3 Poems by KB Ballentine

After We Collided
after Joy Harjo

I was a star falling from the night sky,

a cloud weeping on the horizon,

a feather stretching wide the wing,

a salmon scaling from ocean to river,

a seed unfolding in the soil,

a sigh in the hollow of your neck

and I needed you to catch me.

Mystery of Salt

The ocean breathes a ragged sigh,

clouds sagging with rain.

Waking on a gray day takes concentration,

an effort of will when a pool of warmth cradles

us close, covers snugged to our chins.

Wind whistles the corner of the house,

mimics gulls crying, and I wonder

if the storm will pass. If the briny air 

will fill our eyes with tears.

Yesterday, sea and sky echoed 

a perfect blue, water smooth

enough to roll marbles as we stood

in the prow, each of us taking turns

to hold you one last time.

Even though we knew you were not there –

at least not in that coffer, that box –

we included you in our conversation.

And before we let the ocean take you,

heavier than we thought,

we kissed you like we could fill your lungs


To leave you in the dark, the deep

was what you wanted. And with shore

so far away, we watched the spot

where we left a bit of earth and ash,

with flowers scattered around,

lone tern circling above.

This morning you are truly gone,

and we face the coming storms without you.

What Wind Knows

Wind blusters the canopy of trees,

clouds bruising a marbled sky.

Chimes whirl and sing

while the chickadees hide.

Yesterday’s sun burnished a falcon

gliding through the blue

golden feathers stretched wide.

I couldn’t look away –

wildness at large.

Today a different kind of wildness:

fury of leaves spattered with rain,

gusts mistaken for thunder,

rush of wind against my face.

These days, 

each day,

a measure of grace,

a reminder I am 

not in control, 

not of where the light falls,

not of the dropping blossoms

that look like snow. Breathe

in this moment –

now let it go.

Poetry by KB Ballentine

KB Ballentine’s sixth collection, The Light Tears Loose, appeared last summer with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others. Born in Florida and living in Tennessee, Ballentine delights in the pull of both ocean and mountains. Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.

About the contributor

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  1. “After We Collided” — This poem is cleverly written; the way you show how natural it is to be in love and vulnerable; how you lull us with vivid images then awaken us with uncomfortable truths.

    “Mystery of Salt” — I bow to the seemingly effortless diction used in this poem, starting and ending in the present but weaving independent thoughts and memories into the narrative: intensifying the mood of the ultimate strophe.

    “What Wind Knows” — The juxtaposition of nature’s furies to our seemingly endless course, always running into the wind, effectively expresses our need for Zen.

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