sons run up to my parents when we arrived, only to run out the back door to the back yard to drive their big bikes. Sitting out in lawn chairs while sipping iced tea, we’d sit and talk while watching the boys run wild, chasing each other while laughing.

While we were out this past Saturday, my mom and I would stare up towards the blue sky, looking for birds and pointing them out to the boys. As we talked and scanned the clouds, I saw three buzzards fly into view circling high overhead like hang gliders from some distant mountain. The more I watched for them to fly off, I saw that they kept circling, nearly hovering with their oversized wings, like toy birds on a child’s mobile playing over a crib. Watching them circle, I pointed them out to my mother.

“Have they been around here long?” I asked.

My mother nodded and pointed at them. “We’ve seen them around here for a few days. We think they must be nesting somewhere near here, but we’re not sure.”

I nodded. “Yeah. I just wonder what died?” And the conversation went off in some other direction.

But still I watched the buzzards, my eyes transfixed on them while my sons played like only children can. It was strange really, seeing these birds, totems of death, beings that appeared when the dead had begun to decay, and at the same time seeing my sons play like kids who have no idea of death, of harbingers, omens against the eventual darkness that falls on us all. I kept watching them both, the vultures and my sons, my mind carrying the dual possibilities that we all share, life and death with each breath we take.

As the afternoon faded into evening, I knew the future would hold days where I would have to explain death to my sons. But not this day, I thought. Instead, I watch the cycle of nature and my children growing up. For now, I will merely watch the buzzards circle… Time moves on.


This is an article in my Subdivision Journal series. I am trying to use mindfulness to observe nature in my neighborhood. Other articles in the series:
Meeting With Magpies
The Tree Blossoms
The Dead Bird
A Budding Tree
An Encounter With a Falcon
The Carrying of Sounds
The View from My Window


Author PhotoCarl Wade Thompson is a poet, essayist, and the graduate writing tutor at Texas Wesleyan University. He has published poetry and memoir essays in The Mayo Review, The Concho River Review, One in Four, Anak Sastra, The Galway Review, The Blue Collar Review, Piker Press, The Eunoia Review, Blue Minaret, Nebo Literary Magazine, Alphelion Literary Webzine, and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas. He lives on the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. His poems explore the link between the urban and the rural.

Photo by Olesia Bilkei