Bright River by Stephen Meats

It began when I sawStephen

the blackbird

on my father’s face

Black leaves took wing

from the skeletons

of sycamores

Lights began leaping

out of stones

Barking dogs revealed

white seams

in the twilight sky

Street lights dropped

small flames

on the ripples of a lake

A mockingbird’s feathers

created my hands

I felt a fire flicker

in its white wings

I listened for tears

in the fire’s voice

but heard only a bright river

flowing in the wings

that flew from my fingers

~ Stephen Meats

Stephen Meats, in addition to having articles and essays published, has published a mixed genre book of poems and stories, Dark Dove Descending and Other Parables (Mammoth 2013). His poems and stories have appeared in The Laurel Review, Tampa Review, Arete: The Journal of Sport Literature, Hurãkan, Flint Hills Review, Little Balkans Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Quarterly, Cow Creek Review, Prairie Poetry, Dos Passos Review, The Laughing Dog and others. Stephen Meats attended Kansas State Univ. before transferring to the Univ. of South Carolina, where he earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in English. He taught at the Air Force Academy and the Univ. of Tampa and Pittsburg State Univ. (1979-2014). He has been poetry editor of The Midwest Quarterly since 1985. He lives in Pittsburg with his wife, Ann, three Boston Terriers, seven cats, and five hives of bees. This poem is from Looking for the Pale Eagle, $12.00, 114 pages, perfect bound, ISBN: 978-1-939301-91-8. Order online or by mail, Mammoth Publications, 1916 Stratford, Lawrence, KS 66044. Mention Kansas Time and Place and receive 30% discount.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is author of 25 award-winning books of poetry and prose. She does individual bookconsulting and editing, as well as workshops. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star. For more, see BIOGRAPHY. Her book of poetry Mélange Block, from Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe, assembles a geological continuum of passion, grief, and American Indian and European histories. She launches the book in Albuquerque at Bookworks, June 14, 3 pm; in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, 501 Halona St. (corner of the Paseo de Peralto), June 15, 2:30 pm and in Lawrence, Ks., the Raven Bookstore, June 25, 7 pm. Recent online publications are from Numero Cinq, Feb. 2014. An interview is in the Feb. 2014 Museum of Americanaliterary journal. North Dakota Q.published a special issue about William Stafford, including Low’s “‘The Way It Is’: Second Sight in William Stafford’s Poetry.”Contact information is at


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