Contemporary American Voices

February’s Featured Poet – Julia Travers

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Julia Travers-

E.

I miss when what I knew
was what you knew.
We shared most of our maps,
agreed to turn our flashlights on
in the dark crowd,
remembered where each other’s switches were.

We horded sunflowers, succulents and cilantro,
spoons, sweaters, moon rocks
and beach grass spurs.

We skirted chasms fell,
swam, climbed, floated.
You sprinkled water on seeds
I didn’t know I’d dropped
I carried stones
to encircle you while you napped.

We braided hair rubbed shoulders,
nodded, yes, shook heads, no,
Listened
on a leopard print couch,
while sewing stars together into shapes
for distant cultures to guess at.

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April

Spring air rifts through.
As invisible hands close instinctively,
protectively, over my chest,
I am carried by my inhale
into a garden of muddy blossoms.

My child-self
stretches out from the branches,
where she was folded all winter,
waiting patiently with buds
and other potential things.

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Crow

When the crow flies,
the air chokes around it;
it pushes outside of time.
When the crow calls
my eyes go quietly
and I wander below,
as if my steps were writing a fairy tale
and feel well positioned in the world.

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For F.

I’ve read that particles behave differently,
depending on whether or not they are observed,
and that house plants blossom with attention.
Some things might not light up fully
if no one sees them,
or it might take a lot longer — too long,
or they may turn a different set of colors.
So thank you.

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Easy on the Eyes

Books with characters
who say, three sheets to the wind,
well I never, and, you’re pulling my leg,
Grandparents’ crinkled voices exclaiming, oh, my stars,
a penny for your thoughts, or, gee whillickers!
These are the sayings that line the thrift store aisles
of our language.

Bend down low,
we’re gettin’ on like a house a’fire
for all the wrong reasons.
I’ve got a wild hair.
You’re the cat’s meow —
don’t go hurtin’ nobody.

Phrases are passwords through generations,
whispered between children holding hands in a chain.

Which expressions persist
by chance, habit, trend or sentimentality
seems sadly random.
I browse shelves of muted idioms,
my eyes glazed with a wide waft of appreciation.

As every living thing deserves,
may each one know:
before you died, you were read,
sure as sin.
You were heard, high and low,
and every which way.
You were seen
and were easy on the eyes.

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Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher in Virginia. Her writing appears with OnBeing, Heron Tree Poetry Journal and Whurk Magazine, among other publications. Her writing portfolio can be found at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.

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