Quiet, content to exist in moments miraculous.
the firmament folded into a cryogenic shroud.
Skies spread across an arctic grotto’s chiseled roof
enclosed on all sides with iceberg walls that jut
out of earth and water, form four sides: North,
South, East, and West—piercing air, pushing
remnants of a fiery welkin like polar columns
frigidly textured, linked to permafrost ceilings—
hanging damp canopies that drip then congeal
like popsicle stalactites from wet and dry caves.
Sunlight peeps through the cavern’s glacial mouth
touches life frozen in Antarctica’s drifting time warp.
A valley veiled in falling snow hosts Western Red Cedar
clusters dotting hilltops, roots into wintery lake shallows
where intrepid explorers venture forth cautious of beauty,
mystified by the subzero dreamscape promising repose;
searching, searching, searching ineffable enlightenment,
they paddle toward an island where siren voices beckon,
empathy crystalizes tears, appetites become currency,
sacrifices exchange pain’s plurality to pleasure.
The tranquil walk-in freezer sheathes a timeless cuspidor
stimulating numb bodies, reenergizing taciturn thoughts.
Cracks of Light
Our empty hearts once filled
with unflinching alacrity,
agitated overnight we stood
by oil radiators metal accordions;
cast iron dragons as discolored
as seasoned crêpe pans
heated our hands while we
embraced common sense
depression; huddled together
like snowed-in hostages
sharing their communal discomfort
in sweaty submission,
our restless blues cut through
a hauntingly sober silence
like a machete blade slicing
dense jungle undergrowth
incessantly screaming out
for social emancipation
when disunity and whimsy
displace crude manners
A Washington-based author, educator, and Pushcart nominee for poetry, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared in many international literary magazines, journals, and anthologies such as Street Lit., The Ekphrastic Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Fib Review, and Poetry Life & Times. Warner also has written six volumes of poetry, including Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux, Edges, Rags & Feathers, and Serpent’s Tooth: Poems (2021)—as well as. Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories.Warner highly recommends the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.