Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Artwork by Hilary Cole

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus. You all love poetry, right? Well, here you go!

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference.

Please keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable.

Send poems and your short, two- or three-sentence bios as a word document attachment to poetry@whatcomwatch.org.

The deadline is the first day of the month.

Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space constraints and editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch express permission for first-time publication rights in paper and electronic editions of current or future volumes of Whatcom Watch.

Literary Still Life

by Karen Moulton

Don’t the stars always shine?

Though futilely they flicker

behind cloud masks, their light

streaks toward Earth undaunted

by the time it takes to reach us.

The night birds sing and clutch

the branches, black and slick with

rain, steadfast though the wind

bares the leaves’ underbellies.

The coyote doesn’t skulk

but skitters, along the road,

a solitary shape, her eyes

shining in the flashlight’s beam,

how she dares to show herself.

These stalwart woods

ripen my thoughts. I yearn

to preserve them.

Karen Moulton is a seasoned international teacher who spends the school year in Taipei, Taiwan, and summers in Bellingham. She has had a home in Sudden Valley for the past 15 years.



by Leah Mueller

I know we’ve arrived home by the pine scent, and you
almost smile as we climb from the car, say

“it smells so good here.” I agree, notice
how thin your face looks now,
and how your jeans used to be
much fuller. We’ve had a severe year, without pause
in the trenches, and I can feel
the strain in your teeth and shoulders:

those shoulders your parents
taught to hide from confrontation.

You need three days to relax, after countless doses
of forest medicine, administered one dropper at a time.

At the waterfall, I have trouble parking the car
and it reminds you of your other problems, all

the angles you can never reach. Still,

you steer in reverse, into a parking
spot, and we walk uphill until the road swallows us whole.

We return to our sanctuary.

The previous day, we climbed much higher, to Artist Point,
followed the switchbacks, and watched two young boys
run downhill through boulders, as if falling was impossible.

We know stumbling is inevitable, and we walk
gently through rubble, gaze at blue-plated lakes, shiver
as fall arrives. The glacier recedes,
but the chill moves in harder than ever.

Later, we drink wine, watch a sixteen year-old movie:
two bodies curled together on a plaid couch
beside the Nooksack. The years rage by like angry water, and we
fail to pay attention. We must be taught to remember.

Leah Mueller is the author of two chapbooks, “Queen of Dorksville” and “Political Apnea,” and two books, “Allergic to Everything” and “The Underside of the Snake.” Her work has appeared in Blunderbuss, Outlook Springs, Atticus Review, and many other magazines and anthologies.


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