By Rene Mullen
Gardener protects plastic perennial for winter,
cuts plant at its base, discards elm sucked
clean of liberty to repress
urges to overthrow itself.
Thinks it’s bootstrap bee balm, economy
says it’s nepeta.
Each hibernating life born
on this land plowed into concrete, called
native, called something else. Told
it was cut down in 1775.
Driving Dean Martin Downtown
By Jessica Rich
Our voices are vines on buildings that are
too grand for anything other than gentrification.
The old church winks one sad eye
at the homeless who gather at her feet.
She is empty and dreaming organ pipe dreams,
restored but silent.
Eye candy for mortal tornadoes
on fire for the Lord
and followers of lesser gods,
like Rush Hour Traffic and Progress.
A banner announces that Jesus is giving a speech
on the corner of 2nd and Van Buren.
The chairs fill the lot
though they’re all empty but
Jesus stands ready, soapbox stage
With the microphone on.
On Friends; On the End of the World
By Ardea Eichner
Rushing water, shushing cold
Easter’s gone and plants are trusting
All around, the rusty tulips
Dusted by a secret snow.
Mary Mary, take me on a rocket road trip no one can see –
Yellow stars around us shine but the tension is thicker than smoke.
Mother dearest, sink your teeth in!
I made this just for you.
Name your favorite part or parcel,
Don’t you ever tell me.
Why do we meditate with ourselves
However many hours holding hands
You like to watch like you’re hopeless.
Death is level eleven, leave it to the elders,
Only think in greens and blues.
Never look storms or friends in the eyes,
Take nothing home but you.
Yawning is an intimate conversation,
Oxygen courtyards deep inside –
Understand the language, and your bones could learn to fly.