Épines de velours

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Contributor: Tabbitha Gordon

- -
Velvet thorns on the blue rose,
The courageous ladies man,
A gentleman, I suppose.

Abandoned his Kingdom, goes
To a faraway land.
Velvet thorns on the blue rose.

“Coward!” they cry, but he knows
He is not a craven sham.
A gentleman, I suppose.

His arrow is a death blow,
One arrow, one corpse: His plan,
Velvet thorns on the blue rose.

Chasing ladies with his show
Of a great Archer Frenchman,
A gentleman, I suppose.

A keen eye and reliant bows,
Most courageous of kinsmen,
Velvet thorns on the blue rose,
A gentleman, I suppose.

- - -
Tabbitha Gordon is a fiction writer, playwright, and poet living in Pittsburgh. She speaks fluent sarcasm and enjoys watching movies while writing whatever comes to mind.

Understanding Love

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Contributor: Teddy Kimathi

- -
A philosopher once told me that love
cannot be understood in a lab; a human heart
cannot be cut open, so as to remove love for weight
or size measurements, or even knowing its color.

It is at that moment that I decided to make my heart
a living lab; a lab with no microscopes, test-tubes
or white-coats. I wanted to investigate what love
really is, with my own rules.

Heartbreaks, ecstasy, sadness, and thrill became
the elements to use to see how love reacted to them; I had
a chance to do “emotional fusion” with strangers and familiar

After this sanity-damned experiment,
the findings were as insane as a shell floating in an aquarium.

The image of love seemed like mixing sugar and salt
together, to make a cup of tea!

- - -
Teddy is a fan of reading anything that makes me seek the mysteries of life. He has published poems and fiction stories in various journals. "The Milky Way In Words," is his first poetry book, available in Amazon.

Wife After Showering

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Niagara Falls
her silver hair

so long it
bounces off

the swan
of her back

and off
her buttocks

as she laughs
and waves

a towel too long
saluting the sun

and us
who share

golden morning

- - -
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Umbrella Poem

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Contributor: Nate Maye

- -
Dash the rain to the side
of our windows, away from our
houses, we run inside

as if we can escape the fall
of order from the sky, as if
we are on this earth to survive

Inside, we dry off together
listening to the sound of each
other breathing.

- - -
Nate Maye is new to poetry. He studies literature, watches more television than he should, and is from Texas.

Quiet Nights

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Contributor: Lyla Sommersby

- -
Like the quiet nights
cool nights
half-lit by street lights
we'd find the little silent spaces
between the blinding days
the little liminal seas
of cool and pleasant gray
when cardigan hands and so-soft lips
would meet momentary in the mildtime
the melding endless after sunset
the magic after magic hour
that seemed more dreamlike
than any dream.

You and I
always a memory recalled in passing
A pleasant, silent maybe
that could have been
that always felt like it could have been
maybe more
maybe so much more
than just those quiet, dreamlike nights.

- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love. My first book, Sketches of Someone, is available through Thunderune Publishing.

The Willie Question

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Contributor: Thomas M. McDade

- -
Talk orbited
around admission
into the tragic hero club.
Membership a privilege
reserved for kings
like the Bard’s
quintessential Lear?
Trolling the lower depths
old reliable Willie Loman
stood before the committee
of students enrolled
in the Philosophy
of Literature.
I favored an impromptu
ersatz fanfare and standing
ovation for the salesman,
presenting the card
pin or scroll myself
and spilling the secret
handshakes and passwords.
Others may have agreed
but one student
monopolized the floor
vehemently arguing
against inclusion stating
Willie deserved to be
stepped on like a worm.
Although I strongly disagreed
I thought for argument’s sake
a cockroach, ant or any
common home invader
would have better served
but class was over
and the salesman’s fate
left to quiz, exam or
term paper whim
footnote or angler
keen to the tragedy
of flagrantly wasted bait.

- - -
Thomas M. McDade lives in Fredericksburg, VA
He is a graduate of Fairfield University
He is a U.S. Navy Veteran


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Contributor: Sarah Amy G

- -
Ghosts of her giggles
Linger frozen in the air
In the bitter frost

The moon and stars shine
crickets harmonize softly
The grass sways along

Self inflicted pain
He sticks out like a sore thumb
He will lie to you

She dances with grace
Every movement on purpose
She feels infinite

Sun shines vibrantly
Replacing the brisk showers
Patting my tears dry

- - -
Sarah grew up in Orange County of California. She lives for all forms of self-expression, visual, and performing arts. Her huge sense of self and volume are unmistakable in a crowd.


