Empty & Full
by Sarah Elizabeth Finch
My daughter caught a fish.
“A baby one,” she shouted
and with glee swiped across her face
she sparkled like the silver scales
in the sun.
But it was still too small.
We gingerly placed its eager body
trembling in the water
and just as soon as we had the prize
it was gone.
We cast again and again.
Shiny lures tossed into murky waters
to bait bigger and better things
for our hands to hold
and maybe keep.
She snagged another one.
Bigger yet, but still growing,
thrilled with the catch she
looked hopeful and anxious
awaiting the verdict.
Her fist gripped the line fast.
Reluctant to release the gift
bestowed for fear of never;
how quickly the size of the lake
slipped her mind.
We stole the trophy away.
We knew what was best
for the fish—to grow and wait for
another lure to entice, another
hook to fix.
And what was best for her?
Tears gleaming silver welled up
but did not hide the angst
of a heart uncertain that it would ever
hold beauty again.
She will reap her reward.
We should steward what is plentiful,
even when hidden, yet we grasp at
the beauty that baits us every time,
forgetting the promise—
the empty hand will fill.
As life teems below the surface and
chases the shimmer that we cast,
we know that beauty will come back to the hand
that was bare.
by Jenny McGill
The city, its nature of exhaust and concrete, I lament.
The tresses of autumn cut; what’s the consolation?
Indeed, the head of the forest has been shaved to cement.
The only saving grace is my imagination.
On my stroll one day past the trees of high-rises,
I caught a glimpse of a tree, lone and genuine.
How stark it struck me towering, a pillar of brilliance;
I paused for its beauty amidst the downtown din.
Of a flower in blossom, this tree reminded me,
Stemming green from its trunk, it rounded to a flower’s image.
The outer edge of leaves donned a blooming shade,
As if the tree was budding a halo of crimson orange.
A second glance revealed its leaves a firecracker,
As two colors appearing, then bursting in the sky.
Shining emerald in the center, framed by an outer ring
Of reddish gold that illuminated my eye.
Times turn as do leaves, now my tree a kaleidoscope.
Each visit, I beheld a new set of colors turned.
Reminded I was of creation’s resplendence and hope
As shades of rust, ruby, sage, and apricot burned.
I purpose to pass that dear tree on my daily course,
So briefly I escape construction’s monotony.
That tower of nature sprouting alone to reinforce
I can enjoy a taste of autumn in the city.
Grey Creation Day
by Janna Lynas
Sky concealed, thick, grey veil hangs low.
Relentless rain slices sharp air while
Hooved tulip leaves fight northern gusts.
Yeast, salt, flour release promise of growth.
Internal views reveal suffocated earth.
Below, emerald suburban carpet swells
And spits up unwanted abundance, sudden
Memories surface, mother’s first-born creation.
Unbothered purple tuft struts ‘top slender chive, but
Voiceless radish scream, “Warm sun, please!”
Nimble fingers, mindful heart,
Poke yeast, salt, flour,
Resting, rising again.
Puffed red breast pauses,
Toes wrapped ‘round wire fence,
Daring the rain continue its descent.
Sheeting down, with pine and cedar,
Yeast and flour rising higher
The breath of heaven inhales, exhales
And still it comes.
Waiting, watching, embracing
The feeding of earth, all creation
Inside and out.
Content eyes find black and orange striped heap,
Tucked, not wanting to be seen,
Boys’ gift of play covered in dry earth.
Mothering heart, knowing, seeing,
Stretches wide, warm sun within.
Dust upon dust,
Creation upon creation.
by Margaret Philbrick
Awakened by Humming-
bird. Strumming through air,
shuddering summer beneath
sparkling silver Beech.
Your rumble of sound
enfolded by almighty, precious cielo.
“Midnight in Sicily” flopped open
on sunscreen slathered legs.
Single strands of caressed hair
crossing and sticking fast to
sweat beaded face.
Your hum, breaking silence,
miniature freight train,
winged whir and whiz.
Heavenly music, drilling down
into scarlet Dahlia
one by patient one,
600 heartbeats a minute.
God’s alarm clock.
Arise. Summer is singing, arise.