Quiet Knowing

by Anna Jennings

doe-eyed, tentative

nurturing, instinctive –

we see one another’s 

reflection at the stream 

dip our slender necks 

to touch the kiss of water

forget to hesitate and

in this sylvan wonder

create one path to trod

Three Horses

by Elaine Pentaleri

The three horses suddenly
or maybe always are there
beneath the low foliage,
grazing on spring grass,
reincarnated
after the unfortunate incident under the bleachers,
or perhaps the bleachers are an unpleasant mirage
conjured in sleep.
The horses, flicking their long tails
in the languid afternoon heat,
are beautiful
and know the correct responses
to multiple choice questions in arithmetic,
which they deliver in hoofbeats
with astonishing accuracy.
Coming upon them,
their peaceful poetics
and the metaphysics of unstrung theory,
I am compelled to ride one.
I choose the most docile of the three,
grab hold of her abundant mane
and ride off into my past,
back and back into time,
revisiting experience exactly as it once was,
reliving the motives for every act
and thus undoing all regret.
Perhaps this is what dying is.

I wonder if I will ever come back.

Summer in April

by Buffy Aakaash

With mindfulness I walk these paths
in mountain woods, the mud from thaw
coats my boots, my jaw dropped in awe
of peaks that climb, no clouds at all


I reach the creek and pause to think
with mindfulness I’ll walk this path
Brome grass, water falls, aftermath
of melting snow, its last passed as


April’s warmth wraps up the winter.
Down at the pond while wild things clash
in mindfulness I walk this path
with bears, coyotes, frogs and cats


across the flats. The sugar shacks
and maple taps are past their time
The shrubs and vines begin to climb
With mindfulness I walk these paths.

Breaking

by Sean Dunn


T-shirts fold into abdomens,
Disco balls hold the light’s glare
While the reggaeton threads
Bar stools seams stitching the bar,
Here, it is pool night,
Though the men don’t say it,
Just make terse circles
Around the table
Seemingly endlessly
Not one speaking to the other
And each knowing, somehow,
Not to, that it won’t matter.
Boise, Idaho true blue,
Cool coins hard as thumbs
Slipping into slots
Like discs in your back,
A table is for a body.
Balls breaking like bones,
An eight ball kills you, come here
Between shots, hear the village elder
Whisper words of backspin
In your ear above the jukebox
Blare of Bon Jovi, stop –
Operating bodies on tables,
A triangular diaphragm framing
The game like an X-ray,
You follow the shot through always
Like the the old man said,
Flat back, straight through,
The billiard cue
An extension of you
Floating for a moment
As the break disperses
Across the surface,
The game is still
Open.

For My Sister

by Maggie Eaton


I won’t live long, you murmured as we sat on the deck gazing at the lilac-hued
mountains, backlit in early twilight
Fireflies flickered star-like in the emerging blackness
Don’t say that, I murmured
Not wanting to imagine saying goodbye to these beating moments like raindrops
Pelting us with memories
Sisters riding to Church with our Grandfather
Hoping for candy afterward if we were good
Moving the pig fence you deserted your post in terror
The Black Angus steer thundered toward us
I waved my stick and shouted
And when our mother was dying we made the journey home together over hundreds of miles
Sitting for hours listening to the undulations of her gentle breaths like the waves
We used to be able to see from the windows
In the living room facing the bay.

Clichés

by David Mook

Clichés are odd ducks, especially
when you get them all in a row.
Think about it, one minute we’re
told to be the early bird and the next

thing you know, somebody is killing
two of them with a single stone, as if
that’s a good thing. All without a word
of warning for the bird or the worm.

Dare to ask, “Who’ll cast the first stone?”
You’ll have a line waving big Styrofoam
fingers, all wanting to be number one.
It’s hard to tell sometimes if mankind

is a single oxymoron, or many morons?
And why is a kind man so hard to find?
Perhaps we’re hiding from kindness, since
so many have already been killed with it.

And why do acts of kindness have to be
so random? Why not try some new clichés,
like two kindnesses with a single gesture?
Sadly, I don’t think that dog’s gonna hunt.

But then again, what can make less sense
than killing anything at all with a stone,
or with any other thing for that matter?
Is it because Death has become so cliché,

or is it for some other lack of reason that we
are always inventing new cliches for killing
and for death, as if, like sitting ducks, we
could kill them both with a single cliché?

War Madonna BCE

by Wilma Ann Johnson

A  Mother?

Why her frame
was that of a younger woman as
Memling-like
her red hair
fell down her back
as she knelt
with moving lips and
prayerfully clasped hands
in the dimness while
tapers burned,
incense permeated the air,
and the night bird
sang a dirge outside
over the grave
of her soldier-son
a sacrifice to Ares and Bellona.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour


What Remains

by Kathryn Bonnez


Days before the final storm
I spied the weakened nest,
tattered and drenched by weeks
of rain and wind, still cradled
in the blackened tree.
I soon noticed a robin sitting
there with daily regularity
for long stretches of time,
staring at me staring at her
from my front porch perch.
We sat together like that
for days observing each other,
mother of an empty nest
with another of a full one.
Then came the day when rain fell
for twenty-four hours, rivers jumped
their banks, and muddy torrents
swallowed the valleys.
Morning of the clearing, the one
behind my house racing by
like the Niagara, full of debris
from nature and humans,
silt-stink in the humid air.
Later on tv, cars bobbing
in streams, huge chunks of roads
missing and washed out,
homes and business under water,
trees uprooted and toppled.
And mother robin calmly settled
atop her soon-to-be hatchlings;
swivels her black head, flashes
orange beak while surveying
the scene, surviving.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour