Rounds (Carolyn Foster Segal)



“Thank you for

coming,” my father says

at the beginning and

end of each visit, and “How’s

the family?” and “Do you know

if there’s a kind of flower called

rose?” When we go for a drive,

he calls out the name

of each street

as if it were

an exotic place he’s seeing

for the first time,

as indeed he is, each day blank

and shimmering

and open, like

the snow-covered lawn

that he’s studying now.

“That’s snow,” I tell him, and

he says, “Imagine that.”

Carolyn Foster Segal teaches creative writing, American literature, and film at Cedar Crest college, in Allentown, PA. She writes humorous essays for The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Inside Higher Ed, and The Irascible Professor; her other essays, stories, and poems have appeared in over fifty publications, including, most recently, 2RiverView and Long Island Quarterly.

This poem is copyright 2009 by Carolyn Foster Segal and is posted here with permission.


Resistance (John Lawson)


These fields and creeks, these woods and hills and hummocked spots,

Where rabbits crouch among the briars, none of these

Recognize their owners or the claims they stake.

They sleep, unmoving and unmoved, long winter through, and wake

To bear the tractor and the plow, the rake

In sullen silence, but connive to bring

Forth into the sun and feed

The hornet, thistle, and the rattlesnake.

Honeysuckle, yellow-green

And hostile, heaps the fences, breaks them.


John Lawson teaches Rhetoric and Creative Writing at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. His book, Generations, was published by the St. Andrews College Press in 2007, and his poems have appeared in a variety of print and online venues. His first published play, "Playing Through," recently appeared in the online journal Public Republic.

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Molting (Anca Vlasopolos)

Male chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

this winter says it has settled
for good
so that even now
late March we expect
more and more snow
a post-equinox sun

yet on the finch feeder
there’s no denying
even if smiles still crack lips
that pathetic ridiculous
of olive camouflage
starting to tatter
being pushed

bright-lemon yellow
opera black
struggling toward
dapper array
males on the make

Anca Vlasopolos is the author of The New Bedford Samurai (Twilight Times Books, 2007); Penguins in a Warming World (Ragged Sky Press, 2007); No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement (Columbia University Press, 2000); a poetry e-chapbook, Sidereal and Closer Griefs, print chapbooks Through the Straits, at Large and The Evidence of Spring; and a detective novel, Missing Members (trans. Miembros Ausentes, Madrid, 2009). She has also placed over two hundred poems and short stories in literary magazines.


Copyright 2009, Anca Vlasopolos

Posted with permission from author.


A Day at the Bird Feeder



Constellations (Gary B. Fitzgerald)


My father, the pilot, taught me

the names of the stars:

Betelgeuse, Sirius, Rigel, Polaris.

He taught me the constellations:

Orion & Leo, Pegasus, Centaurus,

the eternal portraits of imagination

painted on the infinity of dark.

I was only three or four when,

just before sleep, he came into my room.

He told me that he would be home soon,

that he had to leave to hang the moon.

The next night I’d ask my grandmother

to take me outside to see "the moom,"

so I could be sure that he really was

still up there.

Long after the B-17s and the DC-3s,

but before his beloved 707s,

my father flew the magnificent old three-tailed

Constellations, and many souls were carried

over empty seas, along the edge

of the heavens, presidents and kings and VIPs,

in skies then just as empty.

And now at night when I look up

I think of him and all the constellations.

I wonder how, after all these years,

they’ve never changed,

how all he ever taught me was still true.

I look up at the moon and imagine

what distant seas are flown,

what stars now skirted by his wings,

now that I’m sure that he really is

still up there.


Copyright 2008 – SOFTWOOD-Seventy-eight poems, Gary B. Fitzgerald

Burn Pile (Gary B. Fitzgerald)


Warm Spring evening at my burn pile,

hissing restless of the fire,

pierce of an occasional hawk overhead.

Otherwise quiet.

Out burning Winter’s trimmings in the pasture:

wind-fall sticks, old hay and rosebush clippings,

broken fence boards and leftover pages.

Some cardboard boxes.

A pleasant fire on a warm Spring night,

relaxed like a deep woods campfire,

just thirty feet past the fence from my back yard.

Safe and serene, but a fire still primeval,

like Neanderthal after a good hunt,

bellies full, protected and sleepy.

I drift in a reverie, communing with the ghosts.

But that damned tractor across the pond keeps

on working, roaring, noisy diesel clatter,

snapping of saplings and trees

destroying this otherwise quiet,

destroying the otherwise pristine,

disturbing my tranquil evening alone

with the ancient spirits and popping peaceful

of the fire. Some voices are never heard,

others never cease to intrude.

Did I mention what was in the

cardboard boxes?


Copyright 2008, by Gary B. Fitzgerald

From HARDWOOD-77 Poems

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