Poetry by KB Ballentine

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Read More: A brief interview with KB Ballentine

Darkness Weaves the Hours

When Orpheus rushed from darkness —
heart of fire left underground  —
did crisp scents of scattered violets
or the rustling crunch of maple leaves shatter his senses?
Were stalks of green merging with moon orchids,
pink centers veining, staining pure petals?
Or were leather-barks of oaks peeling, breathing the frost?
Did his eyes sketch spring’s frivolous curls,
despair lurching through bird song and sun,
or did he emerge into sighing mist
as it traced his own lost dreams?

Nerves pulsing swift and fierce at his neck
he risked the blackness, the coal, the ever–narrowing
tunnel that shrouded his body, sapped his will.
But when he saw her — oh, Eurydice!
the form of summer, all brightness and light —
silica glittered with crystals, roots curved into crowns.

Lily–skin hand he gripped,
plucked her through the mole–trapped rocks.
Gray–iron growls shook the hollows,
the gaps, the path.
Laughter of metal striking metal
deep in earth’s dim core.

When Orpheus stumbled out of the sulphurous darkness —
fire of his heart left underground —
did her scream shudder the stone walls?
Does the echo keep him awake,
strings of a harp raveling . . . unraveling,
as he counts the stars
she cannot, will not see?

 

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Blood Summer

Ruby throat pulsing,
a hummingbird fevers the air,
pulls nectar from crimson columbine,
tomatoes plumping on the vine. […]


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For Kate Steinle; Randall Smith, Thomas Sullivan, Squire “Skip” Wells, David Wyatt, Carson Holmquist; Jillian Johnson, Mayci Breaux

 

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Gathering Dreams for Sleep
–“Les Canadiens” by Cheryl Fortier

Light lazes the lake.
Canoes, abandoned,
drift by the shore, red paint peeling
onto lapping wavelets.
Maples glaze the mirrored surface,
melody of sun and shadow laughing
across water. Echoes of summer dance
with dragonflies, the last bee.
Butternut sweetens the air,
darkness falling faster as a cardinal
flashes past.


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KB Ballentine has a M.A. in Writing and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her latest collection, The Perfume of Leaving, has just been awarded the 2016 Blue Light Press Book Award and will be published this summer.

Read More: A brief interview with KB Ballentine