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Contributor: Anthony Clark

- -
A complex entanglement of interests and ideas,
Forged in the bond between a father and son.
Athletics ignited a passion deep within,
Guided by a love of competition and winning,
I strived to steal the spotlight whenever it shone on me,
Yet I found myself, incomplete, and one dimensional.

Still looking to feel whole, I turned my head to a digital medium,
Virtual worlds and landscapes challenged and intrigued me,
With brimming and vibrant levels that tell a story,
A cinematic tale guided by fingers and thumbs inspired a love,
A love that’s rooted in deep friendships.

Comedians telling tales of triumph and turbulence,
All for the amusement of others, drew out a sense of humor,
Gave me an aspiration to one day make an entire theater collapse in laughter,
And stand on the stage as people cried and applauded, like hysterical maniacs.

Hindered by a fear of judgement and lack of acceptance,
I keep my sharp wit and retorts to myself,
Shriveling up instead of blossoming like a beautiful begonia,
So no one knows that I want to make them all laugh.

All these traits conflict and fight and skirmish with one another,
An introvert that can be exceptional like an extrovert,
Cunning cleverness one second, dead silence another.

I’m a flowing liquid,
Adapting to whatever I’m in, filling the cracks and gaps,
No set persona or archetype, only acting as I want to.

I’m stuck in the middle,
And there is no place I would rather be,
I’m a fantastic fanatic of sports, and a gargantuan geek.

I’m a unique blend of many attributes, and I’m filled to the top with them.

- - -
Anthony Clark is from Long Beach California. He is a sports fanatic, and he loves to play video games. He is an avid fan of stand up comedy.

Shadows and Light

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Contributor: Dan Slaten

- -
at night shadows and light
create the illusion of
a halo over your head
as I whisper sweet nothings
into the crisp Fall air
only to see the words
form clouds of breath that
crash heavy like the rain
the morning after beneath
the cover of wind-swept trees
only the birds and squirrels
witness the lost declarations of love
I keep sending out into the world

- - -
Dan Slaten writes short stories and poetry in small notebooks and on sticky notes.

To the Friends Who Saved My Life

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Contributor: Meghan O'Hern

- -
Searching for the end of this
cymbal crash chaos all-consuming
hurricane heartbeat
for my battered self to find a safe haven

In you
in warm 2am walks
across frozen campus
mugs of earl grey
steam against stars
as sunlight paints skyline
first draft poetry
recovery in rhythm
1 am phone calls of “It won’t always be like this”
the hand holding tightly to mine

When the weight of being
hangs heavy on my heart
unable to breathe
this sickness
feels like all I am
you are there
to promise
the storm won’t swallow me

Thank you
for reminding me what I deserve
Thank you for being kind
even when I can’t be to myself
Thank you for listening
to stammered strings of syllables
Thank you for helping me stay

- - -
Meghan O'Hern is studying English/Creative Writing at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She's eternally thankful to Writehouse for being a safe haven.

Father: Visiting Hours

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
To have him see me
see his face, tree roots
ripping through the clay,
branches out, supplicating,

I can’t take.
Better that I wait.
Better that he one day have
one last chance to feel

his one son’s son
tug a block beside him.

- - -
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Keep the Fire Going

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Contributor: Kaitlin Corro

- -
A relationship is taking a gamble on love.

It’s trying to fill in the blanks of madlibs,
Mystery and curiosity begin the journey
Neither one aware of the efforts and struggles

Gradually the pieces fall in place until one piece is missing
The moment of realization hits, both of us differ.
Personas portrayed become reality-
Nothing is truly perfect.

Blissful moments transform into a warzone,
White walls become red and blue
No one, but themselves are flying the peace flag.

Sadness and anger are replaced with sorrys and a reality check
The wounds that were made are now scars, making their love stronger for each other
Arguments build the bonds through two solutions:
Communication and compromise

Familiarity of the present and past become comfort
Craving for stability drives us,
Mixed memories blended with an abundance of colors.

