Here’s the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.
We listened to them night after night from our bed, the fumbling on the stairs, the muddle of steps
at the landing, the soft brush of wool against dark walls. The small flock that inhabited the night
halls stayed to the open places. They didn’t wander among the boxes that stood, long since packed
and waiting, stacked in corners and under windows, a miniature city rising up among the furniture.
Those cardboard alleys and dish-pack towers were the cat’s terrain, and she didn’t so much as lift
her head when they started up. For her, they were as common as soup cans. But we listened,
listened from separate rooms. We never heard them from the same place at the same time. One of us
would be at the desk, the other downstairs in the kitchen; one would be awake, the other would have
just fallen asleep. It was only in the mornings when we compared notes that we put two and two
together. One of the sheep had saddle bags and a small blue flower pressed into the cleft of her front
hoof. She should be crossing some alpine meadow, we thought, not these Sheetrock canyons and
carpeted paths. Then we would laugh, make jokes about leaving hay trails and buttered biscuits in a
line out the back door so we could get some sleep, though when they left, we missed them, missed
their steady hearts and the smell, the smell! Like everything we’ve ever lost.
~ ~ ~
The Corn-Pecked Ground
Who but the sidelong crow could look, beak black, eyes shining galaxy? It calls, forward leaning, cross driven: what is
there? what is there? what is there? Hearing both here and there the spinning universe, tilting.
Each plate shifts, singing the cracks that started long ago. They are separating, no, they are coming together. For now we
can still find one that holds both feet, recant the divisions and sink into this, just this.
If the eggless hen plucks the straw bed apart, what does she know? A long flight down the toe-sized stairs to corn-pecked
ground. Even at night the sky is drawn into wire squares.
~ ~ ~ ~
You ask me about summer
and all I can think
of is Janis Joplin standing behind
the stage at Sick’s Stadium
that day holding
a bottle of Southern
Comfort like a purse she could swing
at any moment, the sweating
there-she-is-ness of her just
over the waist high
chain-link fence not
fifteen feet away. She does not look out
of place in the full sun, the peeled paint
dugout squatting nearby, her maroon
feather boa swinging in the wind of
her. She has called in her own
geography, holds it in
the caught-sparrow fear
nested in her eyes.
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Carol Tiebout is a poet, hospice massage therapist, and resident of Edmonds. She has also developed collaborative work with people who have Alzheimer’s disease using art, sound, art, touch and words. With these tools, she works one on one with clients to help build the quality of their lives.
A lifelong prose writer, Carol has only recently begun to write poetry. Her work has appeared in Caylx and has won an award in The Soul-Making Keats Poetry Competition.
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The EPIC Poetry Group has been in existence for five years. It is open to the members of the public (free of charge) who are interested expressing and improving their poetry writing skills.