Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Epiphany on the Mount Vernon Trail 
by Susan Miller

She fell for the Mount Vernon Trail
in the slippery quiet of twilight
on an otherwise ordinary day. 
Pavement she had pounded 
probably hundreds, thousands
of times before. Always hurtling 
between Lycra-clad bikers,
  errant scooters, Velcro walkers.
Locked in her head as she raced,
recounting the meeting notes, 
the grocery list, day-care deadlines. 
Never watching the artful rowers 
or occasional osprey circling above.
Never drinking in wispy cattails
and swamp milkweeds along
the river’s banks, Lincoln’s  
majestic marble seemingly
 an arm stretch away. 

That is, until one August day,
at an hour that felt
soothing, not yet sticky.
Before the men in neon vests
revved up jackhammers
by Memorial Bridge, before
headlights clogged the Parkway.

For one brief and astonishing
moment she saw the Monument
inching skyward amid a purple haze,
a freeze frame of awe for an audience
of one. And the world, however
fleeting, felt full of possibilities.  

Susan Miller is an editor/reporter for USA TODAY newspaper and enjoys writing poetry as a hobby. Her poetry has appeared in several publications, including Gemini MagazineCommon Ground ReviewMonths to YearsFrom Under the Bridges of America, and Sandy Paws. She had a short story published in Beach Life. She is a thirty-year resident of Rosslyn.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

 

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


First Light
by Karenne Wood


At this hour, who could discern where land ends,
or water, where creek becomes bay, bay becomes
river and stretches across to a blue verge
of Maryland, all the way black now, invisible.

Through July’s haze, the first light is a brushstroke
of gray seeping in. Ducks totter up the beach,
short bowlegged sailors. Over the water, duck blinds
loom as improbable creatures who graze a pale field.

From the marina around the bend, two crabbers set out.
Their diesel chugs reverberate as prows cut new waves.
Mockingbirds swoop, flash their shoulders like women
advertising summer dresses. Herons cast themselves down.

What matters? At the end, we become what we have
loved, each thing that transfixed us in the rapture
of its moment, its grace of its own making, ours the same.
We grow around the land as it grew around us, and

dawn crosses over us, whether asleep in nests or
berths or in the ground becoming life again. Here is
the moment: here, among herons, ospreys, morning,
river. I believe in this light: it is the light of the world.

Karenne Wood (1960-2019) authored two poetry collections, Markings on Earth and Weaving the Boundary. Her work was included in the native writing anthologies Sister NationsNew Poets of Native NationsSingWillow’s WhisperGhost Fishing, and The People Who Stayed, as well as in former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s podcast, The Slowdown. A member of the Monacan Indian Nation, she was recognized in 2015 by the Library of Virginia as one of the notable Virginia Women in History. “First Light” appears in Markings on Earth

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


No Birds in the Bog 
by Rebecca Leet

Not yet midwinter, a grim sky
shrouds desolate treetops. Ice 
melts soil to sludge. The human heart
beats as in a bog. Not so 

the heart of a downy woodpecker,
whose staccato drilling breaks the silence
as she hunts for breakfast. Or
the lone blue jay who—lustfully— 

whistles for company, his indigo body stark
against white sycamore bark. Or a flamboyant
male cardinal trilling prettee as he surveys
mallards fishing in the frigid Four Mile Run. 

Rebecca Leet has lived in Fairlington and North Arlington since 1977. Her career has been in the Washington area, starting as a congressional reporter for The Washington Star and ultimately running an independent consultancy specializing in message development for thirty years. Her work appears in various publications, including Passager, where she won an honorable mention in the 2018 Passager contest. “No Birds in the Bog” first appeared in her book Living with the Doors Wide Open

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Green Card 
by Heather L. Davis


He works the front desks of apartment buildings, 
reading Harlequin Romances, anything in English 
to pull himself up. As he reads, he watches the ladies 
slip hips-first across the threshold with something 
beatific to extend him—a bare arm, a bite of bread.  
They can see he is a man between worlds, 
that every push of the button to buzz them in 
ushers his brothers that much closer across the sea. 
 
Back in his village, his mother tells stories no one 
else remembers to the laundry as she beats it. 
In his absence, her hands have turned into dark, 
flightless birds—too much sun, too many fields. 
She understands he will misplace the ancient 
names of their heroes. He will let them fall 
from his body at night like apples or dead skin. 
Tonight, he dreams of border guards and angry dogs, 
how much money he could make in a new town. 

Heather L. Davis likes writing at five a.m., strong coffee, and poetry in everyday places. She received a BA from Hollins University and an MA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. Her book The Lost Tribe of Us won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and her poems are forthcoming in GargoyleNorthern Virginia Review, and Fledgling Rag. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, the poet Jose Padua, and their two children and works in Arlington.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Doña Azucena 
by Christine Sloan Stoddard

A play
in food.
The stage:
Glebe Road. 

Pupusas promise
pockets of
home,
lore and tradition
in every bite. 

Hot cheese,
hot pork
hot beans.
Grease never
tasted 
so good. 

Vamos a
bajonear algo.
Yuca frita,
chicharrones,
horchata.
All sung in that Salvadoran lilt. 

San Salvador
in Arlington.
Santa Ana
in Arlington.
San Miguel
in Arlington.
¡Arrecho! 

