By Paula J. Lambert
Poets fall from the sky
as suddenly, as tragically,
as red-winged black birds.
We don’t question the end
of our world, only theirs,
sometimes cursing, like the colors
that pulse as flocks lift
off the ground: black, now red,
black, now red again. You’ve dreamed
them, you’ve lived them,
you’ve mourned them before.
And it is loss. Loss goes on,
lifting its wings, rising
on breath, and yes, falling.
The earth can hurt.
These doctors aren’t the first
to pluck a body from
the ground, ask what caused
a violent death,
an obvious death. Life kills
us all, and suddenly.
The living always gasp
at their dead’s last breath:
it’s relief sometimes.
Our inner organs shatter—
together, all at once,
just like those birds, dropping. Poets
mourning other poets.
We create. We dream.
We love. We do not really
die. And, yes, we do.
What Do You Call a Broken Boomerang?
By Paula J. Lambert
The answer is anticlimax: you call it a stick.
The sound of the question, the sound of the words
offers so much potential for multi-syllabic delight,
broken boomerang, alliteration of B’s—and who
doesn’t love a good B word, bullshit, balloon, bicycle,
banana—and something with the Br, too…broken,
bring me, break me, berate me, brash, brazen,
broiling, bruised; berber, borealis, Bangor, bar room,
bark. Two syllables followed by three makes you
expect more, something beyond the single syllable,
hissing s, hard t, hard c: stick. It disappoints. It’s
the same regret we feel when anything we toss into
this world fails to come back to us: faith and love,
good deeds, kind words, hard work. Something is
broken somewhere. When you tell a joke and people
don’t laugh, shake their heads instead, groan….well,
it’s not your fault they didn’t get it. Sometimes
the point is there is no point in the things we do.
Sometimes our toys are broken. Sometimes all that’s
left is to look for an old dog you can try to teach a
new trick: fetch. Get the stick, boy! Go on! Get it!
Get it. It won’t come back to me on its own anymore.
Paula J. Lambert has published poetry, fiction, and essays in a variety of journals. Her chapbook, The Guilt That Gathers, was published by Pudding House Press, and a new chapbook from Pudding House called When Your Body Dreams of Leaving without You is forthcoming. She was a resident fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in 2005 and received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2004. Lambert has an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University and an MA in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She reads and performs regularly at Writers Block Poetry in Columbus, Ohio, and was a finalist in WB’s 2010 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She competed in WoWps 2011 as a storm poet.