By Cindy Rinne
The blue-for-sky ao dai dress
slick to the touch shimmered silver, gray, and slate blue.
Horizontal stripes bordered the top, bottom, and sleeves –
base band carried bird-boats on high waves filled
with long-neck creatures worshipping the sun
or following the north star. Next, a stripe of star maps like compasses,
with a pie-wedge missing. Bird boats floated above
these wheels while birds flew beneath & beside the globes. Atop
was a ring of various angular birds like puzzle pieces. Then a
thin layer of silvery birds holding each other’s wings in a line.
Leading to thin birds, silver on blue pattern stretching towards
gray with silver columns of wispy clouds in the middle of the dress.
Mai Ly wore this sky dress to search for the eyes of the Phoenix –
artifacts of the moon and sun.
Jade Emperor said,
Sail towards Mia Pagoda to meet the guardians
of the lidded vessel. On the way, I will tell you the story of the moon goddess.
By Cindy Rinne
Phong, in the courtyard of his thatch-roofed house
with clay walls, perched behind the wooden bird cage –
home for Uncle Bao’s shama thrush (with royal blue
body and burnt sienna breast). Phong’s face looked
like a vertical grid with a horizontal band. Hushed
as he drew close, he sat captivated as the wild bird
performed his best low to high song. Phong said,
Can I name him? Uncle Bao gave the shama thrush
his daily bath and plucked off the legs of grasshoppers
for food. You can move him to the sun. He’s had
enough shade. What name? Uncle Bao asked.
Phong grabbed the handle on top of the cage
noticing his sore hands were more flushed.
He set the cage on the specially made stand. Cuoi.
Let’s call him, Cuoi. He healed dead people and
flew holding an axe on the banyan tree from earth
to live on the moon.
By Cindy Rinne
The tribes, looking like salt
Sprinkled on the earth,
Grew larger in scale.
As the Feather Keeper lowered, He caught sight of
And golden poppies.
He flapped his wings one last time,
Landing on gritty sand.
His feet sensed
The earth receiving him.
You have returned with a new way
For humans to touch the sky.
The Feather Keeper replied,
A wheel of stones drawn on dirt
In each tribe’s land.
The shape of a nest –
A reminder of the wisdom
And patience of birds.
By Cindy Rinne
The ladder vibrated
Under The Feather
Like hummingbird wings, like an avalanche.
His sweat mixed into a cloud
Of ice crystals. Afraid,
He called upon Guardian Spirit –
Please help me
Reach the sun.
A black blur shifted
Just outside his
Sight. Giant raven
Spread his wings,
Becoming the top
Rung of the ladder.
Climb up here
on My head.
By Cindy Rinne
The Feather Keeper skimmed granite rocks
And removed the darkened quill off a large stone.
He rested on the coolness of the boulder.
Feather upright in hand,
Inhaled and exhaled slow, deep breaths
Studied the shaft thinned down to a stem.
Stark as his hair,
The barbs at the base like waves
Larger afterfeathers curved into the vane
Survived opposing winds.
The Feather Keeper brushed it next to his ear.
A peace pipe after you ascend the feather ladder.
He held the quill sideways; it offered no resistance to air
Lingered on the gusts
The movement of raven.
Chills raced through his body as he sensed a circular truth,
His life wrapped around creatures of the nests.
Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She is the Poetry Editor for the “Sand Canyon Review,” Crafton Hills College, CA. Cindy won an Honorable Mention in The Rattling Wall Poetry Contest. Cindy is a Guest Author for Saint Julian Press. She is a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire based literary community. Cindy has been published in many literary journals. She has a poetry manuscript, The Feather Ladder and has written and illustrated a chapbook called, Rootlessness. www.fiberverse.com.
