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Sample Poems by Jodi Hottel

War Memorial, Santa Rosa, California, 2008
after the veterans' memorial designed by
Mario Uribe

Five marble columns
stand in salute to
Sonoma County's fallen,
descending like piano keys
striking a minor chord.

Names of the dead
engraved in stone,

On the first column-
World War I, then
World War II
spills onto the second.
Korea, Vietnam,
row after row,

the Gulf War's single
name, space awaiting
those from Iraq.

The final column
stands blank.

A Borrowing of Bones
- after a line from October Fullness by Pablo Neruda

Bones shiver,
shatter. Time

gnaws density,
snuffs out weight that

once was ours
to lean on.

Steady dwindling-
a rattle, a scatter.

Mad as Hatters
- after Alice in Wonderland

At this table set for multitudes,
we shift our seats counter clockwise.

Some of us to a place of spilt milk, soiled napkins,
others to clean china, gleaming crystal.

We check our watches, sleep in our cups.
Then shift again.

So There-
after Marketing Life for Those of Us Left
by Ada Lim?n

I say it while I wave
from the river's grasp,

laughing along with
milkweed stars,

shake out my pockets,
spill unwanted honesty.

It's all I've got-
that, and the roaring night.

Can you see me
in the clutch of midnight?

Really, we're all
in a little trouble here.

Hard to live high-wired,
but I'm here-