Their Ritual


Sparrows prance on slick rock  

where water bubbles 

down from a fountain. 

They primp

and fluff 

and puff their dripping chests. 

They wet their heads 

and rub them clean 

with the undersides of wings. 

They peck 

and chase 

and squawk at each other,

their energy focused like a spear 

as they jostle to claim the territory 

to best perform their renewing ritual.



The beginnings of splendor

are always untidy.

Somewhere a spark

pushes out gentle order, 

untidying any tidiness

like a flood advancing.


The first granite chips 

of a perfect square  

fall on a dusty floor

before a naked soul  

peeks through to light.  


An infant with silky skin 

and delectable laughter

screams irrevocably at night 

before becoming the adult 

who spreads compassion.


The accomplished tricyclist  

becomes the novice on two wheels  

who jerks and swerves 

a jagged path to grace.


All begin as stewards  

of their own unique equation


through twists and turns 

of untidiness

to claim their tidier selves.


Never & Always

Without talk of units

marking beginnings and endings, 

minutes, hours, years,

time distils to never and always;

never, a perfect absence, 

always, a constant presence,

two opposites

on a plain white canvas.


Lacking density 

or weight

or possibility of compression,

we frame moments absent

or present

and maybe back again 

depending on tracks

running through the backyard.



All in a Line

Geese know just the line 

to cheat the wind as they fly.

Each falls in line 

like days of the week

to ease the burden behind.

Strong ones, 

weak ones,

all of one mind

while drivers below

crawl along in their cocoons,

all in a line, 

and feast on their rage

blind to the birds

as they vent at each other 

for going just too damn slow.



Marianne Brems is a writer of textbooks and poetry. Finishing Line Press will release her chapbook Sliver of Change in 2020. Her poems have appeared in literary journals including The Pangolin Review, La Scrittrice, The Sunlight Press, and The Tiny Seed Literary Journal. She lives in Northern California. Website:

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