“beeches” by Kathleen Hellen

Shift IX Diptych by Catherine Eaton Skinner

sheathed in their resistance
some people hold to grief

like beeches, you see the pale leaves
hanging on, asking of the wind why me why me—
you hear it in the rustle, disbelief

last night I dreamed I set a tree on fire, losing leaves
in the way of things unnatural—I cried a mother’s grief—

my dream a vision, wherein I wasn’t veiled, my eyes did not
divert from suffering, the end

in the beginning, the letting go, though memories
crown with thorns—
here, a tree stands in the yard, leans

left to face the morning. I planted it for him, my son who died—
for the old woman bloodied by war, for 13 on an island

of resistance, touched by fire. What will happen
when the trees burn to ash in California

where he died? Where he stood on corners with a sign
No more war! Forgive me, I could not stop it


Kathleen Hellen’s collections include The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin, her prizewinning Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Brilliant Corners, The Carolina Quarterly, Cave Wall, Colorado Review, Gris-Gris, Harpur Palate, jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Mead, Muzzle, New American Writing, New Letters, North American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, PANK, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, The Sewanee Review, Spillway, Subtropics, The Sycamore Review, Waxwing, and West Branch, among others.

Suzanna Westhagen

Catherine Eaton Skinner illuminates the balance of opposites, reflecting humankind’s attempts at connection. Her work has been published in Magazine 43, Art Hole, MVIBE, LandEscape Art Review, Art Magazineium and her monograph 108 (Radius Books). She has upcoming exhibitions in the Hockaday and the Las Cruces museums, and has previously shown work in the Wilding, Cape Cod, Yellowstone Art and High Desert museums. She is a New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs acclaimed artist and has had work in embassies in Papua New Guinea and Tokyo.