Bio Note: An author, poet, educator, my poems and stories have appeared in many international literary magazines, journals and anthologies, including The Fib Review, The Flatbush Review, Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape, the Shot Glass Journal, Verse-Virtual and the Atherton Review. My most recent poetry collections are Edges and Rags & Feathers; also, my first collection of fiction, Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories was published in August 2020. A Washington based author, I currently enjoy writing, turning wood, participating in “virtual” poetry readings, and fishing along the Hood Canal.
To amuse ourselves and chase the exotic, siblings and I wore newspaper hardhats for preschool excavations; we’d dig holes in the backyard to reach the orient, inhale jasmine incense, sleep on bamboo mats. Every five or ten minutes, Debbie pressed her ear earnestly against the bottom of our pit and would swear she could hear pandas growling, macaque vocalizations, and far eastern neighbors laughing, singing, speaking in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese (but never in vulgar English), all foreign sounds that converged as, “Godspeed your journey.” Encouraged, we tossed water into the endless chasm, burrowed ever deeper, scooped mud with diminutive palms, expected to pass Jules Verne’s hero, Professor Lidenbrock, lost amid volcanic tubes at the center of the earth; we rose at dawn, wrapped snacks in wax paper, ate occasional meals, and dug ‘til dusk during summer; wholeheartedly, we gouged out our subterranean cavern listened for the sliding pitch of plucked zithers, invited friends to join our underground quest; ah! but they laughed at our quarrying, went home to manufactured toys that bored even their limited imaginations, while my brothers sisters and I resumed mining for clandestine discoveries.
(Or the Ghost of Global Warming) Nature strikes swiftly at even the doomsday respectful, creates a Spanish Tragedy through natural disasters: mudslides in Boulder Creek mountains reveal vestiges of outstretched sand dollar arms touching marine snails, gastropod mollusks, & iridescent abalone remnants—layered, pressed, & embedded into the hillside ribcage when salt water tide pools sported sea shells a long time gone—before wildfires spread like Dante’s Inferno flames, leaving only millennium redwood trees in combustion’s crematory wake. Far from actual shelter of an earth nurturer’s soft shoulder, variable winds scatter ashes, raindrops promise respite, yet peripeteia’s on no horizon— just a pandemic’s enduring threat.
©2021 Sterling Warner
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