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Poetry Winter 2014    fiction    all issues


Debbra Palmer
Bake Sale
& other poems

Ann V. DeVilbiss
Far Away, Like a Mirror
& other poems

Michael Fleming
On the Bus
& other poems

Harold Schumacher
Dying To Say It
& other poems

Heather Erin Herbert
Georgia’s Advent
& other poems

Sharron Singleton
Sonnet for Small Rip-Rap
& other poems

Bryce Emley
College Beer
& other poems

Harry Bauld
On a Napkin
& other poems

George Mathon
Do You See Me Waving?
& other poems

Mariana Weisler
Soft Soap and Wishful Thinking
& other poems

Michael Kramer
Nighthawks, Kaua’i
& other poems

Jill Murphy
& other poems

Cassandra Sanborn
& other poems

Kendall Grant
Winter Love Note
& other poems

Donna French McArdle
White Blossoms at Night
& other poems

Tom Freeman
On Foot, Joliet, Illinois
& other poems

George Longenecker
& other poems

Kimberly Sailor
The Bitter Daughter
& other poems

Rebecca Irene
& other poems

Savannah Grant
And Not As Shame
& other poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Titian Left No Paper Trail
& other poems

Martin Conte
We’re Not There
& other poems

A. Sgroi
Sore Soles
& other poems

Miguel Coronado
& other poems

Franklin Zawacki
Experience Before Memory
& other poems

Tracy Pitts
& other poems

Rachel A. Girty
& other poems

Ryan Flores
Language Without Lies
& other poems

Margie Curcio
& other poems

Stephanie L. Harper
Painted Chickens
& other poems

Nicholas Petrone
Running Out of Space
& other poems

Danielle C. Robinson
A Taste of Family Business
& other poems

Meghan Kemp-Gee
A Rhyme Scheme
& other poems

Tania Brown
On Weeknights
& other poems

James Ph. Kotsybar
& other poems

Matthew Scampoli
Paddle Ball
& other poems

Jamie Ross
Not Exactly
& other poems

Writer's Site

George Mathon

Do You See Me Waving?


      You announce it, as if it were the answer

for everything.

                           You’re playing a game

with the fiddler crabs,

wiggling your toes, counting the seconds

until they reemerge.

                                    It’s dangerous,

I wouldn’t come out for anything.

But they need to eat, you answer, sifting

the mud. And they mate every two weeks.

The males wave their big fiddler


            to attract females who follow them

into their holes.

                            Purblind love,

I say.

          Only if you’re invisible,

only if you’re still as a killer

                                                   will they come out.

But it’s impossible to tell the difference

between love and danger

                                             of a silent predator.

They’re quick enough,

you answer, to make up for that.

They have to risk it.

                                    You call it trust.

An adolescent ibis works its long curved beak

into one of the holes without success.

I call this hope.

                            But the adult birds know

how pointless it is and don’t even try.

It’s what lovers do,

                                  tunnel into safety,

hold on until the ibises stop digging.

Because love is

                            dangerous as a predator.

We keep counting but it waits us out.

The Simplest Gifts

We love by accepting, I say:

the simplest gifts, the dumbest promises.

You nod in agreement

but remind me,

                            the male osprey knows

that if she doesn’t approve,

his mate will discard the branch

he offers.

                  Sometimes the things I want

to give to you, the words I want to say,

scare me like that.

                                 Above us a large nest

sits on a platform atop a power pole.

A male osprey flies out of it,


          through the mangrove limbs beside us,

his wings

                   like knives in the leaves.

I offer you a shell I’ve picked

from the beach. Washed of its color,

its original shape nearly indiscernible,

you tumble it in your fingers.

                                                    In full flight

the osprey grasps and breaks a twig from a tree.


             Inured to her will, the sound emboldens him.

He turns back to his nest. Though small

the branch is accepted.

                                          It’s just an ordinary

shell. After a quick inspection

                                                      you toss it

into the water. But it’s all I want from you,

something small and plain as that twig.

The Cello

If love were easy

                               I would play

as beautifully with any bow, an equation

could be solved with any number.

It’s why I hate

                           the soft hollow of her knee,

her arms’ mathematical arcing

as they pull

                      these pellucid notes from my heart.

The way she bows me

                                       until the sound

I can’t help but make when she presses

her fingers just there, and there,


A quantum vibrato that fills and rattles

the empty space between my molecules.

Love is desperate,

                                 I protest, but relinquish it

on the pitch she commands

                                                 because I am made

for her straddled plucking and the horsetail

she flails incautiously across my taut ribs.

Each note she breaks open


open my wooden heart and sublimes

into the electric air.

                                    Not my will nor hers

but a reckless current when we touch.

The composition is timeless, she turns

the pages of the score with painted fingers.

It’s not the way she plays the music

I love,

             but the music we make

of our entanglement.

The Bow

When she touches

                                 the bow’s rosewood

inlay, its ivory frog, when she lifts the length

of pernambuco wood,

                                       it seems

a kind of ménage à trois. The shock

of horsetail is a fourth, like a stranger

met on a train. Later, an invitation

to dinner,

                   an unexpected tryst.

The cellist feels their joy.

She carries in her instrument,

                                                      selects a bow

and plays a note, a chord. She chooses another,

plays a note, a chord.

                                     No prices are listed.

It makes no difference because price

is not the measure.

                                  She picks a third, plays, sets it aside.

The Cuban Ipe wood shines, the carbon

composite balances, less than weightless

in her hand, but she knows it’s not up to her.

The bow

                will choose the instrument.

The morning progresses like a slow dance.

The bow maker makes tea for her

as if

         they were merely chaperones

at a schoolgirl’s cotillion. They sit,

talk of music,

                         wait for the music to begin.

Under The Horse Chestnut Tree

I can’t say if I unlaced my shoes

                                                         or he untied

the knots and unrolled the socks to bare my feet

but I felt more naked

                                     than shoeless

from that deliberate uncovering.

Was it the summer wind

                                           that lifted my dress

above my knees or his hands that peeled

the cotton cloth away, his lips that limned

the contours of my mouth and licked the beads

of sweat away, on a summer afternoon, sitting

in the front yard

                              under the horse chestnut tree?

The neighbors watched from their porches

as we kissed in the wind that lifted my dress

above my knees.

                              The fine hairs on my thighs

stood upright in the breeze,

his fingertips felt like cat’s-eye marbles,

must have felt their stiffening

                                                    when they rolled

into the labyrinth hidden under there.

Was it the wind

                            that shook those quivering limbs

and bent my body so exquisitely?

Oh, I was breathless as those limbs

palpitating in the wind that blew my dress

above my knees.

                              There is no longing

like the longing of the wind.

                                                 I heard only wind

in the horse chestnut tree,

and chestnuts chafing on their branches.

The white panicles of erect spring flowers

now become these thorny nuts

                                                       in summer.

How they will fall to earth in autumn,

cracking open to open their chaste centers.

I will not resist him

                                    nor how he will thumb them

slowly to throbbing luminescence, nor

how he will rub them

                                       to polished perfection.

How can a fallen object be so flawless?

I wondered,

                      as the wind lifted my dress above

my knees. Horse chestnuts are bitter,

not for eating,

                         but rolling endlessly

by boys between their fingers

until they shine

                            like cat’s-eye marbles

under the horse chestnut tree.

George Mathon was born in Vermont and still lives at Joe’s Pond, though now he winters in Florida. He’s explored many of the natural wonders and native ruins in the United States. These places provide inspiration, time and location for many of his poems. He’s published three books of poetry: Entering The Forest, Chickadees, and Killers.

Dotted Line