by Fabrice Poussin

by Yoni Hammer-Kossoy

A Tribute to the Sledgehammer

Like a makeshift shack on unsteady ground
the walls of this poem settle and crack
before I ever finish its roof.
Undeterred, I put up a scaffold,
try to boost its troubled line and verse,
but when the load of so many changes
gets too heavy to bear
I reach with relief for a twenty pound sledge.
How I love its power to translate will
into action. How my whole body sings
as its head swivels forward,
trembles when it finally hits home.
Look how much light is there
leading a way through drifts of dust.


Ode to Plum Jam

It seems unfair
to casually undo
the work of a season
through a few hours
of simmering,
but as I taste
the new jam’s
buzz on my lips
I remember the plums
perched all summer
like hatchlings
on the tree’s
delicate branches,
and just as some
crashed to the sidewalk
there must
have been one or two
that flew away never to be seen again.



The end of summer comes like a rumor
of rain, a change in air if not habit
signaled by the nighttime drift of jasmine
and damp left from morning fog.
Suddenly it is cool enough to dream again
like Jack in the dark, of a bigger box,
with a sunset view and maybe a few
flower pots to hang on the window sill.
I’d love to look at those unnamed blues
and hope the sky doesn’t fall.
What fine luxury after saving so long
to consider making even simple plans:
a year since my mother died
I’ll start with numbers and re-learn to count.


About the photographer: Fabrice B. Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, The San Pedro River Review, and more than 250 other publications. This photo is titled “Ode.”