— Kim Mosley 

You Look at me and Wonder

Painted Rocks by Paul Causey

What am I. Is this art? What am I supposed to see?
You could tell all kinds of stories about me.
You could say how my sharp edges have been worn down
through the years by wind and rain,
how my rough skin was worn smooth by the proximity of others like me,
others of my kind seeking to find a place of last repose.

Or you could simply say that I am a rock and that is enough. 
I need to do nothing, to be nothing other than what I am. 
What you make of me is not my concern. 
I am what I am. 

If I could form words, have lips, a mouth to speak, 
that is what I would say. 
But since I have none of those things, 
have not that capability, 
then you must figure it out for yourself. 
You can look at me and wonder. 
Or not.

—Paul Causey
Inspired by “Reading John Cage on Sound” by Sarah Webb

Reading John Cage on Sound

Rocks by Sarah Webb

John Cage says, sound doesn’t have to
mean anything. 

I say, a rock
may be heavy in the hand
may grit against the fingers.
We don’t have to write on it Stone

though I have a stack of four
on my railing for just that purpose–
to write stone in black ink on the flatter side
to write a haiku about time compressed into layers
to tell the rock to be archetype, meaning

but maybe it’s enough just to be rock
and maybe that’s why 
the rocks in that stack have sat
through ten summers of heat and rain and the step of doves
and I’ve never written on any of them.

—Sarah Webb

What is a poem?

The writing group dissolved.
I stopped writing
for 15 years.

I became a doctor of sorts
and conducted a business of helping others hear.
I would not hear my own heart calling. 
I pushed down my stories, slammed the door shut
tossed the key in the weeds.

When the tidal wave of COVID hit the main land,
I found the Zen writing group.
I lifted a rusted key to a long-locked door to an infinite corridor, 
where pickled songs and fairytales lived.
Some tumbled out, eager to see the light and taste the air again.
Some turned their owl eyes away from the darkness, 
blinked in the glare of the opening, 
uncertain if others would entertain their ugly splendor.
Other songs remain in cobwebs,
buried deep among the bricks,
waiting for a time before death to be revealed.
Some may stay silent. 
Some stay afraid

The songs that tumble out, they take our hands.
They guide us to the poems that live on the earth:
to the little green grasshoppers that spring away from our footsteps,
in the long stripes of Bermuda grass that defy Texas drought,
to the striped spiders the size of a silver dollar sidestepping the drip of the watering cans.

There is a poem in the slide of horsehair across the violin strings,
in the furrowed foreheads of symphony players, 
determined to boil the perfect spell of sound. 

There is a poem in the scream of the child who has no words yet, 
in their parents who frown, and sweat and embrace their uncertainty, their fear and their rage,
in the silence of the audio booth that holds them together

There is a poem in the paper wasp that licks a small castle 
from nothing to something
in the space of 10 days

There is a poem in the chair painted pistachio.
Despite all its bumps and its scratches in its moving and time,
it resists a collapse,
stays upright and strong.

—Emily Romano