IN SUNSET WAYS
by Millard C. Davis
I'd like to go out and climb the nearest live oak
Along about evening to see if the incoming sunset
Were being manufactured out there just for me
(Except I know that you're there, too, along your road).
I like to tell others who ought to have seen,
But that's like making an image out of love
And trying to pass it along. It does work with kids
We like to believe, so maybe we should send it on
Like getting them to swing from a spreading branch
Of an apple tree like I used to do, sweeping out
As far as you can 'til the ropes suddenly slacken
You're not pulling it out but suddenly dropping back.
You don't want to tell them it's the same way with love,
Or can be. First dates will inform them so soon enough.
And then like sunsets they can climb a neighboring tree.
Both were meant to be looked over and passed along
For the warmth to be shared after nighttime has come.
ALTERNATE REALITY by Alex Nodopaka
by Tom Laichas
The fruit needs no reptilian tongue to tempt the children.
Stemwise, it slithers into their dreams. Taste me. Chew me. Swallow me up.
Down their sleeping throats sluices milky sweet juice and pulp.
The children awaken. They already know what it will mean to let this fruit
into their mouths: labor and labor pains. Such suffering!
But also sweetness. Now and then, such sweetness.
They know what will come. Did you think they are stupid? Aren't they, both
of them, prophets?
From the garden's high place, looking over the hedge, they've seen cities
and villages. They've seen their savage ungardened neighbors. But, when
the breeze is just right, it carries from every house and hovel that sweet
The fruit is the only way out.
At the moment they swallow, the cosmos collapses down to the surface of
their skins. They are one with no one else. The dream said nothing about
such sudden loneliness. Terrified, wholly estranged from the world, they
shiver in clear winter air.
But the fruit keeps its promises, and its scent warms their bodies, its heat
driving every slow thought from their brains. They burn together, the
children, alone and together
Then the Voice speaks. It is now a stranger's voice, grotesque and
The Voice too keeps its promises.
by Michael Fraley
There is an ocean in my mind
That curves each wave
Towards the farthest shores of sight
Where purple and crimson birds of flight
Descend lazily through the stretching branches
Of the drowsy auburn trees.
Flight, you would say, is an ethereal thing,
But I can feel its pulse and rhythm
In the beating of my blood
And the graceful arc of each bird
Settling to the ground in that unseen land
Leaves an afterimage of its flight
Etched upon the eye. Lower down,
Among the furtive roots that course
Their random yet persistent way,
Among the litter of the forest floor,
Delicately hued flowers flaunt their petals
In self-delight at the beauty they possess.