Tag Archives: volume 17-1

Midnight Snow and Stars
by Eric Paul Shaffer

No gods will be born this December eve

as we stand shod to knees in snow

under hard stars within a black ring of pines
circumscribing sky. At such a moment, we pause

to ponder the fathomless blue infinite

over our heads and the silence

ice and the tilt of the planet grant

the land. Starlight illuminates our tracks

among boles and branches, and the silver

cloud of our breath fades, and gleams, and fades.

Yet when I shake this bough, the weight of winter

will scatter from limbs and needles

the light of two thousand suns through millions

or more of miles of darkness.

That darkness encloses me, the same night

the light crossed with merely an imperative

to shine through a blackness

these fierce, fleet rays, falling at my feet

in glimmering drifts, will never know.

From a clearing at midnight in a snowy wood,

the universe is too large to bear gods and too small

to bear the light we carry into the darkness we find

in our eyes when we look toward the stars.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.

Eric Paul Shaffer is the author of five books of poetry, including Lahaina Noon (2005), Living at the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen (2001), and Portable Planet (2000). He received the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature, a 2006 Ka Palapala Po’okela Book Award for the book Lahaina Noon, and the 2009 James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry.

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The Year to Come
by Michael Brosnan

I get down on the floor, do pushups
until my arms shake and falter.
It’s a good number, a number to build upon.

Kneeling, I turn on the television
to a football game in progress.
One team is winning, one is losing.

My wife has left me.
Fresh snow fell in the night
and I imagine my children on new sleds

being tugged uphill by another man,
their mittens drawing wobbly lines in the snow.
And out of this thin, shut-in winter air

small questions take shape.
Is it OK to drink champagne alone
and offer a silent toast to the coming year?

And how is it that shorebirds survive
in such icy water
with legs thinner than pencils?

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.

Michael BrosnanMichael Brosnan is the longtime editor of Independent School, an award-winning quarterly magazine on precollegiate education. His book, Against the Current: How One School Struggled and Succeeded with At-Risk Teens (Heinemann), focused on urban education reform, was the basis for the 2009 documentary film Accelerating America. His poetry and stories have appeared in various literary magazines, including Confrontation, Puckerbrush Review, Prairie Schooner, Barrow Street, Borderlands, New Letters, and The Chattahoochee Review.

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by Candace Pearson

The cat vomits up a bird head on a rug in Los Angeles
and winds shift direction in Argentina.

Nabokov was right about the butterflies. They’ve been
traveling from Southeast Asia for eleven million years.

The cat chokes on some feathers, chevroned gray
and white, and along the Bering Strait a whirlpool

swallows an unsuspecting catamaran, and swallows
roost in stately palm fronds shading the Maldives.

The cat spits out an eye, pea-sized, all-seeing
eye, and ten thousand toads turn their gaze to the moon

as the tides go out and the tides never come back
the same. Nabokov walks through these lines

with a net, scattering his Polyommatus blues
from Siberia to Alaska to Chile and away we go,

watching the great man count butterfly genitalia
to prove a theory about an old voyage to a new world.

The cat is coughing up an O’Keeffe painting,
bleached white against seared blue sky, and I wonder,

what am I doing here? Memento mori, the Romans said.
Remember you must die. What omen, what

essential truth lies in the throwing down of bones
stripped of sinew and vessel and pin feather?

I found it and I named it, being versed
in this spinning world, its errant magic, the dark cells

that feed the hurricane inside our bodies. Nabokov
was wrong: the journey’s short. We take it anyway.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.

Candace PearsonCandace Pearson’s Hour of Unfolding won the 2010 Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry from Briery Creek Press, Longwood University. Her poems have appeared in fine journals nationwide and in several anthologies, including Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease and Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems. She lives in the Los Angeles hills.

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