Ann Arbor Review


Geoffrey Philp
Chris Lord
Duane Locke
Shutta Crum
Karyn M. Wolven
Joseph McNair
Gerald Clark
Paul B. Roth
Fred Wolven
Alan Britt
Joanie Freeman
Jerry Blanton
Steve Beaulieu
Felino Soriano
Tolu Ogunlesi
Running Cub
Helen Losse



I sat on the concrete wall near a pile of leaves,
raked to Third Street's edge.  Pam's in
her poodle skirt.  We are sisters.

With our childhood frolic over, we are
left to mine what's happened since.

As the moon grows cold deep in the night,
watermelon vines wind themselves,
where there is nothing to wind themselves
around or to.  They look tangled and brown,
even before the birth of young melons.

Singing words may tease the senses,
and we could cackle among ourselves,
but we won't forget a single sparrow,
for no one flies with broken wings.


The echo of loon-calls infiltrated
low-dragging branches.  While white patrollers
with their guns and their bloodhounds
were fighting tangled trees, their canoes fought
the waters of the swamp-jungle,
beside the alligator-shadows, where abandoned
human bones lay undisturbed, unquestioned
in the grayness of spontaneous gnarls of the maze
of the Spanish Moss.  And when the sky grew darker
and search parties turned back,

the tired runaway did not.
Having drunk deeply from the pot lying
on its side and the "song of the gourd" held
safely within--Jacob ceased from
his hiding and started his wading
into the black, troubled water.
He turned north, following a guiding star.
"There is a Presence" there in that swamp.
There always has been.


I dare not follow
too closely behind
(no matter what
I have already sworn).

I am unworthy,
and I forget to breathe,
when I see myself
through Other Eyes.

When the truth pushes
like a river at the floodgates,
I cry out in ignorance,
"What is truth?"


"Explain everything clearly," said the blogger.
"Don't contradict yourself.  Never

change your mind.  And don't even
think about anything that isn't obvious--

anything you'd have to study to know.
Don't object, when others put words in

your mouth or challenge your word choice.
You really have said nothing.  You are so

unclear.  You really have nothing to say."
And "your education educated you to think

what I say you think."  I, the professional,
whose job matters more than self.


A rainbow is visible through the clouds.
But multitudes stand like sheep,
while the rain comes stroking the air.  The rain
cleans the water and the firmament.
The people don't know, of course,
that they are sheep, forsaking what matters most--

they have forgotten to dream.

And as the pond and the lake fill with water,
small puddles form on the land,
and the sheep relive their false memories.
They think they are thinking, choosing,
watching for wolves.  They "know about"
wolves, because they are sheep.  But they don't

know wolves.  The sheep bow their heads,
while raindrops fall into a small pond
in the openness of meadow.  But other drops
become lodged in the trees--where they hang
in fine slivers of hope, 'til the sun penetrates the dense
forest, once again, shining as brightly as ever,
which is somewhat like speaking the truth in love.

(I call this visual the Prayer Window.)  And soon
silvery prisms beat on the lake like sticks
on a drum.  So surely, there are some among
the flock, who will see their flashes of light
and obey them as a call to prayer.


The frost has killed the summer flowers.
They hang their brownish heads

from spindly stems.  The present sky
is gray and looks like ice.

November rain brought down the leaves.
Now they cover most of the ground.

But the hour is not yet come for
the feast that will usher in

the Best Holiday of them all.  Yet I am
wary as a turkey before the sun

and have forgotten the word that
was on my mind that night,

the one that destroyed all categories
into which everyone must neatly fit.

I know there were natives present.
But everywhere one goes, it seems,

there are natives.  What was I thinking
that has "broken barriers down"?

Is there a word that transcends all difference
and sets me on God's ground, unafraid

yet unable to forget those people I was
filing away?  Was it in a dream?


When I try thinking--taking notes
about the blurring of false boundaries--
so that memories and dreams become parts of my prayer,

God, Who is, perhaps, saner than we
like to pretend, doesn't seem to mind.

If I hadn't heard that a poem is meant to be spoken--
to be shared--I wouldn't have opened my mouth.
And just because I did, doesn't mean it isn't
sometimes as though I didn't.

Bright leaves once swayed beneath
the grayness of sky:  some yellow, some red.
When they floated toward us in your car,
we stopped, turned off the motor, stepped outside

into the redeeming moment.  We tried
to picture ourselves as we were--in other places,
happier times.  Perhaps, outdoors in autumnal
cascade.  The fog and the wind were coming as quickly

and as sure as my pain.  Then suddenly, raindrops
were falling all over us.  And just so you know--
that afternoon, as we sat on the back of your car,
drenched as the leaves, when you suggested

how close we'd re-grown the preceding hour,
I decided to forgive you.


The other night as music
over-shadowed the meaning

of what I was trying to say,
I realized no prayer is like the fog.

The world waits and waits
in the low light of the hidden sun,

when a single leaf falls in  visual music.
The same leaf falls into crystals of ice.

I look out my window toward the world.

A black branch is the only silence present,
the only happiness in view,

but if God hurls snow
toward a whirling earth, so that as you

hear a leaf fall, you need not ask about love.

Then silence is darkness, and the music
is the fog that is light enough to sustain.

Helen Losse, Winston-Salem, North Carolina



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