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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017

Kathryn J. Stevens
Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A.

She flies through the air…

ribbons of silence
trail through the grass

Look at the bunch of you. Sittin’ on your fat bottoms gawpin’ up at me. Betcha never seen a woman like me afore. What with my bare arms and legs. And flyin' like a bird or an angel.

Today you're all oohs an’ ahhs. Weren't like that yesterday when I come into town. Then all of you was slammin’ your doors. Hollerin’, hey dirty gypsy gal, get outta our town. Rubes that’s what you are.

Think after the show I’m gonna look for that Monday man of ours. Cuz while you’re here with your mouths hangin’ open, he's climbin’ over your fences and filchin’ the best stuff off your washin’ lines. Mebbe he’ll have found somethin’ for me whats got a bit of pee-zazz.

mizzlin’ rain
rumors drip
from weathered eaves

But it don’t matter none. Only thing matters is flyin’. Swingin’ so high everythin’ below looks small as toys.Then plungin’ down and hearin’ all of you scream sure as blazes I’m never gonna grab my catcher’s hands.

Up here there ain’t no animal stink. Up here it don’t matter if I got nothin’. That double talkin’ cowboy of mine what’s sneakin’ off with that big-assed coochie—he don’t matter. Don’t even matter if this dog’n pony show gets to the next stand.

Sometimes I think about how there’s nothin’ between me and them stars but a mucky bit of rag. How one time I might just swing right through and keep on goin’. My catcher‘ll be that old man in the moon.

muddy boots
where the tent stood
black crows


Ekphrastic haibun after “Woman on Trapeze,” Karl Zerbe, 1946.

Title taken from American Ballads and Folk Songs, “The Man on the Flying Trapeze.”




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