Archives for posts with tag: Michigan

by Janeen Pergrin Rastall

He can feel the crocuses
seeking holes in the soil.
He smells bear musk
on the bushes.
When he settles down to sleep
he hears the sap stirring in the trees.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem first appeared in Right Hand Pointing. It is easy to get cabin fever living across the road from Lake Superior. Lately the sub-zero temperatures have kept us indoors. I get excited in March when the light begins to change and winter starts to loosen its grip on the Upper Peninsula.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Early spring, McCarty’s Cove and the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse (Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan)” by Jill Laudenslager. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Janeen Pergrin Rastall lives in Gordon, Michigan (population 2). She is the author of the chapbook In The Yellowed House (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several publications including Border Crossing, Raleigh Review, Heron Tree, and Midwestern Gothic. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes.

Polar Vortex Pioneers
by James Schwartz

Here in Michigan we are pioneers,
Detroit daughters of a revolution.

Small town streets are still named,
For Lafayette.

The great blizzard of ’78 is discussed,
As though yesterday.

Today the Great Lakes froze,
And Hell.

The polar vortex leaving behind,
Tomorrow’s pioneers.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Polar Vortex Pioneers” was previously published in Arrival and Departure (Writing Knights Press, 2014).

PHOTO: “Michigan Farm in Winter” by James Schwartz.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: James Schwartz is a gay ex-Amish poet and slam performer in Michigan. Schwartz’s poetry has been published by various poetry journals and anthologies. His book The Literary Party: Growing Up Gay and Amish in America, was published by in Group Press in 2011, and, more recently, his poetry appeared via Writing Knights Press. Visit him at

by Melanie Dunbar

Four cranes rise at the back of the field,
fly as quarters of one bird,
as a flock of grackles
lands hidden in the grass.
Their wingbeats disturb the air near my neck.
This is my east thirty acres.

Fields border my fields,
in the distance the house I can see from my house is white.
Coming up from behind —
the unpainted back of the barn,

chicken coop and faded green shingles.
Near the road is the shagbark hickory
bare now except for the nuts.
Some guy cleaned out his car at the end of the drive.

The dust and hay sticks to the paste of sunblock
on my arms and face. I am encrusted in hay.
I pull bales off the baler,
stack them on the wagon.

The hay catscratches wherever it touches my skin.
It smells sweet,
meadows and clean sheets,
pillowcases left on the lilac to dry.

The tractor and wagon rock back and forth.
I sway with them,
a cowboy on a horse.
I climb to the top, spread-eagle,
a maharani riding an elephant.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We live on a working farm. We grow our own corn and hay to feed our cattle. Baling hay is often hot, dusty, and physically exhausting — but there are moments of rest, when I dream. This poem was written after baling in late August. When the wagon was full, I climbed to the top and let my mind wander.

PHOTO: “Michigan Barn” by Melanie Dunbar.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Dunbar is a Master Gardener who has suddenly taken her writing seriously. She lives in Southwest Michigan with her husband and youngest son and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful. Her poetry is forthcoming in Your Impossible Voice.

by Kaila Davis

My eyes are one-hundred penny boxes stacked
twenty times in the sky.

My eyes are books with 50 trillion stars
rolling around turning into big money.

I am a school that has wings that can fly
36 miles in the sky.

My dream is like a green and red car
coming down the street.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kaila Davis is a student at Marcus Garvey Academy in Detroit, Michigan.

NOTE: This self-portrait is from the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit. To learn more, visit

IMAGE: “Le Champ de Mars” by Marc Chagall (1955).

by Linda Pastan

Perhaps the purpose
of leaves is to conceal
the verticality
of trees
which we notice
in December
as if for the first time:
row after row
of dark forms
yearning upwards.
And since we will be
horizontal ourselves
for so long,
let us now honor
the gods
of the vertical:
stalks of wheat
which to the ant
must seem as high
as these trees do to us,
silos and
telephone poles,
and skyscrapers.
But most of all
these winter oaks,
these soft-fleshed poplars,
this birch
whose bark is like
roughened skin
against which I lean
my chilled head,
not ready
to lie down.

“Vertical” is found in Linda Pastan‘s collection Traveling Light: Poems (© Norton, 2010).

Illustration: “Abstract Watercolor Painting of Brookings Lake in the Manistee National Forest of Michigan” by Rosemarie Seppala, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED