A Twist of Skirt in the Sunsetlisten

Hibiscus flowers on a local skirt.
A common oil anoints your darkish hair.
I have a feeling that I could avert
disaster by a choice. I am aware
of red-pink petals of decision stitched
on the blue cloth of evening. And I still
kiss you. The rain of white hibiscus (which
can't help), the gloaming air, the brief bright thrill
of light that felt like fate. I felt it was
the last ambition that I'd have – to burn
out fast in your brown arms, to burn because
the skirt does swishes in the sunset. Turn
your hips towards my love, and pluck my fate
like flowers from a skirt – I cannot wait.

by Jonathan Gourlay

Jonathan Gourlay graduated from the Iowa Writer's Workshop in 1995. After that, he ran away to the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia where he has lived and worked for the past ten years.

First at the Scene

with apologies to Stafford and Sappho

Noontime and racing eastbound, she faced three geese,
one with wings still flailing. Maimed and pressed curbside,
knowing then the truth of the maxim: speed kills.
Drivers like buyers

beware. The leader gone already. White band
rounding its neck, noose-like. And the third one, young,
grazed and gangling in the grass. Stunned. Its neck stretched
toward her and heaving.

She should have finished off the dying one. Act-
ed with pluck, without remorse. Faced the facts, please.
Stafford steered his car rightly, but hers wayward
duped her: careening

forward, lurching backward—another trapped bird
thrashing, another fawn waiting for daylight.
She turned her back on that wreck, on the right thing.
Screw William Stafford.

by Vivian Axiotis

Vivian Axiotis teaches high school English and speech and drama in northeast Ohio. Her poems have also appeared in English Journal, Green Hills Literary Lantern, and Ohio Teachers Write. She is a member of the Bread Loaf Teacher Network.

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