1. The grackles have found my backyard,
the nuts and seeds; they splash in the old white basin
I fill cleanly every day, trill water into the air
with each chiming, heads an oiled peacock, glossed
bodies a darkening carmine in this false summer light.
I count forty pairs of crabbed, clackety feet
before a squirrel drops insouciance into their midst.
When they explode upward in a glittering,
my own wings unfurl, my toes unclaw the earth.
2. In Sicily, four donkeys peer over a stone wall, winter blue
powder sky scattering away. They want only your hand
to find the velvety softness between their eyes.
Behind them, inside the house, an old woman sits
out of sight, her thick white bowl of Settembrina peaches
so ripe, they weep to be eaten, sliced into a confetti of basil,
a silken mouthful of burrata, two blood-dark drops
of the balsamico she made when her hands were still young
and smooth, her hair still chestnut, her husband still singing,
strong-hearted, in the kitchen. There is no season
you cannot endure, if you have the mouth for it.
3. Bohr declined the false certainties of Heisenberg: he knew
not to drink mercury or try to hold it in his hands.
A reconciliation and a coincidence of well-defined events
may yield to unsharply defined individuals within space-time
regions. The coral-tooth mushroom proves that
we can be made of milk and still hold our shapes;
a cascading sweetness, a melting belied by our transparent
skins, a crossing over. Release your hold on certainty; become
unsharpened. Let your position and momentum
become observable in the soft imprint of a kiss,
the tender inside of a thigh.
4. From this distance, the Yunnan rice terraces layer and nest,
a blue-smoked landscape, a charting of lost kisses,
the touch of hands in sleep, a map drawn on the inside
of my skin, a mirroring into the world.
Abstract painting of ripe figs, pomegranate jewels:
I cloak myself in the smooth, blue glass of it,
in the dark roads lacing into the unknown
spaces between forests and houses, where the water
buffalo chew, placid, into the gloaming, the silvering
of time stealing upward, toward their hearts.
5. In this photo you are shucking oysters, blue-gloved,
a sharpness in your hand: inside your palm,
a falling open, a salty-sweetness.
Behind you, in the falling dark, masts blur gently
with the pull of tides. Only tiny blue lights announce
their presence, constellations come to earth.
On the farthest boat, I await you,
blue dress of seawater pooling at my feet,
my hands filled with cherries so ripe,
they lean into the tongue.
is the author of Cloudshade: Poems of the High Plains (Sastrugi Press, 2015)
and Voices at Twilight (Sastrugi Press, 2016) and the editor of Blood,
Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016).
She is a co-creator of the new poetic form, the cadralor, and Editor in Chief of
Gleam: Journal of the Cadralor..
Her individual poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as
The Meadow, The Owen Wister Review, Pilgrimage, and Red Hook, and
her educational research appears in publications such as The Journal of Poetry
Therapy and Qualitative Inquiry.
Lori Howe holds an M.F.A. in Poetry and a Ph.D. in Literacy Education from the
University of Wyoming, where she is a professor in the Honors College. She lives
in Laramie and is a guest poet on Wyoming Public Radio.
⚡ New Poetic Form With Wyoming Roots Goes Viral by Micah Schweizer
at Wyoming Public Media (4 December 2020); includes audio of Lori Howe reading
her cadralore (Numbers 9, 5, and 4)