Wendy Gist

Ocotillo flowerless,
collapse, collapse.
Serpent beguiles

like a specimen of corruption venom:
teal underbelly hoisting thick coral

seldom seen;
plays dead in jimson weed;
semicolons lend illusion of individuality.

And yet one knows
one mustn’t wait for apologies—
sorry (s) from strangers come cheap: ash.

Millions and millions            more and more            years ago.

Ocotillo crimson-filled,
rise, rise.
Sun glows round.

Sun goes down.

space break

Clam Street

Cedar shingles tumble in sunset wind.
Lavender on sea dew and sage, bee balm and chives.
Violin-maker lives here, brews mead and schools
Children in a soggy home rumbling like tides—

Swills honey wine all week.
Sea waves slam rock cliffs as deer eat
Roses in the mist dusk.
Pink cosmos high as man’s naval knot,

He picks slugs from cabbage patch and tosses each into alley
Turning dark as shark’s belly in the sea night.
Clam chowder infuses fog.
Roaring waters echo truth…

He sees a silver-haired neighbor woman fingering flowers,
Bright pots large and small
Of hibiscus, marigolds and zinnias.
Hanging from them tiny lights twinkling white.

Wendy Gist’s poetry, fiction and essays have been featured or are forthcoming in Amsterdam Quarterly, Empty Mirror Arts and Literary Magazine, Foliate Oak, Fourth River, Grey Sparrow Journal, New Plains Review, Rio Grande Review, RipRap, Soundings Review, St. Austin Review, The Lake (UK), and many other fine journals. Gist co-edits Red Savina Review. She’s the author of the chapbook “Moods of the Dream Fog” from Finishing Line Press. Gist is a Pushcart Prize nominee and semifinalist for Best Small Fictions 2017.