Little Boy & Sanctuary

Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor

“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — John F. Kennedy

Poetry has a voice in our community, and the Whatcom Watch is adding to its chorus. You all love poetry, right? Well, here you go!

Subject matter is unlimited, but poetry featuring or specific to Whatcom County and issues addressed by Whatcom Watch (government, the environment and media) will likely get first preference. Let’s try to keep it to around 25 lines; otherwise, we might have to edit your work to fit. Don’t make yourself unprintable! Send poems and your short, two-to-three-sentence bios, as a word document attachment to:
The deadline is the first day of the month. Please understand that acceptance and final appearance of pieces are subject to space-constraints amd editorial requirements. By submitting, authors give Whatcom Watch express permission for first-time publication rights in paper and electronic editions of current or future volumes of Whatcom Watch.

Little Boy
by Kathi Mattson

People say El Nino is bringing the worst winter in 65 years – to Arizona!
Already tall old Ponderosas have broken in half,
bringing down whatever’s in their path.

Birds jostle each other for the feeder’s seeds.
Tufted-ear squirrels chase up and down the trees.

Fifteen years of drought are over.
It snowed 14 inches in 3 days,
and now it’s raining
two days before Christmas.

Little Boy, what are you thinking?
What are you doing?
Little Boy, I can’t wait to see what you’re bringing
for Christmas and the New Year!

Kathi Mattson was a former Bellinghamster until moving to northeast Arizona on the edge of U.S. Forest Service lands. The transition to the Arizona climate from the Pacific Northwest was a difficult adjustment.

by Judy Teresa

Bellingham — Sunday after Thanksgiving
Bearded men with pull-along suitcases
and backpacks gather on the sidewalk and wait.

Temperatures fell below freezing last night.
Shelters are closed now until nightfall.

I read the ‘Walk Award’ poems
while I wait for the doors to open.

A gray-bearded man wearing a stocking cap
and warm winter clothing asks me,

“Will the library open today?”
“In a few minutes,” I reply. He seems relieved.

For five hours he’ll have access to a restroom
and a safe warm place to read and doze.

I wonder where the men spend their days
and nights when the library is closed.

Long holiday weekends have a different meaning
for those who have no place to call home.

Judy Teresa is a retired special education teacher who has lived in Bellingham for the past 25 years. She is currently working on a memoir that critiques her educational experiences.