I talk you talk we'll talk



Close Call

(x = space)



Close Call


Danger, Will

Heatstroke air today

Both hot and humid

You’d swear we were

Sitting, rocking, reclining

On a porch

In a Southern family drama

Spanning time,

Hope, and cynicism

Sipped by lemonade


Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this

But once I asked a Southerner

How Southerners

Endured all the close heat


I thought maybe home remedies

Or some adaptation over generations

Here’s what I was told:



No saga

Only appliances

Or a central system


C L Couch



First-edition dust jacket cover of As I Lay Dying (1930) by the American author William Faulkner.


Fahrenheit 151

Fahrenheit 151


It’s over a hundred degrees

In the Arctic

Down south, that gets a lethal warning

Don’t go out in this, especially if

One is old or young or has something of

A medical condition


This is the Arctic where

Santa dwells

With elves, all making toys

Inside a house and workshop underneath

The snow,

Where mastodon bones are found

Maybe with flesh and DNA once

Inside the permafrost

Science is excited, and

Science is concerned

About microbes

That were frozen

Newly released by melted ice


I know Siberia can be

Occasionally temperate

But now it’s over a hundred degrees

In towns

And I imagine the investment in

Air-conditioning has been sparse, over

The years

I hope they are okay


After the Antarctic


(guess what—its sheets of ice

are already breaking, sliding into

the ocean in ways

they’re not supposed to)

Maybe some more will say,

Hey, there might be a problem


While the seas are rising

Democracy is drowned

And we are facing

Final, savage years


C L Couch



What a 100-degree day in Siberia really means

The record-setting high is much more than a quick spike for the Russian Arctic, where months of extreme heat may have dangerous consequences.


Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash


Gods and Heroes

Gods and Heroes


Today is one day in a heatwave


Some will suffer in silence

And might be found anyway

Some will reach out to ask for help

So many are so bad at that


And there are those who

Will reach out to give it

Class and qualifiers will not matter


For all the sagas

All the stories of the past

They matter

Sometimes they teach

If we will learn


But more important still are the

Rough-edged, awkward things

The good will do today


Jesus saves

There will be companionship today


C L Couch



fir0002flagstaffotos [at] gmail.comCanon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 – Own work, GFDL 1.2,





words levy power like

wizards casting spells in lore


words do take over

especially with nothing left


when everything has failed

and utterance remains


we are words

we are made of words


well we are not

though it can feel that way


do you know the secret

word that elicits gnostic will


do you know the word

that can heat a frozen spirit



inspired by recent posts of

annie at what the woman wrote

melinda kuscera at in media res

working together


On the Cusp of a Nor’Easter (prose poem)

On the Cusp of a Nor’Easter
(prose poem)

So my friend calls from Indiana. I tell her of my sister’s new job. I am relieved and happy, because my friend’s been struggling with sufferings that would drive me mad. She sounds well and has a chance to tell me some about her family on her way to church to help lead (in technical matters) a Bible study there. It is cold here. It is colder there (single-digit degrees for many days). When she must ring off, she does. I am at the coffeemaker and place the backside of the phone on a spiral burner on the stovetop (everything turned off). While the coffee’s cooking, I clean out some plastic bottles into which I put tap water to drink throughout the day. Not thinking at first, I place the cleaned-out bottles just outside the burner circle set upon the stove. When I’ve done this four times, I have four empty bottles cornering a phone set on a burner plate of labyrinthine form. I’m sure there is a deity for winter (generally, Persephone, though I’m thinking there’s one for winter only), and have I not built a small, strange contemporary altar to her. A narrow receiver (wireless) offered up inside four plastic monoliths keeping in their stillness their own kind of sentinel watching. Is this supplication? I want my friend to be well. I want her husband to enjoy retirement and her daughter have success at school. I want the cold to move on, over there, though for a Midwest winter season, I guess what is endured is rather normal. (Still too cold.) My temps in southern Pennsylvania still have two digits. But we are called to be ourselves storm-ready against a coming, miles-wide soon-arriving gale. It smacks the South and later rounds out to sea—on the way releasing slivering ice and snow and the season’s other dangers onto our regional metropoles: D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. And in my small town? I pray for navigable roads. In my small place, I pray for electricity’s constancy—that it might faithfully provide sufficient heat in rapport with the thermostat. And now I guess I wait. We wait. I clear the stove and leave on the burner now a single cup, ready for coffee. The empty ceramic vessel a suburban symbol of encouragement and also, I think, of supplication.

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