Three Poems by Heidi Holliday St. Jean ’88

Heidi St. Jean received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry from Fairfield University, where she was selected as the recipient of its 2013 Academic Achievement Award for the M.F.A. program. She was poetry editor of Theodate, an online poetry journal. She also previously worked as managing editor for the literary journal Drunken Boat, and was one of two poetry editors for Mason’s Road. Her poetry and essays have published or are forthcoming in Spry; Rock & Sling; Afterimage: Inklight; The Lyon Review; The Barefoot Review; Long River Run; Mason’s Road and Theodate. Her ekphrastic poem, “The Lawrence Tree,” was selected as Third Prize winner in the 2013 Al Savard Memorial Poetry Contest, sponsored by the Connecticut Poetry Society. (The judge was Russell Strauss, past president of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.) Her poem, “Surrealistic Dream of the Synesthete,” won Honorable Mention in the Maine Media Workshop and College contest, displaying in Maine Media Gallery’s “Dreams” exhibit during Spring 2014. She works professionally as a writer and editor.

Last Drive Home
They lined the streets when we last drove you home.
Bone-straight, these black bird mourners gathered,
silent sentinels, witness to our sadness –
standing all the way from here to Maine,
the bond remained unbroken.

Crow after crow after crow
held their posts on the side of the highway,
blessed us from the side of the back road,
directed us along the side of the driveway.
Each one held up the casket corners
of our grief, each wing pall bearing a small bit
of the weight of your leaving.
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Two Poems by Becky Herbig ’74

Becky Herbig has a lifelong interest in the relationship of the arts to the sciences. She began MHC life as an English major, but added Biology to design an interdisciplinary major focused on environmental writing. During an interdisciplinary environmental science career, Becky rediscovered an early interest in poetry. Since then she’s shared in and learned much from writing classes and writers’ groups. Becky published 2 poems in a cooperatively published chapbook, Bringing Poetry to Life and Life to Poetry: New Voices (2000) and a personal essay in The NF Journal (March/April 2000). Since attending the intensive Colrain Poetry Conference in 2009, she is currently developing a chapbook manuscript from 20 years of writing poetry.

Sugaring, 1961
After nightfall of frozen stars,
sap drips, uncongealing
from many spigots
hammered into heartwood.

The clear sap oozes
into pewter pails under tin roofs.
We dip finger to mouth,
sugar on scooped snow amid
sticky-sweet smoke curled in March air,
up from the evaporator
boiling over the firepit.
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Poems by Sandra Kohler, 61′

Sandra Kohler’s third collection of poems, Improbable Music, (Word Press) appeared in May, 2011. Earlier collections are The Country of Women (Calyx, 1995) and The Ceremonies of Longing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003). Her poems have appeared in journals over the past 35 years. Born in New York City in 1940, Kohler attended public schools there, Mount Holyoke College (A.B., 1961) and Bryn Mawr College (A.M., 1966 and Ph.D., 1971). She’s taught literature and writing in venues ranging from elementary school to university. A resident of Pennsylvania for most of her adult life, she moved to Boston in 2007.


There’s a parrot named Felicity in
the novel I’m reading, so in a dream I give
my sister Midnight and Felicity: the black cat
she owned years ago, when her husband
was still alive, the scarlet parrot
she’d never dream of owning.
I don’t know if she dreams
about happiness now. Perhaps I’m
the sister who cannot imagine
owning Felicity. The bird of
happiness not blue but scarlet.
Real happiness is like that,
startling as a parrot’s
sudden cry.

Life Interrupts Life

The porch at seven, still, the air barely astir.
There’s a new rose blooming: April Moon?
Hawkeye Belle? The belle, pale pink, ablush.
When this garden’s made, I will have a walled
garden, hortus conclusus. To wall is to end:
conclude. The pale sky billows, foamy cloud.
A cry that could be cat or bird. Life interrupts
life. A fat fly lands on the chair opposite mine.
Out here he’s in his element, legitimate; indoors
I’d kill him. I need to start imagining this yard
as walled garden. What time will we need to
leave for the airport? Life interrupts life ….
Decisions, hesitations, progress and regression,
arrivals and departure. Language carries me,
whether I will or no. I will. Yesterday at the
Neponset River reservation we watch swallows
bring food to a nest in the concrete overpass,
taking it in turns. Here, now, it’s my turn:
dribbling, bouncing a ball of thought, making
small moves, practice for the game. The game’s
afoot. How shall I play it? The possibilities
are not endless. Body, soul, day: tell me what
to do. No answer: the body’s ambivalent,
the soul ambiguous. The day is indifferent:
sunlight blooms a moment on my neighbor’s
garage wall, fades. The birds keep chanting.