Fiona Ritchie Walker – Surveillance

Fiona Ritchie Walker

When the aliens came, they hovered undetected
above polluted skies, took their time
recording readings, analysing day to day
activities, global change, how ancient ways
of living with nature had long ago been lost,
the friendly forms of living, travelling
diminished by human borders, senseless wars.

They saw rivers no longer nourishing the soil,
recorded rising contamination, vast hidden poisons
entering blood streams, destroying warming seas.

Sometimes they found pockets of joy, quiet goodness
happening in the midst of drawn knives, drugs and hate,
but not enough to make them explore more,
stop them from heading home.

Fiona Ritchie Walker – In the Home Accessories Store

Fiona Ritchie Walker
In the Home Accessories Store

You turn the globe, point out your familiar place
then I send the world spinning, east to west,
until I find my patch of land surrounded by blue.

Nothing bought, we link arms,
catch the bus back
to where our hearts live now.

Jessica Bundschuh – Moving Postcards

Jessica Bundschuh
Moving Postcards

Dear Pebble,
On an afternoon walk to no particular place, a small stack of pebbles will lie at my feet; I will make up their histories for any lover: looking into his blue or brown eyes, explaining how they will bounce along the riverbed like letters in a sloppy sentence, pebbles worn round and smooth by abrasions, no place to go but downward, to the ocean; I will tell the story as if it were my own, my mouth opening each letter; and as my lips will open, pulling out the last rrrrr sound, he will certainly see my pleasure in making this sound—raunchy, rough, like a motor revving, and my tongue will suspend itself in the middle of my mouth, like a guilty lover’s; what I will say with aplomb is how I love how grey they are, all of one colour; I will bend to pick up a pebble, a smooth one, and taste it—running my tongue across its surface (to hear its salty, marrow-ribboned history, how it will come from a distant sea; how it will have no mother, no father, and no vowels to spare for its dry, hot future: OOO).

Dear Gondola,
Unser schönes Südtirol will write my dead German mother-in-law on a creased and scalloped photo. She will it hold against her umbrella, posting letters outside the hotel. Without gravity, she will slide in a gondola towards ceramic blue, higher certainly than any god, and she will let the clouds greet her, snaking her waist, while she takes picture after picture of the highest place she will ever stand—the film will stay undeveloped. She will then pass back and forth across the village wall, the five tower gates, and the church steeple—still awfully brave and awfully Gothic—to secure for me the precise dot-dot-dot […] when the up-gondola and the down-gondola will kiss and will embrace their swing or Schwung, while her streaked gondola window will reflect her passage outside: the clouds will lift between the tulip poplars and her warm breath will still on glass—and later a batting taffeta lid—caught in tomorrow’s quiet emergency, tomorrow’s unsent postcards.

Laura Theis – A Flying Visit To The Writer’s Zoo

Laura Theis
A Flying Visit To The Writer’s Zoo

and here we have
the poets:

they are nocturnal creatures
who dwell in liminal spaces

shy little monsters
subsisting on a mixed diet

of intrusive thoughts
echoes of past loves

and occasionally
beans on toast

approach at your own risk
they might try to escape

using your head
as their getaway driver

Nimruz De Castro – salt for good luck

Nimruz De Castro
salt for good luck

here, your great dreams have abandoned you.
or on days that you feel taller,
you say it was you
who sent them away.
you packed their bags,
lined their pockets
with salt for good luck,
with money enough
for tickets back
to that mountainous place
you left behind
so many years ago,
where the Internet was so bad, you hoped they
would give up on sending emails.
it was your choice to leave,
to live quietly, to live unbound,
unfettered, unseen.
it was you that chose
to live in a house without a door
for Opportunity to knock on.
Opportunity who speaks a different language,
whose hair is golden as flowers
your mother tongue did not have names for.
there are days he still comes to visit.
he stands beneath the doorframe,
he shakes his head, realizing he is still unable
to pronounce your name.
you smile at him, with teeth showing.
as you tuck yourself in,
outside, by the window, you watch your dreams
stand under the rain like ghosts,
as the water washes their faces away.

