...the Swedish word mångata...is the trail moonlight makes in water.
We can say it in English but it takes six words.
Each letter bobs and floats on the almost
imperceptible undulations of her poem’s
scintillating surface, alternately mirrors
the moon’s second-hand opulence
or basks in the rhinestone tawdriness
of the Milky Way, a trailing t trailing twin-a
trailing g trailing n trailing å, a train of barges
tugged by pilot-boat m so unerringly that you
must plumb the riverine depths of the word.
Mångata, you sing, vibrato bearing the sounds
from your mouth the way oxygen molecules,
whisked by protons, ride the curls
of the solar wind. Your lips poised,
you say the word again, set the phonemes
twisting into each line’s gravity-wave ripple;
the word morphs into the poem in its entirety.
Your face is bathed by the high-altitude-
neutron-smitten charged red-particles
of oxygen molecules colliding; your cheeks
glow like a Swede’s frost-bitten mug,
and you hold up your nubbe of Akvavit.
“Skål!” you shout, but the word that is
lambency skating the sea is mångata,
and the surface-tension glint of each brilliant
letter alternately turns toward and away
from the moon, tremulous, light-waveringly
alive, wave and particle doing a couple’s
routine, a white-light wake skittering along,
a trail of your days laid behind you all the way back
to your beginning, documenting, in phosphorescent
shimmers, the moon’s simultaneous revelations
of where you have already glimmered, of where
you have always known you were bound to gleam.
latest poetry collection is Mouth Brimming Over (Blue Cedar Press, 2019). Stage Whispers (Meadowlark Books, 2018) won the 2019 Nelson Poetry Book Award. Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) comprises ekphrastic poems inspired by modern artists’ depictions of angels. His first book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited (with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017). His poetry has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net awards, and was selected for The Best Small Fictions 2019.
Beckemeyer serves on the editorial boards of Konza Journal and River City Poetry. A retired engineer and scientific journal editor, he is also a nature photographer who, in his spare time, researches the mechanics of insect flight and the Paleozoic insect fauna of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Alabama. He lives in Wichita, Kansas, where he and his wife will celebrate their 59th anniversary soon.
Featured Artist in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019);
showcasing Beckemeyer’s poetry, prose poetry, and insect photography
Legacy’s Sunset, a climate-crisis photo-poem in
KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019)
Words for Snow, a prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 9,
Spring 2018), which was selected for reprinting in The Best Small Fictions