Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

Poet, Artist, Educator

                 

 

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In the Poet's Spotlight for March 2007:  Jim Peterson

Jim Peterson has published four collections of poetry: The Man Who Grew Silent (The Bench Press, 1989); An Afternoon with K (Holocene Press, 1996); The Owning Stone (Red Hen Press, winner of The Benjamin Saltman Award, 2000); and The Bob & Weave (Red Hen Press, 2006).  He has also published two chapbooks:  Carvings on a Prayer Tree (Holocene, 1994) and Greatest Hits 1984-2000 (Pudding House Publications, 2001 and 2003).  His work has been published widely in such journals as Poetry, Georgia Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Texas Review, and many others.  His novel, Paper Crown, was published by Red Hen Press in 2005.  His poetry won a 2002-2003 Fellowship from the Virginia Arts Commission.  His plays have been produced in regional and college theaters.  He is currently Coordinator of Creative Writing at Randolph-Macon Woman's College.  He lives with his wife Harriet and their beloved Welsh Corgi, Dylan Thomas, in Lynchburg, Virginia.  

 

TUNDRA

 

 

For more than one year

I have wanted to talk to a crow.

Coming down the Beartooth Pass today

I spotted a giant one, a raven maybe,

ranting on the dead limb of a tree

on the low side of the road.

No one was in my rearview mirror

so I stopped and rolled down my window.

With each embellishment

he dipped his head and lurched,

the whole tree twisting in a mad loop.

He spoke to someone on the high side

above my head out of sight and ignored me.

 

“What are you doing?” I said.

He stopped his exclaiming to look at me.

“What are you doing?  What are you doing?”

I was in a great mood from hiking

fifteen miles of Beartooth tundra.

I never thought he would look at me,

but he did, for five seconds, maybe six,

his eyes black beetles in the sun.

 

He was so black the light loved him

and fell from his back like thrown knives

bouncing off a rock.

“What are you doing?  What are you doing?”

 

I could see in his eyes

he knew who I was exactly.

“Stupid human,” he said,

then lifted from that limb like a helicopter

from the chaos of a battlefield—

filled beyond capacity

with the wounded and the dead.

 

 

            First published in Great River Review

 

 

     

THE GUISES

 

We left the sun behind us

as the trees threw out their shadows

and began to draw them back,

seeking in our separate ways

those same blue peaks on the horizon

growing sharper and darker

in the diminishing haze,

aware only dimly of each other

but already reaching for the guises—

 

those old mountains

like voices out of a cavern with bottomless pools.

Each of us grew small beneath them,

the white glinting of stone

under the spruce and fir,

clouds of mist drifting from hidden falls.

 

Everything had to be ferreted out,

even the spur of an ancient trail

in the silver glare of sunlight

among the she-balsams.

I was grateful for the shade of the first ascent,

chunks of smoky quartz

half submerged in the clay,

the trail unfolding before me

in rising switchbacks, exposed ridges,

descents into boulder fields

bathed again and again

in the scattering shrieks of hawks.

 

But neither of us could hear anything that night

above the din of stars,

waiting beside our separate fires

for the small target-faces of raccoons

drunk on the smell of coffee and bread.

All around us the birds

which give everything thoughtlessly every day

had entered their perfect sleep

while we lingered in our half dreams,

the night sky expanding to hold us both

turning in our voicelessness

like the small white ash floating above a flame.

 

       From:  The Bob and Weave, Red Hen Press, 2006

 

 

NO BITE

 

 

Not enough claw

in the mountains,

not enough snow

deepening the slopes.

Not enough covert eyes,

not enough wind

to blur the vision,

not enough silence

to seize the claptrap of words.

 

Not enough footprints

in the woods,

predator and prey,

no more walking sticks

left in good faith at the trailhead. 

Not enough getting lost

in the back country,

exploring and holing up

on the high cliffs, the day

so long even the rocks are shaking.

Not enough bite in the winter air.

 

Not enough story

left in the ink,

not enough character

driven to the brink

of decision.

Not enough risk

in the telling or the living.

Not enough blood

in the word.

 

 

      From:  The Bob and Weave, Red Hen Press, 2006

 

 

SAVIOR

 

 

In the enormity of bone and flesh

that splits the night with blood and breath;

in the rising brushstroke of pastern, fetlock, 

cannon bone and stifle; in the rolling sloop

of dock, croup, withers and poll

 

I discover my body.

In the barrel that takes to the grip of thighs,

the flank that accepts the needling heel;

in the mane where I bury my hands at last;

in the forelock and muzzle of that long face;

 

in the chin groove, jaw and throat

that swallows my words like cracked oats;

in the two black eyes that glean the full circle

of horizon; in the shell-song of each ear;

in the heart, in the heart, the horse who bears me away.

 

 

First published in Georgia Review

 

Come back each month and discover the work of other poets to be featured in the "Poet's Spotlight."

 

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