—a California State Park
by Jodi Hottel


As I hike the path that crosses
a sun-blanched meadow, meander
under oak shadow on the hillside trail,

I spot them, beginning to take over:
whip of slim snake, fin-flick of steelhead
black-tailed deer, encroaching grass.

Silence occupies the air.

Then the ravens’ croaks,
the turkeys’ glee. There’s only
one more day

till the state locks the gate
to cars, campers, horses—
and those who know

no boundaries take hold:
quail, hawk, lizard
rain, sun, wind, seed.


by Mark Medin


From my bed
I stare at gray
sea and sky –
they look the same
far away

The dove in a nearby tree
keeps calling
what it wants
I do not know

Small butterflies swarm
all over the tree –
I cannot follow just one

Both wind and water
move, and stay

I leave, and still remain


by Russ Messing


If I were homeless I’d get me to Sal’s for some clean clothes and head to
Fresh Choice with the eight dollars I begged at the end of the freeway ramp.

Then I’d start with, I mean, load up the tray with two salads for today.
I’d sit in the back where the fewest people go, and after the salads
I’d slide back in line and load up, I mean, pile on those little baked potatoes
all wrapped in tinfoil, some pizza slices, hot rolls and muffins, butter.

Then, like a crafty bandit, tuck it all in the coves of my trusty daypack.

I’d get me a fruit plate, chew slow like a Buddha-guy, tastes bursting sweet
on my tongue, down my throat. I’d grin a lot, nod at the busboy,
pocket a knife and fork, plate some triple-decadence chocolate brownies,
some zucchini and carrot clove-spiced cupcakes, the lemon shortcake.

Then, snuggle it all down into the corners of my trusty daypack.

I’d be my own Santa Claus, good fairy, and Snow White rolled into one.
I’d waddle out like the Goodyear blimp, a big shine spread over my face,
thinking of the feast tonight and maybe who I’d share it with,
whistling my way out like I just won the jackpot, feeling fresh.