by Brad G. Garber
The black bear peered at us, from the edge of the wood
square nose pointed toward the forest fire we were
heading toward, having smelled it washing like ocean tide
up the flanks of a mountain glowing in moonlight.
It was a full moon, orange against a starless night sky
that followed the bear into a copse of trembling aspens
lighting ripened berries like sugar lanterns in the night
the bear’s nimble lips a soft smoke drifting through.
And, on this morning, as smoke descended like wool
the black bear peered at us, passing by like ashen waters
toward uncertain tides and ducked back into the wood
confident in the fruit of the earth and her place in it.
San Francisco Airport
The fog spills over the hills
like frosty butter poured
over boiled shrimp, curled
waterfalling, thick and soft.
This, in the land of bitcoin
wealth erupting up the hillsides
waves of black information
slapping against tender brains.
Around me, fretful travelers
swirling like fog, not noticing
the thick clouds descending
upon a threatened landscape.
This, where the earth aches
to move like a falling tree
uprooting its ageless innocence
laying waste to every excess.
And I wonder where will be
this airport, this place of flight
when the waters rise to meet
a slowly pouring, terrifying sky.
There is a storm building
across an ocean of human heat.
Take your pick . . .
intolerance, distrust, fear, ignorance, denial:
we don’t like
we don’t listen
we don’t care
it’s not us.
The storm surge will kill
its stupid-foot waves
crushing, drowning, wiping
scouring the surface of the earth.
Left . . . a pristine beach, populated
with hungry birds, winter foam
Until clouds build along the horizon.
He was writing poetry
in a waning ray of sunlight
when he was picked off
the roof like a pigeon
by a sniper, his brain
a puff of feathers, floating
with his peaceful words
down to indifferent earth.
Nature on the Back Porch
The red dragonfly, as the hummingbird
has its hunting grounds, this afternoon
darts out to capture swarming midges.
I remedy my insecurities with bourbon
staring at the imperfections of my skin
capturing what I can of confidence.
Like the dragonfly, I return to the spot
where I can scan the killing field, full
of swarming memories and expectations.
Overhead, the hummingbird sucks water
a blooming fuchsia plant a distraction
from what is sustaining and what is not.
The red dragonfly eats its fill and leaves
and the hummingbird goes to its roost
leaving me to rattle the ice cubes in glass.
Brad G. Garber has degrees in biology, chemistry and law. He writes, paints, draws, photographs, hunts for mushrooms and snakes, and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. Since 1991, he has published poetry, essays and weird stuff in such publications as Edge Literary Journal, Pure Slush, On the Rusk Literary Journal, Sugar Mule, Third Wednesday, Barrow Street, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Five:2:One, Ginosko Journal, Vine Leaves Press, Riverfeet Press, Smoky Blue Literary Magazine, Aji Magazine and other quality publications. 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee.