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Showing posts from September, 2023

Flying Island 9.29

Dear Flying Island Readers: Welcome to the 9.29 Edition of the Flying Island Journal! In this edition we publish poems by Tory Pearman , Samuel Franklin , Eric Chiles , and Charlotte Melin . Inspired to send us your fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction? For more info on how to submit, see the tab above. Thank you for reading, Flying Island Editors and Readers All images for this issue come from the Japanese fireworks design from a ca. 1883 catalogue of the Hirayama Fireworks company. (Source: Yokohama City Central Library).

Band Practice at the Park, a poem by Samuel Franklin

Band Practice at the Park The pipers droned to a stop  and I rolled my drum to silence when the rain came blustering   over the treeline like a swarm  of electric wasps jittering madly  against the shelter’s tin roof so overwhelming a piper struck up  a tune again but the pipe’s sound  was drowned in the howl around us ancient sound eating ancient sound   until suddenly the storm whimpered away  in a second’s span it turned to drizzle  and then dried as the sun cut clouds  around the horizon and then  a rainbow arced up and doubled  not just across the sky but from  the cornpatch across the lot  like an otherworldly waterfall crashing  quietly among Indiana’s greenness the colors rushing from and falling into  the glistening golden ears of corn.  Samuel Franklin is the author of two books of poetry: Bright Soil, Dark Sun (2019) and The God of Happiness (2016). He resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he enjoys making useful things out of wood scraps and losing staring contests to h

Growing Up Gay in Greene County, a poem by Tory Pearman

Growing Up Gay in Greene County Indiana boys shoot hoops next to barns, in gravel driveways,  in the high school gym. They play shirts vs. skins, the smell of leather and dirt still faint on their hands after scrubbing. After dark, they hang out in garages, sliding under cars, swiping grease from their faces onto flannel sleeves. They pass metal tools or metal cans, hand to hand, laughing through woodstove smoke. Some walk the river bottoms, hunt squirrel, rabbit, quail, morel, stopping to drop a line in cold water. They can skin and hang  a deer, then skin-the-cat  on the same tree branch. In Indiana, boys grow tall and straight. They clean up for dances and dates, walk, anxious, to the front door, hiding shaky hands behind their backs,  nervously swallowing their hellos. They know how to follow the rules: don’t swim in the stripper pits don’t play on the tracks don’t stay out too late don’t race down backroads don’t veer from the route. Don’t walk into dark cornfields; you might neve

Duck eggs, a poem by Eric Chiles

Duck eggs The ducklings would start to appear two months after Easter. More mess than cuteness by then, families abandoned them in Monocacy Park. By summer's end, flotillas of white would raft the creek's rapids. Uneducated orphans, the ducks didn't know how to nest, so when the eggs came, they dropped them in the cool waters where they stood out like alabaster pebbles. My father, with hungry mouths to feed, recognized a welcomed bounty. If the ducks didn't know how to nest, my parents did. There were eight of us by then, a ravenous rabble gobbling up whatever my mother set on the table. So my father started wading the creek collecting the chilled eggs. Most of us feasted on scrambled duck eggs, pumpkin rolls and cakes all enriched with dark orange yolks. Except me. Eggs were supposed to come from chickens and in a box bought at the grocery store. Not a dirty creek. So while my siblings giggled over Mom's gooey chocolate gobs, I glared wondering why she wouldn't

Blueberry Picking, a poem by Charlotte Melin

Blueberry Picking We needed this day to remind us of abundance, of cyclical renewal— the mixture of sun and clouds, the air breathable for once, the wild clematis a white lace thick with bees. The drive to the farm leads up a wooded hill past wheat fields turned golden,  hollyhocks, mallows, poppies, the barn where swallows curl by overhead. The blueberry picking is good and children’s voices call out delight to family in the next row as they discover the prize.  Afterwards we walk the path that looks out toward the river, gleaning more time in this place, a moment of pause away from all that troubles this summer— the smoke and heat and floods. Charlotte Melin grew up in Indiana and returns to visit. Recently retired from the University of Minnesota, she lives in Northfield and has published widely about German poetry, the environmental humanities, and teaching.