Sculling on Tawas Bay / Richard Douglass

August 2021

Glistening calm as the sun breaks over the far horizon
Not a ripple, not a wave, not a crest or movement
Faint late summer fog rising
As if the mass of water was silenced for a moment in time
Stroking easily, 18 feet of ash wings
Catch, draw, pull, catch, repeat – rhythm of movement
The sliding seat in opposition to the draw on oars
scullThe touch of blade to water
Behind me a sweeping arch
My wake, nearly delicate, marked on each side
Parallel pools of disturbed water
Blade markers of my path, a pattern of my past
The horizon now glowing with sunlight
The stillness on the shore
Now strays into morning,
the moment has passed into a day

Richard Douglass / Tawas City, Michigan


I am 20 months beyond my wife’s death. She prepared me for her dying, but the passage of time needs nurturing if I am to fully heal. One of my tonics is sculling, a single shell with ash oars, on Tawas Bay early in the morning. It is healing, like meditation in motion. So today I put my morning’s row into words.

Pearls / Corey Mesler

My mother did not save much except
money. She was not nostalgic.
There are no drawings I did in
fifth grade, no old report cards, no
favorite toys. I miss my Matchbox
and Corgi cars, my Beatles 45s
on Capitol, my old Mad Magazines
and Ripley’s Believe it or Not
paperbacks. All gone to garbage
trucks or garage sales. She handed
little down. I have a couple of my
father’s WWII medals, but none
of his letters home. My mother gave
my wife her string of pearls. It is
this one gift I want to talk about.
Tight with money her entire life she
was overly generous at the end. My
wife and I don’t go out much. We
don’t entertain. But there was an event
where we dressed up, a speech I
had to make. I found my old suit,
purchased at the Salvation Army to
get married in. My wife wore a simple
black dress and upon the breast she
laid that single strand of pearls.
They were like small lights, like prayer
beads, like dreamstuff. They were like
my mother, simple, surviving, hanging on.

Corey Mesler / Memphis, Tennessee


 

COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published eleven novels, four short story collections, six full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel, Memphis Movie, attracted kind words from Ann Beattie, Peter Coyote, and William Hjorstberg, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and three of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs a 144 year-old bookstore in Memphis.

Broken and Lost / Garrett Phelan

The object poem: Simple enough that we can teach grade school children to write them, complex enough that great poets write them. We think 3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week is a fine example of how much a good object poem can accomplish with a few lines – just look at that final question!

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Casual Gospel / David Prather

3rd Wednesday’s poem of the week is the 50/50 contest winner from the summer issue of the magazine. David Prather won half the voluntary entry fees and a one year subscription to the print magazine for his poem, Casual Gospel. The summer issue is available free in PDF format at our website or in print at a nominal price from Amazon.