by Geoff Hoppe


by Amy Nemecek

Larch Song

Just when I think it’s over,
when October rains silence
autumn’s symphony and
mute the forest brown,
tamarack voices crescendo
in coniferous plainchant
of yellow needles, their
dorian modality rising
to golden fortissimo
along November roads
before snow cues a
deciduous diminuendo
that drones sepia sotto voce.


Like Eating a Plum

“Michiganders have barely seen the sun since December” (Grand Rapids Press, 1/30/17)

When sunshine is measured in minutes
not hours or days
you have to pluck it as soon as it’s ripe
open the door to an icebox yard
snatch light from a blue-sky bowl
sink teeth into the pulpy golden orb
turning white snow dazzling
slurp suck savor every delicious ray
so sweet and so cold
spit the pale bare stone
behind another round of gray




after Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

Hovering over the face of the deep,
I join you in its convex solitude.
You shrug a melancholy shroud
around sequestered shoulders,
turn inward past forsaken streets
to a single tallow prayer you left
burning at the altar. It gutters out
as you gaze beyond window bars,
inhale paint’s painful perfume, begin
filling emptiness with impasto incense.

If I had called the night day,
your dark would not be lighter.

Hovering over the face of your palette,
we blend the pigments in tandem,
brushing cobalt hills to break against
ultramarine expanse, its otherworldly
whorl of cirrus whitecaps blazing.
I cup spirit hands above smoky umber
cypress, blow on citron moon that
quickens to planets, quasars, nebulae
searing heaven’s concave canvas.

If I had called the darkness light,
your night could not be brighter.


About the photographer: Geoff Hoppe is a freelance writer and photographer living in the Washington, D.C. area. He has a BA in Great Books from the University of Notre Dame, and MA degrees in English from the University of Virginia, and Southern Methodist University. He’s written on topics as diverse as the intersection of developmental disorders and politics, the challenges military families face, and data and analytics software. Find him on Instagram @clontarfisforlovers.