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  What Death Caused Her   by Derek Ellwood   Her mouth was like a vase Accepting anything that was put into it The similarities ending there as none Of the things that entered her were Ever beautiful The hair between her legs was Meticulously trimmed Likely the only thing about herself  She ever took care of Tattoo on the inside of her bruised  Wrist read “I heart Mom” A love that had been there a Long time Now both faded with time I imagined her phoning home from An old dilapidated phone booth like The one her crumpled body was Found in A mother’s hello going unanswered A lost child just wanting to hear Her voice before placing the Receiver gently back into its Cradle The same way her mother Probably placed her when she Was a infant Investigating for an identity I found none The only possession a well Worn journal belonging to an  Older brother perhaps The last two entries reading:   I think I’ve been on  This shit too long Drooling into my bedroom  Lawn   In loving memory of my dear
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A Mother in Pearl

                                                                By Derek Ellwood   The introduction of everyday The sun rises with extraordinary radiance Yet in its infancy my days never Really started without seeing my Mother’s face In absence something just seemed off, Unbalanced. She reminded me of a natural kind Of elegance Like the uniquely mysterious composition Of a gem in an oyster shell. I often wondered where it came from How she held it with an opulent Depth of color, despite countless Unannounced storms that would shake us. Those seas would always calm, retreat With resilience she would remain  Like a blanket of comfort to Shelter, warm, love. Like a soft whisper across a fresh Wound. A gentle brush of hair away from a Teary eye, A heart in blind motion. Tender love would not adequately describe  That’s what kind of love she had That’s what kind of love she was…

The Sadness on Winter Trees

                                                                            Summer has an indubitable cruelty about itself while erecting insolently upon winter --- Encroaching foliage, choking with vibrant vitality, constricting the last drops of breath from skeletons with names like cottonwood, elm birch, Their bones moaning from the heft trespassed against them.   Where some might see beauty, I am intrigued by the selfishness as summer greeds what nourishment remains in brittle appendages for it is not the fruit that sweetens the marrow, that delicacy is designed for the adornment of summer that hangs from burdened limbs like an incapable curtain rod.   Summer invades like locusts, devouring everything it needs, leaving winter trees to suck their sustenance through dirty rooted straws having just enough strength to endure summer’s assault.   Should summer’s brief existence be questioned as to the stewardship of nature, on the account virtue is not realized in such an abrupt         

The Morning After

                              Eyes out my back window             Lost in thought             Ankle fog             Low rumbling tide             Shifting sand Precarious anchored sea grass   Winds whistle on salted weather             Vacant deck             Adirondack chairs             Gray scabbed             Two empty glasses             Prone wine bottle Grape stained pool from drips   Busy myself with the start of the day             Grinding beans             Pressed coffee             Aroma filled air             Startling noise             Ahah coffee for two perhaps   Holding my breath before turning around             Mussed hair             Sleepy cuteness             My old tee shirt             Eyes downcast             Coffee good mornings What did we do smiles exchanged   Out my window from my breakfast bar             Two stools             Side by side             Eyes on the ocean             Cupped coffee mugs             Maple bacon             English muffins    

Unchaining Myself From Prison Scars

                                                                            By Tristan   Prison does not suit me but I wear a prison suit that fits me. The neck-tie tightening each day, asphyxiation attempting to determine me.   My heart’s shattering desires attention, yet is appropriated by moments of vulnerability guarded in fleeting shadows.   I am alone here but never alone. The proximity of bodies that are confined with me, tide like a dense fog moving in on me.    Traveling on a stranger’s eyes flowing like lava through blackened skies, I wait for an hour where I am not so alone. I am always waiting.   Crouching in the corner of my box, pulling up imaginary walls around myself. I write fragments of poems about the things I’ve done – about the things I will never do.    When night arrives it’s lighter than the dark inside here. Slivers of moon catch the tips of razor wire, luring, startling my senses.    My mind seizes for a moment around the totality of my circumstances. Thoughts
                                                            Stolen                                                                  My lover, a fire crying in the sun. Affliction that cannot be distinguished beyond the mask of passion. In the far distance the gentle river. I am yet to feel its cool, tender flow.   Evening’s relentless perspective bears lava skies, warning my sailor soul, still I voyage. I split my heart in two and gave away half. With reckless greed, you took the other half as well and left me shivering under the moon.   The darkness would not conceal me, cruelty assured that.   Against a putrid rank I am swallowing what once held me.   Hurt comes often but feels unfamiliar, stinging in a different artery each time.   Fragments of myself are disassembled like a mannequin; discarded remains. Scattered on the eyes of the floor. Emotional components that cannot be just snapped back into place.   My thoughts have become the silent third partner in my relationship with myse


Teasing flame to glass, spinning the stem between dirty tips of fingers. Selfish again, to those with expectations. Barely above the skin, as cold bones etch their structure through the surface. Alone in preference. Exhausted by stepping on hearts stepping through hearts. Yesterday, I saw my reflection in a glass bowl, the distortion studied me. Today, I saw a reflection in the mirror, a figure with hollow eyes. Who is this? Fear briefly appeared. Without permission, the wind bullied its way through a crack in the window. The intrusion carelessly blew a post-it note to the floor. Have a nice day! A sweet yet bitter reminder of someone I once cared about. I let it where it settled, understanding it would be too heavy to lift. A photo of my father and I posing with a couple Chinook salmon, remained magneted to the face of the refrigerator.  My eyes burned in sadness in shame. The pain was aggressive. I did not want to e attached to any of it. I retreated to a