Lee Slonimsky


Into this mid July sizzle,
this seethe of flagrant heatsmear
and whirl of overwrought atoms,
electrons spinning as if their orbits might break,

a tuft of autumn wafts,
eddy of air with cloud-dimmed chill
deep within its molecules,
briefly suggesting fall.

You're overcome with joy,
and vote in the Parliament of your thoughts
for recess until November.

But hot yellow flowers at your feet,
gleaming as if they're the sun made flesh,
immediately remind you
that Parliament only meets Now.


The answer to

how many pterodactyls actually lived

in all the abyss of antiquity

may lie in the simplicity of

counting of leaves

glistening after late June rain

in these woods near Woodstock.


The way sunlight illumines their greenery

as if telling you a secret

inspires you to count and count

until some breeze blurs math

into the trill of lark,

into a vast fragrance

sweet as a note made of bark and leaf

that a lark can trill skyward


How many pterodactyls?


Let's start with one red-tailed hawk

curvaturing sky,

gracing the slow balm of blue.


You're counting and counting

it seems like forever,

matching ten thousand pterodactyls

to every single ray

turning scarlet toward dusk,

recording the sureness of time

for all the birds to remember.

Voice of a Sheep


            Matthew 12.12:  "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"


I cannot make a leap like a man can,
embroider, drill a well, or smoke the sky
with jet exhaust.  No species member ran
for President in opposition to . . . .
But evolution mothered my new lamb
as surely as it did a Christian, Jew,
or cow-revering Hindu.  I ask why
I am considered less, get no reply,
and so resort to pleasures of the grass:
a consolation like brisk wind to clouds,
or diaries for saving the lost past.
On sunny days, I love to chew and brood.
And when it starts to rain, I ponder this:
four billion years have passed like fog and mist.

Lee Slonimsky's poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Carolina Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Measure, The New York Times, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry Daily, 32 Poems, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, and have received six Pushcart Prize nominations.  His second collection of poems about the life of Pythagoras, Logician of the Wind (with cover comments from poets Rachel Hadas and A. E. Stallings), was published this past January by Orchises Press. He is co-author—with his wife, Hammett Prize winning mystery writer Carol Goodman—of the Lee Carroll Black Swan Rising trilogy (Tor Books).



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