Geese V south, branches bleak
against noon blue. Snowfall last night
surprised, delighted us like deer tracks
under white-capped apples,
first flakes dusting the pines.
But blood scattered with feathers
and fur across batches of snow
remind us all is not at peace. Tonight,
under a waning moon, I will fly to you
before the season of want fully descends.
Stone and Olive
Your heart – hard and charred
like coal-mined mountains of Kentucky –
leaches dread, slithers like volcanic sludge
through my blood. Forget the sassafras
that pierces cracks, greens the gray –
graphite swollen and ceaseless
concealing the horizon of you.
Not enough mint or basil to seal the wounds,
to heal the scars of your past.
You clutch each grudge like salt,
smoke stinging the eyes,
blistering the nose with scorched smell of rubber.
Anger as smooth and heavy as slate,
not even a dove could fly away.
February: A Vow
Breath puffs frosty clouds,
wind raw with cold,
flakes of snow
that chant their silence
through the night.
Soon ice will thaw,
turn to slush,
and absurd spring
will ricochet the woods
with foxglove, ladies’ slippers.
Robins will nestle
with their mates and I –
I will guard
the growing things
before they crystallize
into summer’s parched days.
KB Ballentine earned the MA in Writing and the MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and publications, including Alehouse, Tidal Basin Review, and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. In 2006, she was a finalist for the Joy Harjo Poetry Award and was awarded the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in 2006 and 2007. Fragments of Light (2009) and Gathering Stones (2008) were published by Celtic Cat Publishing. Her work also appears in Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). Her third collection, What Comes of Waiting, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award.