Robin Lippincott & Debra Kang Dean

Summer’s Skies
Fourth of July, 2017

[Front 1]

in praise of summer’s
skies     late afternoon sonic
booms     the burnished green

          an acrid smell, the cart urged
          toward tee off at the last hole

on foot they wander
freshly-mown grass, Katzian
forms in the suburbs

          lamp light     a figure inside
          startled awake     drawing blinds

[Front 2]

the moon’s a whisper
as the evening settles in
scarecrow my shadow

          first frost on the grass and my
          love gone, a tongueless bell gong

—same time next year
an Indian summer and
new crops of kisses

          Auntie Em fixing meringues
          those low bake slow bake cookies

the Shepherd’s subdued
pleas until its master turns
slaps his thigh, come here!

          look! we have come through! (Lawrence)
          the dog’s sage old friend might say

[Back 1]

Lola (the white neighbor-
hood cat) spends her ninth life
pawing winter’s grass

          barely visible on snow
          still falling under a blue moon

and the seasons turn
over like tossed coins, and we
go aimlessly on . . .

          in coat pockets, hands repose—
          first light draws the horizon

Venice     beautiful
decay     and us gondolaed
inside the lagoon

          leaning in close     gate     pitcher
          window     together, we said

[Back 2]

how quiet it was
just now the air unruffled
for a while     away

          green’s ever effusion, the
          annual dependable

cantare, the wave
of blossoms moving north greets
the birds lighting south

          and yet     so brief the lilac
          blooms, so poignant, so redolent


They Blaze     Brown
Autumnal Equinox, 2017

[Front 1]

swoon the chilled air, the
harvest moon, the flaming leaves
as they blaze     brown     fall

          gathering acorns, the squirrel
          coming & going, the wind

the wind blowing     the
busyness of burrowing
of hunkering down

          what I’ve left on my small desk
          bank teller’s lamp, a framed sketch

[Front 2]

broken and double-
yellow lines & the shoulder—
& nowhere but here

          on the black ribbon of road
          you’re everywhere, yet nowhere

I called his number
needing still to hear his voice—
Please leave a message

          a hollow, bottomless hole
          without sound     he is     gone

sandbar & current
& on the pond’s surface turns
a wheel of snow

          cold walk on a black night—(no
          streetlights)     a foghorn’s low moan

[Back 1]

just keep moving     “move-
ment is health”     put that in your
peace pipe and smoke it

          you could fold, say, a bad hand
          clean clothes, a letter, your hands

look at the faces,
she said, of those who’ve chosen
to stay together

          sinking chin deep, just knees kiss,
          the river become a shared skin

summer night, every-
where water, full moon shimmering
clothing optional

          glitter lying about us,
          a dream land so various

[Back 2]

here, now, sit awhile
have a cup of tea, savor
that fugitive, heat

          coffee, toast, kippers, marma-
          lade     window: spinning dogwoods

we call this pattern
pineapple blossom     wind grazed
on the line, it waves

          spring, yes, is finally (we
          thought it might never come) here


Black     Winter
Winter Solstice, 2017

               Allover white
with bold swaths of black     winter
          road or a Franz Kline?

               A newspaper, read, you see
     cold neighbors, cast on the skids

their faces, like leaf-
                      lets     fill streets and minds with that
                                  feathery thing—hope

          High-pressure system building—
          indeed, a change of weather

                              *     *     *

Tonight the glitter
     of stars will contend with the
          hunter’s moon, rising

               but autumn, my love, is just
          a frozen memory now

in this photo          behind
          me, the gingko’s leaves falling—
     one     two          Imyourfan!

     My cyanotype, and your
          native gold—a live Vermeer!

          that familiar aroma
of old books, savored

               pages turned on a life not
          yet lived—goodbye to all that

                              *     *     *

Another time, a
     fine summer’s, days and faces
          pass, fade                       facades fall

     The moon breaks through cloud cover
          the lush grass yields back your voice

     It was, after all,
your favorite season, so
               here we are once more

             Tell me what I like, you say,
          poring over the menu—

     Everything is
red!—the wine, the strawberries
     your (sensuous) lips

               In silhouette a rambler
          (he’s acquainted with the night)

                              *     *     *

Walking inside a
     dark so deep     so long the miles
               leading, surely, toward dawn

               a stealth coyote, under
              the streetlight up     the back stairs

          knocking, but lightly—
     slipping into the cherry’s
ample blossoms, mist

          wild life     dogwoods     and barking
               the greening          shimmering leaves


Robin Lippincott is the author, most recently, of Blue Territory: A Meditation on the Life and Art of Joan Mitchell, and Rufus + Syd, a YA novel co-written with Julia Watts. He has also published the novels In the Meantime, Our Arcadia, and Mr. Dalloway, as well as a short story collection, The ‘I’ Rejected. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Paris Review, Fence, American Short Fiction, Provincetown Arts, The Louisville Review, and many other journals, and his fiction has been anthologized in Unbroken Circle: Stories of Cultural Diversity in the South, M2M: New Literary Fiction, and Rebel Yell. For ten years he reviewed art and photography books for The New York Times Book Review. He has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He teaches in Spalding's MFA in Writing Program, and lives in the Boston area.

Debra Kang Dean is the author of News of Home and Precipitates, both from BOA Editions, and two prize-winning chapbooks, Back to Back and Fugitive Blues. A third chapbook, Morning’s Spell, is comprised of renku written with Russ Kesler. Her poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac, and her essays have appeared in the expanded edition of The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World and in Until Everything Is Continuous Again: American Poets on the Recent Work of W. S. Merwin. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in One, The Ghazal Page (a collaborative ghazal sequence written with Greg Pape), Moon City Review, and The CDC Poetry Project. Totem: America, a full-length collection of poems, is forthcoming from Tiger Bark Press in 2018. She currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and is on the faculty of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program.