Troy Schoultz: “Abbotsford Cemetery”

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About the Author: Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Fish Drum, Santa Monica Review, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic, Palooka and many others in the U.S. and U.K. since 1997. He is the author of two chapbooks and three full-length collections.  His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries, and the number five. He hosts and produces S’kosh: The Oshkosh Podcast. For more information check out https://troyschoultz.wixsite.com/website

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Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Crow on a Fence” (2021)

Joanna George: “woodpeckers”

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About the Author: Joanna George (She/Her) writes from Pondicherry, India. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Parentheses Journal, Cordite Poetry Review, Isele magazine, Honey Literary, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, West Trestle Review, Lumiere Review, Paddler Press and others. She tweets at j_leaseofhope.

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Image Credit: Image from Naturgeschichte der Vögel Mitteleuropas Gera-Untermhaus,F.E. Köhler,1897-1905 [v.1, 1905] Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (public domain)

Sheila Saunders: “It is still, now”

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It is still, now

The winds have exhaled with the tide, and the afternoon.
 Here the fields draw in the winter dusk,
drain the westerly plum- juice streaks
greying the pink and yellow 
in slow minutes. 

It is still.
No chatter or shriek from the magpies
dumb on  black poplars’ broom-like branches
or aimlessly flopping over  sodden grass
crossing-  re-crossing. 

A near silence
wraps   the watcher in  comfort, 
who
 not hearing the  air breathing,
nor a leaf slip’s infinitesimal whisper,
is still, too.

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About the Author: Sheila graduated from St Anne’s College, Oxford, with a degree in English Language and Literature, and since then worked as a reporter on local weekly and daily newspapers  in Lancashire, Lincolnshire and Buckinghamshire. After marriage to another journalist in 1961, Sheila brought up three children and continued to write as a freelance, and became involved in community organisations in Wirral, and voluntary work with special needs young people. She has always loved  theatre, music and art, but it is her observation and fascination with  her natural surroundings, including the wildlife of the coast, that has inspired most of her poetry.

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More by Sheila Saunders: 

April Visitor

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Image Credit: Image from, The birds of Australia. London, Printed by R. and J. E. Taylor; pub. by the author,[1840]-48. Image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library (Public Domain)

Barbara Daniels: “At Shearness Pool”

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At Shearness Pool

After rain sandpipers snoop 
for food at the runoff pond 
by the old tennis courts, caught 

in the tides of migration. 
I ask a painter at his easel 
how to live. He says to choose 

exacting silence. Eight turkeys, 
not really wary, step gracefully 
out of the brush. Like a hunter, 

I hold my breath. It’s sudden 
joy to spot an owl mobbed 
by blackbirds, find orioles 

hidden like lovers, like fat 
jewels. I’m happy eating 
my tuna sandwich 

and watching an eagle 
across Shearness Pool. She stuns 
me to stillness. I ask a hiker

how to live. She says 
to watch silver water just 
as the eagle lifts her wings.

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About the Author: Barbara Daniels’ Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has recently appeared in Concho River Review, Dodging the Rain, and Philadelphia Stories. She received four fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the most recent in 2020.

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Image Credit: “A beautiful scene of some sandpipers at sunset” courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (public domain)

Julia Wendell: “Owl”

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Owl,

High up in the crown
of a Monterey cedar,
saucer-yellow eyes
blinking down at us.
“Bird,” says the wee one.
“Owl,” I specify.
Next morning, he’s still
perched on the shaggy fronds,
a mouse in his talons, blood
stippling his feathers.
“Mouse,” says the girl.
“Dinner,” I elaborate.
I am not above revealing
violent cycles of need
to even the smallest soul.
It will eventually make sense.
She will grow up
and learn to kill and kill and kill—
bugs, engines, books, time, love.
But for now, the bird stays high up 
at the center of our globe.
“Owl,” says the budding girl.
“Life,” says the old one, me.

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About the Author: Julia Wendell‘s sixth volume of poems. THE ART OF FALLING, will be published by FutureCycle Press in February, 2022. She lives in Aiken, South Carolina, and is a three-day event rider.

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Image Credit: Image from A Natural History of Birds (Public Domain) Image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library

Ruth Hoberman: “Make Way for Ducklings”

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Make Way for Ducklings  

Willows drag green fingers through our hair 
as we walk the Public Garden with our granddaughter, 
looking for ducks. I’ve never seen trees like this before,  

she says, climbing the thick roots knobbed like knuckles 
grasping dirt. We want to show her wonders,  we want to
justify—what, the stories we tell her?  

We want to justify the world. All we see are geese 
until two mallards arrive, one green-headed, 
the other gray—Mr. and Mrs., just like the book!  

I don’t mention patriarchy as I point out the male’s 
sunlit green and handsome ringed neck. Both 
seem dignified, content, deserving any help they get  

from nice policemen. So much depends  
on what we don’t discuss as we meander, cold, 
yet almost blinded by the low October sun.  

Then we pass what none of us has ever seen: 
a man decked in xylophones and stuffed dogs, 
birds, bangles, and tambourines, all dangling  

as he growls a bluesy song about sky and wings: 
So hush, little baby, don’t you cry. We watch, 
all three of us amazed as he, too, urges a child  

to trust the world. One of these mornings  
may the world justify our praise.

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About the Author: Ruth Hoberman mainly lives in Chicago. She writes poetry and essays, which have been published in such places as RHINO, Calyx, Smartish Pace, Naugatuck River Review, and Ploughshares.

