Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

it happens in the sloppy

moments, long comfortable laughter,

reaching for your hand, not

anticipating motion, when

suddenly, raw,

torrential, your skin

is closing

the space between us two…

confusion suffocates beneath

your chest pressed into mine, panic

dies beneath your steady eyes,

waves crash down,

I’m swept away, your fingers in

my hair, your lips attack in waves

the night storm that is you

settles on my shores, erases

maps I’ve drawn in sand…

wet and warm, it leaves

me

watching skies for cloud outlines

and reaching for your hand.


Photo by Jessica Furtney on Unsplash

A piano never played

for her,

no silk-covered buttons

clasped her cotton dresses

closed.

Beneath sagging Spanish moss

she stands, September sun

cutting patches of her

shoulder skin into light

and dark geometry,

warming her faded frock,

extinguishing the tiny purple flowers

that used to leap and swing

when her legs moved.

She heaves her weight

to one hip and squints

at the ladies passing by

in heels and bright lipstick,

watches closely while

the silk of their skirts

brushes against their slender

calves, and daydreams

about their lives.

She imagines

them in three-story

brick-stepped homes, with

careless palm leaves…


Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Cradled high in the branches

among its spindly, curling fingers,

sits a nest, sunlit,

a rounded fortress

of twigs and feathers

barely hiding three enormous eggs.

Mama bird, brown-breasted

and white-capped,

returns from hunting,

settles her weight, wings

spread,

and shifts her warm belly

against her eggs, her heartbeat

thrumming a lullaby to

her unhatched chicks.

Curled by the root of the tree,

a watchful thick snake

lies patient,

hungry black eyes heavy on the nest,

space in his belly the size

of an egg.

He begins a slow dance,

up, up, up

From behind a neighboring oak

I squint,


Have you ever taken a loaf of banana bread from the oven, and tried to pop it out of the pan right away? It’s too tempting to resist, and more than once, greedy for a slice of hot bread covered in my favorite Irish butter, I have made this mistake. The bread plops out, still steaming, and stubbornly refuses to maintain its form. Removed from the stoneware too soon, it slumps and falls inward on itself, no longer the sleek golden loaf it was meant to be. Any attempt to slice a normal piece from it results in a mound…


Photo by Maurits Bausenhart on Unsplash

Bold red letters scroll across an enormous

screen under the hotel’s arching awning:

“Thanks For Visiting, Attendees of the Annual

Southeast Veterinary Conference. See You

Next Year!”

As I pack to leave, I am still thinking

about my presentation from

the night before, “Signs of Stress and Specialized

Care of Birds in Captivity.”

It’s 9am when I leave, and the sun

is pounding already, sifting its way

through lazy palms, beating

into the asphalt, making it flicker

and glint like thousands of pieces of glass.

I drag my suitcase behind me, one hand tight

around a paper cup of lukewarm…


Photo by Eric Tompkins on Unsplash

When I think about what makes a poem stand out, I think of fantastic imagery. Poems that employ rich descriptions and use details that allow me to fall into the poem and experience it on as many levels as possible — hearing, smelling, seeing, feeling — are poems that I tend to remember long after I first read them. The details are what re-emerge later in my mind. Carefully crafted imagery lends a particular power to a poem, helping to shape the poem’s tone and guide the reader into its unique world. Imagery sets the mood. …

Vanessa Jimison

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