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The Lingering


From the corner of my eye, a beige streak,

a momentary blur an instant

before we felt the thud on the front passenger side.

She lay unblinking and silent on the gray road.


When the warden arrived, he thanked us for waiting,

most people don’t, he offered as consolation.

Noting the date, he asked if we’d seen a fawn,

the does start giving birth any day now.


It happens often here, he said,

as if this might be reassuring,

but her meek suffering was not ordinary to me,


nor her maternal beauty.


Then, standing a distance away so as not see

the warden point his gun,

my whole body shuddered as the late morning air

cracked apart.


Afterwards, there was nothing more to do, yet,

in death’s wake, to carry on my way

felt wrong, to just move on,

when there seemed a sacred lingering.


                         Connie T. Braun

Proverbs 15:30 “The light of the eyes rejoices the heart and good news refreshes the bones.”


A charnel house is buried
deep below Holy Trinity Church
in Rothwell Northamptonshire,
down a spiral staircase, through two
tiny doors.  Bones of males
skulls shelved like books,
thighbones stockpiled in the centre—
a dank depository for people
with morbid curiosities.

        Why did they unbury the dead,
        where are the other bits and pieces,
        are women elsewhere
        hidden in the bowels of earth
        with children?

There are only legends,
myths, speculation of battles
or plagues, a readiness
for resurrection gleaned
from reserves.

Bones tell stories, especially ones
interred under sanctuaries
where spirits regularly attend vespers. 
What did their eyes see—
those empty sockets glaring?


                     Diane Attwell Palfrey

Some time after Lord Hideoshei demanded that Rikyu, creator of the Japanese Tea ceremony, commit suicide.



Dogwood branches

with their lacquerware sheen

and leaves, white, pale

as light seeping through rice paper.


Leaves across the lawn,

some the bronze of temple bells,

the blood orange scales of regal pond fish,

others the crimson of a geisha’s fan.


A sheepish mist squats  beneath the pines.

The dew on yellowed blades of grass

has chosen seppuku.

A gash of autumn sumac high across a hill

the red of Fuji’s startled dawn.


                        William Bonnell

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