Poetry | January 2021 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Mimi the Hunter
Caught two mice tossed them in bed
One alive one dead

Was a three-mouse night
One was grey, one brown and white
third was just vomit

If you are a mouse
And all around lose their heads
remain in basement

Dead mice inspire
Haiku tribute to Mimi
My little hunter

Green-eyed Diana
In Rainy Elizaville
Sleeps on Throne of Skulls

No mouse this morning
Unless the trickster hid it
Thanksgiving surprise

—Dana Weidman

The Rainforest Poem

How do I know love isn’t just lust
and our skins share souls as their missions pass?
\When does a heartsurge turn to a duo’s dance
and fill my whole with you in my head?

There’s a rainforest blooming inside of my all
I whisper into your chest as you lay in my bed

Do you hear the peepers peeping?
Do you feel the ferns unfurling?
Can you pull the moonlight glowing
and scoop it with your palms?
Can you prick it with a pinch and
squeeze ambrosia out?
Can you crouch down on all fours
and lap it with your tongue?

Your roots wrap around my ribs and dig into the dirt of desire

Black cat patters on her paw tips.
Owl hoots from branch above.
Can you hear their voices chiming
You’re the one
My chosen one
All I love

Boas bite the apple blossoms
Their chins drip nectared dew.
Silky eels swim through the eddies
and up chilled streams of blue.
The blue bursts forth and gushes out
a wave into my veins, and now
a sanguine river spurts
From my pulsing heart to you.

My middle is fertilizing a world for only you to view.

Fingers nimble in the darkness
Weaving vines into our crowns
You, the king of mystery
And I, the queen of brown.
We dub each other silently as
We place the webs upon our hair.
Hear ye! Hear ye! In our forest of hope
We erect a canopy of care.

—Paula Dutcher

December 8th, 2013

I can hear the anesthesiologist say it’s a girl.
She took a moment—which felt like forever—to cry.
A hammer of inexplicable joy broke me into a million pieces.
But she was whole—and pink and delicate and so furious.
So my pieces snapped back into place.
I was reconfigured
And I didn’t know what whole was before her.

—Leah Brickley


When the neighbor boy
brings you out to the woods
to drink from the plastic
vodka bottle he hides beneath
a heap of last year’s autumn leaves
he has forgotten the rabbit
that ran in front of the target
he had aimed for with his bow
and arrow - how the rabbit hopped
hopped around the backyard, arrow
in its side. He has forgotten
how he cried then.
He has forgotten that you saw.

—Natalli Amato

Train Play

Toby the Tram engine cranks along
tracks in the carpet. A boy sits
atop a table. He wants to be
in the middle of it all, to have
his play-world move around him, to live
at the hinge.

It’s a hard path, the path
out of childhood, out of the self and into
a jungle—that larger thicket of living usually called
the real world.

As his parents, we stand with him—from
Lincoln, Nebraska to Grand Central Station—
in the whole ham sandwich of his time
on this earth so far, always thinking
with heart, head and hands, We are the guides
he was given.

Instead of a guidebook
we hold only the crumpled maps
of our own lives, fuzzy as they look to us,
lines traced/erased/redrawn/replaced, converging
here and there, notes pinched in margins,
bread crumb trails long displaced by
wind and squirrels.

And we’re just hoping that we
are not lost.

—Amanda Russell

The Hour Before

Odd Tango was an atheist
after the war.
What choice was there?
Electroshock? Brown Crystal?
A calming agent
every four hours
didn’t cease
the darkness.
Didn’t make
his hairpin hold
any less shakier
than the hour before
the flashlight crapped
and the jungle
cranked to ten.

Counting corpses
rides hard the minutes.
The Wabash shakes
he inherited from his father
didn’t make rest much easier
or peaceful. In fact it
agitated the hour.
The hour before
every four hours.

—Mike Jurkovic

Dinner at the Downtown Café
for Graziano

I doubted the meal would be boring
when my first glance at the menu
showed “free-rage turkey”

among the choices. I suspected
I’d have to throttle the bird
myself before it was butchered,

cooked and served. It would likely
be no easy task with a bird so angry.
But once the deed was accomplished

the taste was probably unique
what with every cell of the bird
infused with the chemicals of pure

rage. I worried, though, whether
the staff was prepared to treat
injuries I might suffer subduing

my meal. No, I thought, perhaps
I should try another dish. “Wild
shrimp” somehow seemed safer—

if they weren’t too big and
there weren’t too many
on the plate.

—Matthew J. Spireng

Rusted Nails

Our emotions are like rain to a river;
Grief the sweeping floods of late fall
and Happiness the two day later fly fisherman,
boots lodged in cold and clear water,
catching nothing.

filled with the coming winter
pulls his thoughts toward the mountain;
hardly orange, not quite brown,
like the nails we would pull from the
railroad tracks as boys.

—Ryan Brennan

Chin Up

Flenk, blatt, plish, crunk, frang, splut splack blahhhhhhh
Sticking fingers down
Digging out words for this
Reality, a mess, a puking
Fountain of uncertainty
Flart, blent, rahkha, puchga, pfttt, spha, pfttt
Patience pleads
Chin up

—Eileen Bailey


Bind your words with care—
That which you tend will return.
Come breathe. The dark waits.

—Emma Elisabeth Murphy

Good Morning

A boy woke early, to catch a fish.
His dog barked,
and they raced out the door.
Footprints followed them down the path,
over the fence into sweet grass.
A gull called out,
and the dog chased the boy to the end of the field,
where a stream runs to the sea.
They took a cool drink,
and walked on the stones in the water.
The boy climbed a leaning tree.
The gull circled over the fish.
“Come on” said the boy to his dog,
running to the shore, baiting the hook,
and casting into the waves,
to catch his fish.

—John Duvall

November Resembles

The brittle rain
of dry brown leaves
like ancient broken bamboo chimes.

—Greer Frances Rychcik


The curved fishing knife
was my brother's. I gave
it to him but wish I didn't.

And some nights when Duke
is on the turntable

I still drop what I am doing.

—George Payne

Lovers in Limbo

The space between my fingers and rings
And the space between my fingers and nails
We meet at an in-between and look at each other and smile
But we’re not smiling anymore
And I realize I lost my heart somewhere in between alive and dead
Somewhere in between the wall and the baseboard heater
So, I go here
And you go there
And I say goodbye
And you say nothing
And then we are no longer in limbo

—Lydia Frevert

I orbit my love
Trajectories determined
Soft burning decay

—Kevin Freeman

Fall 2020

Stumps of cornstalks
slate grey sky
rot in the fields.

A normal fall
turns abnormal
as, masked, we watch
the death toll rise:
an invisible life form
is consuming the human family.

The sky darkens,
perhaps it will snow.
Come snow,
cover our grief.

—Lyla Yastion


Cross-legged under a garish porchlight,
her word was given,
his heart was shaken.

What would we do
if we were told
it was always so?
That’s why the déjà vu—
That’s why the smell
like home,
memory and warm

—Addison Jeffries

The Sky

There is a reason
We look up
To see the night
Black and White

—Alexis Joseph

For Lou

Meandering Octopus
Peeks at the Universe
Spreads its Tentacles
Embraces the Unknown

—C. K. Boyle

Lost in America

Out of the mother,
half mad for wanting
the care not forthcoming,
and the father,
lost in grasping at that
which lacked promise,
came the daughter
losing her bearings
and the son at a loss
for beginnings.

—Cliff Henderson

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