Pivotal moments aided us,
Two people from different sides of the spectrum converge-
Colorful bubbles fused with endearment
Filling a scrapbook of never ending memories

Love appreciating the flaws of my partner,
Being driven up the wall one day or feelings of cloud 9 the next,
Never a moment without an adventure

Precious moments keep the fire going

- - -
Kaitlin Corro was born in Bellflower, CA. She enjoys swimming, travelling, and being active. Her favorite costume is an inflatable T-rex.

The Harmony of Life

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Contributor: Elliot Kang

- -
I hear the sound of music ringing in my ears.

A harmonious melody it is,
that brings light to the darkness.
Darkness which shrouds the sound of solace
as it softly permeates my soul
and unveils my delicate eyes to true and absolute beauty.

The sound of silence pierces my ears as I suffer,
driven to be as an animal locked in a cage
A cage that traps my body, my mind, my imagination.
The key to unlocking this restraining cage is simply the sound of music
which unlocks my mind and my imagination.

I am an innocent child,
who receives with joy, yet is incapable of giving.
Incapable of giving the joy that I have received
in the euphonious melodies which have rung in my ears.
The sound of music becomes a part of me,
yet I am not dedicated to discovering rather than dreaming it.

I discover who I am through the sound which was shown to me
I touch music for the first time with my own hands,
and my creativity flows.
It is a bird who has learned to fly,
a child who learns to speak.
A natural process which takes time to perfect
yet is beautiful in the end.
I learn to adore the amazing attributes of becoming music.

My fingers begin to shakily click the keys
as a child would stumble taking steps for the first time.
Mistakes allow for growth,
the shrill sound of silencing failure which causes ears to convulse
brings forth joy at the notion of improvement.

Memories are the runner who crosses the finish line first.
It finds difficulty in following it, not remembering.
As time passes, my music becomes ever so beautiful and skilled.
Ever so natural and zealous.
Yet, I strangely desire more,
a desire that delicately drives my found passion further.
Naturally, the keys which expand the noise which is locked in a box
turn into metallic strings which spark the flame of my heart.

As my journey continues,
it is no longer a lonesome, lethargic path.
I see others who share this passion in a rudimentary manner.
A manner that is reminiscent to me prior to my dive into music.
My passion permeates the presence of others,
it is cup of water which overflows, soaking what is nearby it.
How could I not share my passion?

I am the sound of music ringing in my ears.

- - -
Elliot Kang was born in Santa Monica, California and currently hails from Southern California. He enjoys playing the guitar and trying new food and tasting different coffee. He spends a lot of free time creating and listening to music.


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Contributor: Simran Gupta

- -
So soft and crunchy
Mix in chocolate and berries
Douse in maple syrup

Sweet, but bitter
Creamy yet chocolatey
Great with waffles

Scrambled or flat
Sunny-side-up or benedict
Soft or hard-boiled

Fruity and smooth
Like drinking ice cream, but healthy
Icy and blended

Soft and chewy
Sweet like cake, but not cake
Fruit or chocolate

Ring-shaped baked dough
Either buttered and warmed
Or sweetened with glaze

- - -
Simran Gupta is spontaneous and usually has a carefree attitude. She was born in India. She also enjoys dancing and doing yoga in her free time. She has previously been published at Eskimo Pie.


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Contributor: Lynn Nicholas

- -
heart brimming with joy a moment ago
now heated tears hover, ready to flow
tears turn to laughter, I catapult back
emotional rheostat, so out-of-whack

self-control failing
motivation derailing
I slide, losing ground
I am coming unbound

falling like Alice head first, upside down
into the rabbit hole, I’m spinning around

emotional bedlam
gaining momentum
delighted or depressed
could be anyone’s guess

can’t get a grip on what’s real and what’s not
skidding, sliding brakeless, can’t seem to stop

heart-stopping emotions confuse and surprise
my composure, control, are transparent lies
nerve endings visible, too vulnerable, raw
to avert an implosion I have to withdraw

so I hide in aloofness, put up a wall
and try to deny I have feelings at all

- - -
Lynn's fiction appears in A Long Story Short, Every Day Fiction, Rose City Sisters, and WOW!. Her poetry usually remains private.

Divine Intersection

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Contributor: E.S. Wynn

- -
Cool sheets
Warm forms
The whole-body hug
Of tangled limbs
Of skin and arms
And my hands
And your hands
Over your burgeoning curve
The legacy of love
Just opening between us
Just opening
With so much still to come
With so much still to grow
With so much still to look forward to.

- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over sixty books in print and is the chief editor of Thunderune Publishing. This poem is one of many featured in the book titled "What Will Be"

Sublime Attire

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Contributor: David Russell

- -
Could an extended kiss, breath held
Be that peeling elixir?
To plunge into the well,
Flooding our beings
With the radiance of youth –

Each peeled-off retro layer
Wafting back to the magic
Time of its making,

Its lovely seamstresses
Dreaming of the euphoria
Of its perfect wearer
Yearning to robe a legend,
With dormant creations

Then finally, after blank aeons
She appeared.

Would that I controlled
The universal wardrobe,
Had at hand
The outfits of all your heroines
The objects of your fascination

And that you could become
Each of them
As hinted by the zephyrs
Of your desire.

You outshone her reverie,
You – the living legend!

I ache to be the fabrics of your robes
Suffusing me with their essence
Your buttons, laces, zips
Vibrating through your fingertips and mine
As they presage my caresses
With blankets of warmth,
Pockets of cooling air
Tempering our heated breath
To exquisite delicacy.

- - -


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Contributor: Kyle Heger

- -
As I pass these wonders —
the startling white of an
egret in suspended animation,
the electric blue of a Ceanothus
vibrating against a bank of green,
the flash of a blackbird's epaulet,
gifts of a kind providence — I
resist the urge to linger, afraid
that my presence here will abuse
these signs of trust, sending them
back to nothingness, or, worse,
turning them into caricatures or
their own opposites.

- - -

Father: Every Morning of His Life

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
The cup he took his tea from
all those years was Army surplus,
made of tin. It whirred

to the spoon he wound in it
15 times per lump of sugar.
We who slept in rooms just off

the kitchen rose like ghosts
to the winding of that spoon.
In my house, now, mornings

Sue’s the first downstairs. She
scalds the leaves and wonders:
Will the winding ever end?

- - -
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mocking with Partiality

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Contributor: A.J. Huffman

- -
I am plagued by absence
of time. I do not have
enough to finish
anything. Instead, I leave
myself notes, random pieces
of thought, puzzles that hold
potential of brilliance in the moment,
but later laugh at me from piles
of impossible completion.
I stare at them as if I remember
how they fit, try to fill their gaps
with words that might move them
to lines and stanzas I can label as
achievement. Mostly I just imagine
setting match to their sheets,
watching them turn into ash, a tangible
metaphor for me to choke on.

- - -
A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals. She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. www.kindofahurricanepress.com

Lost Self

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Contributor: Diana Datuin

- -
She sits there wearing black on black.

With a blank look and empty eyes.

She uses her hair to cover her face.

Because she doesn’t like it when people look at her.

There are times where she is happy.

There are time where she is sad.

Doesn’t know where her mind is set.

Seems to focus on the irrelevant things.

All she has to do is look forward.

But how can she?

She’s constantly taken over by the demon beside her.

One she can’t get rid of even if she wanted to

That’s the thing, she can’t let go.

Why? She doesn’t even know herself.

People look at her straight in the eye.

But she doesn't know what she sees in them.

She doesn't know what she sees in her own.

She seems to be oblivious to everything around her.

The only thing she sees is the demon.

Who taunts her any chance it gets.

- - -
My name is Diana.
I live in Cerritos California.
I'm not a writer.

Pink Striped Raven

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Contributor: Ken Allan Dronsfield

- -
Oh forest portal,
guide me through
from here to there,
bright lights shining,
sound and images
during dreams alike.
We descended here
as stars were awash
with pixie dust tails
and crimson sprinkles
of diamond dusted lips.
Riding upon the back
of a pink striped raven
rising into spring skies
whilst watching afar
from the crocus' eye.

- - -
Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet and Author originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma. He enjoys thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, playing guitar and time with his cats Merlin and Willa.

Lost Love

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Contributor: Vanessa Munder

- -
Twelve endless months
Eleven crucial fights
Nine bruises covered with love
Eight months in and you drag me further along
Seven dates ending in what I should’ve stopped
Six more I should have rejected
Five words I wanted to hear
of course I love you
Four times in which I became strong
Three in which I came back
but the last
the one time I left
I lost you
and that’s what I loved most in the end.

- - -

Corner Office

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Contributor: Donal Mahoney

- -
Unlike his peers
his office holds
no photo of a wife
no indication that he has
fathered five
and probably
will father more.
There’s a silver ashtray, though,
and a tinkling chandelier
and carpeting
his wife would like
soars across the floor.

