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Caroline Misner

Caroline Misner was born in a country that at the time was known as Czechoslovakia. She immigrated to Canada in the summer of 1969. Her work has appeared in numerous consumer and literary journals in Canada, the USA, and the UK. Her work has been nominated for the prestigious McClelland Steward Journey Prize as well as the Pushcart Prize. Her YA fantasy novel The Daughters of Eldox, Book 1: The Alicorn (Whiskey Creek Press) will be released this September. Her new website is finally on-line: carolinemisner.com

Ember Days and Remembrances

A roundabout in the park,
trying to rekindle a kind of ironic nostalgia,
stands among the Victorian houses
with eaves cut like gingerbread;
stripped of weather vanes they now support
the grey elephantine ears of satellite
dishes—poised skyward—
capturing a rash of media.

Wandering the streets of common angels,
beneath the leaves’ first blush
that heralds summer’s end, I write
lectures in the sand along a path
of purple stones with awkward hands
and cold lisps catching in my
throat. A kiss mollifies the groundlings
and whispers catch the breath of remembrance

in an unattended cemetery
where old bones decay, dry
like stringless laundry, wrinkled
and forgotten, save a few plastic bouquets
faded with time. Soon old soldiers
will lug a wreath of red roses
to the foot of the cenotaph.
Veterans in moss berets and brass lapels,

who still believe “Amazing Grace” played
on bagpipes can resurrect
these human sacrifices.
The sighing of the dog as she sleeps,
the white sky rubbed of its plush
are the small deeds that make up miracles.
Birds rise, startled at the peal
of some distant church bell—necessary

in these old suburbs.
A black squirrel twitches his tail
along the limb of a gnarled oak,
his mouth-sac stuffed with bounty,
scattering the brown leaves
that clog the gutters; they are
the dry skin of these ember days.

Snow and Strands

The wind in the dog’s fur
is blowing back her mane
and rippling like fields of golden wheat.

She is on alert—
ears pricked to pick up a sound
she will never hear.

She is old now,
her hearing gone.

The wind snatches the breath
from her moist black snout
and the morning forgets itself,
unspooling in wintry measures.

Snow clings to the strands,
caresses and disappears
into the greyness of her coat—

loveless and pure
as flakes of China
after the plate has shattered on tile.

Southern Rain

Florida, 1980

August is the season of rain,
especially this far south;
it’s easy to forget the feel
of sunlight on your eyes.
You believe the world will forever be
this wet and warm and dark.
The rain-blackened night
drowned any moon
that may have been.

A heavy rain boiled down the back
of the car and beat
a wet tattoo upon the hood;
rivulets of water flowed down
the glass of the windshield
before being slashed by
the wipers’ frantic blades.

We arrived at a stop
to rest and eat—
red and yellow neon watered down,
flashing like a bad headache.
And the rain kissed my face,
each drop bursting into my skin,
stroking long fingers down my bangs,
pasting my hair to my neck,
dancing me through the puddles
in the parking lot
until the cuff of my jeans got wet.

The atypical behemoths of trucks
washed down in rain, their drivers
hunched at scarred tables in the sweaty weather
of the dining room,
plump with nicotine smoke and conversation
and the scent of chicken
grilling on a spit.

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