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: poetry@whatcomwatch.org
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.

Weeding Goosefoot

by Angela Belcaster

I am weeding in my sleep.
Goosefoot, this time.
I have to look it up when I wake:

It really does resemble
the sweet leathered foot of a goose—
how many times I’ve knelt
brown-kneed, supplicant-positioned,
then ripped them out of the ground?

Tricky, this weeding business. They bite back some,
the ones who seem to know
the stutters in my immunology,
my hundred and seven Achille’s heels.

Truth: we are appalled by each other’s strangeness.

Me, walking about,
searching for the next unmatched thing to rip out,
they, wanting nothing more
than dirt, sun, and mercy.

Angela Belcaster lives in Bellingham, where she spends her time with loose and bound pages and six children. Her work has appeared in Florida Review, 80 Split, Rosebud, Tampa Review, Clover, A Literary Rag, and elsewhere.

Bituminous Nightmare

by Timothy Pilgrim

Some horrors fade to black,
carry fear of ribboned trains away —
coal cars winding along the coast,
bituminous nightmare shoveled aside,
fiery crashes put out of mind.
Certainly, no dust settles by tracks,

on cedar, maple, alder, ash —
fine film on berries, children, grass.
No train snakes border to B.C. pier,
spews ebony lumps into cargo ships.
No silica blows down Puget Sound,
coats docks, boats, sails, masts.

No dust blankets bay, sinks deep,
turns sockeye red to charcoal gray.
No Lummi fisher paddles strait,
cremates empty, blackened net
on sable beach. In grimy sky,
no ragged V’s of inky geese.

This poem was previously published in Windfall, Spring 2015 issue. Bellingham poet Timothy Pilgrim, emeritus journalism faculty member at WWU, has published over 250 poems and is co-author of Bellingham Poems. See his work at www.timothypilgrim.org