A quick change of weather,
a cold wind off waves from an ocean
we never see. The window, still half-open
for afternoon’s sun, let’s in instead
a breeze that chills the sheets.
I arrange my books again in this new place.

The clouds hang to the edge of land
and the birds stray only to collect
in our windows: sounds at dawn,
shadows in morning,
buddhas in the afternoon.
In the darkness they are just one more
fragment of the mystery.

Late at night, half-listened to songs
heard hundreds of times in similar moods,
wondering at the folly of desire.


Andrew Decker


There is an industrial sky and the wind
is a little too strong, a little too cool
to blow like this through the still leafless
branches of the trees on this two-flat street.

You asked, inside, the lamps lit at 4 o’clock,
if my mother read my poetry and I said no,
why would my mother read my poetry?
And I thought of one she’d found, put
on the wall of her pharmaceutical company office:

“We are all homeless,” it began somewhat dramatically,
and I suppose she was, a passed around orphan
in 1950s Northern Ohio: plains without expanses
and the canned laughter out of the tinny speakers
of new televisions: the fakers pretending
to be just like you and me. She told me she used
to go to the Akron airport to watch the planes
on Saturday afternoons and when heaven came
on Sunday morning she felt a similar awe,
with the rosary beads like pebbles
in her fingers and the candles lit and the thick smell
of the church clinging to her clothes the rest of the day,
like an importance carried even that far
from the faraway cathedrals in Europe
with the same Latin calling down the same God.

In that same poem I talked of the ballgames
at dusk and how the air felt against our forearms
as the sun was replaced by the night
and all the voices of our parents calling us in
and they were much younger too.

Later, everybody around our patio
with the grilling and the conversations
and I would sneak off into the corner
of the shared yard and the crickets
with their sound of the rhythm of the earth
seemed like a permanence in the summer
and not a vesperal hum announcing
any of these auroras of autumn.

I would kneel down to hear them closer,
sometimes I would get a jar
and all night, I would hear that song
and it was quieter than silence to me.
I am remembering this now,
it is the part of the poem that was never written.


Andrew Decker


The hairdresser asks me to wait a moment outside.

I´m clearly the first customer of the day.

He rouses three guys who have been sleeping inside the worn salon.

I sit on a tiny plastic stool in the street, waiting for my turn.

Peter Köhler

Front door

My dad tells me about a dream he had shortly after I was born.

He´s in the hallway walking past by the front door. It´s ajar.

Reaching out to close it he spots a man with a drawn gun

standing right outside.

Peter Köhler

Kite King

An old man stands in the square outside the museums. He’s flying a kite that looks like a big black bird and he’s awesome!

Every time the kite looks like it is going to crash he lets out some string from his big spool and yanks a little at it.

Soon the kite is a little dot against the smoggy skyscrapers in the background again.

After a while another kite flyer shows up. He’s at least as elderly as the first one and brings the same kind of kite. A great big black bird.

It crashes right away!

Peter Köhler


On the wall in the hallway between our bedroom and the kitchen is a pair of

Gnome-sized knitted socks.

Later I read in a tourist leaflet about guided tours

to the kingdom of the Little people, among the volcanic rock

a stone´s throw away.

Peter Köhler

Peach Garden

The peach garden is a quiet place without many visitors.

I’m suddenly pleased to find a nice statue of a giant peach.

It’s the size of a small truck.

The paintwork grades from white to a pinky orange.

Next to it is a brownish black deer with a glassy stare.

Peter Köhler

Minnesota Summers

It began with bats as

sometimes, it does.

Bat claws scratching. Bat voices

chirping. Bat families

squeezed between the stairs

and the attic door.




Evening, only street, Crow River.


Pickup truck after

pickup truck; dirt roads, tall browning grass,

weeds in the irrigation ditch.


One dusktime walk a pheasant

burst up, scared the shit

out of the dog.




Bat thwap landing

on my mother’s bare thigh.

Midnight. Hot sticky summer.

Bat. Thwap. Thwap.





Swimming in a t-shirt in the

river overflowing, afternoon downpour

everything green

everything grey.


Huddled on the screened in front-porch;

my grandfather’s glass of

powder-made lemonade. The game,

dummy-rummy, Swedish and

Norwegian flags flapping

in rain kick-back wind.




Bat hunters—

mother, grandmother, grandfather.

Bat hunting—

tennis racket, frying pan, broom.


Elusive bats. Multitude of bats.

Bats on bats on bats.




Matching kitchen and bathroom

linoleum, black and white

like Italy, red walls.


Well-traveled whole-life couple

whose friends don’t like when

he cooks

she talks at the dinner table,

their daughter

whose daughter

doesn’t wear skirts.




My grandfather’s burn pile,

writhing brown paper bags

he carried out

one at a time, three a day,





Because corn stalks cut skin

when you run too fast between them:

a Minnesota summer

but the stray cat they call Capote

the house cat, Truman.


Neighbor in a one-piece

on an ATV with a shotgun

three kids

one target:

neighborhood woodchuck.


Same neighbor, other summer:

her kids’ black and white rabbit released.


All the rabbits are cow-rabbits

in Crow River now.




Burning bat bodies

isn’t illegal but

bat murder is.




Hang buckets of water under the eaves

so bats fall in and drown—

bat assisted-suicide.

Bat vulnerability.


It ended with bats,

with bat endings.

Bats on bats on bats.


Carly Taylor