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Two Poets In the Family

ae_zebraEditor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of partners C.J. Sage and J.P. Dancing Bear. (Their bios are below their poems.)
The Dark Pelican
by C.J. Sage
Her nest is crude (though on the shore it rests,   
it rests on stone). Her nest: a twiggy hole, the crib   
from which she watches water as it crests   

the seawall. Between hard and arching ribs   
of rock around her home she spans her wings—   
on a foggy screen of saltspray how they scribble!

Her neck a spliny thread stretched and swinging,   
back she throws her head to throat the little fish   
she’d kept in close, the fish she’d saved for evening.

O just a swish of bony flesh against the falling dish
of sunset, she has found her food the hard way;   
she has cast herself head-first into her wishes

while in their circles, lighter sisters sway
and wait together—they watch and drive the catch,
they snatch it up in turns; like rose-tint dawn their days
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are easy. The one who works alone must patch
together what she can. For friends there is no match.

C. J. Sage resides in Rio Del Mar, where she works as a realtor and edits The National Poetry Review and Press. New poems from Sage are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Boston Review, Orion and other national magazines.


Sisyphus Has Time For One More Question
by J.P. Dancing Bear
Listen, the rock was enough, I had dreams
that maybe I was wearing it down, the stone-
dust on my hands made hope hundreds
of years might grind it to a pebble—
a bit of grit in a bird’s gut to help digest
the diet of seed and worm. So I lift, push,
shoulder the boulder higher up the grade
almost happy for its shade in summer sun.
Wisp and hush of my palms on the rough
surface sounds like so many unhappy dead.
It was never the rock that emptied my chest
but the gods pushing back on the other side.

J. P. Dancing Bear is the author of nine collections of poetry. His poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He is editor of American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press, and hosts Out of Our Minds, on KKUP and iTunes. His book, “Family of Marsupial Centaurs” is forthcoming from Iris Press.

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