Two Poems by Jane Edna Mohler

Dad Had Levels

Some say death is the great equalizer.
Sam Colt claimed it was his forty-five
caliber Peacemaker. Dad had tools.

Dirt crumb by dirt crumb, he labored,
his heavy oak level grading a perfect
slant beside our home.

Even then its wood was serious,
dark as barn plank.
Dad liked to make things line up.

Now his Sears Torpedo Level gleams,
its small bubble still directing
perfection from inside an amber tube.

I keep his cement trowel too, blackened
steel, the worn handle smoked with time.
Dad wanted everything smooth.

These tools rest beside red pens and my pica
rule from a typesetting job, where daily
I made nearly invisible adjustments to type.


Forbidden Colors

The pool luxury
of cerulean
skies, buttercup
full-belly gold

both light dispersed, segregated
by wavelengths.

We used to file colors
in separate
folders, as if one gender
owned them.

And so much talk
of color
fractures like ice
when we speak
of skin.

Physicists define forbidden
as a state that won’t

They labor,
that we might perceive
or blue-yellow.

Those forbidden colors exist,
but their differences
in perfect opposition.

They leave a void
for want of our better vision.


Jane Edna Mohler is the 2020 Bucks County Poet Laureate. She was the 2016 winner of Main Street Voices. Recent publications include Gargoyle, River Heron Review, and Quartet. Her book, Broken Umbrellas, (Kelsay) is available on Amazon or from the author. She is the Poetry Editor of the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

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