Posted for Open Link Night #233 by Mish on dVerse poets


Haibun: Rain on the Camp Fire

1022716626_jpg_1541786131On the 21st the rains came, breaking the drought and wetting the forest fire. No cinematic dousing, the flames burned for four more days before contained. But the föhn winds dropped, the break lines held, and fire crews let the rain work while they joined the search for the dead.

On the lee side of the range, along the valley and to the Pacific, the storm washed the sky back to a baptismal blue. A hundred miles south, we watched Mt Diablo disappear in the smoke and saw people moving like ghosts in the distance. The smoke and cinders – the fine particulate matter – poisoned the air, darkened the sun to a dead penny, and robbed all light of color, turning us back to a black and white 1950s futuristic twilight TV apocalypse.

For weeks we breathed in Ponderosa Pine, Sierra Juniper, and Mountain Hemlock; Chokecherry, Coffeeberry, Spanish Broom, and Ceanothus; Crackling Forest Grasshopper, Ten-lined June Beetle, Foothill Yellow-legged Frog, California Kingsnake, Mountain Quail, Red-winged Blackbird, Silver-haired Bat, Bushy-tailed Woodrat, and Mule Deer; Americans: River Otter, Beaver, Porcupine, and Black Bear; and, as of 9 hours ago, 84 Homo sapiens.

All up in smoke to heaven, if heaven is what a sky does. Is ascension evapotranspiration? Mists condense around the dust of our dried matter and fall back to earth to be reborn, if reborn is what a plant does. Not Pleasure by any sane definition, but Paradise just the same, the lost object of our collective desire, if forest means rising from the Fall. Rebirth by water, meager salve for ordeal by fire. 

………………..hard rain sows dead leaves –
………………..goats grow thin on brown forage –
………………..empty buckets

Posted for haibun Monday at dVerse.The topic of the prompt is waiting. My haibun is more about mourning and recompense. Sometimes you have to go with what you are feeling.

The Pearl Diver

Snow squeaks between
the rubber tread of my boots.
Ten o’clock, half a mile
walk home after work.
Dish suds freeze white
against my denim pants.
With my fingers still pruned
and numbed, I fumble
with keys at the door.
Inside an orange blade of moonlight
catches drifting dust.
Piles of clothes haunt
the floor like pale ghosts.
A giggle comes from the dark bed.
I slide my icy hand
beneath the comforter
along a warm thigh
which flinches and she
gives a muffled shriek.
My finger explores deeper
and seems to melt like an icicle
back along my arm.
Greek islands float
from the stereo speakers.
As I taste the fruit
wrapped around her seed
the winter room turns warm
with ocean breezes
and we walk in sandals
down a white dry cobbled road.

by mj smith

My response to HA’s dVerse Poets Pub Tuesday Poetics: Desire and Sexuality in Poetry

Yuck Quadrille

You always loved the sweet decadent taste of my
Unbaked cheesecake and my kahlua tipsy tiramisu,
Curries cooked in my kitchen were a spicy xanthic
Key to ecstasy, but my Chile en nogada you’d chuck
¡Madre de Dios, mi corazón that really, really sucks!


Posted for De Jackson’s Quadrille #66 – Yuck it Up poetry prompt at dverse poets pub