Snow Angels by Doug Booth


A shroud of snow covers Lake Saranac,
Stretching beyond the frosted firs of Hardy’s Island.
The Iroquois named her Lake of the Silver Sky.
Lone moose call –
Then sound frozen silent.

Blood splotches in the snow,
Fresh rabbit kill –
Wolf family dinner.

My mother loved this Lake beyond love – spoke its silent language,
Sang gentle songs to her lapping shores,
Listened to the rise as the wind crossed the water,
Knew her secret coves with darting bass and plucky pollywogs,

Adirondack guide boat skims between lily pads,
With wee wobbly son and proud husband…

Watching us ride the Old Ford “Woody”, with no roof or windows,
Down the hill out onto the Lake with five feet of ice,
Our mad sleigh spinning ‘til Bucky and I fly off the bumper…
Laughing all the way.

Until the day Mom’s muscles froze stiff.
All hope gone, we opened the frosted window one night,
Let the chill air fill her gentle lungs –
Winter’s final blessing.

On another day my wife slid across a snowy bridge,
She dearly loved those frozen crystals – called them “snew” –
Another winter’s benediction.

They return to the Lake, my ladies of winter,
Catching plump snowflakes on pink tongues,
Falling down dizzily-giddily,
Making snow angels who fly up into the starry night,
Playing tag above the Lake of the Silver Sky.

I’m Still Alive

I’m still alive,
unlike several
people in my stories,
those I loved
or half loved,
and I’m at the intersection
of Juanita Street
and Paseo
yellow leaves blowing
as the keyboard intro
to “Super Freak”
comes on the car radio,
and for one moment
I have the intense
although possibly misguided
that this
is the greatest song
ever written,
and for that
one moment
it’s true,
because who doesn’t love
the kind of girl
you read about—
and then it all floods in
all the other songs
I love
and also believe
to be the greatest song
ever written,
and I wonder
who the fuck am I?
and really
I don’t know.

Quatrains by Don Thompson

Don Thompson


Without so much as a sack of dust,
Empty-handed, the wind
Flees south like a refugee,
Only a few days ahead of winter.



Light spatters on stagnant pond water
Like grease on a skillet—
Cast iron, the kind old-timers
Cherished and refused to scrub clean.



Mid-morning train in the distance:
Lonelier than midnight, somehow,
Despite coffee and the raucous birds
That don’t even notice it.


Before Dawn

The first bird of the morning rasps
Some blue notes in a smoker’s voice,
Unanswered: Not up early,
But a lounge singer home late.


Shirat HaYam by A.J. Schuman

Shirat HaYam by A.J. Schuman
Sing our deliverance, Miriam, mother of song!
Horse and rider are cast in the sea!
Repealed the belly torn upon bronze point!
Revoked the rape of daughter while we watch unable!
Repented the stink of blood on sand and food for the fly!
Relented the shame of unburied husband torn by the vulture!
Reversed the hollow eyed starvation of the survivor!
Released the curse upon generations!

His armored troop carriers burn in their own fuel.
His cannon barrels blast bent.
His jeeps stalled wheels half buried.
His half-tracks shredded.
His rifles discarded hastily ammo boxes unopened.
His warplanes never arrived.
Take up tambourine, Miriam. Hum the hum you hear.
Walk away from this awful beach.
Smell chaparral, Miriam, smell the sticky monkey flower.
Hot wind flaps clothing answering rhythm.
Gravel in shoe the feel of freedom.
Miriam, dance the color of streaming cloud sunset.
Bitter dew on leafy lichen on sheared granite, dewy savor.
Weighing nothing, ruined teeth and patchy hair and scars.
Striped uniform threadbare against Polish April damp.
A village somewhere, a thatched roof somewhere: please some bread.
Nowhere: thicket of birch trees, pasture gone shrubby.
Back to Kiev if we could get there, to Palestine, to America, the moon.
Delivered without address; escaped without refuge.
Miriam, dance the dance of the future.
Dance grandchildren eating magical avocadoes we may never taste.
Sing us a song in their soft vowelly English.
Oh, Miriam, we shall never understand the words.
We would laugh at the llamas on their farms never even in pictures.
Let them float above the earth in zeppelin cities.
Let them wear tunics reflective as brass mirrors.
Let their sandals have wheels.
Let them make medicine from … moonlight.
Let the whole world come to them for their moonlight medicine.
Miriam, this is deliverance.
This is the land can’t quite imagine where we must now go.
Who is like you, among them all?
Who is like you, amazing, unique,
Astonishing, as we tell it, working wonders?

The Pigeons of Shiraz by Miriam Sagan

I’m delighted to have five poems appear in “Modern Literature.” Check it out–


the pigeons of Shiraz
have one black wing
one white
are marked
as if by the calligrapher’s hand
must wheel towards G-d

the pigeons of Manhattan
swell with iridescent
smell of soot
build nests of detritus
must wheel towards G-d

I held a metaphor
like a smooth stone
close to my heart

when I awoke
I could see the inside of the rose.

This poem was written after a visit to my friend Baro’s new pigeon flock. Thinking of New York, too, today.