July 4-10, 2022: Poetry from Susan Ioannou and Nicholas Abanavas

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Susan Ioannou

Susan Ioannou’s publications range across short stories, reviews, literary nonfiction, and children’s novels. Her poetry collections include Clarity Between Clouds (Goose Lane Editions), Where the Light Waits (Ekstasis Editions), Coming Home: An Old Love Story (Leaf Press), Looking Through Stone: Poems About the Earth (Your Scrivener Press), Looking for Light (Opal Editions), and The Dance Between: Poems About Women (Opal Editions). Individual poems have also been translated into Dutch and Hindi and set to music.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Susan Ioannou and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Old Black Cat

(for Rappa)

At seven in the morning
the old black cat
creeps behind the neighbours’ front bushes,
folds into her shadowed, quiet place.
Damp red bricks and ground
hold her safe,
curled from heat, from light.
One yellowed eye watches. . . .

A young tom quivers on the lawn,
white and black
muscled tight to spring
high as birch leaves twittering sparrows,
wide as a shaken, emptied branch.

The old cat yawns.
Beneath that tree she sees him crouch
hungrier each day,
as if birds drop into a waiting mouth.
Stalking—paws’ slow motion,
body tunnelling grass—
that’s the way to hunt,
but flatfoot there just sits,
or flings himself, flailing,
and down a soft tail feather drifts
untasted.

She had her fill of birds.
Once, even dreams fluttered,
hopped on tiny cat-grumblings.
Now she lies cool,
thinned fur
tufting arthritic bone.

Stalking her,
death is not vicious,
only slow.
Tunnelling wet grass,
it folds her into darkness.
Each day’s milk, she laps less and less,
at last just sips from puddled rain.

A redwing titters.
Ears prick up.
Young tom quivers,
tight beneath the tree.

The old cat’s eye closes into dream.
One last time,
heart flailing,
can she fling her worn body,
and feather into sky?

poem

Nicholas Abanavas

Nicholas Abanavas received his M. Ed. in Teaching At-Risk Students in 2008. He recently retired from a career in public education. He has written two books: Scissors, Cardboard & Paint-The Art of At-Risk Teaching and Lemnos-An Artist and His Island. He was born and raised in New York City and is an avid fan of jazz music.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Nicholas Abanavas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Avenue of Americas

The half moon
will do
to fix the craze
in hollow eyes
guide streetlamp flickering
shadow on cold gray thighs.

Lost souls inhabit
lost memory
washed in the roar;
of the steel river
asphalt river
stone forced to flow
against the current
rush.

 

Midnight Express

Cold in New York
flowers don’t make the gig
yet, stray reflection
forms fond
sunlight in my memory.

Cold in New York
solid are the smells
scattered in the street.

Black mobster ride
gangster white-wall side
glides the choppy basin
to the jam
midtown.

I climb
the fossil riverbed.
I kiss
the steely teeth.

Electric guitars play
too loud for my ears.
I eat acoustic spoon.

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