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Originally appeared in Issue No. 6



Sharon Kourous


Mi’ Amante, Mi’ Tierra

When he was five
the lady of the trees spoke to him
with green whisperings, golden sunlight
speaking in the hairs along his arms;
she slid her silver tongue
along the edges of his eyes
until he drifted into mosses under trees,
and touched the swollen red and purple tips of grasses
where his fingers grew like leaves,
and his smile lay like littered shadows in the glade;
her green and silver whisper sang among the rocks
and rippled just below the skin of streams.
He slipped into the waters, swimming there
diving for her works: they swam like fishes
laughingly away.  Sun circled from the canopy
of treetops, loved the boy
and leaned against his skin.
He was green along the forest heart,
and hours drifted like the motes of dust:
swift in sunshaft.  He followed her
along the silver edges of the years
until he was a man.
When he returned, he carried in his arms
brown and singing, warm, the
blue and gleaming cloud-wrapt globe
set within the jeweled sky: the earth.

    Originally published in Poetpourri.



We didn't have even a single guarani in order to buy medicine and even less with which to get to the city....  He lost the ability to speak.  When he died his flesh was like a wet rag, wrapped around and stuck to his bones.

   — Paraguayan widow whose husband was employed by Delta & Pine Land Company—in the disposal of contaminated cottonseed

Delta & Pine Land Company

... and he lived inside his eyes only,
with dim disinterest following her at times
while she wet a cloth and wiped the mucus
from his tongue and he tried
for the moisture.  It hurt
when she washed him but he could not say
stop leave me in my filth
which is what I am
while the fire gathered about his feet
and the sword drove between his ribs
and she wiped his running shit
from his falling skin
and the world closed down
to one square light from a far window
and his bones grew beautiful
beneath his ragged flesh, and she saw
the long skeleton of love beneath her hands
as she turned him in his last sleep.



The Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program

Lake and horizon finger each other
and flat waters along the still shore
carry clouds' unseen caves;
only gulls knife a separating line.

The Great Black Swamp
shrunk to a mirror
remembers ice
as a faint nightmare.

The trumpeter swans return warily
wingtip to wingtip in pairs
reflected wingtip to wingtip
in the silent swamp below.

And in the mallows' shade
the low lake
remembers their call
as a summer dream.

Great cottonwood trees
fallen, turn branches into trunks
rise multiplied from swamp
in defiant resurrection.

And squat beyond the new-leaf screen
the Davis Bessie nuclear power plant
like a dark troll
puffs its vapor clouds.


Sharon Kourous is a poet whose work can be found in print and on the Web.  Print publications include Atlanta Review, Blue Unicorn, The Formalist, and many others.  She retired from teaching this year, and plans to use her new-found freedom to work on her writing.

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