Photo by Brian Michael Barbeito

It needs humidity, dampness of rain

or sweat—the residue of troubled dreams,

the ones that wake you shivering and don’t

quite dissipate, but populate the morning:


I’m at the wheel of my old Chevy when

I notice her waiting in the rain to cross,

a youngish woman still as I was when

I’d over-stepped, although it seemed invited.


Because the light’s so dim and it’s a dream

I could ignore her. Yet I want to make

connection and try catching her glance. I rap

on the window till the glass shatters and severs


her from a chorus of pedestrians.

Interpretations may seem obvious,

although atonement is too much to ask

and dreams may be a proxy for remorse.


Part of a self endures in shadowed places.

Perhaps that’s why I seek an openness,

inhaling light, holding new scents in my arms,

listening for gestures carried by the wind.


Just yesterday I strolled the arboretum

and picked crocuses. Their infant yellows seized

my hopelessness and even gave sly comfort,  

despite premonitions that these harbingers


will, in days, brown and wither. Guilt requires

just a drop of intimation to revert.

Yet I resolve to get on with my day

as she looks up, refusing to wave back.


Michael Sandler’s poems have appeared in more than two dozen journals, including Crack the Spine, Zone 3, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.   He lives near Seattle where, for his day job, he works as an arbitrator.

Brian Michael Barbeito (photo) is a Canadian writer, poet and photographer. Recent work appears at Fiction International from San Diego State University, CV2 The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, and at Catch and Release-The Columbia Journal of Arts and Literature. Brian is the author of Chalk Lines (Fowl Pox Press, 2013, cover art by Virgil Kay). He is currently at work on the written and visual nature narrative titled Pastoral Mosaics, Journeys through Landscapes Rural.