Summer Poetry

Summer — the long-sought-after season — is finally here.  It’s always a bit of a surprise: how quickly it arrives and how soon it departs.  One of the secret joys of Minnesota winters is how much they make us appreciate the delights of June, July, August. 

Our summer collection is a fine miscellany: time in the garden, time spent by the water, time stolen to write.  There are poems about music, bugs and avocados, more haiku and a sweet visit to the State Fair. Enjoy!

The autumn poetry issue will come out in September. Deadline is August 11.  Please send your best work to [email protected].  Keep writing!

Doug Wilhide is the Poet Laureate of Linden Hills and contributing poetry editor of the Southwest Journal.


Christine Fraser


Is this what God and Glenn Miller had in mind

when they first led us onto that dance floor?

This, a string of pearls?

Stretched out before us,

lines of white beads bob before boats arrive,

each one numbered, as our years.


The nearest ones we still see distinctly,

reading each crisp black number in turn.

Out past where we sit now,

we cannot tell the number

nor make out the shape of each one yet.


These beads, these pearls,

continue on out there until they end

and there is only water

where we could dive in

and swim to the far shore.




Poem For A Friend’s Wedding    

John O’Connor


My parents bought a vase for a cousin’s wedding,

But liked it so much they kept it for themselves,

So that it became a family joke:

Eva’s wedding present.


At the moment I am broke,

But when I have money you will be getting

A present that stays on my storeroom shelves

To show my good taste and my good intent.

The Recital

Phillip Dacey


The female pianist’s long blonde lock

of hair swings down before her face

as she is playing fugal Bach.

The female pianist’s long blonde lock

tries unsuccessfully to block

Herr Bach, whose wigged hair stayed in place.

The female pianist’s long blonde lock

keeps perfect time before her face.



Growing Soup

Susu Jeffrey

for Wendell Berry


All summer I pick

the edges of my nails

stained with garden.

I can’t keep my hands

from filtering pebbles out of clods.

I call vegetables pet names

apologize to worms,

halved, in turning soil.


After a rain this ‘L’ of earth

turns in to a solarium

for the ground-keepers.

Catatonic as twigs,

between corn / onions / cukes / carrots,

below sharp stares of robins,

my bumper crop of worms meditate.


And I kick the cats out:

the worm eats the earth,

feeds the bird, is lunch for the cat

who fertilizes this ground

that feeds me and I feed with sweat.


Two resident squirrels steal

almost all the strawberries

but plant (in trade) peanut bushes

to break the orderly aesthetic

of latitudes of snow peas / peppers / dill.

I’ve heard squirrels don’t eat strawberries.


I enjoy listening to what’s called nothing.

Neighbors hardly go by without speaking.

I straighten my small back,

and we discuss to-ma-toes —

the orgasm of the garden —

androgynous partner to sugar or salt.

I lick salt off the corners of my smile,

stretch under the picnic table

for water.


I can’t figure out where the sprouts

grow on the brussels.
The Chigger

James P. Lenfestey


Predator in the summer jungle

of the grass,

you are invisible

until you suddenly appear

in the spotlight

of the writer’s frozen page,

a scarlet star skating over the surface

like an Olympian

seen only every four years–

the single axel, the double,

the bite

of the skate,

the smear of the judge’s

thumbs down. 






Annette Gagliardi


You are the avocado of my dreams,

Your soft pear of green;

Your leathery gown

conceals your delicate interior.

I don’t let your heart of stone

deceive me.

I know you are exquisite to the

last nibble.



Harmonica Jam

Doug Wilhide


My grandson, Noa, is nearly three,

an expatriate involuntarily

because his mother is French

and Customs and Immigration

(such astonishing incompetence!)

insist on separation.


We Skype on weekends

Noa, his mom and his father

my wife, my daughter and me.


Last fall I picked up a harmonica

to lighten the sadness

and Noa laughed, surprised by glee:

“Encore! encore!” he shouted —

So I sent him one for Christmas.


Now we play together

across seven time zones

and our routines have evolved

from yearning melodies to faux bebop

and jaunty jigs —


(He doesn’t know that I don’t know

what I’m doing: it’s one of the best things

about grandchildren.)


Noa dons sunglasses,

often worn upside down,

then a fedora,

pulled low over his eyes

and a scarf, tossed over a shoulder,

just so.


We regret lost hours, months and days

But Noa doesn’t seem to mind…

He spins round and round as he plays.

He is leaving me behind.








Five Haiku

Audrey Colasanti


freckles on my nose

not there just moments ago

the sun is painting


turtle basks, smiling,

arching his neck to the sky

his lily pad holds


cheek against tree trunk

listening for a heartbeat

deep beneath the bark


muskie waits, patient

in his pitch-black dining room

ducklings will swim by


quick, grab a bucket

the thimbleberries hang plump

begging to be pie







State Fair

Harlen Hegdal


for my wife


It’s a great state fair

and we make a great pair

and it’s for you I do care

so we will see big pigs

and furniture made from twigs

we will eat lots of corn with butter

and “I love you” I will mutter


there is a big ride

from it I think we’ll hide

there will be a big crowd

it may get loud

we don’t want to be late

maybe he will guess our weight

it will be a great date

yep you are my state fairy

two cups you will drink of the dairy

and when the day is done

we will have had lots of fun


I know you are the one

so home on the fair bus we will go

and I want you to know

I will rub your feet

and squeeze your seat

and put you in the tub

your back I will rub

just cause you are my wife

who I will love for life.



Dr. Sooth

Helene Mogosanu


For Gary who refused to die quickly

Dr. Sooth

I died six months ago , I know

Because my Dr. Is telling me so

He’s pointing on my chart

“Look here, your time of death is very clear”

I see the prognosis, my list of pills

No wonder I’ve been feeling ill!

And since the Dr. is always right

I drop to the floor without a fight.


But wait, I gasp,” I have an objection,

Is it possible my life is the exception?”

“INJECTION!” he spouts, and before I can stop him

He’s immunized me with a toxic concoction.

“DAMN I am a goner for sure” I shout.

Well of course he says, “there was never a doubt.”








Chuck Kausalik-Boe


Gazing back over your shoulder,

with a sense of love and longing.

A photograph snaps that second

by the sea when you look more

beautiful than God for all eternity.


Hand in your back pocket, leg up on the rocks,

Leaning towards the water,

your denim pants cling to your frame.

Seductive eyes, a tender fullness to your pouty lips.


I worship at your altar,

grateful that the camera captured

this blessed moment

when the sexy devil became

the saint by the sea.





Writing On the Stairs

Amber Lampron


He told me

That artists work so hard

For every word


I sat quietly


The peacemaker in me, smiling


But not agreeing.

Knowing that for me

The words sit, waiting  


They wait in little jars

Until there’s no more room on the shelf

And I am forced to write.


I put down the laundry

Mid-step, and pick up a pen

Letting the words fall out


It’s not always

So tidy or beautiful

But it sure feels good.