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pinwheels in abandoned fences.jpg

Restless Whirligigs 
By Sterling Warner

Wind gusts slam wind chimes

that send brassy echoes

through neighborhoods where

houses stand ten feet apart

and children nail pinwheels

on splintered posts and cyclone fences


waiting for a breeze to send them

spinning, spinning, spinning,


clipping yellowjackets in flight

while overfed robins attempt

to grasp the rotating whirligigs,

drop them in camouflaged nests,

brighten days and warn cool nights

with twirling polychromatic toys.

Poet's Note:  “Restless Whirligigs” emerged as a commemorative response to sights observed on a train ride from San Jose to Sacramento, California—a journey that seemed to take passengers through poverty-stricken neighbourhoods, abandoned factories, and fenced off areas oddly decorated with pinwheels stuck in barbed wired and chain link structures

Image by Heidi Bruce

Bottom Feeders
By Sterling Warner

in green algae seaweed, 

            propelling through kelp forests,

                                    jetting locomotion & inky clouds

follow emerald squid as they alter colors

            like deep sea chameleons, signal

                                    shallow waters & lurking danger,

blend-in with coral surroundings,

            stalk prey to wrap in tentacles,

                                    attempt to ignore light curiosity

& evade grimy fishing boats

            while remaining wide-eyed hunters—

                                    vigilant, suction cup menaces— 

anxious to surge across oceans,

            serve as sci fi kraken models

                                    avoid gigantic octopi cousins

Poet's Note:  “Bottom-feeders” came to me as I was eating calamari with friends at Domenico’s on the Wharf in Monterey.

Image by Amelia Bartlett

An award-winning author, poet, and emeritus English Professor, Sterling Warner’s works have appeared many literary magazines, journals, and anthologies including Anti-Heroin Chic, The Galway Review, Lothlórien Poetry Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Sparks of Calliope. Warner’s poetry/fiction include Rags and Feathers, Without Wheels, ShadowCat, Edges, Memento Mori: A Chapbook Redux, Serpent’s Tooth, Flytraps, Cracks of Light: Pandemic Poetry & Fiction 2019-2022, Halcyon Days: Collected Fibonacci, Abraxas: Poems (2024), and Masques: Flash Fiction & Short Stories. Presently, Warner writes, hosts/participates in “virtual” poetry readings, turns wood, and enjoys boating and fishing in Washington. 

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