Christine Sloan Stoddard is a Salvadoran-American writer, interdisciplinary artist, and the founder of Quail Bell Magazine. Her latest book is Desert Fox by the Sea, a collection of short stories that won the Four Chambers Press fiction competition. Another recent release is Belladonna Magic: Spells in the Form of Poetry and Photography, which was praised by editors at Ms. Magazine and Art in America. Born and raised in Arlington, she lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Monday Morning & Chai 
by Sushmita Mazumdar 

You go change the world 
While I sit here on my back porch steps  
having my morning chai with the oak,  
the Black-Eyed Susan, and the chives.  
You go negotiate complex deals  
for peace and stability 
And I’ll look around to try and find  
where the cicadas hide when they  
sing their mesmerizing song. 
You go educate and inform  
the wide, wild masses 
And I’ll be here watching the squirrels  
do their morning warm-ups on the fence. 
And when you finally someday  
sit down to take a breath and  
enjoy the fruits of your labor 
I’ll still be here, basically, 
Doing nothing much. 
But I can make you a chai. 

Sushmita Mazumdar is the owner of Studio Pause, a community art space in Arlington, VA. She works across stories, book arts, and visual art, mixing into it the community who collaborate, discuss, and respond to inform her creations. From Mumbai, India, Mazumdar quit a fifteen-year career in advertising to write stories and make them into storybooks by hand, and encourage children, families, and seniors to share stories of home, heritage, and migration through art. http://studiopause.com

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Donaldson Run 
by Holly Karapetkova

The day was not ours but we were in it, up to our knees in the water of a small creek that feeds a famous river, one that touched the feet of men and women who went down in history. Perhaps they walked this small creek, too, but it is not written. Likewise, our names are not in any book, but we write them on the rocks with water and leave before they evaporate. We take only things that have already fallen—dead leaves, the tuft of a dandelion blossom—and sail them downstream, watching until they snag on a stick or slip into the current. We are our own witnesses. No one sees this but us, not even the sun cooling its head behind a cloud.

Holly Karapetkova’s poetry, prose, and translations have appeared recently in Prairie SchoonerSouthern Review, Blackbird, and many other places. She is the author of two books of poetry: Towline, winner of the Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize from Cloudbank Books, and Words We Might One Day Say, winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Prize for Poetry. She lives in Arlington and teaches at Marymount University.

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Afternoon Train 
by Sally Zakariya 

We heard the train each  
afternoon, first the whistle—   
shrieks of an angry child—  
then the hiss of wheels  
on rails, the howls 
of neighbor dogs.

The track was half a block 
away, close enough to see  
the dusty freight cars from  
our window carrying folks 
to the city from somewhere  
near the mountains.

The track was one short twig 
on a branching railroad 
that once carried Civil War 
troops and later took vacationers 
to Virginia spas. 

The rails have given way 
to a bike trail now, and a park 
nestles close where the trains 
once rolled. A red caboose sits 
stationary on the spot. 

Sally Zakariya’s poetry has appeared in some seventy-five print and online journals and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her most recent publication is Muslim Wife. She is also the author of The Unknowable Mystery of Other People, Personal Astronomy, When You Escape, Insectomania, and Arithmetic and other verses, as well as the editor of a poetry anthology, Joys of the Table. Zakariya blogs at www.butdoesitrhyme.com.  

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


Neon Rain at Midnight

by Carol Heller Nation

My favorite intersection on rainy nights
   is Lee Highway at Spout Run Drive
   when blooming Bradford pear trees
   glow ghost-like under streetlights
   as the road plunges into midnight

And neon lights on the corner pawn shop
   splash images of blue and rose guitars
   across shimmering wet black pavement
   to the rhythmic flash of traffic lights
   in bursts of red and green and gold

As the drugstore’s open-all-night sign
   beckons in red beyond the parking lot
   empty save a solitary police cruiser
   and rainbow-colored pothole puddles
   pretty as a painting on black velvet

Carol Heller Nation (1938-2009) graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in journalism. She retired after many years of service as a publicist and speech writer at Arlington County Public Works and the Arlington County Manager’s Office. “Neon Rain at Midnight” first appeared in Lee Highway: Beyond Pavement, a collaborative project published by Arlington County Cultural Affairs. 

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)

Written in Arlington

During the month of April 2020, Arlington Poet Laureate Emerita Katherine E. Young is posting poems from the forthcoming anthology Written in Arlington, which showcases the poets and poems of Arlington, Virginia.


April  
by Gregory Luce

Last day of April: 
Cold rain falls from the night sky. 
A small moth floats up. 

Cold spring night: The creek 
whispers over its shallow bed; 
sibilance of tires. 

Gregory Luce, author of Signs of SmallDrinking WeatherMemory and Desire, and Tile, has published widely in print and online. He is a Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (2014). He writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington. “April Haiku” was selected for the 2017 Moving Words program on the ART buses; it is part of a longer work, “Haiku Seasons.”

Written in Arlington / Spoken in Arlington is a print and digital collection of the poets and poems of Arlington, VA, edited by Katherine E. Young and published by Paycock Press (forthcoming, fall 2020). It is supported in part by Arlington County through the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. For more information, visit Arlington Arts.

Image: After the Rain mixed media/collage on canvas by Anya Getter (fragment)