Balms in the Woods

In summer’s dreadful heat, unfulfilled threats of rain and unfulfilled desires in our chests leave us wanting.

Wish for Something Else

The wren’s song curls into the fog, tangles
The somewhere mid-flight, thunder grumbling.

Lightning shocks everything into silence,
The bemused cardinals a slight bright flicker in the gloom.

We wait for the rain, feel the breath of it
The all around, yet no respite as green
browns and brittles a little more each day.

Even daylilies trumpeting the sun stretch
The empty bells to search and sift the wind.

Again, it passes, and I left us wanting—
The a promise, a caress simply not enough.

Wasp Hour

Calloused bark of pine, scarred
by squirrel and woodpecker—
you spire into the light,
offer shade as I gulp breath into my lungs,
my blood thudding after the run.
Who does this for fun?
What demons are we chasing?
What demons are we Are chasing us?

Knots map your missing limbs, sap weeping
in places, sticky and bitter.
When something disappears
the ache from that phantom space clusters
in your chest until you choke.
What demons are we I can’t do this anymore.

The fruit from this pine drops, bites.
I can let it rot or fester—
What demons are we a later chance to sting.
Or I can harvest, infuse it
with fragrance against winter days
when even birds nest
and sing through sleet, through ice.

Author Profile

KB Ballentine’s latest collection, Spirit of Wild,  launched in 2023. Her books can be found with Blue Light Press, Iris Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in North Dakota Quarterly, Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, and others, her work also appears in anthologies including I Heard a Cardinal Sing (2022), The Strategic Poet (2021), Pandemic Evolution (2021), and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace  (2017). She loves to travel and practice sword fighting and Irish step dancing. When not tucked in a corner reading or writing, she makes daily classroom appearances to her students. 

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