feather on down the line—Alan Bern


—Derek Furr

She floated along the aisle to pass the peace, 

          angling off to a window during the hymn.

          Talk of debt seemed to wake her, and threat

          of the soup kitchen’s closure sharpened her 

          focus. She declared that someone should 

          step up to prevent all this loss.

“Had the first trip bored me, or scared me,” she 

          would explain at meetings, “I might have 

          been a pediatrician or a pastor.”  But 

          recovery eluded her like a toddler, giggling. 

          Her next days were photocopies until the 

          paper bin emptied.

“How to proceed?” she wondered, finding herself in 

          a woods, the voices having silenced. Leaves 

          covered the trails, snow would soon follow, 

          and who among the passersby could be 

          trusted? Meanwhile, a barred owl stirred in 

          the beeches above, preparing for night.

Derek Furr is the author of two mixed-genre collections, Suite For Three Voices and Semitones, both with Fomite Press. He has new work in RaritanJacket2, and Sierra Nevada Review. He teaches literature and directs the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Bard College in New York.

Retired librarian Alan Bern’s poetry books: No No the Saddest (Fithian Press), Waterwalking in Berkeley (Fithian), and greater distance (Lines & Faces, his press with Robert Woods, more at linesandfaces.com). Alan has photos, poems, and stories published in many online and print publications from which he has won awards. Recent publications of photos: unearthedesf.com and pleaseseeme.com. Alan performs with dancer Lucinda Weaver as PACES and with musicians from Composing Together.


(267) 787-1762

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