by Micki Blenkush


In the junkyard west of town a corrugated metal fence
pulled away and falling.  Inside, more metal
twisted in piles, puzzled together like bent letters
shaped in a foreign language.  Metal upon metal
and the steady beep of trucks backing along the outer road. 
Mufflers and axles a tangle of potential for reuse or reshape. 
Picture a blade, a trowel, a shovel.  Think of blacksmiths
in log buildings shaping cauldrons and spoons. 
Consider nails and staples.  Fathom stents of mesh
holding open the narrows leading to a heart. 
I watched from afar as my stepdad in a welder’s mask
forged something I didn’t try to understand. 
The point being blue-yellow sparks crackling
about his shoulders.  He could have been
repairing a handle.  A latch, cage, or key. 
He was mending earth’s hard blood, its nature stable
under cooled conditions.  On my shelf an old canteen
retains what looks to be the dents of war –
waits to be hammered smooth.


Cattails in That Triangle of Remaining Wetland Along Ninth Avenue


I want to ask if it matters to you
that we haven’t gone, as we termed it last year,  
to Boof the Cattails but I guess it’s moot
because the remaining cattails along the edge
that we then lightly pressed and thus released
what appeared to be an effect of smoke
exploding from our wrists are scant
or already spent. They’re unavailable

except maybe a few in the deeper water
into which you know I won’t wade
or let you wade, either. You’re anyway tired
from running track and from the rigors
of finishing your freshman year, and I expect
the last thing you want is your mother’s longing
for what can’t now be found in that patch
along the busy road.

I miss the two of us discovering something new.
You concave with wonder. Myself convex
with the satisfaction of delivering you to its location.
The positional opposite of when I felt trapped
in the imaginary backseat of your rocket ships 
rescuing the creatures of foreign lands. 
I was always the one to suggest we turn back
toward the direction of home.

Last month, on our annual dirt path walk 
along the Mississippi, you said you already knew
when I pointed out the elm whose trunk had fallen
and drifted out into the river far
from where we used to climb its slope.
Another lonesome landmark that remains
even as it drifts and dips, sinks
to indelible depths.

Micki Blenkush is the author of Now We Will Speak in Flowers published by Blue Light Press. She was selected as a 2017-2018 fellow in poetry for the Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series program, and is a 2015 and 2019 recipient of grants awarded through the Central MN Arts Board, funded through the McKnight Foundation. Micki’s writing has appeared in numerous journals including: Calyx, Cagibi, Grist, and Crab Creek Review.  She lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota and works as a social worker. More can be found here: