Occasions of Laughter and Horror and Pride by Laura Lee Washburn

When you stand under a tall straight cedar in DecemberPhoto on 2010-09-14 at 00.39 #6

and the red-tailed hawk flies smacking out of the branches

above you and lights on the bare tree where you watch it

and think about proximity and predatory excellence


or February when you hear the glass tinkling breaking of ice

leaping branch to branch down and lift your face up

toward the blue sky to watch the sparkle


and when your red snow boots sparkle in the melt,



then the shard glances off your nose not leaving a mark

then the thunk of half a squirrel, bloody mess

on browned grass.


The hawk waits for you to leave. The ice shakes down.

The slush melts into icy water. Backyard daffodils thaw toward bloom.


Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky.

Lori Baker Martin is Kansas Time + Place editor for the month of May. She lives and works in Southeast Kansas where she is  teaching English at Independence Community College. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin,  The Little Balkans Review,Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, Midwest Quarterly, Kansas Time + Place, 150 Kansas Poets, and in a Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. She’sbeen awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  Martin is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop where she was named a Truman Capote Fellow and received the Clark Fischer Ansley Award for Excellence in Fiction.


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