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

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus.

Artwork by Hilary Cole

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.

In-between Places

by Virginia Ferm Herrick

I keep running into my mom
in halls, elevators, and alleyways.
I’m always glad to see her, but we never really talk.

“I came to see Dr. Seymour,”
she lamented in the elevator one morning,
“I ended up with some guy who didn’t know my situation —”

Then my alarm went off, and she was gone.

Another time, she came down the hall
at the transitional house for women and children
where I was helping paint for the Grand Opening.
We were so happy to see each other.
I gave her a big hug before she hurried on,
her bird-like bones as solid as ever.

Even both alive, we only got to talk
when she was busy
doing dishes, changing her shoes, cooking, gardening.
Stands to reason now she’s dead,
she’s even harder to pin down.

Bumping into her like this helps, but I know why
she wanted Dr. “Seymour.”

Virginia Ferm Herrick, owner of Kestrel’s Way Editorial Services, wrote this poem about grieving for her mother, Doris Ferm. More of her work is available on her website, Yes! Virginia, at www.yesginny.com.

Berry Junket

by David M. Laws

As we negotiate this overgrown trail,
snarls of thorns snag my clothing.
I was hoping for thimbleberries
but it’s too early yet for them.
Blackberries are just now blooming,
a month or more in the future.

I have to prune myself free with knife,
then duck under a labyrinth of vine maple
and break out into fiery sunshine. My dog
Lucky swims, with a perseverance which can only
be called “dogged,” through malevolent thorns
intent on keeping him prisoner forever.

Three captive Scottie dogs sound the alarm
as we limp off down the street. Skunked.
Then, just as we arrive at the car
I see a splash of orange against green.
Salmonberries brighten my dry tongue
with a promise of much more to come.

David M. Laws is a writer, gardener, hiker, model railroader, musician, and former musical instrument repair technician who has won two Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk awards and one merit award (for “Early Hike with Dog”). He lives in Bellingham with the love of his life, Judith, and Possum, the glorious little girl terrier.


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