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2021 Summer Journal Poetry

Three Poems

 

 

Angel Dust

 

There are always horses

running through my mind –

 

horses that remember

the mountains and the feeling

I had riding the trail

that day with Lady,

through the giant, ancient

willow grotto

where I thought I heard

my mother, father and sister

pausing in the wispy, green branches –

returning

from some kind of death

that must not be too bad.

 

No words spoke

the supernal message

of light, healing, reunion

erasing time and space.

It sifted through the leaves

of that venerable, old tree

and fell all around

like the warm echo

of a familiar song

like a sweet, cosmic kiss

like the sparkle of sunbeams

through dust.

 

Shirley Manning is thankful for light and hope wherever she sees it. Her life is made bright by the world around her, her family and friends, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and an infatuation with words. She and her husband Marty live in Kaysville, Utah, with their six children and spouses and their twenty-two grandchildren living close by. They love sharing hobbies of horses, tennis, and movies with this large and loved family.

 

*

 

The Thing With Feathers

 

The lavender pearl dawn

the heavy slate Atlantic

and my son

and the sandpipers.

 

The waves recede and

they rush forward together,

boy and birds

hop hop hop

peck peck peck

Then a flurry of panic as the waves return

grasping at tiny feet

dancing away sideways.

They settle

then do it all again—

birds, boy, waves.

 

My son, feather-boned,

shrieks at the water’s chill touch.

He cannot swim.

The sandpipers don’t swim either.

He copies their movements.

Arms become wings,

nose becomes beak,

just another bird

when squinting

from a distance.

 

A bigger wave this time,

a miscalculation.

The true birds fly out of reach.

The suddenly-boy-again topples

under the weighty water

but soon pops up again.

Finds his wings

Smiles

Does it again—

birds, boy, waves.

 

 

Susan Jeffers received her B.A. in English from BYU and her M.A. in English from Abilene Christian University. She spends her time writing and teaching in southern Maryland with her husband, their son, and a succession of ill-tempered betta fish.

 

 

*


Future Perfect Participle

 

Reading the absolute

black of God’s words

on a white unyielding page

my flawed heart falters, then fails

at the very thought

of cobbling my frail faith

into a slipshod hope—

let alone pressing forward

with the perfect brightness

that feels so far beyond my reach.

 

Yet when I read what lies hidden

behind each line and letter of those words

I find a breadcrumb trail, morsels of manna

feeding me, leading me forward

through my fog of fear and doubt, and out

into the glorious warmth, the infinite light

of a Son who speaks peace

a Father who loves without limits

a Mother who manifests the promise

that perfection is within my grasp.

 

And by Their grace

I see through new eyes

that what I perceived as black and white

are only two visible values

in an endless spectrum of light

echoing across a multiplicity of mirrors

stretching to eternity in every direction

and in each, a reflection of my own image

having already been remade in Theirs:

divine, perfect, and bright.

 

 

Katherine Parker Richmond used to tell herself stories while she walked home from school and she’s been doing it ever since. By day, she nurtures (and tortures) future generations of writers as a language arts teacher. By night, she pens picture books, young adult fiction, and the occasional dubious poem. Her work has appeared in That Odd Mom, Poetry in Form, The Stories on Medium, Boston Literary Magazine, Segullah, New Era, and Broken Circles: a Gathering of Poems for Hunger.

 

 

 

 

 

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