Unhinged Condition

Unexplained on the wide sidewalk, the door stands upright with the aid of two wooden stands that grip its bottom rail a few scrapes above the absent threshold. Though the door no longer opens or shuts, the stout pin of one hinge remains, partly encircled by a barrel of the same rusty vintage. Cracked layers […]

Insubstantial Chains of Self-Criticism

At nine o’clock in the morning, serrated leaves resting against the fence receive the signature of dark steel lines. With emboldened chains eclipsing the more delicate rows of veins, diamond shapes define the screen of the leaf-surface, imposing fence patterns on what should grow free. But the fence’s shadow, looping and stamping itself at nine, […]

Memorial Collage and Poem for my Cousin Patrick Harvey Jones (1972-2019)

Not long before Pat died, he sent a card thanking me for a Christmas gift. The medication that he was taking caused his hands to shake, and it touched me that he still made time to write despite the difficulty. When composing Cousin Pat’s Letter, it seemed right that the piece should include an example […]

Treehouse Down (2020) with Recording by Sean McDermott

Hovering at the height of the telephone wires, the man in a cherry bucket sheers a section of tall maple, an aerial chef dispatching vertical stalks for the chipper. The chunk of trunk falls to the sidewalk, splintering the moment into a thousand perceived realities. The sky-worker, one section down, four more cuts to go […]

Cleveland Bus Terminal 3:30 am

This serious night that knows only waiting wearies the line of us bound for Fort Wayne. It slumps the postures, turns luggage to chairs, and makes a bed of the floor, where a man dressed in scrubs has stretched his length against a wall. Head resting on the hard-ribbed shell of a suitcase, the man’s […]

Sleeping Bag Transfer

Dad, I’m giving your military sleeping bag to the Anglican Church of Canada. The last time you unrolled this large pocket for sleepy cadets and folded your tall frame into it, Eisenhower was president and your younger brother was still in high school.You were serving in the US Navy and training to become an air […]

Bath Bombs at Last

Putting bath-bomb enjoyment on hold for six months does not rate highly as an example of noteworthy sacrifice during a pandemic. However, from March to August of this year, it made me sad every time I saw the lovely non-violent bombs (a Christmas present from my sister-in-law) languishing in the bathroom cabinet. Without access to […]

Mechanics of Forgiveness (2019)

Neither smooth nor automatic, the mechanics of forgiveness clank fist-first into the soil broken by a rusty plow that moves so slowly it strains to finish the first row. Forgiveness is not a miracle. It is work to be done and redone as the seasons cycle. It requires the engagement of gears, calls for the […]

Thistle Seeds of Kindness (2020)

A single fluffy nipple detaches itself from the bed of its closely-nestled siblings and rises free to ride a forest updraft, sail the length of three trees, and land in the crook of a sister thistle. This flight so miraculous, so matter of fact, is the work of gossamer gliders that carry their freight of […]

Sidewalk Glacier (2019)

The slick gray humps — shadows of glorious glacial whales of old — have ebbed from cycles of freeze and thaw and rain to create islands of receding winter. From January to March, these masses have shrunk, slunk much lower to the edges of the sidewalk by the cinema. Saturated with soot and exhaust, the […]

Ragged (2020)

What’s left of me is ragged lace, more absence than presence, gnawed upon but not consumed. I forbid you to pity me. If you impose sympathy with those I’m sorry for you eyes, wholesale disdain will meet your gaze. Instead, reach below O poor leaf! to ask yourself ‘Where am I torn?’ ‘Who would recognize […]

Farlinger Ravine Loop Poem (2017)

Meet me at Farlinger Ravine, Ravine west of Kennedy Road by the Dollarama, Dollarama that conceals the lost banks of Taylor Massey Creek, Creek that is witnessed from this rusty bridge. This bridge where I loll at the rail and examine, examine the sticky burrs on my mittens, mittens that spell “Love” on my knuckles, […]

Celebrating the Seasons: Haikus by Ellen Jaffe in Response to Photographs by Catherine Raine

Tree branches, blue sky reflected in melting ice —   winter hieroglyphics. Fractal patterns, webs of connection, forest’s neurons awake. Branches stretching out over cold morning waves sunlight glints on stones. Bluebells in spring, spring into life, forest wakes in mute beauty. Reeds stand sentinel, green and straight against a wavy background — one moment […]