The Sixth Thing by Mark Young

It wasn’t what he started out to tell her; but, somewhere near the beginning, he became distracted by—first of all—the way the clouds were tumbleweeding across all that remained of the sky & besides, that small portion was rapidly turning a dark shade—& this was the second thing—of aquamarine which is not something you see every day—& since it was night that was a third thing.

So he tucked the image away in his mind where it joined a cacophony of—& this the fourth thing—strange occurrences, & then he was waiting for isotopes to fall down on his head because that is what he had been told would happen next & the fact that it didn’t was the fifth thing which was when he stopped counting & came back to carry on the conversation only to find she had left

& he had no-
where else
to go.

serpent dreaming by Mark Young

Some time ago I wrote of finding a snake in two pieces in the back yard, severed according to the golden mean. A Fibonacci sequence the shaman told me.

Yesterday I found another dead snake in the yard. Entire, but with what could possibly be teeth marks in its patterned skin. Just over a foot long. Now residing in an empty coffee jar, waiting to go to the university for identification. The shaman knows about snakes as symbol, he doesn’t know their species.

But he tells me small snakes are the avatars of the giant serpent, that I am being tested. If I see a live snake between now & the approaching winter – we are just over one week into autumn – then I shall be the one that hibernates. If it is large then I may wake in spring inside a snake. If it is small, I may wake with the snake inside me. I may wake as myself. I may not wake.

The outcomes by Mark Young

A long journey;
& you arrive to a
week of rain, that
mistifies everything
you came to see.

Or. Popping into
the shop for some
milk & fruit & come
out with a surprise
poem within an

equally surprised
hand of bananas.
Maybe that’s the
lesson in it, that
the reward has

no relationship to
the effort you put
in. Out of nothing,
something. & out
of long hours spent

slaving over what-
ever hot instrument
you’re currently
operating, nothing but
some burnt crumbs.

..

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over thirty-five books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore & Ley Lines, both from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago.  An e-book, The Holy Sonnets unDonne, came out earlier this year from Red Ceilings Press; another, For the Witches of Romania, was recently published by Beard of Bees; & another, a few geographies, will be out later this year from One Sentence Poems.