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concrete vision of child

bruce hunter

An old
old sun pokes through
fat-fisted clusters of nimbostratus.

Through fences picketed
around the treewalled yard
with its tin tubs floating
armadas of black-backed snappers.

The red Massey rusty bedded in corn,
a soup can hat on its standpipe,
attended by sunflower nuns bowing head high
over hidden shrines of bricks and boards.
Once this was all that heaven could be.

The old man across the street
all the God we’d ever need
rising sometimes from the planting of lobelia
long enough to be child again
to join the worrying of clouds
and angels with April’s kites.

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what the dead dream

bruce hunter

The newspaper stories of the end:
white lights, threshold’s crossed,
pearly gates, Maker’s met.
Told always of course
by those who’ve come back.

But if I were a medieval gardener
I’d tell you how it starts
from the brow,
the hair that snakes upward.
And that the dead’s dreams are green,
rooted in the skull.
Rows of them and on certain nights,
say nearer the full moon,
the ground thrums with their thoughts.
Their bones click shuffle
on the spot.

What do the dead dream?
I don’t know.
Perhaps their dreams are open
taking in all of us.
But I know what I see.
The leaves of those dreams
talking in colours and perfumes.

Maybe they dream forward
not back ward.
The problem with memory–
stuck with what’s happened
when the dead as the living do
need what’s next.
It must be
they’re dreaming to meet us.

I know, because over and over
the trees repeat their warning.
Green shout of spring,
winter’s one hand bargaining.
Each spring I trowel in the gaudy annuals
a little less hearty,
and Thanksgiving, I count my friends.

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what my students teach me

bruce hunter

tells me it's too cold here
but some choice.
You go out one morning,
the car hood's open a little;
three sticks of dynamite
and this is the third time.
In Salvador you take the hint:
you leave.

Ginny Fung
writes of the love
of her and her husband.
The first English she learned
was curses.
Those faces
she could read
in any language.

on the most profound moment of his life
writes a vague tribute
to world harmony and brotherhood.
When I question it,
he says
I am a Baha'i from Iran.
This is for my friends,
not wanting me to seem foolish.
I nod dumbly as he explains
he was made to watch
as the blades fell
and their heads dropped in the street.

Leong Hiu
who now signs her name Lisa
has not seen her brother
since the night
the pirates boarded in the China Sea,
tells me she likes the winter here
because when she wakes
all the white stars are lying on the ground.

tells the class
I am visiting my mother after work
babysitting my sister's children
when the sirens went.
We hid under the table
covering my nieces with our bodies
as the bombs fell the teapot shattered.
Everything crashing, it seemed forever.
You were watching that night
on your televisions: Desert Storm.

says it began in April.
Two million of us sir,
in the Square, I was so proud to be Chinese.
I was a reporter
when the official came into the office
and said, no more stories!
I was so angry I quit.
When the tanks came in June
- we ran, hearing the screams,
too scared to look back.
Now I can no longer write, I study computers

speaks of a trip to the front with his friend
who asked to drive.
We stopped for water.
I was gone a minute.
When I came out,
a missile, there was nothing left.
At the court martial, his mother screamed at me,
I should have been in his place.

And me,
what do I know.
I am a man on the beach
where the boats come in.

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Anno 10, Numero 42
December 2013




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