By M. F. Charles


A meager beginning slowly flourished
my presence, a subtle start.

Your life altered as we changed.
My promise made known with 

kindly kicks, restive pauses. 
Tethered naked, in your warm salty sea, 

my drifting dreams are of your pervasive pulse.
Our bound bodies followed your rhythms

a  pattern of timely contractions cresting 
in a fated wave at my borning time.

You cry out. 
Catching the air in chest-born sails,
I cry out.

The Hunt

From a comment by local librarian Ryan Webster

The howls of young wolves echo through the steep canyon complex, 
in search of food for their hunger. They seek a nourishment for their growing 
selves to fill a need for discovery.

The sound of the pack rises and falls as they move from high ground couches 
to speed across the open foyer then back, rushing through the canyon stacks 
in search of stories, feeding their curiosity from discs, books and story tellers. 

Stories of birds and bugs, dinosaurs and character dolls, elephants and ants, 
facts and fantasies, imaginary worlds and faraway places, heroes and villains.  
Please may we have more?  

An Old Hand

A ballet of fingers grasps my pen, 
forms a familiar cradle coaxing a dual purpose 
from an enticing empty page 
that begs for words and witnesses their birth. 

My hand, a conduit for my craft,
fields an evolving landscape 
as it stretches & glides with my motions, 

browning shapes, an emerging map of unnamed continents, 
wrinkly interruptions, pearly streaks of scars,
obscure its once flawless surface.

 Its allied elements deftly deliver an essence, 
a distillation of my emerging thoughts, 
fact and fancy, 
memories and musings,
exploring time and space.

Word came today

Crisp cold word came 
a Sorry to Inform. A lifeless
page in the story of a life.

Regret unspecified. Regret
our banal words,  a mumbled 
‘have a good one’ around

a gulp of tepid coffee 
a chomp of cold toast 
that morning’s fleeting touch

a peck on the cheek,
a quick embrace
a cursory joining.

Touching like the tide. Touching
fleetingly then moving away.
A regular occurrence 

void of significance sapped of warmth. 
I lie in the seagrass, face caressed
by an uncaring onshore breeze, 
reading again 


Time, ripens the future
into the past.

The future lies, not yet here,
in the realm of speculation, 

hope and trepidation
always nearby, unknowable.

The past, forever flown,
sweeps by our senses

parts forgotten, parts remembered,
idle fog or impatient river.

We live in the now. 
It approaches then recedes

Slipping off the edge of the future 
onto the edge of the past.

Lingering shades of the past 
harbor the beginnings of the future.

Future and past, 
two sides of a knife-edge. 

The space between 
a gasp of existence

vanishingly brief,
sometimes an eternity.

M. F. Charles, new to writing poetry, lives in Waverly, Iowa. His career has been in academia instructing at the public high school and undergraduate college levels. For him, a poem provides a chance to produce an affect in a reader, to: challenge, inspire, console, persuade, validate, teach. Retired, he spends time writing, gardening, and in community service. He has been published in Duck Head Journal, Last Leaves Poetry Journal, and Last Stanza Magazine


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