The heavens would woo her for her eyes
alone. Penetrating blue they are, wide
and wistful. The eyes are set in a wedge-shaped face, now creased with dark
furrows crossing the brow. With lightness, each footstep glides, as
though the air would be enough to support her body, no longer lithe and
strong. A slight leaning to the right
and a cocking of her head are the only visible clues of a stroke she suffered
several years before. She would not
speak of it, however, if you asked her. She adjusts.
An aura of grace surrounds her. She
speaks and those around her listen, so not to miss the melody. In gentleness she moves—knowing that no harm
will come to her. Her trust runs deep,
and who would dare betray it? A clever
manipulator she is, with the wisdom age has given her. She is not so old, though, that she shuns a
frequent romp. I think that is how she
has kept her vibrance and vitality.
More than anything, she is a friend from
whom I could not bear to part. She is a jewel,
a treasure, a pearl of great price, who came to be my friend in the guise of a
By Denise Graham Zahn
I am a poet. Laugh, you may, but it is
true. There is so much in the world that
needs to be told, and I am a teller. Who
better than a poet can tell of the beauty, joy and sadness in living? You’ve never read my poetry, and perhaps you
never will. Nevertheless, I vow that I
am a poet, and I will tell you why.
I see massive grey clouds rolling across
a darkened sky and images of armies past marching to destruction appear in my
mind. A melody may touch my ear, and I
flow with the beauty of the sound. The
sound begets a myriad of fantasies which fill my mind explosively. Sometimes a feeling grips my body. It is an indefinable sadness. I shiver.
It pulls me—somewhere that I do not want to go. It passes, but I remember. These things I see and hear and feel as a
poet does. I put them all in storage for
use on another day. Now does this not a
Well, I’ll convince you yet. There is a voice to be heard and that voice
is mine. My poetry is vocal, you
see. The voice can tell a story by the
sounds it exudes. A voice that ripples,
flows, then lingers here and there is the voice of a poet. Words are so much
more than groups of letters. Words are
beings without life until a voice fills them up and out. A voice puts meaning in a simple word. A voice can change that meaning over and again
until you think it is not the same word at all.
I am a poet. I can do this, and I’m not a magician. It must be clear then what I am.
But what is a poet without the
words? Well, I have those too! I write what my heart designs. I do not speak
of fineness or finesse. I move to a
rhythm no one hears, and I follow where it leads. Without the words, what good the heart and
soul with wells so full they’d overflow?
What good a voice with nothing to tell?
I am here. Those words will come.
Now, surely you know what I am. Tell me
I’ve convinced you. There is no doubt,
you see. Poetry is not what I do, but it
is what I “be.”
By Denise Graham Zahn
This information is based on a recent study to determine
exactly why solitary shoes, though sometimes pairs, can frequently be found
along the highways and bi-ways of our nation in seemingly outcast
devastation. The results may surprise –
and horrify you.
While on the surface, these shoes appear to have been cast
out for some unknown and indiscernible reason, the reality is far worse. What research has shown, in fact, is that
these shoes have not been cast out. Far
from it, these shoes, in true desperation, have, in reality, escaped. Yes. It’s true.
They have escaped!
The question, then, is escaped from what? What could be so horrific, as to cause these
shoes to risk their very lives?
This researcher has found, in fact, that an incidence
of single shoe escapes takes place once
in every 100,000 pairs of shoes sold in America – most of these shoes belonging
Findings show that in most cases one shoe will escape its
owner, leaving its mate behind, to seek what it believes to be a better environment,
usually asphalt or pavement at the side of a highway or on a median strip. Sometimes, however, if both mates risk
everything and escape together, they dangerously seek the higher elevation that
power lines offer. This is an example of ultimate despair,
however. They simply hurl themselves
across the lines in a death struggle that they will undoubtedly lose. There they remain exposed to all inclement
weather until their complete demise or till rescued by the power company.
These escapees are extremely aggressive in pursuit of
freedom, projecting themselves from moving vehicle windows or truck beds, while
their owners frantically wave their arms, leaving their mates useless without a
critical left or right. So determined
and desperate are these aberrant shoes, that they show no remorse and will
endure snow, sleet, rain and storms to remain in that environment—often for
years—before being captured and sent to shoe Hell, the trash heap.
This information is dedicated to assisting parents in
determining just which shoes their children are wearing may try to escape. Be careful.
