Two Poems by Karen A VandenBos

Even Loss Can Be Beautiful

Loss comes quietly.
It surprises us as we look in the mirror, turn on the news,
answer the phone, open an email, look out the window
or spin around.
What was once a forest of golden leaves has faded into a
grove of muted browns and empty cathedrals.
The pure white of snow has been stained by the mud of
spring, no longer inviting.
Some lost things are found to have taken on new shapes:
a mitten without a thumb, a feather with a broken spine,
ashes with no fire.
They ask us to see the beauty in being broken, messy. Let
them surprise you with what they have to offer.
Let once shining blue eyes, now dulled by all they have
witnessed reopen in wonder.
Loss becomes rivers accepting the melting ice, forests
resurrecting into sanctuaries of green light and new life
awakening from a long winter nap.
In the way of the seasons, there is no word for loss, only
a continuous ebb and flow, a cycle of death and rebirth
where beauty can be found in the tiniest flaws.

*

Autumn in the Rear View Mirror

Our small lives rise and fall as
another November recedes in the
rear view mirror.

It has been a season of few mercies.
Bones worn down to the marrow and
hope vanishing like smoke from an
extinguished match.

The sun’s light grows softer as
the days grow shorter and shadows
lengthen. There is a new chill in
the air.

Night drapes us in her black robe
before the chime of the evening
church bells ring a call to vespers.

The trees are bare and the north
wind carries us inside.
Inside where we sit by the fire
dreaming of things that cannot last.

*

Karen A VandenBos was born on a warm July morn in Kalamazoo, MI. She can be found unleashing her imagination in three online writing groups and her writing has been published in Lothlorien Poetry Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Blue Heron Review and others.

Late Autumn by Elizabeth Wilson

Late Autumn

I know your sister worries.
She thinks my illness will make

a nurse out of you,
that I have nothing

to give. It’s true
I suffer. You are certain

this will pass.

Today we take the train
north. I nudge you to look out

as rows of houses undulate
against the changing landscape.

*

Elizabeth Wilson is a tap dance enthusiast, chronic illness advocate, and Rising Voices of Narcolepsy speaker living in the North Carolina mountains. Her poems have appeared in Asheville Poetry Review, Clementine Unbound, Cold Mountain Review, and Trouvaille Review.

Two Poems by Kari Gunter-Seymour

Because Autumn Always Clotheslines Me

Already the sumac—ripened,
rusty red leaves, stark among the greens.
Not yet, I say. I say it every August,
though leafy lime katydids warn me,
chameleoned against the Japanese maples,
suddenly out-singing even the cicadas.
Stink bugs feast in the garden, a melancholy
thistle bends to a rumor of breeze.

*

Power Out on the Mountain

I started out this day elbowing
my grandmother’s forget-me-not
teacup off the counter beside the sink.
Sobbed as I swept a million jagged
memories, scattered across the kitchen floor.

Now my feet up, a glass of sweet tea,
I watch birds at the feeder.
A quarrel of house sparrows peck
at the smalls, gorge themselves on seed,
as if they deserve to.

I once told my grandmother a rich man
hurt me. Her bent head told me
to keep that story to myself.
I revisit what it means to be ruined
over and over in my sleep, imagine ways
to dismember him, as if that might help
glue my own broken pieces back together.

*

Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poetry collections include A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award and Serving. Her poems appear in numerous journals and publications including Poem-A-Day, Verse Daily, Rattle, World Literature Today, The NY Times, and on her website: www.karigunterseymourpoet.com. A ninth generation Appalachian, she is the founder/executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP) and editor of the WOAP anthology series, Women Speak. She is a recipient of a 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship and Poet Laureate of Ohio.