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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 1, March 2013

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Steven Carter
Tucson, Arizona, USA


Hymn

Another season in the book; the lupine are long gone, the mountain daisies, asters, even dandelions which popped up overnight, disappearing just as quickly.

Soon the lake will leave me (that's how I've begun to feel lately) like the fortuitous ghosts of loved ones, the words of unwritten poems, dreams of summer laced with the rhythms of black waves on Swan Lake's east shore below my open window.

How many summers left? I'll turn 69 next week. In truth, never thought I'd make it this far, my parents having died young, ditto both grandfathers leaving their own illegible signatures in my DNA which reads like a mystery novel.

Last night I had a strange—even for me—dream of a light across the lake, orange, not dark gold like my neighbor's on the west shore. Actually the light seemed to be on the lake, moving toward me, then away, toward then away. Equally mysteriously, the waves' black music was stilled, to be replaced with the faint ringing of a bell—but from where?

Still dreaming, I went outside in a rising south wind (I saw pine-branches playing catch with Sirius, Altair, and Alpha Centauri), trying to find the bell's source; but that was impossible. This point in the air, that point—it seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere. This struck me as profoundly sorrowful, as if the ringing were a cross, and all the world's dreamers, except for me, were crucified on it.

When I looked again, the orange light on the lake was gone. I woke up to this thought: Only God can create loneliness and be lonely at the same time.

extra blankets
four a.m.—
something thumps the house

a young salmon leaps—
ripples
not quite reaching me

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