Grandfather’s Simple Request by Trish Saunders

koolau mountains debrajean pixabay

My ohana, I must leave you soon.
Bury me with koa leaves and shells,
place pikake flowers around my neck,
red dirt between my toes.

Once, I wanted to rest beneath the Pali cliffs
where I could hear the ocean
and receive its calm.

I live in the desert now, a place no less beautiful
but far from the temple grasses
of our ancestors.

Do not grieve for me.
Watch for my lantern in the night sky
guiding boats into the harbor.

 

 

Trish Saunders writes poems from Seattle and Honolulu (and, in her imagination, from the shores of Crater Lake, Oregon). She’s been widely published in print and digital poetry journals; some favorites are Right Hand Pointing, Blast Furnace Press, Eunoia, Califragile.

 

Photograph of Koolau Mountains by Debra Jean.

#Campfire: We Were Called By The Same Name by Trish Saunders

argentina_

We were braided, beribboned girls, selling mints, collecting
badges. We slept with our mouths trustingly open.

In such haloed light, we were possessed by animal spirits no
more terrifying than rabbits, unicorns. Our lives folded

easily into knapsacks. We Kumbaya’d around the lit logs.
How splendid the fire, how benign the darkening sky.

Now at night, I grab my beloved’s hand on waking. Briefly,
shadows of coyotes and elk bolt in terror across the wall.

th-1

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu and, in her imagination, in Yosemite National Park. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Right Hand Pointing, Blast Furnace Press, Eunoia, Pacific Poetry Review, and many other online and print publications.

Why the Golden Plover Stands There by Trish Saunders

Golden Plover by Forest & Kim Starr

I came here to learn the language of trees,
ancient tongue
nearly extinct
like the Hawaiian Crow
or shave-ice shacks on
Kamehameha Highway
where Aloha Gas now sits.

I came expecting koa trees and palms
and found instead an
old brick wall,
a golden plover standing motionless
beside it though
he flew a thousand miles to be here.
Like the plover, I came expecting more.

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. She has poems published or forthcoming in Right Hand Pointing, Off The Coast, Gnarled Oak, Fat Damsel and numerous other publications in North America, Europe and Australia.

 

Photograph by Forest and Kim Starr. 

The Toy Room by Trish Saunders

Like the smiling boy in a Caravaggio,
his outstretched arms offer apples and pears.
He steps into our living room.

You know what happens next–overturned tables.
Flames shimmy up a tall mast;
Theseus abandons ship just in time. Amazon
women with impossibly thick muscles wrestle
cowboys to the ground. Fists meet chins.
Ruthless executions follow: by firing squad,
sword thrust, a shove overboard.

At six o’clock, dust motes settle,
we sink into our brocade chairs–cracked china figures
in green and gold. I’ve lost you, little brother, tough older sister.
Our knees ache.
Story hour’s over.

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Bickering Children by Bernhard Keil.

I Long to Join the Conga Line by Trish Saunders

Anvar_saifutdinov_In_a_fur_coat

Even Jehovah’s Witnesses turn away from me now,
since I started wearing my fur coat
year-round

pervs in the park leave me be
’til some pop tune
reminds them I’m alone
in a world

where a woman can’t be alone
unless she’s lost a kid to a grave
somewhere

then she will be allowed a little madness
in peace.

Just warmth around my neck,
and kicking my heels in the
chorus–that’s all I ever wanted.

It’s simple–our fathers taught us to dance;
mothers warned us thin dresses
catch fire.

Don’t be afraid.
When a stranger steps forward
with an outstretched arm,
it only means you are not alone.

Even if you are.

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Painting In a Fur by Anvar Saifutdinov. 

The Day Glenn Miller’s Plane Disappeared by Trish Saunders

Here’s the secret about war.
It’s such a bore–
government shacks,
rats and roaches,
harsh shampoo
if you can find it,
staticky radio
tuned to cooking tips, and
worst of all, the community clothesline
with mountains of shirts and sheets
ready to pin up beside a stranger’s underwear.

Worse even than that: sad-sack shirts and pants
abandoned on the line,
gimpy limbs
that shimmy and shake in rough winds
or hang in the rain, till the
chaplain’s wife unpins them,
to send back home with a letter.

But once, his band played the island
and oh dear God,
we danced to String of Pearls.

#Immigration: A Well-Lit Ocean by Trish Saunders

Row along, children, nothing to see here,
it’s not an oar that floats in the seaweed
but a branch, slender as hope;
that stifled cry was a gull—

how much time have I spent reassuring you?
probably not enough;

a beached boy lying face down is not a boy,
but a large doll,
eyes closed
in sleep;

waves turn his face
from the pitiless sun,
but keep his blue shorts on,
one last kindness.
Stars wince.

Alan_Kurdi_lifeless_body

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Photograph of Syrian and Iraqi refugees arriving in Greece by Ggia. 

Photograph of the body of drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi by Nilufer Demir.