Ruth Bavetta: “A Year Turned Upside Down”

A Year Turned Upside Down

Almost all of fall evaporated
in a flurry of sun. Mayweed’s stars 
immobilized by an embarrassment of heat. 

Come January, gardenias shot into scent,
clivia burst into a conflagration 
of orange. With winter annihilated,

spring spiraled into the disingenuous 
sugar of summer, sage withered, 
chaparral seethed in a flash of flame.

About the Author: Ruth Bavetta’s poems have appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Rattle, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “California Mayweed” (2022)

Maryfrances Wagner: “Love Should be More Like Yarrow”





Love Should be More Like Yarrow

One small leaf will speed decomposition
of a wheelbarrow full of raw compost.

Its root secretions activate disease resistance
of nearby plants.  It intensifies

medical action of other herbs, a booster
that enhances the power of others. Meant

to heal, it staunches cuts and wounds, aids
colds, and fevers.  Blood cleanser.  Easer

of toothaches.  Drought tolerant.  Content
to live in pastures, embankments, roadsides,

waste ground, and from a ditch, it waves
to us with its feathery foliage and yellow blooms.



About the Author: Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas, Pouf, The Silence of Red Glass, and The Immigrants’ New Camera. Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Natural Bridge, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation),  She co-edits I-70 Review and served as Missouri’s Individual Artist of the Year for 2020.


More by Maryfrances Wagner:

Dreaming Through Covid

Losing Cousin Carolyn


Image Credit: Digitally edited illustration from: Eclogae plantarum rariorum aut minus cognitarum Vindobonae :Sumptibus auctoris, typis Antonii Strauss …,1811-1844. Public Domain. Image courtesy of The Biodiversity Heritage Library