- - -
Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Bulletin Board

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Contributor: Richard Schnap

- -
A misspelled sign
For the clearance sale
Of a local thrift store

A scribbled announcement
For a concert by a musician
Free to the public

A scrawled flyer
In broken English
Offering house cleaning services

An advertisement for
A brand new wedding dress
Saying “Best Offer”

A poster for a protest
To prevent the closing
Of a drug rehab center

And a handwritten note
For a missing girl
That ran away from home

- - -
Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.


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Contributor: J.K. Durick

- -
We learned it early in Catholic schools
Six and seven year olds, barely housebroken

Barely able to write our names, we sat there
Examining our consciences, dissecting situations

We could barely describe, cutting through layer
Upon layer of our day, learned the names of sins

Some easy ones like swearing and disobeying
And those other vaguer ones, the sixth and ninth

Commandments offered a full array of impurities
That the nuns alluded to but never explained –

Early years we struggled to find things to confess
Then we moved on, became so many of the things

They told us about, lost so much of the believing
Part, lived harder lives than they taught us about

But the training hung on, became part of our way
Of viewing our roles, connection to the things we do

A grade school conscience always whispering, chiding
Reminding us that we never will be that person

We were supposed to be, and that’s why we try to edit
All the things we did and all the things we failed to do.

- - -
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Pyrokinection, Record, Yellow Chair Review, Eye on life Magazine, and Haikuniverse.

Water into Wine

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Contributor: Scott Thomas Outlar

- -
I only dove in
because you promised
to catch me.

Now I’m swimming
with shadows, reflections,
and mirages in the dark.

Your sky was once scarlet,
but your water was frigid.

Your lies ran deep to the core,
but your love was a shallow gesture.

I only laughed
because it helped
to tame the madness.

Now I’m dancing
with chaos, despair,
and delusions to the nth.

Your glass was once full,
but my lust was insatiable.

Your stain ran red from a sieve,
but my heart was the vein left empty.

- - -
Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published work can be found. His chapbook "Songs of a Dissident" is available on Amazon.

Dear Kerry

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Contributor: Michael Estabrook

- -
Didn’t mean to pester you over the weekend
but I was worried because you didn’t call me on my birthday
like you usually do

Male lions will kill cubs sired by other males
if they catch them but they don’t eat them

So I was just checking to see if you were all right
I realize you’re in your “reclusive” phase
avoiding people, staying in with the curtains closed

Bats have colonized every continent except Antarctica
crowding beneath bridges, into attics, caves, and belfries

But as a recovering alcoholic
being alone all the time is a recipe for disaster
don’t forget your brush with death

Female Pine Processionary Moths live only one day enough time
to fly to a new tree have sex lay 200 eggs and die (of exhaustion)

Todd and Skip came over and I flew down
from Boston and we cleaned your house
there were even flies in your refrigerator!

The Outback’s nomadic pelican flocks fly
migrate and hunt together soaring on thermal winds

We removed 56 empty vodka bottles (the 2 liter ones)
and got you to the hospital, where you almost died
dude, what’s it gonna take?

Super Crocs grew 40 feet long 8 tons of terror attacking
even the mighty dinosaurs

I was so proud of you when you recovered
took up the piano again, learned the violin
joined a church, sang in the choir

Devilfish they are called today but the ancients knew them
and their Giant Squid cousins as The Kraken

But now you’re up to your old tricks again
not answering the phone, not calling your mother
it is so fucking tedious

Imagine if you dare a creature nine feet tall nine feet long
500 pounds, razor talons, a giant hooked beak – The Terror Bird

All you do is go to work come home
watch TV alone in the dark
that’s gotta make you crazy

Giant Huntsman Spiders big as dinner plates with long hairy
crab-like legs are the largest spiders in the world

When are you going to get that through your thick head
you can’t be solitary and stay off the sauce
it just doesn’t work that way

Since before the Dark Ages we have been lurking beneath
the freezing deep waters of Loch Ness

Well okay that’s it for now
take care of yourself
we miss you and we love you

Hyenas are vicious hunters bringing down
zebras giraffes and wildebeests laughing all the while

- - -
Retired now writing more poems and working more
outside just noticed 2 Cooper’s hawks staked out
in our yard or above it I should say
which explains the disappearing chipmunks.


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