We are sneaking in under April’s curfew for National Poetry Month! These poems originally appeared in Knoxzine’s 2015 April/May print issue. Since our print circulation was small, we wanted to resurrect these poems for a larger online audience. Also, enjoy all of our 2015 print covers and alternate covers!
In dreams, irises
adorn me, shawl for my shoulders.
Bees festoon my hair.
Today, I make time
for not looking at my watch.
Hours drizzle honey.
Dear squirrels, teach me
which dreams to hoard, which branches
will hold my landing.
~ Donna Doyle
Hunters of the Heart
One warm winter night in Tennessee, we sat on
the tailgate of your pickup truck
in the parking lot of the bird sanctuary,
talking about the way the trees and all of nature
made us feel calm and safe.
When we stopped talking, silence
slid like a river between us and
we drifted into a comfortable separateness.
But then you mentioned the deer hunter,
out there somewhere in the black night
scouting for a clearing where he hopes in the pale veil of dawn
a muscular buck will pass sideways across his vision,
where he will wait for the rifle’s cross-hairs
to find the heart, and we both shuddered,
knowing how unfair the world is, sometimes even to ourselves,
but also how God gave us trees to rub our dreams against,
and would perhaps know by the broken branches
that we passed this way once and felt deep gratitude
for the warmth of the night and the spirit that enfolded us.
~ Carole Ann Borges
6 A.M. Pompano Beach, Florida
A gash of red,
a sigh of exposed flesh,
on my way to teach, I see them,
here, there, all along Atlantic Avenue.
It seems too early, but they’re out—
like long-legged deer strolling beside a river.
On the left side of the road
a lilac sign flashes: NUDE DANCING.
Some doll up. Others
offer themselves like crumpled money.
Single-file, they walk
with their backs to the rushing traffic.
When an eighteen-wheeler passes, only their
shadows tremble and shudder.
Solid objects turned iillusion,
by an alchemy of diesel fumes.
No shame to lay on them.
No guilt either.
This road belongs to all of us.
How we walk it is our own business.
Safe in my Nissan Sentra,
I imagine them entering
some dark motel bedroom–the most
dangerous arena in the world,
wearing only lime-green underpants and heels.
Road warriors, so powerful,
no one can touch them without paying.
~ Carole Ann Borges
Change of Season
Like the last bite of ice smoldering
on the tongue, weatherman warns of cold
snap circling thin March clouds even as the sky
begins its spring fall, so many galaxies
swelling in the grass. I save what I can, unfurl
beach towels, sheets holding my daughter’s scent,
petal pressed in the secret diary of night.
I dare frost to lay a ghostly hand and take
what is his or is not.
Next morning the ridgeback glistens only
with dew, though hollows and karst
felt a numbing gray breath. Near the hackberry
a rouged azalea, queenly under a percale
gown, bloodies the sheet with her flowering.
Some gritty soap, hard scubs, and we are
young together, menses unstoppable
as white drifts of bridalwreath
flooding our banks with time.
Reprinted from Birmingham Poetry Review
Knoxville Skyline, With Mountains
Architecture steeples the past,
pricking our daily shroud of forgetting.
You, Knoxville, are no exception: lost dreams
tend your back yard trees, haunt your furances,
sing in moaning floorboards those hymns forgotten
as you tend to business, so numb with what passes
for now that roots have become brick and beam,
hardwood flooring, sudden bits of cornice and molding,
lost doorways that make sense the way daffodils make sense.
To be expected. Bits of the Smokies burrow in river muck.
Downstream from everything, we build our palace
on echoed horizon, horizon piled on horizon, unseen,
a compost of mountain cloud, eagle’s realm,
and the wind’s blue home. Imaginary, our vistas coagulate,
congealing like memories of mud between toes,
a sweet clinging bit of pie across the tongue.
~ Brian Griffin