Summer Gallery of Poets


In the 1960s, biologist Stephen Emlen
demonstrated that indigo buntings use celestial navigation to migrate at night. He did this by confining the birds in a planetarium and projecting falsely-oriented constellations on the ceiling. The birds consistently oriented themselves to the position of the mis-projected North Star.

Caged in the observatory under a fake night sky,
a dozen indigo buntings eye the stars. Fact: horizon’s
where you go to fall. Tonight the hemisphere is misaligned

so that the birds, contriving their escape, set off
in the wrong direction. Proving—what? That instinct
can be duped? Or that instinct, since it keeps its old(image)

arrangement with the stars, could guide us
through a highjacked universe? All we know of instinct
is its certain bony cry, how our bodies thud

and thud against the pane. We watch the stars describe
their polar arc, discern, obliquely, something misallied.
Still, as we gaze through the mesh

we ready our skiff of wings, though no celestial compass,
no prayer wheel lathed in light, no magnetic tangent
pulls us on. The cold sky is an envelope, its message

folded in. For flying, sense and darkness: all we have.
We let the thermals lift us through the battered
atmosphere, set course for what we think

is north: what could be
home, or could be


Alix Anne Shaw is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Undertow (Persea 2007), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Prize, Dido in Winter (Persea 2014), and Rough Ground: A Translation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus from Philosophy to Poetry (Etruscan 2018). Her work has appeared in Harvard Review, New American Writing, Black Warrior Review, and numerous other journals. For more, visit her website



A world of birds does not crowd every limb.
Pairs of cardinals each take a windowsill of seeds, sometimes he feeds her.
The trees aren’t like a calendar’s, airbrushed to ripeness.
They grow rag-taggedy too close to the house and might be stunted someday.
Spruce drop pounds of needles twice a year. Our land rises up around the house,(image)
dough of mosses and myrtle.
Roots shove paving stones into a path of questionable teeth.
Small trees at impossible angles insist on their sun. Some will need crutches.
Like a toddler learning to walk, an oven preheating,
the yard anticipates a spring breakthrough any moment,
not technicolor but tedium as we wait.
Every kind of squirrel is not in our yard––there is a species in the Himalayas—
but the rest wander drunk, digging up nuts and reburying them.
Deer trip over the yard-art rabbits and kick their lick down the hill.
The willow tree is dead, killed by a buck whose antlers needed a rub.
The smart animals are the ones we don’t see. Any flower at all is a triumph.
Gray soup waits overhead to spill on Eden.
Something about rain brings out the hope in us.



Elizabeth Kerlikowske lives in a Michigan spruce grove. She was awarded the Community Medal for the Arts in 2017 for her work in Kalamazoo’s poetry community. Most recently, she collaborated with painter Mary Hatch on the ekphrastic book, Art Speaks.  




—for the Transition Town movement

Does anybody here have some blues I can use?
Got good black dirt to barter for scraps or perhaps
deal tired old clothes for new evening raps …
anybody want to trade your Goodwill for mine?

With elbow grease a little muck and work(image)
practical neighbors could in a ’hood like ours
swap rides and plans, then everybody cans
tomatoes. I’ll babysit your blueprints dreams and luck

give you a break to dance. Could use some 8-bar blues—
the oceans they’re dyin’ make that our good air
too while Wall Street’s buyin’ DC. Let’s you and me share
you can have my outrage and I’ll take your cake-

walk—an energy swap. We’ll be part of the start
of a new garden plot. Rotting peaches are riches
with the right attitude, dude—a pot luck mindset—
my friendliness for yours. Share solar exposure—

a place in the sun. Share fun trouble heartbreak—
nothing’s outside Transition transmission
in a schoolroom, a boardroom, a sickroom, too.
Anyone here got blues you want to lose?

(image) Mimi Jennings taught French in Detroit, MI, and Saint Paul, MN; English in France; dharma in prisons. She’s received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, one Fulbright, and placed first in competitions such as Park Bugle poetry (2019) and Banfill-Locke writing (2018). Her poems have appeared in Negative Capability, Common Chord,Red Bird, Sleet, Silkworm11, Persimmon Tree, and others. She hosts readings; circulates, semi-assiduously, two poetry collections; favors rap, family, sonnets, enigma.



Lament on Mayuary


No, no, you shouldn’t go to Cannon Beach
to brace for flooding in the parking lot;
nor even think that there’s a chance you’d reach
the nearby corner store on foot, & not
be soaked to the bone, never mind dismayed;
forget that stroll ’mongst oaks in yonder grove,
& tell the dog the yard must yet avail
for her daily business, as you’re afraid
this numbing grey has got no plans to move
on soon, nor do you plan to stand in hail.

One thing you know for sure is rain will fall,
so don’t pass go, don’t dare to hope it’s done;
it’s mobilizing for another squall
to follow that sadistic break of sun
designed to catch you carelessly exposed
(last time the forecast promised sixty-four
& partly fair skies through the afternoon,
you waxed quixotic, figuring it posed
a prospect for one day with no downpour—
now seasoned, sad, & wise, you’ve changed that tune).

She dwells in Oregon, & spreads her lies
pertaining to all things involving weather,
her bogus bluster undermining skies—
too busy ducking, birds can’t flock together;
the beavers must shun banks of swollen streams
until the cedars dry out in July;
& lilacs try to squeeze their buds through frost,
but fail … The poet, stuck indoors, yet dreams
of bucking lambs beneath an azure sky
renewing souls, but sanity’s the cost.


Stephanie L. Harper earned her MA in German literature from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and will begin studies in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Butler University, Indianapolis in Fall 2019. Harper is a Pushcart Prize nominee and author of the chapbooks This Being Done (Finishing Line Press) and The Death’s-Head’s Testament (Main Street Rag). Her poems have appeared in Slippery Elm, Isacoustic*, Underfoot Poetry, Eclectica, Cathexis Northwest, Prometheus Dreaming, and elsewhere.