The Spider’s Sleep In The Arch Above My Door

She eats her yesterday,
the night the bees fled.
Reeling in, unhitching
intricacy.

The freight train rumbles,
the coyote humbles its soft feet
in the melon patch
and pole beans
near her silent spinning
over the door we share.

Like me, she tosses dream-silk
to the nearest fragile limb
asleep in the dim light
to snag an anchorhold
on what she must do,
what cares to be seen to,
or believe in with the coming
of dawn’s jewel-dew.

Relentless under the impromptu
show of one lonely star in cloud-drift,
a screech owl’s rapid strike,
the crackle of street light,
her night work ties up single
tether points, casting
off broken ones, eaten,
prayers stretched from her hold.

Nimbled for the rising
of a take-for-granted sun,
she finishes a catch-all for a day
into which wanderers
might fly.

By Tricia Knoll

spider and web close up.


Knoll_Author_PhotoI wrote my chapbook Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press) some years ago and spent time looking for stories and events that highlighted the interface between wild creatures and humans in urban habitat. I live near a small creek in Portland which is a corridor for coyotes. Each fall a pileated woodpecker comes back to investigate my alder trees. I was captivated by this story of Isolde and the other red tails who have found niches in New York City. Website: triciaknoll.com

Photo of spider web by Noppharat Manakul

New Years Day, California

Noon sun
so low but
welcome, welcome

Barbecue grate
crusted sizzle
cold to touch

Plastic tugboat
bright blue among fallen leaves
child in college

Cracked window glass
last summer’s
tennis ball

Planter box
bulbs within, stirring
days after solstice.

Wooden loveseat
rotten, unsafe for sitting
but what of love?

Chimney bricks fallen,
mishmash since the earthquake,
home to lizards

Ceramic urn
my brother’s ashes scattered,
now vintage rainwater
wiggling black nymphs

Garbage can upside down
yesterday when I lifted
turtle eggs glistened
so set back, gently
until spring

By Joe Cottonwood

chair in sunset silhouette


Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. Construction work may seem the antithesis of nature, but Joe would point out that birds do it, bees do it, and he tries to 99 Jobs Book Coverbuild in harmony with the environment using salvaged materials wherever possible. He is the author of nine published novels, a book of poetry, and a memoir. He lives in La Honda, California, where he built a house and raised a family under (and at the mercy of) a giant redwood trees. His most recent book is 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses. His website is JoeCottonwood.com Photo of Love Seat at La Honda is by the author.

An Ostinato on Winter Solstice

Solstice — a word from the Middle English
which is to say, derived from … which is to say,
receives its DNA from Old French, and before that
from the Latin solstitium, a combination of sol,

meaning, of course, sun, plus stit meaning
not so obviously, stopped or stationary,
and it’s a riff … or rather, it sounds like
stratus, status, stannous, solace, surplice.

It sounds sacred almost, not in the way
it was sacred to ancient man,
but in the way it connotes
commencement. It’s the day the moon turns

itself inside out with envy
because it’s not about the moon. The moon
is only along for the ride — a tag-along
on a wild ride through the small space

of our Milky Way. It’s about the sun
and terra firma and how they dance
together in such perfect rhythm
it takes your breath away. It’s like an old

song that pops into your head after an absence…
no, it’s not exactly like that. It’s more
like how you think you see something you love,
your old black cat, for instance, out of the corner

of your eye even though she’s been gone
two years, and then you know without knowing
that the day’s light holds a bit
longer, and the world shines a bit brighter

and is more spacious, more open and …
even though there are still cold nights
ahead, the more you think about it, the more
you know that unlike your cat,

it’s something real; and, to a heart
cloaked in winter’s darkness, it’s a word
that perfectly personifies
the sacred promise of physics.

By Grace Curtis

sun in winter forest


Grace Curtis’ book, The Shape of a Box, was published in 2014 by Dos Madres Press. Her chapbook, The Surly Bonds of Earth, was selected by Stephen Dunn as the 2010 winner of the Lettre Sauvage chapbook contest, and she has been nominated for a Pushcart award. Her prose and poetry has been or is forthcoming in such journals as Sou’wester, The Baltimore Review, Waccamaw Literary Journal, Blood Orange Review, and others. See more of her work at www.gracecurtispoetry.com.

Photo of sunlight in forest by miloszg

Land of Awakening

Whirling memories,
going to winter sleep.
Paved leaves
stroking
the grass still green.

Pity that on the surface
can only be seen
bare,
swinging branches,
chilled and awaiting –
for the rays of life.

Rays –
to the land of awakening:
fields of grain,
smell of meadows
and in the Summer Dream
of memorised faces.

And in the summer?
Awakened by the May sun
old oaks and birches,
– like every day –
will be able to look at themselves
in the Green Pond.

By Eliza Segiet
Translated by Artur Komoter

the author in a meadow of flowers


Eliza Segiet is a Jagiellonian University graduate with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. She completed postgraduate studies in Cultural Knowledge, Philosophy, Penal Fiscal and Economic Law, and Creative Writing at Jagiellonian University, as well as Film and Television Production in Łódź, Poland. She is the author of six poetry collections including Cloudiness (2016) and Thought Mirages (2017).

Photo supplied by the author.

Song of the Titmouse

Light shined, and the world revolved perfectly. All seemed to be in its rightful place. A breeze drifted by, playfully picking up spray from a brook. It lifted drops off of the brilliant blue surface. The water, swift and clear, carved grooves in its muddy banks. A soothing warmth beamed down from sun, and encouraged an easy repose. Grass responded, growing at its greenest beneath trees that reached out with strong, unwavering boughs. Everything was radiant and alive. On one branch, a titmouse sang; the world seemed brighter for it.

Light gleamed, though shadows darkened. Elms and oaks bent in submission to a howling, restless wind. It swept through, lifting water up in sheets from a nearby river. Careless and confused, the current surged on in chase of a destination ever far and out of sight. In a bordering field, weeds grew in with grass, replacing flowers. Tall trees stood strong, while brambles curled about their trunks. A titmouse sang, the sound clear despite the relentless wind. Nature was heartened, and journeyed on.

Light shone out through a thick haze, tiring in its resistance against the gloom. Wet on wet, a steady downpour beat upon the surface of a stream. Unclear of where it headed, the waters simply moved of habit. Old mudbanks loomed far above what had become a steady trickle. The gale surged on, air thick with frigid water. It was impossible to tell which water was of the creek and which was of the sky. It made no difference anyhow. The icy blasts continued their barrage, leaving grass and weeds flattened as one. All remaining flowers died, too delicate for such a strain. The last and strongest branches cracked on trees with sturdy trunks. With tones of hope and determination, a titmouse spun a tune above the din. From this, creation took great strength, and still endured.

Darkness seeped into the cracks, sensing victory at hand. Air spiraled in a wind of biting cold, with no restraint. Where water had once rushed, snow and ice battered down on an empty channel. Weeds had choked out all the grass. Hollow pillars, once having reached for the sky, stood creaking, simply there. A voice called out; a single, lonely, beautiful note that wavered on the wind. It waned, and began to crack.

The call was gone, and the last of the light let go.

By Sophia Anne Charles

small grey bird perched on branch


Sophia Anne Charles is a talented, emerging writer of nature-oriented poetry and thoughtful, short fiction. Her focus is the intersection of nature, the human spirit and life’s often-lost simple observations. She resides in Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

Photo of Tufted Titmouse by Brian Lasenby