stephen ratcliffe





two red finches pecking up seeds from rectangular table

on right, angle of tobacco plant branch slanting across

above it, sunlit green leaves against blue sky overhead




man in jean jacket noting “language in the wake of something

passing,” Ben Jonson’s “weep for me all ye who read”




Baez noting the Buddhist monk told to sit and watch corpse

decay, “to see that that’s what happens to us,” Gandhi’s

life “an experiment in truth with a small t”




blue sky reflected in nearly motionless blue-black plane,

lines of shadows slanting across green of ridge above it









grey light coming into sky above plane of still dark ridge,

silhouette of tobacco plant leaves lifting as wind passes,

planet in blue-white sky above it



                                    Secretary of Defense

claiming “Saddam Hussein is determined to get his hands

on a nuclear bomb,” images as “evidence not conjecture”




man on phone taking space shuttle explosion as a sign

Allah is a terrorist, noting “one of the earliest sightings

of the smoke trail came from Palestine, Texas”



                                                 white line

of water moving in across blue-white plane, curve of white

spray blown back from blue-green wave breaking next to it





stephen ratcliffe has published many books of poetry and prose, including the recent portraits & repetition from post-apollo press.  he teaches at mills college.