the gentle hours ⸺to John a felt bluebird perches on the purple orchid on my kitchen table a broken heat wave elixir for the skin these are the gentle hours at 6 am I’m up and around the place shedding the shortened sleep I haven’t yet grown into my windows, the few flat bottomed clouds have nested under my eyes, dawn is an obsessive safecracker vault of blue sky wide open dreams wide open morning broken like an egg and opened no one at this hour seems shocked at the sounds of life. I think of my friends present and long gone as interstellar rainbows, sun-kissed children of beauty no one but everyone ends up a stranger, they are my muses my runes my river. When I think of them I think every star inhabits the soul of a desert flower, every soul a signal fire. First news of the day will rattle some empty cages, no doubt, it’ll take more than imagining the contents of Thoreau’s haversack to gentle the earth. At my age I become something I’m not all over again and it fits me like a glove. Fate is a direction that won’t let me lose my way.
About the Author: John Macker grew up in Colorado and has lived in northern New Mexico for 25 years. He has published 13 full-length books and chapbooks of poetry, 2 audio recordings, an anthology of fiction and essays, and several broadsides over 30 years. His most recent are Atlas of Wolves, The Blues Drink Your Dreams Away, Selected Poems 1983-2018, (a 2019 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards finalist), Desert Threnody, essays and short fiction (winner of the 2021 Arizona/New Mexico Book Awards fiction anthology prize), El Rialto, a short prose memoir and Chaco Sojourn, short stories, (both illustrated by Leon Loughridge and published in limited edition by Dry Creek Art Press.) In 2019, his poem “Happiness” won a Fischer Poetry Prize finalist citation, sponsored by the Telluride Institute.
Image Credit: Image originally from “The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands”. Image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library