Rachael Ikins is a 2016/18 Pushcart, 2013/18 CNY Book Award, 2018 Independent Book Award winner, & 2019 Vinnie Ream & Faulkner poetry finalist. 2021 Best of the Net nominee. She is a Syracuse University graduate and author/illustrator of nine books in multiple genres. Her writing and artwork have appeared in journals world wide from India, UK, Japan, Canada and US. Born in the Fingerlakes she lives by a river with her dogs, cats, salt water fish, a garden that feeds her through winter and riotous houseplants with a room of their own. Frogs found their way to her fountain. Dragons fly by.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Rachael Ikins and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
Chickadees came to party,
Blowing in, a flock of tweets
and commentation, morning
rowdiness, another night survived.
They don’t mind me seated
just below the feeder.
Sparrow family lines up on the edge of the dog’s pool,
meniscus a safe edge to drink and bathe.
Hummingbirds zip from zinnia riot.
Goldfinches blend with the sunflowers,
extracting seeds, tuxedoed surgeons
planting next year’s crop as they flit
I sit in my wet clothes, soaked dog licking
her feet dry on my lap. Cicadas wail overhead,
evening crickets, click beetles and katydids asleep
though I am of the species that has damaged everything
we touch, I unbind my wild hair with a sore, vaccinated arm,
and feel small and glorious
Squirrel corpses punctuate road,
red commas and semi colons,
pavement’s winding gray sentence.
Royal blue poop-collecting bag, survivor
of washer and drying, lounges on the shoulder,
waits for a breeze to start its long, non-decompositional
flap to the ocean.A hair tie fallen from some child’s braid,
hot pink crow-enticer that will strangle
In a blown-down chickadee nest twenty
baby roly-polys or pill bugs, sow bugs
if you come from the South. No cadmium
for them to eat just dried grasses curved
perfectly as that magenta rubber band,
nest small enough
to fit my hand.
Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. He has published over 20 collections, a recent one being The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box, 2019). Retired now writing more poems and working more outside, he just noticed two Cooper’s hawks staked out in the yard or rather above it which explains the nerve-wracked chipmunks. He lives in Acton, Massachusetts.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Michael Estabrook and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
. . . in the mirror I see my grandfather
with his gray hair, baggy eyes, old shoes
but I’m not ready to be him yet . . .
I wonder what my grandfather did
every day in his little room
off the living room at the front of the house.
I know he’d sit in his rocker
read the newspapers both The Daily
Home News and the New York Post
but you can’t read newspapers all day long
so what else did he do?
There was nothing else in there
that I could see no TV or books or hobbies.
Sometimes I’d glance in
and he’d be sitting in his rocker
staring out the window into the street
at nothing in particular.
. . . in the waiting room others on iPhones
and iPads while I’m scribbling on my notepad
with my antiquated ballpoint pen . . .
as a traveling
pharmaceutical sales rep
to take care of
my customers without
the benefit of
laptops, cellphones, iPads
email, voicemail, or texting
by using an old-
fashioned pay phone
in the Howard Johnson’s lobby
off exit 136
of the Garden State Parkway.