Elena Adames Camaño

The mechanics are the same.
You can turn a music box into a metronome.
You strip some parts out and
you introduce new pieces in,
but there are the same
clicking together,
pushing and grinding,
making marvels from honed and shaped

The mechanics are the same,
even if it looks different to the casual observer
who hasn’t touched the inside,
who hasn’t cracked open the diamond etched façade,
who hasn’t gotten intimate with the mainspring and escapement,
who hasn’t replaced an oscillator to preserve
functionality, who doesn’t know this same gear train once fit together
into a clock,
who hasn’t seen the complex
become simpler.

The mechanics are the same
as you shed away
the excess,
the worn,
the pieces that just aren’t necessary anymore.

Poetry South 13, 2021, pg. 47

Ilma Qureshi

when a koel, or shall we say, a cuckoo,
lets out a song
the day folds, decidedly, 
like a teenager
rolling up sleeves
in the heat of July
then, glistening like a water crystal
a sharp clarity descends on me;
the world will go on
in its infinite, shimmery beauty
after i am gone
can I trust such a world?
what then, shall my gait be?
shall i wear my trousers rolled?
shall i stop
to look at the ant  
that carries a sack thicker than frail legs
or the bird
that goes home with empty-pockets
and yet glides with a certain flair,
shining; like a crescent 
woven in the silken sky

Poetry South 13, 2021, pg. 11

Cassondra Windwalker 

in the upside-down of the up-above,
birdsong condensates in twilight
like the sea under the sun,
melody ascending the midnight stairs
as if the darkness will never come:
for a while it seems the birds are right,
their hopeful trills and drowsy staccatos
keeping stars and other, less noble, nightwalkers
at bay – but the dark will have her way
in the end – she will bundle up 
birdsong into baskets and send it back,
she will sew celestial buttons bright
into the fabric of the night and fasten it
securely against the pale flesh of the sun,
she will call out the eaters and the creepers
and let them have their way.
for now, I hope your bones are content
to believe what the birds believe,
that you rest easy in the twilight of in-between,
that you take the flowers of this brief season
as the due of your out-of-due-season grave.
I hope you rise in shining drops of song
and lend some sign of your departure,
that we the left-behind may make meat 
of your wretched eater yet.

Poetry South 12, 2020, pg. 37

Audrey Hall

This is the swing my father built,
hanging from the branches of a willow,
as familiar as his arms once were. 
I have busied my hands with the language
of flowers, speaking in the accent
of easily snapped stalks. Here, a hydrangea:
for heartlessness. See how its petals dissipate 
when shaken. Their blue is not the blue 
of the nearby creek, or even the sky,
but something I recognize from inside.
Here in my hands, too, is a wood anemone:
forsaken, mourning with cat’s-eye yellow pollen.
I have crushed a poinsettia to my breast,
December’s flower, Christ’s blood, 
the petals heavy as vellum, 
one of which has caught in my dress 
and hangs like a bib. My cry mutes itself 
in sprouts of cyclamen and white ivy-sprigs:
a formula for my place in the narrative, 
where I must exit. I hold the dried white roses.
In a moment, I will give them life again. 

Issue 12, 2020, pg. 40

Claude Wilkinson

What is it you’ve looked at 
            that quickened your next breaths,

left you beholden, stunned 
            with its essence in the earth: 

perhaps an ungainly buzzard, 
            of all things, unafraid and staying 

high on the wing while buffeted 
            about like a plume of soot

against rolling storm clouds; 
            that glittering carp swum 

from its cover of amber water, 
            flashing now and then 

along the clear shallow, 
            so at home even without our air;

symbios is made flesh 
            as morning’s white herons

shop a low river 
            and fringes of swamp pink;

or, just making their flight into open field 
            beneath November’s yellow canopy,

the suite of honey-colored, tined, 
            rut-ready bucks 

glimpsed through the lens 
            of such golden noon light?

Issue 11, 2019, pg. 10