March News and Gratitude

Once again I’m running late posting my thank-you notes to editors who have published my writing recently. Here are seven poems and a book review published during the past three weeks:

The Lake: “Witness”

Synchronized Chaos: “Fables Six – Ten/The End” (second half of a ten-poem sequence reprinted from my collection last penny the sun, 1-5 were reprinted in February)

Synchronized Chaos: My first book review, of Elsie Augustave’s The Roving Tree

DM du Jour (daily online journal of Danse Macabre): “Superstition” (a birthday poem written last year for a friend, and published in time for her birthday this year)


Closing out 2014 with a basket of blessings:

Happy New Year to each and every one of you, my friends — thank you for being such generous readers and wonderful people.

Here are the final thank-you notes for 2014; I seem to be closing out 2014 with an overflowing basket of blessings:

The Stare’s Nest has kindly published my New Year’s Eve poem, “Breaking Bread” — today, on New Year’s Eve yet! Thank you and Happy New Year to editor Judi Sutherland!

Both The Lake (editor John Murphy) and Verse-Virtual (editor Firestone Feinberg) have released their January issues a day early — thank you, John Murphy, for including my new poem “Remembrance” at The Lake, and Firestone Feinberg for reprinting “It’s a PIRATE!” in the January issue of Verse-Virtual. (“It’s a PIRATE!” is from last penny the sun, Balkan Press, 2014).

I’d like to thank Russell Streur, editor of The Camel Saloon (AGAIN) for selecting “Elusive Alchemist” as one of the two December poems from The Camel Saloon to be reprinted in The Second Hump — I’m deeply grateful to have the “Elusive Alchemist” honored in this way.



Watermelon Vine

Watermelon Vine / by Laura M Kaminski

in memory of my father, Jerrell H Mathison

I planted watermelons in the garden
along the path where once my father
walked, content and curious, sampling
the growing greens and spicy peppers.

Now vines trail through every patch
and plot, touch fence-wires, investigate
tomatoes, marigolds, green onions, extend
tendrils, browsing as they journey.

In the morning mist, the wide leaves
stretch like fingered hands, palms cupped
to catch the raindrops. Blossoms take
their colors straight from the inks of dawn.

I sit among them holding up the last unplanted seed,
shiny black and oval, try to see in it the stencil
for the vine, try to see in the daughter
something patterned like the father.

–Laura M Kaminski


(This poem is also included in the collection last penny the sun.)


My Grandfather’s Parka

My Grandfather’s Parka / by Laura M Kaminski

honoring the memory of Rev. W.R. Bottoms, Lt. Col. (Ret.), U.S. Army

I look at my husband at the edge
of the lake, bundled and warm,
in an inherited parka —
my grandfather’s parka —
watching ripples of the molten
glacier greeting sunlight.

Some half a century ago and more,
this parka —
my grandfather’s parka —
wrapped him, young and strong
and proud, a chaplain with
the U.S. Army in the alpine snows
of Europe, its holocaustic winter.
When we received it, the inside
pocket clutched and held protected
(against those years and that
excessive darkness) his worn
copy of a book of prayers,
Prayers for the Armed Forces,
prayers of comfort, prayers of
courage, prayers of kindness
for the enemy, and the words
to give before and after every, every
every time of dying.

How often, while the snows fell
on his hood and on his
shoulders, did his chapped
fingers, gloves removed to
offer a final human touch,
a steadying handhold to
the dying as they passed
on to meet with God — how
often did his fingers split
their cold-dried skin and
bleed (unnoticed) in the pockets
of my grandfather’s parka?

We traveled in October, a late
vacation at the lake, but now
in these still waters I glimpse
a ripple of the truth: we
were only transportation for
the celestial gyroscope, our
journey was not, as we thought,
about us. We really only came
to bring the parka —
my grandfather’s parka —
to quietly sway with the
small morning waves. We are
only one small eddy in the
universal balance, rocking gently.
We only came to bring his parka
to a place of peace.

–Laura M Kaminski

(I would like to thank Conclave: A Journal of Character, for the initial publication of this poem in Conclave: A Journal of Character Issue 6.  It is also included in the collection last penny the sun.)


Ways with Grapes

Ways with Grapes / by Laura M Kaminski

The grapes are growing, blushing
darker on the vine, rich juice
and dusky husk combined, as if
a heaven made of honey rained,
and these are dew.  To those
who compose music, they are wine,
fermented, aged, notes and tones
and characters, the compositions
then distilled, refined into a brandy,
set aflame.

Poems are made from these same grapes,
these same fine drops of nectar —
left in sunlight, these droplets
evaporate and dry. Waiting and sunlight
make a poem, a song that can
be held between the fingers,
arias and cantatas dried
to lunch-box- and pocket-size,
a symphony in a handful,
come-as-you-are, take-along heaven
common raisin.



Catechism / by Laura M Kaminski

When still a small and prissy girl,
more prone
to matching bows and shoes
than digging inquisitive
holes in the mud,
it seemed clear that earthworms
fell from the clouds
with the rainwater.

I assumed those squirming
pink and brown segments were bits
of angels’ intestines,
angels who’d met with mishaps,
buffeted to pieces
by the wind
or sliced by lightning.

Careful not to get anything
sacred on my socks, I tiptoed
through the debris,
sanctifying my squeamishness
with conviction.