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Pushcart Nominees

THE WIND UP RUSSIAN GULCH

I have no argument with most weather—
the rain can strut all it wants, slathering
its gloss on the madrone’s bare arms;
even the fog, slipping through the door
with its shoes in its hand and grass in
its hair, has its place—but the wind wants

only bluster and undoing, nothing more.

Kites have been stolen, hats plucked from
sunburned heads, promises drained from lips
like fluid from the lungs. This is the song
of its larceny, hurled at full gale pitch—
the cries of gulls blown inland, the pipings
of wave-driven kids diminishing in blue

matryoshkas down the runneled beach.

I’ve hung helpless on its words, waited
for its mumbling in the branches to break
into a drunk’s sudden anger. See how
it batters the stove flame red and lunges
against the tent wall. Come here, but slowly—
close your book tight or it will tear every

page from its spine. Now my hand; take it.

The shells in our pockets weigh too little;
we rise and grow smaller. Over Mendocino,
past Albion and Elk, our voices woven into
the wind’s racket. Have we let others go
as down below they release us? Only the
Navarro rises in protest, before the wind

stops its mouth with whitecaps and larkspur.

                                        Jeff Ewing

                                        Sacramento, California

RAIN 

I inhale all that is—

width of the earth,

seagulls slicing through air,

swells that slap jagged rocks,

mouths of giant waves,

the steady pulse of water

I am a drop of rain

as I fall through light air,

touch feathers of birds,
moisten kernels of life

and rocks hardened by time

Years of living

flow through my fingers

as the earth absorbs me,

assimilates me into its burrow

Grains of sand, dust infinitesimal
appear so intimate, yet so detached

in minute worlds of particles;

it is a dense view of the world

against my liquid perspective,

my need to breathe freely,

my transparency

 

                                        Rosemary Ybarra-Garcia

                                        Half Moon Bay, California

Each year the CQ editors nominate especially fine poems

from our published CQ issues for the Pushcart Prize.

Congratulations to our 2015 Pushcart nominees:

 

Credo by Susan Cohen

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 1

Stop #1: Franklin K. Lane Grove by Gillian Wegener

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 1

A Portrait of Winds (Excerpts) by Bonnie Kwong

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 2

Caitlin Roberts: Redwing, 1888 by Katharyn Howd Machan

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 2

Untitled by Rachel Blum

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 3

Chain Reaction, Fukushima by Bruce Gallie

                    from CQ Vol. 41, No. 3

 

We present the six poems in the pages below.

CREDO

 

I don’t believe in God, but I do

believe in godwits.

How they give up the shore

            to stream by hundreds,

to be one feather

            on the same fluid body.

How they swing over the water

this way and that,

a loose boom of birds, flare

right or snap left—visible,

golden, invisible, as sun catches

or releases them all—

a semaphore wink from the deck

of the ship

bearing no message but spark.

I believe then, at least,

existence is a marvelous trick

of the light

as the godwits keep flocking

          seen, unseen, seen.

 

                               Susan Cohen

                    Berkeley, California

STOP #1: FRANKLIN K. LANE GROVE

 

The road is 40 miles, then it ends here,
and sloughs us back onto the freeway,
going southward—

          south—southward.

But star flower!, trillium!, the heart sings,

remembering their shy ways,

and the blood hums the green

           and liquid songs of ferns,

and the skin relishes the cool of the fog,

and the soul breathes
                     slowly in and out and in
savoring its finite cache

                     of redwood-flavored air

and the mind, in its pragmatism, steels itself
                                against homesickness,
placing word next to word,

           beginning to consider the poem.

 

                                        Gillian Wegener

                                        Modesto, California

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