Not once have I seen an egret
dead, stretched out on the ground

like the whiter than white shadow
of an invisible bird—

the perfect, immaculate specimen
escaped from Plato’s Aviary…

and the old philosopher staring
at the empty cage, heartbroken.

By Don Thompson

Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. Currently the poet laureate of Kern County, he has been publishing poetry since the early sixties,including a dozen books and chapbooks. For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink.

Late Avalanche

Spring comes early this
year, showering Earth with buds,
after a waterless then smoke-filled
season, the sense of growth

Hopefully, there is no whirlwind
stirring, not a bank of snow
waiting silently around the corner,
plotting his swift assault

But if there is a snow to come,
all these sounds can be briefly
swallowed in muffled powder,
we will bud again.

By JD DeHart

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared in Gargouille and The Other Herald, among other publications. DeHart blogs at jddehartpoetry.blogspot.com.

Suburban Journal: The Tree Blossoms

My grandma died on Wednesday in the morning as I drove to see her. There had never been a day where she was not alive in my thirty-six years of life, but today was Thursday, and it was my first day without her. All last night and today I have felt numb, like something was turned off inside of me, a switch that made me alive. As I made my way to Tai Chi class this morning, everything felt slowed down, crawling at a snail’s pace, and I wondered how I would do at the funeral on Saturday. I had almost not gone to practice today, but decided it might help find my balance before I went to work.

Going into class, I was early, but my instructor and a fellow student were already in the room talking. Coming in, they warmly greeted me as I sat down in a chair. Putting away my keys and billfold, I tried my best to relax before the session began. As my eyes scanned around the brightly lit room, my mind was filled with my grandmother, the person I had been closest to while growing up. For the last five years she had lived in a nursing home, the person I knew slowly taken away by a series of strokes and old age. I had said goodbye to her last week, but she had been more alert and aware than she had ever been in the last two years. Staring out the large bay windows on the far side of the room, I wondered how I was going to process the death of the woman who had protected me as a child. At first my eyes looked through the windows without seeing, my thoughts clouding my vision, but slowly they cleared, and I was staring at the same tree I had looked at two weeks ago. The last time I looked at the tree, the branches had buds growing on them but had not yet flowered. Staring intently at the tree branch, my mind calmed and there was a moment of clarity. Now the blooms on the tree branch were open, just barely, and were beginning to flower.

I stared at the branch and thought of my grandmother, about living and dying, the changing of seasons, and the turning of the Wheel. The Dharma would continue to revolve as my life moved forward. But for a moment in time, I was aware of what was happening in front of me, and I knew I would overcome the grief of my grandmother’s passing. As I stood to begin practice, I knew I would keep looking out the window and think of my grandmother. . .

One move at a time.

flowering branch of cherry

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:

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 jacek913

Idle Afternoon

– for Diana Michener

I am sitting in a lawn chair
In the shade of a large maple tree
Preparing to work on a poem
When a box elder bug
Making its way
Among the grasses at my feet
Captures my attention
With the slow and deliberate movements
Of its filament-like jointed legs
As it ascends and descends
One green blade and stalk after another.
And it occurs to me that if it is true
In quantum physics
That the observer changes
The phenomena being observed
Could it also be true
Of the ordinary observations
Of our daily lives?
For instance
Could I somehow be altering
The path or the pace
Or even the ultimate destination
Of the little black and red Boisea trivittata
Simply by looking on?
And if the insect
Bewildered by the mysterious force
That seems to have taken control of its limbs
And its will
Looks up and sees me looming nearby
Could being the object of its gaze
Be the reason I am setting aside
My notebook and pencil
My ambitions and anxieties
And arguments with existence
To spend the rest of this afternoon
Tracking the odyssey of Pilgrim Box Elder Bug
Across the emerald-dark lawn?

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.



Thoughts are like snowflakes,
If you don’t catch them they won’t stick to your hand …

let the air pull them away and be filtered by the trees as nature is meant to do …

sing at the birds instead and remember who you are,
when you remember why your energy was pulled one way or another …

your true being will show you thoughts that breeze by
— to float by like the piece of newspaper in the wind …

melt the snow with your feet.

Let your steps be only yours and fall in love with the moon again …
it’s playing peekaboo tonight …

By Daniela Naomi Bautista

footprints on a snowy path

Traveling, hiking, and writing outside make Daniela happy. She is in the process of writing a book which will be, like her poems, short and sweet.

Photo by the author