by Lara Gularte Santa Clara Review
The air thick with pine and pitch
my reel spins, rod bends,
line goes stiff.
A pink mouthed trout flies from the water
and lidless eyes go to sky.
The creature lurches, and together
we float over the silted bed,
the granite rocks.
Then the silver blue flaps on the river bank,
gasps the land’s atmosphere.
Gills seal and appendages grow.
I swallow the wooly worm,
and the world becomes a river in me,
my eyes the reflection of birds flying.
From the dead, great grandfather
calls to me,
tells me to go home
to my backyard of wild animals,
by Bruce Lader
Depositing inheritance from my mother
after her death, I see the sign Bluebird Houses $7.
Though a bank saving endangered birds
is a ludicrous lure, I buy one. An investment.
Resisting her large gifts was tantamount
to transgressing the fifth Commandment.
You had better not pull wallet if she
was present, or talk back. Thirty grand
she brought home on a bonanza Vegas trip
playing the slots. Yet she wasn’t interested
in the world of nature, didn’t know a bluebird
from a bluejay, wouldn’t set fragile ankles
on even a paved path. A doe nibbling the yard,
a friendly cat wandering outside alarmed her
into a tizzy. Very different from my wife
who shovels earth of veggie and herb gardens
with hands, collects coffee grounds for azaleas
and rhododendrons, relishes risks wilder than
icebergs calving. Perhaps bluebirds will be
attracted to nest in a house in memory
of my mother, and honoring my wife
for the hummingbirds that kindle salvia
and Indian paintbrush, bequests of strawberries,
raspberries and blueberries, the sunflower
mania pollinating our lives. Hammering briefly
like a woodpecker, my stepson selects
a white oak and feathers of blue sky perch
on branches as if the vaults of time unlocked
and the singing of bluebirds prevailed.
by Bruce Lader
We were gliding a sleigh.
I couldn’t determine where—
it didn’t matter, the weather was heaven
that day, nineteen years after he died,
my father looked the twenties I had only seen
in a rare photo of him.
We held no reins, no advantage
earned or by default.
His hand, having betrayed work,
cigarettes, bowling, cards, glasses of tea,
was a dream of concordance
realized in mine.
The horses trotted in tandem
effortlessly powerful, as we chatted
freely with total understanding.
Gone were his fracturing shouts,
my failed wars of vengeful silence.
His head of gleaming widow’s-peaked hair
rested against my fatherly shoulder
a lawless moment. Then, rebellious
man of desire, I woke up.