"Missing One Beat," "Peccadillos," and "A Disappearance"

Missing One Beat

The trees
sing to each other
marvel that
fledglings launch
from their branches
mid song
one fell to the asphalt
rolled by a car
run over by another
scant remains
for burial
trees continue to
sing and more birds
join in.
I, too, give a happy
little whistle




a gnat stuttering
across the clock’s face
steps from one
octagon of skin
to the next
the texture of
and the stretches of age;
the small things
like no batteries
to keep the charge
and tomatoes turned
upside down overripe
in juice on a plate
or how many times
a pinky
tries to out swim
the knife.



A Disappearance

Waiting for the delayed train outside on the platform in rain, rain that
is more of a deluge than a friendly air-clearing rain. The puddle
expands.  Like the creature it is, the puddle seeps beyond its skin
with tentacles conquering new territory occupied by passengers.  Its
volume increases, consuming their shoes. Saturated feet pull
themselves up one at a time to shake off the excesses then
resubmerge when the raised foot needs relief.  Notice how this
creature has chosen only you and your reflection, and frees the
others from consumption.  When you see it is only you the creature
hunts, a portion of you has dissolved, blending, becoming one with
the water.  Your body’s reflection lays flat on the surface, raising a
tide of rippling flesh and overcoat.  Suddenly, the train’s sleek
silhouette rattles an arrival and stops in a shudder of bolts and
opening doors. You can see your fellow travelers disembark as they
jump over the water and only bruise the edges with dainty splashes.
Borders trudge through you and the fat sparrow bathes in your knee.



Laura Winter

Laura Winter lives in Portland, Oregon and is author of numerous collections of poetry, broadsides and performance projects.  Her poems have been translated into multiple languages, set to music and performed as song cycles.  When she performs with musicians, she uses the language of poetry as an instrument.  She occasionally publishes TAKE OUT, a bag-a-zine featuring visual art, writing and music.

Laura Winter’s US-Mexico borderlands collaboration with photographer Terri Warpinski, Liminal Matter: Fences and Liminal Matter: Traces is in numerous special collections such as Stanford University Library, Amherst College and Yale University. Check out https://laurawinterpoet.com. Laura encourages you to support your local food bank.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 - 22:07