because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

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There is a little, rhythmic lapping
against the inches of shore long
after the speedboats & skiers have passed,
not wake, but the ghosts of waves,
fading into the silence of water grasses.
I watch the Rappahannock become again glass
under flecked canopy of cloud, but do not see
the two osprey, hunched away
in their aerie offshore nest
from their dead netted brother.
Swung decayingly in the cruel July breeze,
he is just one too many, for all of us.
The knife-cries of the young
hunger for other sustenance, want
to swallow the wild wetness of life
whole. The river creeps in, indomitable,
filling our shadows with the vivid sun
of summergreen, as far as the eye can see.
The birds take flight, and there is no lament
in the urge of their feathers. Pulling back
the beachtowel from the water’s reach,
I think, too, we all should rise
up, and be further from death than that.

Spring at Dad’s

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The new green does nothing to tame them:

plane after plane engines over, a litany
of small-town boys who never graduated
to the Lear jets of their day school dreams.

We spend the time sifting
the leaffall of years from a hard warm
earth, clearing the way for the grass

my mother wanted so badly,
all her wheelbarrows of dirt,
all her fingernails & unshakable cough of dirt.

The irises in the canopy beds begin
to lift their heads and shrug off sleep;
Easter lilies already slumping to ground.

The falling pollen catches like powdered sugar
on the down of my forearms, like
the dust on her jewelbox, like the days

from that May morning when she
left breath behind and we
woke up yet a part of the flight path.

The Salon of Writers and Artists

A very kind shout-out and collaborative nod from artist Chris Ludke, whose work inspired the poem at our Literary salon last week. You can check out her work here— the painting’s title is Poe’s Enchanted Garden. More info on upcoming literary salons in Richmond can be found on the James River Writers’ site, here.

Sisterhood of the Muse

This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place. This is the Patrick Henry Pub, where the Salon took place.

This poem was written by Joanna Lee.

On Hearing the History of the Poe Gardens at the Literary Salon in the Patrick Henry Pub

(based on the painting by Chris Ludke)

Nestled in a backdrop of chatter and raven windowpanes,

of sweating whiskey and melted rocks, light

plays on water and the pale of crepe,

of periwinkle. A sun plastically brightly cuts

the hard edge of a shadow that could stand

on it’s own, lonesome and unnatural.

And I remind myself this is about connection, that we,

rose-less, are a hundred variations of the same thorn.

Joanna hears her muse! You can look her up at

the-tenth-muse.com

This is the Poe Museum. This is the Poe Museum.

I thought the Salon was great! The 1st person to speak told the history of the Poe garden. It’s been through a lot of changes. It was…

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