Longing Is Not Desire
Longing was never meant to be satisfied.
Alone with the ruins on the grassy promontory,
low sun of early January on the sea,
I long to be alone with the ruins,
low sun of early January on the sea.
When at last I look back, I long to look back,
ruins in silhouette over silhouette of rocks,
some of what’s left of the day showing
through former windows. What desire makes
crumbles with the weight of its own creation.
But longing, longing wants most when it has. So forgive me,
when our blankets are spread before the cottage fire
and it’s been night after night since I’ve touched your skin,
if my finger tip lingers along one last seam.
“Longing Is Not Desire” is reprinted from The Missouri Review.
Jonathan Johnson is the author of two books of poems, Mastodon, 80% Complete (2001) and In the Land We Imagined Ourselves (2010), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press, and the nonfiction book, Hannah and the Mountain: Notes Toward a Wilderness Fatherhood (University of Nebraska Press, 2005). His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac, and numerous other anthologies, as well as Southern Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner. Johnson migrates between upper Michigan, Scotland, and eastern Washington, where he teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.
This morning, on our walk between rain squalls
we circled the lake at the head of the Cayou valley.
There, amidst an insistence of flickers, a burble
of robins, the rusty scrape of the red-wing blackbird,
we happened upon a black-feathered shape, which flew up
at our approach, into the trees. Where it had been,
what had seemed a rumpled blanket,
was a doe, no more than two days dead.
Ribs furled around a thorax
empty of lungs, empty of heart, open
to the thin mist of rain. And the ribs themselves,
pink and clean of meat, a lesson in anatomy taught
by that bald scavenger waiting above, waiting
to resume his lecture on our shared fate.
“Prosector” previously appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Ted McMahon’s poetry has appeared in Seattle Review, Convolvulus, Manzanita Quarterly, Rosebud, and the Journal of the American Medical Association, and on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. His full-length collection is The Uses of Imperfection, published in 2003. He published a chapbook, First Fire, in 1996. Ted received the 1999 Carlin Aden Award for formal verse from the Washington Poets Association, and a 2004 Artist Trust GAP Grant. He was finalist for the Ruth Stone Prize in Poetry in 2005. Ted was a co-editor at Floating Bridge Press in Seattle from 1999-2006. He currently practices Pediatrics half time in the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard and devotes the other half to writing and leading river journeys. He lives in the Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford with his wife, photographer Rosanne Olson, and their two Maine Coon cats, Zoe and Maxx.
I Am Your Winged Torso of Eros
“Everything breakable in you has been broken . . .”
— Daniel Hall
Archival air belies the dirt they drew me from.
My wings lie crumbled in that ground still.
(Fingers marked unknown in a Reykjavik museum,
one ear completes a French recruiter’s stall.)
Fluorescence pours its green on all of us.
Why then return to face this embarrassment
of cracks and absence, blind luck and loss?
You’ve got it wrong (in sneakers and jeans, the docent’s
sneeze, the guidebook’s backward fold): Let me go
into the world: part saffron-dusted swallowtail,
part fountain jazz, wine and laughlines. The stone
heart erodes, forgotten as a pearl in its fossil shell.
Take, instead, the light sighs . . . I am broken,
yes, but broken like bread — a piece for everyone.
Jeff Crandall is a poet and artist living in Seattle.
The wind has twisted the tops of hemlock and fir;
cones and needles spatter the muddy path.
Rising from nearby chimneys: wood smoke and ash.
A cold mist washes my cheek and cattails stir
the breeze, climbing dried and broken reeds
while birdsong mixes swift, twitter, chit,
and swallows hide among the rosehip thickets.
My jacket snags on tangled arches, while beads
of dew fall from the vine. The year begins
anew. I thumb the cat-tongue underside
of a blackberry leaf, startled by its thorn.
One snapped branch divides our trail. The winds
have spun so little down. Despite the wide
weather warning, this time we missed the storm.
published in Poetry Northwest
Carol Light has poems published in Narrative Magazine, American Life in Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, Literary Bohemian, Pacific Poetry Project, and elsewhere. In 2011 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, named a Writing Fellow with Jack Straw Productions, and received a GAP award for poetry from Artist Trust. She studied poetry in the MFA program at the University of Washington where she was awarded the Academy of American Poets prize. She teaches part-time at Olympic College and lives with her family in Port Townsend, Washington.