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Editor's Note



Three Poems

By Burgess Needle

First Rose

My yard’s first rose of the New Year
         Has not yet unfurled
Is it cautiously hugging itself
         Nervous about what it may find
The newborn human
         Still sticky with fluid
         Is made to cry as a sign
                  of life
A rose has only to open
         reminding us the world
Who knows what risks
         Or insects await
But open it will
And in the still chilled air
         Of some future day
         In January
I shall bend over
         Lower my face to whatever
         May be revealed
Within the first rose’s mystery
Inhale a familiar
         Yet distinct aroma
Ah, I shall think,
         That is rose  
By this name
Not any other

Last of the Ash Leaves

Last of the ash leaves
Against a Tucson sky
Hanging on
Fighting their mulch destiny
Now the nest will be revealed
Now all of heaven will appear
         Except for bare branches
         Limned against
                  Blue or gray
Last of the ash leaves
Fall on the ramada
Stick to the Bank Rose   
Entangle themselves in succulents
Now God’s golden eye
         Will be revealed
         In judgment?
Last of the ash leaves
Curl inward browning
Persephone may not save them
This cycle is written
         In granite
         Before memory
Before the idea of Time
Last of the ash leaves
Await nothing more than
         A subtle breeze
         To embrace gravity
Finally kiss the earth
That launched them
         In another season


On the teak wood deck of some house
Near the Thai-Cambodian border
A tokay hangs upside down on the ceiling
Waiting until evening to give his call   
Tokay    tokay     tokay
Seven times means good luck
Which the malaria eradication team
Venturing into Lahansai Village needs   
Because death and dismemberment
Wait for them beyond the town line
They’re asking for trouble
And the government knows those
Med techs in blue uniforms
Are not immune to being shot
Knifed or blown to smithereens
As they close in on the spot where
They’ll take blood and label slides
Looking for a vector to pinpoint
new outbreaks of malaria
that’s why men in olive uniforms
With rifles accompany them
On that dreaded road out of town and
Everyone techs and soldiers alike
Stops at the edge of safety to
Visit the sloped-roof temple
For last minute blessings
Before heading off to gather
Blood or be introduced
To their next life

Burgess Needle’s work has appeared in: Black Market Review (UK), Connotation Press, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink, Blackbox Manifold (UK), Concho River Review, Raving Dove, Boston Literary Magazine, Istanbul Literary Review[Turkey], Decanto (UK), Centrifugal Eye, Iodine, Prick of the Spindle, The Camel Saloon, Flutter, Origami Condom, Ken*Again, Under the Radar [UK] Kritya (India), Prism Review, Snow Monkey, Brittle Star (UK), Gutter Eloquence,  Blue Lake Review, Eunoia Review, Minotaur, Nutshell Magazine (UK), Clockwise Cat, DeComp Magazine,  Peacock on-line Review, and Red Fez.  Diminuendo Press published his poetry collection: Every Crow in the Blue Sky. He taught English in Nang Rong, Thailand, for the Peace Corps, been a co-director of the Southern Arizona Writing Project, co-published and edited the quarterly Prickly Pear/Tucson , and was a school librarian for thirty. He lives in Tucson with his wife, Barbara.

Copyright 2013 © Burgess Needle. This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.