Memoirs Written in Rain by A. J. Huffman

Drops_Of_Cosmos_by Audrey from Central Pennsylvania

The lavender sky turns.  Soundless.
Its silvered breath falls,
sliding slowly over veined silk.
The tiny bud ruptures.  Bending
backwards (in time) it beads
the ground with miniscule reflections,
iridescent images bursting the same ideal:
a perfect mirror of every dawn’s bloom.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com.  She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for four online poetry journals published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. You can read more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work. Huffman has published with WIZ previously.

Photo by Audrey of Central Pennsylvania via Wikimedia Commons.

Walking to the Moon by Sandra Skouson

After breakfast the moon hangs
almost near enough to touch.
I do not resist.   Cutting across the lawn
I walk west past the row
of apple trees, climb the log fence,
crush soggy leaves deeper
into the pasture grass, duck under
the next fence.   From here on
I choose my way carefully through sagebrush,
scuff my shoes against yellow rocks
until the edge of the canyon stops me.

The morning the tree burned,
nothing stopped me.
I followed its shining until
I touched the trunk
and let the branches spill
their sparks, bright cushions,
catkins, clustered flowers
of fire, in my hair.

Behind me someone starts a car.
But for the moon I would go back,
kiss him good-bye, begin my chores.
Instead, half crouching, I grab
the gray branch of fallen juniper
and inch my way into the canyon.

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Sandra Skouson, poet and teacher, grew up on a farm in Idaho just west of the Tetons.   As an adult she has lived in many places, Japan, German, Massachusetts, Virginia, California and Arizona.   Currently she writes from Monticello, Utah, in the heart of the four corners area.

*Competition entry*

Boneyard Song by Mark Penny

Down to the boneyard went the child to play
Rake-a-long snake-a-long
Laughing all the day
Laughing in the ashes
Leaping on the stones
Hiding in the graveholes, building with the bones

Down to the stickyard came the sun to play
Break-a-long ache-a-long
Shining all the day
Shining on the ashes
Shouting on the stones
Peeking in the graveholes, waking up the bones

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Mark Penny lives in a world of people, books and guitars seasoned with a laptop and a bodhran. He first came to light on March 9, 1964 in the mill and market town of Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, and led a nomadic existence between British Columbia, Orem (Utah), Haiti, Alberta (Canada), and Ukraine before settling in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, where he teaches English and raises feral children. In addition to sporadic pulses of poetry, he writes songs (music and lyrics), fiction (short, long and serial) and carefully graded TESOL materials, examples of all of which are available here.

*Competition entry*

Death of an old dog, part one, by Patricia

Our dog Sky in 2007

This multiple-part series is from a longer work-in-progress I’ve begun that recounts my experiences in Recapture Canyon in southeast Utah.   Woven throughout the longer narrative are my ideas about language’s part in evolution, culture, and relationship–including what language reveals about and how it affects the ways we treat with people who live with what I call “brain variables”–conditions of the brain that require those of us with “normal” brains to make an extra efforts to travel beyond ourselves in order to encounter and stand with the people that live with them. As with some of my longer series, this may not be an easy read. It certainly hasn’t been an easy write.   I respectfully request that readers not download this piece.   If you are in need of any language or information in this series, please email me at pk dot wizadmin at gmail dot com to request a copy.

On Thanksgiving Eve, Sky, our family dog, died of conditions related to old age.   If she’d reached her birthday at December’s end, she’d have turned fourteen years old.   Up to four or five weeks before her death, Sky still raced my fourteen-year-old daughter around the yard, loping creakily on arthritic hips.   Running must have hurt but when she threw herself into the competition her blue eyes sparked and her mouth curled back along her muzzle into a wide, tongue-lolling grin.   During those runs she felt herself part of a pack and like a good Siberian husky jockeyed to take lead position. She’d become deaf over the last year; to draw her attention we shouted her name and clapped our hands.   She turned and looked but seemed unsure that she’d really heard anything. I suspect that in the last few weeks she’d started going blind. Continue reading “Death of an old dog, part one, by Patricia”

Iridacea by Sarah E. Page

Iridacea Sarah Page

How ugly you all are,
An all-over ugly!

Iris bulbs unearthed and scythed
Of top leaves,
I lay your twisted, tuberous
Bodies across a gutted paper sack
And take a moment to grimace
At your grotesquery.

Dirt clings to your stringy reaching roots.
Not even warm water and bleach
Can pretty the rough hide of your skin.
Poor horrid hags!

But wait €”don’t droop,
Shrivel dry in shame.

For I know your secret.

You keep it like a locket,
Or maybe a pearl,
Deep in the water of your flesh €”
A tiara of petals, jewels of silk,
A blush pressed within paper wings.
Each spring, you rise
Slim-necked as swans and slender-leaved
To curve rainbows into blossoms.

Yes, majesty resides in these lumps,
These commoner dumplings €”
Children of the coronet.

Who would guess such a spectacle
But those who’ve already seen
The princess curled within the peasant €”
The goddess in the hag flower.

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Sarah E. Page graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in English in 2007 and is pursuing her Master of Science and certification in Secondary English at Southern Connecticut State University. Her poetry has been published in Noctua Review, Mormon Artist, Inscape: A Journal of Literature and Art, and included in the anthology Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-First Century Mormon Poets. When not scribbling novels or taking pictures of the ragged aster and other weeds running rampant in her garden, she enjoys getting lost on long walks in the Naugatuck State Forest.

Make like a tree by Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle

Make
like a tree* and
grow, bloom and bear fruit,
give shade, give shelter, sow seed,
weather storms, dig deep,
breathe deeper.
Be useful
in your
death:
frame
well,
burn
bright,
enrich
the soil,
and,
mulch
made,
resurrect
a tree.
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*This is, of course, a variation on the common adage to €œmake like a tree and branch out, € and the less common adage, used primarily among canines (the dogs, not the teeth), €œmake like a tree and bark. € Puns about leaves will not be tolerated.

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Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle despises children and loathes nature, which often gets on his shoes and under his fingernails, but he recognizes that both are important enough to be addressed, and so he writes poetry and other things for children, some of it about nature. Bits and pieces of his work can be found here, and he can also be reached on Facebook and via email at pennywhistlestop@gmail.com. The poems published on WIZ come from Poems for the Precocious and Alphabet Stew: Poems in a Particular Order. Other projects in development include Mythiphus, Me Grimms and Melancholies, Kid Viscous and the Mysterious Substance, Jonah P. Juniper and getting  Ben Crowder to be his illustrator.

WIZ call for submissions

While WIZ loves poetry and heartily encourages poets to continue sending their nature-romancing verse, it’s perhaps time to follow nature’s own example of protean morphologies and bring more rhetorical diversity to the site.   Hence, WIZ is issuing a call for short, creative non-fiction and fiction pieces.     If you have a nature-oriented essay or field notes that run between 500 and 1300 words, please consider sending them to WIZ.   Longer essays are welcome if they can be divided into parts.

Nature-based flash fiction or short stories running between 100 and 1300 words are also welcome.   Excerpts from longer stories or novels up to 1300 words are encouraged–though pieces may run longer if they can be broken into multiple parts.

Please read WIZ’s submissions guide before sending your work.   Then electronically submit your work either to wilderness@motleyvision.org or to pk.wizadmin@gmail.com.