Rust & Bitter Stars & Tail Winds: Poems by Gillian Kessler


Flapper Press presents two poems by our resident poet & teacher, Gillian Kessler.

I’m no longer the passive edge of an ocean

Let’s interpret habitats, habits,

decode skulls of native orchids, their labial faces,

while storm fronts pulse from the Pacific.

I’d like to seek sea with her

but instead I lie with cones of

lodgepole, our resin melts and seeds

release. We dispense our boreal

natures, matched like common loons, hair verdant.

We’ll talk ovaries and egg sacs, stare

into shadows of sundials, thoraxes gleaming

and scoured, arms akimbo for balance.

She’s my harlequin bug, splayed

softly like a gold fringed shawl.


I wish for time to be more crepuscular,

step sure on a tightrope 110 stories up, bow

slightly in my black slippers, hooves buoyant.


Fox pelts melt in the glass case,

orange feathers flare and the crash of

heads ring down the valley -

the goats are at it again. We sing

our animal bones to the wire.


Rust & Bitter Stars & Tail Winds


Toes gripped hard on desert and all the birds

sing bass. Our river is held

in conched hands while petroglyphs

sketch out prehistoric bravery.


A halogenic moth,

a swallow’s dipped flight --

crows line the road,

feast with beetle-dark eyes.


We are part legend

of creatures and treasures, heirs

to mystical lodges, orchards,

the wide and winding wash.


This is the cell of my art,

the sun-struck nucleus,

the beyond of color.

A small forever in your wild face.

Gillian Kessler is a poet, teacher, and a regular writer for Flapper Press.

Her first published book of poems, Lemons and Cement, is available for purchase here.

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