I look out the window to a beam
of sun on the neighbor's pine
laden with cones.
In my yard, I cup my arthritic hands
to catch a flurry of gold maple leaves.
Clouds brighten gray sky.
A child's giggles ride the gentle wind,
followed by a blue jay's call.
I inhale mist sprinkling yellow waves
of grass. My aging spaniel stretches
her skinny legs under the covered porch.
At sunset, oak tree's silhouette
looms beneath lavender sky.
My tabby kitten on the window seat
of the cramped kitchen
crawls under the crochet blanket.
Watching a cold full moon,
I bead my silent words of gratitude
for another ordinary day.
Synergy: A mutually advantageous
Would you consider collaborating
together on something or other? . . .
maybe I send you a line, then you respond
with a line that comes to you, and so on.
—Michael Scott, 9/18/21
Synergy isn't an only child.
It is always birthed in multiples—
such as two poets, strangers
challenged by the idea of collaboration.
Like toddlers, we rolled words
back and forth, learning to play fair
and share. But quickly we moved
from solos to symbiosis, skipping
the teen and midlife-crisis stages
of process by growing into more
adaptive poets, more creative crafters.
That's the wonder of synergy:
one plus one never simply equals two;
the sum is always greater than
its parts—like the expanded benefits
of strangers becoming friends,
or a year of emailed lines
becoming a book.
—Kathy Cotton, 9/18/22
From Synergy: Poetry Collaborations
linear lines floating
over perfectly shaped wrists,
scars that tried so hard
to show me where we
some place I'd already been,
never wanting to return.
I loved you far too much
to see what was inevitable.
Now I bear my own scars:
linear scars upon my wrists
and forever on my soul.
From Sherri With an I
My father's ashes
lie in the waters
of the Gulf of Mexico.
There is no graveyard,
no body in a pine box.
Perhaps his ashes were
swallowed by a bird,
eaten by a fish,
or embedded in a ship's motor.
I can only visit
with his memory;
as a beacon on a lighthouse,
or like now, a distant firefly
about to sleep.
Words can be deceitful, but pantomime necessarily
is simple, clear and direct.
Because beginnings scared me — fight or flight,
I sensed affection drip molasses slow
and wrapped myself in armor that first night,
then walked home thoughtful, silent in the snow.
Unknown to us the pattern had begun:
our words disguised or hidden in sheer air
with feelings quelled in front of everyone,
expressions telling stories of our cares.
Raised eyebrow, gesture, strong determined sigh—
some things we never spoke of or forgot
when wordless motions would intensify,
some steps complex, our Gordian-like knot.
We don't need words to have our waltz defined.
Two trees, together grown, with roots entwined.
Published in The MacGuffin, Fall 2022
5 p.m. and the winter sun is already below the horizon.
Time to close up for the night and have Terry go home.
The judge let him out early, but we will see him again
on New Year's Eve. One last look around the office,
a final stop at the grocery store, then one more errand
and I'm home with the family for the late candlelight service.
Roads have been plowed. Leave a car window open
to hear church bells as I leave the town
and head for Garner's Hill. Not plowed there,
but I manage and angle the Police Cruiser
for the trip home. Taking my package, I make it
up the snowy hillside, past small markers
of Fluffy, Duke and Roscoe, then to the right side
where I open my package and scatter animal treats
around the hillside. No one can see or hear me
on this night and I say, "I miss you so much,
old friend." Police Chiefs don't show emotion,
except to someone special and this is a private stop.
Patting the top of the now wreath-covered stone,
I carefully go down the hill to the Cruiser,
still wishing someone was there waiting for me.
Then, one last drive around the town
and home to the wife and kids and their new pet,
a white poodle, who took one whiff
of my police boots and ran under the bed.
Some scents will never leave.
The beauty she holds
Filled with radiant aglow
embrace with a strength
Carrying the heavy cloud
Through the dark gloomy day
Of rain teardrop
After the passing shower
Greeting us with her beaming smile
showcase of a
spectacular rainbow view
from the clear blue sky
display with a sign of hope and joy
The beauty she holds
carry on with gracious
With a sense of confidence
Through a generous act
Of inspirational wave
Convey to mankind
mother nature she portrays
Grasp that survival string so tight, your
fingers turn blue, lose their feeling.
In our world, this day, holding a string of
what's real is like catching wispy clouds,
or finding a clear picture of Sasquatch.
It's the memory of clutching Dad's hand
when we shopped in a huge mall, not
daring to let go. We cling tight or were lost.
We wander, string-less at times, grasp
breakable straws in our needy places.
Take hold of grace, love, and truth.
I desire something strong, guiding
footprints, a strong figure who won't
let go, a sturdy rope of Father God's
promise to hold me tight.
Copyright Notice: Copyrights for all of the above poems remain with the individual authors. No work here is to be reused without permission from its author. To request permission, contact a member of the ISPS Web Committee.
Note to ISPS poets: Poetry posted on the Internet may be considered "published" by some publishers and agents.