By Andrew Darlington
ill-met on this galactic strand
we slouch and brag with glass in hand
you ask, I’ll help you understand
how we grab a shower before zero hour
then scry our sightings for the Sun
before realising we’ve scarce begun,
for our next endeavour
takes us beyond forever…
you’re not quite what I’d call a person
but a close enough impersonation
to beguile in conversation, so listen,
the Moon is old and the Moon is cold,
and in its grav-shock we hit the lens
to an elsewhen where space-time ends,
and everything that once I learned
is effortlessly overturned…
I’ll confide, you think worlds sensible? that
just makes truth more incomprehensible
for this Venus is a place where dinosaurs prowl
through jewelled jungles of plumaged fowl
and to Mercury, where the ice and fire meet
we pace the twilight margin on insulated feet
to the caverns where the First Ones dream
and telepath the things they’ve seen…
to all the truths I’d once been blind
until that time spent out of mind, to
navigate species lineage, on small eternal pilgrimage
impossible nebulae congeal so swirling bright
as life rains in spores and galaxies ignite
in light that crawls from sun to blazing sun
to realise, we’ve scarce begun,
lost, no direction home on this galactic strand
we slouch and recall with glass in hand
of ships and time and wondrous tales
until the stars above us pale…
Readers can find Andrew Darlington at andrewdarlington.blogspot.com
By Steve Klepetar
“Is that what writing amounts to? The voice your ghost would have if it had a voice?” Margaret Atwood
Once I left a note etched into a wooden desk.
I dug the words in Latin so you would understand.
Sometimes I write my name in water, sometimes
in dust or pollen from the oak trees in my yard.
You didn’t notice me, and that was fine.
I kept hidden in the brush until I fell asleep
and woke with an allergy to thorns.
We talked about this all night, how red my arms
became and how gently you pulled the tiny spikes
from my wounded flesh. You longed to braid
that fine, black hair, but even your clever fingers
couldn’t keep the fringes straight. I wrote this down
in chalk, in ink, in pencil the color of amber flame.
When you climbed from my bed, back to streets
and mud, I couldn’t wait. I raced to write your name,
inscribed sacred letters of that word on the inside of my eyes.
By Steve Klepetar
Where the Cats Go
is a mystery hidden by white stones gleaned
from a distant shore. Some hand has piled
them up in reverent pyramids
where night’s fog meets the thundering sea.
Somewhere they gather to hiss and scratch
and worship the sliver of moon.
When they pad back to alley and yard, alien
voices fill the air with victory and pain.
Musk pervades gutters and lawns.
They rattle garbage cans to wake the dead.
A woman rises from bed to answer her cat’s
imperious cry. Bloodied and proud, he is ready
for meat, yellow-green eyes burning through
her trembling hand.
Steve Klepetar teaches literature and writing at Saint Cloud State University in Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His latest collections include Speaking to the Field Mice, from Sweatshoppe Publications, Blue Season, a chapbook collaboration with Joseph Lisowski, from mgv2>publishing, and My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto from Flutter Press.
By Jennifer Hefley
Sitting. Waiting. Time passes by.
Realizing this is my life.
People go on with their daily lives like robots,
hoping that maybe something exciting will ravish their routines.
We gotta keep pushing on, moving forward. Not let the negativity shut us down.
Stay positive. See the good.
Got to remember this is the life we have so
make it a good one.
Make it a memorable one.
Make it worth it.
Surround yourself with people who love you, support you,
and lift you up.
Treat your body like the amazing sacred temple that it is.
Breath in all the greatness this miraculous world and universe have to offer you,
while staying grounded, centered and grateful.
Father Universe, let my light shine.
Keep my hummingbird heart open to giving and receiving love.
Jennifer Hefley is a native San Diegan healer and mother.
By Sarah White
Somewhere an astronomer
receives a picture
from across an unimaginable span
of space and time—
the cosmos in a phase
before it went all spherical
and orbital before matter
in this beautiful oval
was organized as stars comets
planets meteors before the satellite
we know cooled and was divided
by the great distinctions—dark
dry from wet—
to suit amoebas anemones
coral forests warm
water clowns and other reasons
for a snorkel
or telescope to send
an astronomer a picture
of a universe still as simple
and strange as it was before
there were phones
before good or bad
news or numbers on the clock
in a waiting room
to measure whether
any creature no matter
will breathe for a greater
or lesser span of hours
than her mother and father.