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Issue 121, Part Two

the summit

Poems, 30 words & fewer

Matthew Bainbridge, Ally Bebbling, Al Bright, William Cullen Jr, Merridawn Duckler, Howie Good, Kevin Hudson, J.I. Kleinberg, John Langfeld, Hiram Larew, José Enrique Medina, Diana Morley, Shereen Asha Murugayah, Laurence O’Dwyer, Tamra Plotnick, Mary Bass Poulin, Joel Savishinsky, Antonia Smith, Lee Varon, Mike Wahl, Bob Whitmire

Anchor 1

The Note

Here is issue 121, part 2. Very Short Poems. Recall that we had so much fantastic work, we took twice the number of poems we planned and released the issue in 2 parts. Enjoy!


A friend of mine had a close encounter with a UFO many years ago, in a hot granite quarry in Indiana. He doesn't like to talk about it.  That's an understatement. Several years ago, I got him to tell me the story which, to that point, he had only told his wife. Getting the story out of him was difficult. One thing is clear: Bill is not after attention. When he told it to me, he behaved like someone being tortured.


Years ago, I read a book by Keith Thompson titled Angels and Aliens. Thompson argues that we've gone wrong in thinking that UFO sightings are either real objects from outer space ("true belief") OR that people are either making up the stories, or have just misinterpreted visual experiences of natural phenomena ("debunking"). Heavily influenced by Carl Jung, who himself wrote a book about UFOs, Thompson writes that it's best to think of experiences of seeing strange things in the sky—which have gone on throughout human history—as examples of the richness of the human spirit, and its quest to encounter the unknown. After reading that book, I disaffiliated from the ranks of believers and skeptics. 

So, Bill climbed down off his giant dump truck in the quarry and walked up on an object floating about 20 feet off the floor of the quarry. He thought the object was about 12 feet wide, 3 feet deep at its center, and, to Bill's dismay, roughly saucer-shaped. It stood stock-still in empty air. Let me resort to bullet points on some of the most compelling aspects of Bill's narrative. Almost all of these points were Bill's reluctant replies to my questions.

  • The object made no sound. Later he realized that that the ambient sounds he would normally be hearing in the quarry were dampened.

  • Although roughly saucer-shaped, the circular, outer edge "didn't make sense," said Bill. To paraphrase, Bill was saying the top and bottom sides of the object joined together at the edge in a way that doesn't exist in geometry. 

  • Similarly, the surface was not smooth, not metallic, not rough, not matte, not shiny or reflective. Not opaque, not transparent, not translucent. All Bill could add, with great frustration, was that it was "nothing like any of those. I can see it in my head, but I don't have words to explain it."

  • Bill thinks he watched the object for 2 or 3 minutes. The ambient sound returned to normal and the object "sort of disassembled and folded up on itself and then was gone."

  • As uncomfortable as Bill is now with the experience, he said that he was completely calm while viewing the object. Not just calm, but unnaturally calm. A calm he had never felt and hasn't felt since.

One of the reasons Bill won't tell the story, he said, was that it was hot sunny day in a rock quarry. He knows what people would think. Too hot. Too sunny. Too much sun on Bill's head. What makes me sad about Bill's experience is his shame. I have no idea what happened to Bill that day, but I wish he could find that otherworldly peace again.

Thanks for reading! And, as always, thanks to our editorial team.


Laurence O'Dwyer 

Anchor 18

Grand Tournalin

or quick-draw. 
Gri-gri or sling. 
The valley below 
is childhood. 
Clip in; 
she will not 
climb down. 


Anchor 3

Howie Good

Words Like Stones

You got a lot of time 
when you’re old. 
Time to talk and talk. 

Then night comes, 
and anything can burn. 
Yes, even blood. 

We sit and say nothing.


Anchor 4

Bob Whitmire


Bullets sing 
With naked indifference 
As they fly 


Anchor 5

Bob Whitmire


In the twilight of my life 
I stand on foreign soil 
that another me, 
another time, 
called home 


Anchor 6

Ally Bebbling

Mom keeps my baby 
teeth in a petite glass jar 
in the spice drawer. 
Safekeeping: my little mouth 
alongside the peppercorns. 


Anchor 7

Mike Wahl


no one stands alone 
until the last bridge is burned, 
and the spring rains 
swell the rivers


Anchor 8

John Langfeld

A Poem Speaks, Part 118 

A poem is a museum. 
There are benches.


Anchor 10

Lee Varon


The dark halls of anger 
and sadness 
lie empty. 

I watch a slice of light 
rise in the sky— 
this sliver of moon 
called Future. 

You could have one. 


Anchor 11

Lee Varon

At Nahant Beach

Snails coil into secrets; 
planes fly low into Logan. 

I step among the rusted fishhooks, 
derelict dreams. 

By the tidal pools 
someone overdoses. 

This is what I know 
about ghosts.


Anchor 12

Tamra Plotnick

Zip Ode to Brooklyn 11215

See Lady 
Wed Brooklyn; harbor, her train 


Anchor 13

Tamra Plotnick

Diamond Snow

horses escaping a forest fire during the Russian Revolution frozen in angst as the lake blinked to ice on impact


Anchor 14

Joel Savishinsky

Art Lesson from S-21

Her tortured paintings— 
naïve, brutal portraits— 
now hang in the school 
that once served 
as her prison.


Anchor 9

Kevin Hudson

Day of the Funeral

A drop of milk landing cold 
On your chin, 
The crackle of your arm hairs 
From the static of your suit. 
Today the smallest deeds remind you 
You’re alive.


Anchor 15

Antonia Smith

after all

after all, 
it’s already over, really 
but I had always thought that 
there is more to a moment than 
its length 

these seconds have width, 



Mary Bass Poulin

Anchor 16

Ars Poetica 

Blue heron by shoreline 
hidden in cedar boughs 
flies off just above water 

I should have been 
quieter opening the door 
careful to witness 
what I’d not yet seen 


William Cullen, Jr

Anchor 17

On a Date with Sibyl

Lying on our backs 
and looking at the stars 
she gives new names to constellations 
re-imagining the zodiac for a new age 
saying the present world needs 
a better horoscope.


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