This morning
when Paul looked up
after feeding the birds
he noticed
the sky had become
all the fallen leaves
he had ever raked up
and bagged
for city pickup.

The sun shining
through the thin layer
painted everything earthly
with sepia tones
and all was transported
back to the start
of the Victorian Age.

If this sky did not end
Paul figured
Joseph Mallord William Turner’s
popularity as a painter
and watercolorist
would wain
no matter how romantic
his latest subject.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Lori Carried Antlers

Some days the sky requires piercing
and a twist to gut it so rain falls.

Other days the antlers must be donned
to lead ungulates to new grazing.

Yesterday the antlers dissuaded a rattler
from crossing an open space

where a nearby eagle
waited and spied atop a dead cottonwood.

Tomorrow Lori will poke a proselytizing devotee
of their lord Jesus in the ribs

while shaking a gourd
with her baby teeth sealed inside.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Counted Three Satellites

We walked into the forest.
So little moon we required a flashlight.
We walked with care.
Fireflies tucked themselves away.
One moth fluttered around the beam.
It was two slow miles to the clearing.
We sat on old cedar trunks the loggers left.
You looked at the darkness around your feet.
I turned off the flashlight eyes closed.
We counted in unison to three.
We looked up to the undiminished heavens.
The sky was ripe with stars.
The night was not dark at all.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


The sky came too close.
I felt claustrophobic.

My hand reached up and touched it.
I failed to push it away.

I wished to assign blame.
I was the only one around.

With the sky closing in,
the horizons felt at liberty to do so too.

All shadows became smaller.
They were compressed upon themselves.

Madness emanated from condensed shadow.
It wanted to box the sky.

I sought a reset button.
It must have been hidden in the shadows.

The sky came so close
I felt obliged to drop to one knee.

From one knee I fell flat
and felt the cool grass on my chest.

The pressure of the sky upon my back
and the horizons on my sides

turned out to be therapeutic and calming,
until your phone call jarred me awake.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney