Archives for posts with tag: North Carolina

whitaker park fountain NC
Friday Night Lights
by Terri Kirby Erickson

Imagine a family of four—young parents
too beautiful to be real taking their three
and four-year-old son and daughter out for
a Friday night treat. Yet, here are our mother
and father, alive and well, sitting side by
side in the front seat of Dad’s ’58 Rambler—
our mom’s auburn hair grazing her tanned
shoulders, our father’s profile as smooth
as a freshly ironed shirt. Parked across the
street from the Whitaker Park fountains,
we are waiting for the sun to go down while
we eat ice cream cones Dad bought for us
from the Sealtest store (on the corner of
Patterson and Glenn). But nothing tops the
delight of watching water spurt from what
looks like a mile of multiple nozzles, and
the kaleidoscope of brightly colored lights
that shine on each fountain, turning them
every shade of Kool-Aide we have ever
tasted. It is a dazzling show—made even
better for a small girl by a belly half-full
of chocolate swirl, the night air, cool and
sweet, pouring into our rolled-down win-
dows, and the presence of my brother and
my parents—the three of them so close to
the end of this poem, they are nearly gone.

PHOTO: Whitaker Park fountains (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1960s).

Mom and Dad (2)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Although my beloved nuclear family lives only in my memory, writing about them allows me to be with them again in the only way I can and in so doing, will hopefully inspire recollections of good times with “lost” loved ones for readers, as well.

PHOTO: The author’s parents. Tom and Loretta Kirby (1955), who married when they were 18 and 21.

Terri and Tommy Two

CAPTION: The author and her brother, Tommy (1964).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six full-length collections of poems, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53), winner of an International Book Award for Poetry. Other awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, Nautilus Silver Book Award, and many more. Her poems have appeared in “American Life in Poetry,” Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Connotation Press, JAMA, Plainsongs, Poet’s Market, storySouth, The Christian Century, The SUN, The Writer’s Almanac, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and numerous other literary journals, magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Visit her at

At The Big Sweep
by Paul Jones

No one likes to wade
knee deep in the creek
to pull out plastic
snags from the places
turtles seek the sun.
I pretend I do
to do the hard work
that needs to be done.
I take what I have
of magic, of what
I found of pleasure,
in cleaning the creek.
I remember why
I hate what mud can
do to weigh plastic,
to make the load twist
and shudder and shift.
My feet find new paths
in the sucking mud,
some purchases on stone,
that lead to the bank.
My slow slogs resets
stream’s rushing free flow.
I remember nights
I couldn’t fall asleep
on a mountain train
how it like the creek
would twist, turn, and shift
along the river.
I got off the train
and it moved again.
More smoothly or so,
it seemed as distance
grew and the river
ran in parallel.
I knew then, as here,
that joy comes when work
and journeys are done.

PAINTING: Scene from the Train Window by Martiros Sarian (1960).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The Big Sweep is a continuing volunteer effort to free the waterways and other natural areas of litter — especially plastic. Some may find these efforts a pleasure, but for me these necessary tasks are more rewarding in retrospect when you can see the results from a distance in time and space. Writing is, of course, similar as are taxing trips on rattling trains.

Paul at turkish house (1)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Jones has published poems in Poetry, Red Fez, Broadkill Review, 2River View, Silver Birch Press’ “I am waiting series,” and anthologies including Best American Erotic Poems. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common. His book Something Wonderful came from Redhawk Publishing in November 2021. A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon in 2019. He was inducted into the North Carolina State Computer Science Hall of Fame in November 2021.

Outer Banks Beach
by Edward Ahern

Every morning in an April week
I walk the beach in Kitty Hawk,
rarely seeing other persons,
just gulls and terns who grudgingly
waddle aside as I pass.
The hard-green waves,
tamped down by cold air,
shudder onto the beach,
which shingles upward
in shades of beige and brown,
streaked by a line of dark-earth sand
and a scatter ribbon of shells and pebbles.

On the dune where shore meets land
a gap-toothed string of houses,
hurricane survivors,
stretches to indistinction.
I always pause in front of
one badly weathered cottage.
Unlike its neighbors it allowed itself
just two small water view windows,
as if watching the ocean from inside
was inadequate.
In years of walks
I’ve never seen anyone
sitting on the house-wide porch
or perched on the cool sand before it.
We share our solitary moment,
and the comfort of isolation.

Previously published in Panoply.

PHOTO: “Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, Outer Banks, North Carolina” (Pixabay, used by permission)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over 250 stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors. Visit him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sounds of Summer Evenings
by Mary Kendall

Sometimes at night I sit outside
In the screened-in porch out back.

In the darkness, the rustling leaves
Of the tall beech trees are blowing.

The katydids call to one another,
An evening of antiphonal refrain.

On nights when a heavy rain falls,
All you can hear are the tireless frogs

Chorusing in the garden pond.
The deep lone bass, the shrill soprano,

This diverse and discordant choir
Seems to be one of rhapsodical joy.

And then there are times when an owl
Soundlessly lands in a nearby tree

And startles me with its resonant call,
Letting me know it’s now on watch.

Two times more it calls, low and deep.
I rise and go, time now for me to sleep.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Northern by birth, I have lived for more than 35 years in North Carolina. Our summer nights are especially noisy. From frogs and owls to whip-poor-wills and katydids, there are times when it is absolutely deafening. Then there are the “call and response” night singers. I love those most of all. I love to sit outside in our screened-in porch when it is dark. The dog often comes and sits with me listening and keeping me company. She makes no sound herself, knowing that we are the polite and attentive audience to this vast chorus of night.

PHOTOGRAPH: “Curious Little Green Anole” (Chapel HIll, North Carolina) by Qing Yang. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Kendall is the author of the chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (Finishing Line Press (c) 2015) and A Giving Garden (c) 2009. She is a retired teacher presently living and writing in London, but her home is Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

by Jane Mary Curran

around ten at night
high on the ridge
from earth
through root
trunk and branch
thick as dark mist
between leaves

night deepens
I turn toward dreams
while on the ridge
the wind

treetops roar
with enchantment

I wait for a glimpse
but it’s magic that watches
I am the seen

around ten at night

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live just below the top of a ridge that runs from east Asheville up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Trees, wind, fog, bear cubs, and the full moon rising = beauty, power, magic.

PHOTO: “Valentine’s Day on Piney Mountain Ridge” (North Carolina) by Jane Mary Curran.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jane Mary Curran is a published poet and spiritual director in Asheville, North Carolina. She lived her first life as a pianist and college professor; her second as a chaplain at hospice. Now in the third third of life she returns to poetry for the essential stuff of living, fewer words and greater soul.


Photo: “Looking west on Emerald Isle, NC, as Sandy moves away,” by E. Crane, 10/29/12.