Swimming at Night by Scott T. Hutchinson
I awaken you from your hammock of moonlight–
the lake glitters with the dark silted eyes
of the thousands from a thousand years
who let themselves find her in a summer nighttime,
all manners of life surrounded by her umbilical warmth,
quieted by union. Our naked silhouettes dive,
waver and splash, swim out beyond risk, knowing
there is ancient decay and bottom beneath us, laughing
along with the twinkling stars that we could ever be
this innocent. We commune with fish spawn,
catch a glimpse of otter-shadows playing in the shallows,
swim our way toward the loon cry urging
a sweet little one to abandon the spine
of security for the reckless world of shimmer
and prospect. We all swim
a thousand thousand buoyant strokes
to find one another without fear.
The lake opens her eyes, observes
us etching her surface and depths
with fragile longing, speaks her contented
years and love with a single whitecap
that kisses and gently passes on.
Unvarnished by Maril Crabtree
for Barbara Robinette Moss, 1954 – 2009
How dare you die so young, so many words
unwritten, dreams undreamed? Still, I confess
how grateful I am that you streaked into my life –
bright comet of Southern outspokenness
with an outrageous sense of living
as pure adventure. We cheered each other on.
We were two Deep South liberals
parting the waters in a red-state sea.
You laughed at death and Republicans
as you scarfed down Cajun-spiced
shrimp, fried oysters, and dirty rice.
You had no patience for injustice
or the cancer that carpeted your insides.
You didn’t hide the fight against both.
You allowed hope to inhabit your days.
Best of all, you were no saint. Under the table
your toes blazed red, but you didn’t hesitate
to display clay feet and embrace your failings.
You worked hard to stay alive. Wherever your spirit
hovers I smell shrimp and nail polish, and feel loved.
French Quarter Rain Dance by Maril Crabtree
On the corner of Bourbon and Conti
rain cascades from gargoyle
downspouts and slides between
cobblestones. The pale sun escapes
like a disappointed lover. We glide barefoot
with smiles shiny as wet streets, cradled
by thunder and the bright jazz of taxis
cruising by. Why duck under
wrought-iron balconies when it’s more fun
to follow the rain and dance in the drops
Bojangles-style? Talk to me, tell me
how when we make love I remind you
of these slick streets, the surprise and splash
of this handsome rain, this dazzling mizzle
where no one wants to stay dry.
About the Contributor
A native of Virginia, Scott T. Hutchison presently makes his home in the Belknap Mountains of New Hampshire. Previous work has appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, The Georgia Review, and The Southern Review. New work is forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly and Tar River Poetry.
Maril Crabtree grew up in Memphis and New Orleans but now calls the Midwest home. She has three chapbooks published: Dancing with Elvis, Moving On, and Tying the Light. A former poetry editor for Kansas City Voices, her poetry has appeared in Kalliope, The DMQ Review, Coal City Review, New Laurel Review, Third Wednesday, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and others.