Even expensive shoes cannot be trusted to remain with its mate and
The reason these shoes choose to escape their faithful
owners to find a better environment can only be surmised, but often escapee
shoes can be found to be less odiferous, as well as more sanitary than shoes owned
by the teens—leading this researcher to believe that the life of a teen’s shoe
is hard, and the only relief -- escape.
By Denise Graham Zahn
Approaches golden Helios
Upon the Wings of Morn
Resplendent saffron optimist
Inspiriting the dawn.
Prospectus of meridian
On Wings swift to convey
The harbinger of evensong
To yet another day.
Poised in quiet repose she sits watching the passing
of time as one generation begets another within the safety of her arms.
Protectively she watches as the transient black wheels of progress move into
and out of her portal gates—stopping only for a moment to see, perhaps, but not
That is my hometown of Attica, Ohio, if I may be so
bold as to call her that, because actually my home was located five miles
southeast of Attica. We, I mean my
parents, sister, brother and I, only lived there four years, the years when I
attended Attica High School, fell in love and married. Even then her arms stretched wide in all
directions, reaching beyond her bounds to grasp my heart.
Her “Square” is located precisely at the intersection
of US 224 and SR 4. From there she has
magnanimously guided the way for many truckers enroute west to Chicago and
eastward to Akron, Youngstown, and even the mountains of Pennsylvania. She has seen many a summer tourist heading
north for a day of fun at Lake Erie, the African Safari or Cedar Point. And just 80 miles south of her borders lies
Ohio’s capital city of Columbus.
Attica is small, not as small as some towns, but
still, she has only one stop light (two if you count the one that jauntily
winks its amber eye at you, except during school hours when she commands that
you stop). Attica has all she needs to
survive, though—a corner drug store, Decker’s Furniture, Sutton State bank,
Heimlich’s Ice Cream, a truck stop, a grocery store—and a funeral home. One never need leave her doors, if warmth is
what you’re after. Indeed, many have
remained to raise their children as they were raised.
I took the truckers’ route westwad to Chicago, but
Attica, Ohio and my home in the country hold many precious memories. In truth, thought I left her many year ago—she
reaches for me yet.
My high school years were spent living in a
farmhouse in rural northeast Ohio. Those
years and that two-story house hold many memories for me. Even now I can picture my hand on the newel
post of the oak wood stairway banister leading up to the bedroom, which was my
sister’s and mine. In particular, I
remember that bedroom.
The doorway into the room was on the east wall
toward the southern corner. Opposite the
doorway was a window which overlooked the front yard. Our twin beds were separated by a window on
the north wall. Across from that were two
small closets at either end of the south wall with a small alcove between them.
On the windows were white Priscilla curtains. My mother always seemed to have Priscilla curtains. They gave the room a dainty, delicate look—an
ethereal appearance when then sun shone through them. It was a bright room, as those curtains
allowed much sunlight in. In good
weather the opened windows let the fresh breeze in as well. Even the walls seemed close to nature. They
were covered with a million tiny yellow flowers on a white wallpaper
background. During storms the room
became God’s drum as the tin roof rattled and rippled above us. More than anything I remember the
alcove. The previous description of its
location belies its significance to me.
It was mystical, or perhaps mythical.
The depth was about three feet (the same as the closets it
separated). The width was about four
feet. Set back in the alcove was our
vanity, an old dresser with a mirror attached to it. The dresser was painted white with springish
yellow knobs adorning it. The alcove was
rimmed, as could be expected, with white priscillas. It was an illusion from a fairytale. The “alcove,” it even sounds like something
from a story book.
Looking out of the room from the northern window, I
could see the remnant of an orchard.
What was left were dead trees overgrown by a tangled web of sticker brush. My mother spent many hours bringing that
orchard back to life. Beyond the orchard
was a farm field, and further north was a creek which flowed in a southwesterly
direction. The other window opened to
the front yard on the west. There were a
number of large trees in the front, and many birds considered these their
homes. When the windows were open, the
birds’ noisy chirping was an inevitable alarm clock in the mornings. The front yard was deep. At the point where
the yard met the road were two very large lilac bushed on either side of a
gravel drive. A typical rural mailbox
stood on a post just off the road. On
that road traveled the yellow school bus which took me to and from school during
those years. It is yet a vivid picture
in my mind’s eye.
Those years, that house, and especially the view of my
room and form my room made a strong impression on me. Even now I love bright, sunny rooms and Priscilla
curtains. Perhaps the actual influence
was my mother and not the room, but that room embodies for me a statement on
life. Everything I seek, all my dreams,
are interwoven with my perception and recollection of that room and what it
meant to me.