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Winter 2007, Volume 23.2


Jennifer RichardsonPhoto of Jennifer Richardson.

Jennifer Richardson received a Ph.D. at Washington State University in 2003 before moving to the "Big Island" with Steve, Jez and Monte. She teaches at the University of Hawaii—Hilo where she is the faculty advisor for
Olelo, the Creative Writing Magazine of the English Department. Her goal is to help students become more perceptive readers and articulate writers.


Power Outage Before the First Snow

The house hushed
and wrapped in

heavy ice, thick outside,
glazed on car tops,
stiff grass, fallen leaves.

All afternoon
the trees break apart.

Cracks and shots echo
through the empty streets
as limbs and branches fail,
then fall.

Ten degrees, ten below—
things only bow so much
before they give way.


Bench Fire

Even though we wander
away from all the paths
that turn through the scrub oak,
the dog scares up no birds
bright with orange heads and beaks
and shiny black bodies.

Only soot and ash fly up,
unsettled at our approach.

We break through no cobwebs,
encounter no green worms
suspended on silken strings
stretched down from branches.

Over each rise
where we know water belongs,
we expect to find it.

over each we find
a dusty furrow filled
with smooth gray stones.

Although we know
the area around here,
the way is strange
and we stand out
conspicuous and pale
against the charred limbs of trees.


Sleep in Eden, near Liberty, in the Ogden Valley

—for Dave

I would in quiet
night by night
measure your hair
across your shoulders
and notice as it grows

I would read your grooves
in smooth blue dusk,
journey over
your lakes and bones
while sandhill cranes
drape dove-like calls
across the greening valley

I would compare
the shapes of our feet
under quilts, length-wise,
to memorize them side-by-side

And like the open mountain air
that eases down the divide
drift around your angles
settle soft into your spaces


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