Poetry by Scott Waters

Traces

If this were

Japan

and not

Oakland

I would

eat a bowl

of ramen

at our little

oak table

in the kitchen

with a view

of plum blossoms

through the 

bay window

then I’d

dust off 

my paints

squeeze a blob

of zinc white

onto aluminum

foil

add a speck

of cadmium red

mix them

into a pink

whirl

trace branches

and petals

onto the glass

step back

and watch

how the wind

shivers 

the blossoms

up and down

while my

overlapping version

of a plum tree

remains

still

Other Ideas

Today the lake is hammered tin

seagulls battle for mussels

banking in wide arcs

bickering like old men and women

then diving with intent to kill

beneath a burlap tent of clouds

the wind kicks up

and sets this page to flapping

leaving crumbs of unfinished thoughts

scattered in the grass

On Second Thought

sun shines

grass grows

sky holds baskets full of bluebirds

clouds fog and unfog mirrors

rain lets up and drips again

creeks run into opal lakes

lakes exchange wet kisses with the sky

while a tin-pot dictator 

wallows on his death bed

muttering his “Rosebud”

wondering if there was something

that he missed.

The Counting

We spray our groceries with rubbing alcohol,

cross the street to skirt a cough or sneeze,

but mostly stay indoors and draw, read,

dig out musty board games, cook, 

eat like we may never eat again,

and in the night we peer through reeds

of dreams and picture bodies burning

on a sacred pyre, smoke rising

like an offering to ancient gods

moving beads across an abacus in heaven.

On the Grade

walking through

the early morning

light and shadows 

you remember

what your 8th grade

science teacher

taught you about

umbras and penumbras

and you wonder

if it says something

about you

that among all the

arcane forgotten facts

from those

long ago school days

you have remembered this:

there is a dark part

of a shadow

and a less dark part

and then there is

all this light

Poetry by Scott Waters

Scott Waters is a poet and songwriter living in Oakland, California with his wife and son.  Scott graduated with an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and has published previously in Adelaide, Selcouth Station, Ink in Thirds, A New Ulster, Loch Raven Review, Shot Glass Journal, The Pangolin Review, and other journals.

About the contributor

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