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Moving Words 2008 Poems


I wanted to show you
How to press one ragged nail
Into dandelion flesh
How to split the stem and inch your finger up
Until you meet the flower’s fur
Leave the green stalk in curls
Like Marie Antoinette’s
And your finger sticky
With summer’s milk.

- Madelyn Rosenberg

washington and lee highway (rush hour)

red brake lights march rain cold
and the boy is honeyed
a tight green bud a stamen pistil
all things growing.
Past concrete barrier, hubcap,
the median meadow holds
poppies in july august honeysuckle
black eyed.
The boy is lavender, aster
high goldenrod, a nest of bees.

- Natalie LeBeau


Lincoln, you look worn today
with Liberty weighing your shoulder down
and the Word of God hovering over
your hair like a written halo. Now blind
as Homer, you feel our hands pass you
forward—tell us your story great orator!
But our ears are metallic as yours. We leave
you face down in the street; your memorial
a copper bar code. The freedom in my pockets
feels dirty and thin as a fingerprint.

- Katie Kemple

A Lover’s Challenge

There is the water.

- Philip Clark


Only the skin is ugly,
an armor against slugs and rot.
Inside is the newest pastel,
a color like noon sky where
it brushes the sun's glare, the last
moist swipe of cool before the burn.
On your eyelids, thin slices
wither, and seeds glisten
their melancholy balm.

- Kathi Morrison-Taylor

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band

There’s a New Orleans jazz station, as I sip
the morning coffee with trumpets and a struttin’ sax.
My headache is gone, God bless.
I’m dancing across the room spinning,
and haven’t taken a step.
With the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
and this delirium of (who cares whether life’s a mess?) rhythm,
it’s as if the day could go on forever. Like this!
Though I’m here now, and not tomorrow. La-dee-dum.
God Bless.

- Mel Belin