Anne Gruner – Migration

Anne Gruner

The geese used to fly south
for the winter, a honking traffic jam
slipstreaming overhead in V-formation,
a peloton team, guided by an inner compass.
Craning my neck skyward, I listened
to the seasonal siren of change.

The gaggle now settles here for the winter.
Seems I’m no longer a flyover,
but a destination, a port.
Snow on the lawn that once shimmered
in the sunlight has become a flotilla
of gray feathers adrift on a sea of grass,
an avian navy commandeering the yard.
Black and white heads bob, gobbling greenery,
except for one—tall and alert: the captain of the watch.

My small harbor is warm and peaceful—but for
two golden retrievers staring from the window.
The furry sentinels gently whine,
seized by ancestral urges.
The local golf course, inundated
with the cackling interlopers,
compensates canines to play
an endless game of tag they cannot win.

I let slip my golden dogs of war, who cry havoc.
The armada takes flight, sailing into the blue.

It’s oddly comforting that the pattern
will repeat tomorrow and again,
but I know at some point the fleet
will opt to dock further north,
abandoning my port to loneliness.

Pamela Alexander – Nomadic

Pamela Alexander

My house is a box
with a wheel at each corner.
I think of the earth underneath it
and conserve:

not too many miles a day,
no other house left behind
to heat or cool, or furnish.
All the lights LEDs;
the furnace sips
propane. Conserve: don’t

spend energy on what
might have been–

pots tucked into lockers, knives
in drawers, everything lashed
or bungeed, secure–

or worse, on what was.

Couch and table become
beds. Storage under,
over, clever, crafty.

Land-liner, piloted
toward better weather,
outer and inner,
wherever that may be.

Angela Williams – Moving On

Angela Williams
Moving On

My spade cleaves the hillock of soil.
Deranged worker ants scramble
across her headstone
their rhythms disrupted, beats broken.
They must move on, build a new colony.
My hands flatten the ground, robe it in grass.
Plant primroses, join with the earth.
Grave dirt under my nails, drawing closer.

Red tractor mud oozes
onto the road. Splatters a minibus
full of itinerant pickers.
Gangmasters run the potato harvest
now no locals will bow low
to dig England’s buried treasure.

Kestrels wheel in the sky
above my old home.
Summer guests have fled.
The kissing gate closes behind me.
I’m already on my way,
walking along a street,
red earth stuck to my soles.

Adrienne Stevenson – Too Many

Adrienne Stevenson
Too Many

we have already tipped, have you noticed yet?
violence escalates through nature, led by us
denial cannot make us unnatural—merely blind

take any population:
      a dish of bacteria
      a cage of rats
provide food, allow to multiply
observe the crash when food gives out

extrapolate to humanity
solve for how many planets we need
      to satisfy endless appetite and growth
divide our population by double that
(we deign to permit other species)
subtract the industrial age
      to calculate a stability point
aim for that

if we don’t act, we will be acted upon
our planet will slough us off
like so many dead skin cells
disappearing down the shower drain

Joe Cottonwood – She grows bristlecone pines

Joe Cottonwood
She grows bristlecone pines

as house plants, drops little seeds
into paper cups with harsh soil
from Sierra mountainside,
sunburnt seedlings frosted,
parched, neglected for weeks
fitting nature’s plan,
her windowsill a forest
growing with the speed
of centuries.

Her bedroom is cramped.
She sleeps by the door.
Her love is prickly, remembers
wooly mammoths, survived asteroids.
She gets angry when I suggest orchids.
The landlord wants her out,
wants to build condos, turns up
the heat.

In cups her love grows
for grandchildren to transplant
to faraway years, unfriendly soil,
to ever struggle, never thrive.
Please, may they survive.