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Image Credit: Image from Naturgeschichte der Vögel Mitteleuropas Gera-Untermhaus,F.E. Köhler,1897-1905 [v.1, 1905]. Courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library

Gerald Friedman: “A Race of the Red-tailed Hawk”

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A Race of the Red-tailed Hawk 

Audubon shot a hawk,
mostly black-brown.  Painting it
while it still lived, he said,
he chocolate-covered its white marks,
tidied its tail pattern,
not thinking both were typical.
He wrote tall stories:
his specimen bred in Louisiana,
feared him only when he carried his gun.
He baptized it in Latin
after his friend Dr. Harlan;
in English, “Black Warrior”,
maybe something good to have
dying or dead
to be depicted as he saw fit.

Morning frost by the Rio Grande.
All summer Harlan’s, black or rare white,
glided down from Alaska
in my mind.  Now
a red-tail screams. At me?
I sneak, a commando,
to capture it with my camera,
barely disturbing
fragile cottonwood leaves.
By some occult sense
it feels me, flies, straight
as limbs slip by.  Out of view.
But I’ll call it a Harlan’s,
tail white constellated in black.
A stereotypical birdwatcher,
I’m already checking my pictures.
One shot caught that tail,
so I’ll get an accepted sighting.

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About the Author: Gerald Friedman grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and now teaches physics in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He has published poetry in various magazines, recently Rat’s Ass Review, Entropy, The Daily Drunk, and Better Than Starbucks.

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Image Credit: Plate 86 of Birds of America by John James Audubon depicting “Black Warrior Falco harlani” Public Domain

Lorraine Henrie Lins: “Pelican”

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Pelican  

I see it
just as he catches its scent.
He drops the tennis ball
and I know
by the distant shape it’s a bird,  a
large one left by this morning’s tide.

The dog
stills his body and tail
and I expect him to paw it,
test it
with his teeth as he does
with fish heads,
driftwood, crab shells—

instead,
he leans forward,
snuffles its parted, flat eyes
and hovers
whisker-close over the tangled
feathers and tide-kinked wings,
elongated in a mid-flight mien,

lingers
the length of its body
and breathes in the brine-cleaned
wound on its neck and sits.
I re-clip his leash,
give short leading tugs
but again he stills, pulls
against the command
and waits.

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About the Author: Lorraine Henrie Lins is a Pennsylvania county Poet Laureate and author of four books of poetry: All the Stars Blown to One Side of The Sky, I Called It Swimming, Delaying Balance and most recently, 100 Tipton.  She serves as the Director of New and Emerging Poets with Tekpoet and is a founding member of the “No River Twice” improvisational poetry troupe.  Lins’ work appears in wide variety of familiar publications and collections, as well as on a small graffiti poster in New Zealand. Born and raised in the suburbs of Central New Jersey, the self-professed Jersey Girl now resides along the coast of North Carolina.  www.LorraineHenrieLins.com

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More by Lorraine Henrie Lins:

OST DOG

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Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sleeping Pelicans” (2020)

Paul Jones: “Magnificent Frigatebirds”

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Magnificent Frigatebirds

Who loosed these bright red balloons,
these breeze drifting drops of blood,
ripe fruit of mangrove clusters,
regents of the rookeries?
They dive to tease the manatees,
to take aloft flying fish,
to torment both gulls and terns,
to tear apart jellyfish.
We paddle near to their nests.
We can see their fragile legs
counter their broad sail of wings.
Nature seen in such detail
has so much magnificence.
Their height-hidden mysteries
are brought down near earth’s surface,
to the tight bundles of brush
where a fledgling tests his wings.
We can see now that he is
sky hungry. Almost ready.
Hear his beak’s impatient clack?
He will soar but never sing.
To be this close to flying
is what it means to be young.

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About the Author:  Paul Jones has published poetry in many journals including Poetry, Adirondack Review, Red Fez, Broadkill Review and here in As It Ought To Be as well as in cookbooks, in travel anthologies, in collections about passion, love, and in The Best American Erotic Poems: 1800 – Present (from Scribner). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common. A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface in 2019. His book, Something Wonderful, is now available from RedHawk Publications (and your favorite bookstore). Also in November 2021, Jones will be inducted into the NC State Computer Science Hall of Fame. Jones is Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers Network and a member of the Carrboro Poets Council.

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More by Paul Jones:

Something Wonderful

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Image Credit: Image from La galerie des oiseaux Paris, Constant-Chantpie,1825-1826. Public domain image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Sarah Carleton: “Buzzards”

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Buzzards

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On the highest branch of the tallest tree
after the rain, they open their bent-umbrella
wings and claim breezes
till they’re dry enough to puff

and then loom, black-hole sentries
surveying the neighborhood,
consolidating all the world’s shadow
and leaving the light for us.

II
Three vultures grip the top of the fence,
peering at the yard behind ours,
shrunken heads

stuck to a bad smell,
charcoal coats tucked close
like Dickensian funeral directors.

III
The driveway flickers
with hawks and buzzards circling,
waiting for us to leave.

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About the Author: Sarah Carleton writes poetry, edits fiction, plays the banjo, and makes her husband laugh in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Nimrod, Chattahoochee Review, Tar River Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and New Ohio Review. Her first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Books.

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Image Credit: Image from The birds of North America New York, U.S.A. Published under the auspices of the Natural Science Association of America, 1895, c1888. Public domain image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library.