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Inner Ocean Fantasy 2011
25” x25"
by John Babcock

Photo by Linda Babcock

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Farnaz Fatemi

Paper Knots

                        Japan, 2015

Whaler’s Day

Wait. Look. Wait. Gaze moves
across ocean glass. Nothing
happens. Hours pass.

 

§–§–§

 

                                  Buckwheat dreams for lunch:
                                  twenty-four coral bowls of soup.
                                  Slurp, smack, belly full.
                                  We travel in a country
                                  not ours. Fortunate for now.

 

§–§–§

 

Iris purple moons--
She turns the bowl to serve tea.
Clouds lift my heart.

 

§–§–§

 

                                  Bathrobe, free to use.
                                  Bundles us away from harm.
                                  Or so I imagine.

 

§–§–§

 

Crag tree rice green,
climbs the rockwall face of day,
thrives without self-doubt.

 

§–§–§

 

                                  Earth’s periscope,
                                  the old cedar keeps living.
                                  Came before me, comes after.

 

§–§–§

 

Maple buds open—
Even the broken branches
disobey. Still reach.

 

§–§–§

 

                                  Sora, Basho’s friend.
                                  Companion. Witness. Loyal
                                  reed bird—hard to spot.

 

§–§–§

 

Basho could see it:
almost nothing’s left behind.
Maybe friendship, love.

 

§–§–§

 

                                  My fortune: hull of rice.
                                  Yours: sake box. Chance: ours.
                                  Leave your luck in paper knots.

 

§–§–§

 

Like all the deeper things:
Hell’s Valley spooks you,
mud pond, sulfur bath.
Here a burst of cicadas.
There the birdsong, drowned out.


                                                              §–§–§

 

                                  Whaling Station

                                  “If you see my men
                                  working, sweating, you can’t think:
                                  these men are bad guys.”

 

§–§–§

 

I am not going
somewhere; I’m already there:
two-sided maple
sunleaves—wine from above, rust
below, never the same.

 

§–§–§

FARNAZ FATEMI is a poet, teacher and editor living in Santa Cruz, CA. She received her MFA from Mills College and has taught in the writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz for eighteen years. Recent poems or lyric essays have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Squaw Valley Review, Catamaran Literary Review, Ekphrastic (nominated for a Pushcart), and Red Wheelbarrow. Her poems and prose have been anthologized in Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora and Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran. She also wrote the libretto for the opera, Dreamwalker.

Nonfiction
Julie Minnis
Veronica Zaleha

Poetry
Charles Atkinson
Farnaz Fatemi
Maggie Paul
Ken Weisner

Artwork
John Babcock


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