I hang the key

I often think about those moments–fleeting but strong–when I realize I probably won’t see a place or a person again.
This poem was written a few weeks after I came home from the salt flats of Wendover, Utah, and the residency in the little living unit of Center for Land Use Interpretation.
This was my second residency. The first time I left–a year ago–I took the key, only half by mistake. I expected to return. This time I felt complete.
Maybe I will go back or pass through…some day, who knows. But the feeling is otherwise.


I hang the key

on the hook
this time, I won’t
come back

last time
I just
pocketed it

wanting more
of infinite blue seen
through the hole in the lock

but now
with a pelvis full of sky
a coffee cup steaming oasis

I’ll take what I can get
of shimmer, turn solid
to bone and flesh
somewhere else

Paint & Sparrow by Alona Bonanno

Paint & Sparrow
by Alona Bonanno
There are no words between us
Only movement and song
The rhythm of your hooves against the red dirt
Lends ground to my airy tune
It is your voice that causes me to gallop giddy
Across open stretches of desert
Your familiar call
Which beckons me back again
Your whistle from the branch of an aging oak
Calms my racing heart
When your thick body rests in the deep night
I find comfort in the warmth of your mane
Remaining there till morning
Our chests rising and falling in unison

Alona Bonanno is a student in the creative writing program at SFCC. She is a current editor on the Santa Fe Literary Review, and right now is considering submissions of non-fiction and memoir in particular.



Patti Smith cut the cuffs off her shirt
I would never do that, I would never do that.
Our friend Webb went AWOL from Vietnam
we hid him out. Now, I would never do that.

I hitchhiked to Harvard Square
while my bug was in the shop
Marquis de Sade was there
against an Ivy League backdrop,

Now would you ever? Time passes
people move around a lot and end up west.

Other people were dancing rock and roll
I was peeling the bark from a Ponderosa Pine
I was giving birth in a three-room house
with no running water and a full moon bass line.

Would you ever do that, would you ever?

The parrot ran off with the day
I would never do that, I would never do that
The magpies were making raucous hay
Their tuxedos and tails, their noisy ways

My mother was paying the bills, and soon
she’d be selling the shop. The photos
of movies stars would fall . All would
vanish from the Carlton House Hotel.

I said, Hey Lovey Dovey, yeah I said,
Hey, Lovey Dovey. We’ve been married these fast forty years
with our burgeoning bourgeois frames and our bank
roll in your back pocket.

I’d never do that, You know I’d never.

Bob Dylan was passing through but I never got
his name. Janis Joplin would soon be through
and nobody called her tame. I put on my goody two shoes
and stared out the window in flame.

I gave birth to you and you and you
and nobody called out my name. I was Mama
I was Joanie, I was Jane. I wore out
my Goody two shoes, I was wild and then I tamed.

You were tame and then you got wild.
Three times I handed you a child.
Just check it out, over here, all alone
It’s Paradise without a throne.

Six acres and my last good nerve
Patti Smith came back in a huff
I rolled up my shirt cuffs. I deposited notes
in the bank, gave myself a third chance.

The small coyote howled, the computer
ran out of ink. The latest was just a child
with a heart as deep as the sink.
I can’t stop finding the joy,

even when the meanings run out.
The evening was alive, it was evening’s turn
to shout. I won’t ever do this
I won’t ever…I said Hey Lovey Dovey, hey….

So Many Sundays by Carl Kavadlo

so many sundays

so many sundays
were so blue.
hollow. empty.
blue holidays—
the loneliness was so strong
pierced my heart.
the loveless,
empty feeling
on an ever
unwinding highway
the sun slanting off the
roof just wrong. too
many blue shadows—
at least
saw them,
and i always wondered
where god was
on sundays
when he was
to come
out—at least
that one day.
the rest of
the days of
the week
i had already
given up on.

Carl Kavadlo

Week of Bird Poetry: #7: “Birds dream” by Stella Reed

Birds dream, you tell me
unfolding the story of how
their feathers, one layer at a time
stand up then lie down
first this way, then that
to create a baffle of warmth
for their bodies
preparing for sleep.

Their breathing slows
and you mimic the pulse of it
with a squeeze on my arm
soft, fainter, barely there,
and then…
they might startle –
open their eyes
tilt their heads
but eventually they
nestle into their own down.

Their knowing feet, in the last
effort of this preparation
curl like a lover’s
around the branch
holding on for dear life
so the rest of their body
can quiet.

But the dreaming…


Small noises escape
their throats,
eyes flutter…
they murmur to the night
to the ambient light of stars

What do they dream?

…breath along the body
every side, a swell of breath
entering the bones and lifting
You see? Your own wings
unfold giving rise to the
night’s warmth, loving
the idea of flying.

Close your eyes.
What animal do you see?
I see birds, flocks of birds,
hundreds, thousands of birds
I see a giraffe.

Do it again
Quick! What this time?
Fish, schools of fish
hundreds, thousands of fish.
There are so many fish to see.
I see a rhinoceros.

You are on the Serengeti Plains,
I am in the wind and the water.

A hummingbird flew into your window and died. Its small neon body was a third the size of my palm and soft as a rabbit’s tail. Where did it go? you ask like a child. Is that all there is?

We walked the hill behind your house, laid it down amidst juniper and white quartz. You want to be buried like that, but with a fanfare of fireworks proclaiming your departure.

One day I might scent your body with cedar, oil every bit of you; your skin soft against my palms, lay you down in a quarry of earth and as the sky lights up, wonder if that is all there is.

Close your eyes. Quick!
What does your mad happiness look like?

Two days later another one:
Death by disillusionment,
believing the window was open sky.
Its tongue, the slenderest of stamens, protruded
from its narrow grass-like beak
You spread its wings, no bigger than a moth’s.
You move the feeder farther from the house.

We buried it the same way –
A nest of earth, cedar and quartz
this time near a small patch of yellow wildflowers.
No more, you say, brushing the dust from your hands.

The next death is ours –
death by dismemberment.
First the eyes, then the ears,
the tongue is removed (no more need
to seek nectar),
speech and touch wither,
the ego bows out and
the sharp cage of bones collapses
inward around the heart.

Next the dreams go,
dreams of Paris,
of blue and purple embroidered dresses
salty dreams, a dream of a kayak is
dissected from a summer lake,
a bed in Mexico that hangs from the ceiling
and rocks like a cradle, falls.

The stars and the sun and the moon
retreat, slowly become smaller
as if seen through the wrong
end of a telescope, before they leave forever.
The sky folds in on itself.
With no sky, there are no birds
and no dreams of birds and no
birds dreaming.

No breath.

Is this all there ever was?


“Green Chair” by Merry Cox. For more by this wonderful artist–www.merrycox.com