*Featured Poet: Amy Sage Webb-Baza


The glissando of a sound wave 
through a perfect fluid. The 
resonance of Saturn’s rings 
singing. The frequency 
on which the dog knows 
both the whistle and the beat 
of wings before the bird breaks 
through brush. A monolith lifted 
on the vibration of a million 
monks humming Om. The walls 
of Jericho crumbling in front 
of one blown horn. Of all the 
wondrous sounds, the miracles 
beyond our measure, the waves 
passing through us and the 
universe, most precious 
might be this stillness 
in which the clock ticks, the 
coffee curls its steam, light wind 
rattles leaves on the porch and 
in another room you are singing 
softly to the cat that needs 
drops in its eye.


If the final love of your life 
must come late, then let it 
be a great love at last
to last the rest of your days. 
Let him be the priceless one, 
worthy of praise, patron saint 
of the poor, saint of small 
requests, small hawk, son 
of moral, son of someone
who lived near a mulberry tree. 
In the autumn watch him pot 
a common clump of clover 
then exalt it on the mantel 
of the warmest window 
to tend through winter. 
Marvel as he marvels 
its meager blossoms, 
how he shelters 
one weed 
like an orchid.
The most precious gift
one could wish 
might be to be seen 
like this, or better yet 
to see like this, or 
better still to be 
like this, become 
a rivulet of rain brighter 
than diamonds in drought. 
If you must find love late 
then let yourself be found 
by Antonio, the finder
of lost things. Antonio 
the finder, the keeper.


For more than twenty-five years
I have taught at a college 
in a town that is so small 
we lose and find each other’s 
books. It’s a place where 
when you have a story 
someone else usually holds 
some part of it too, somewhere 
where the guy who comes out
to repair the furnace one frigid 
morning gets out of his truck 
and stands there struck dumb 
in the numb cold just staring 
at the farm truck you bought, 
the one with the Horse Country 
mud flaps and rusted-out wheel 
wells, the truck that had been 
his dad’s before it somehow 
a few hands later became 
yours and came to be sitting 
there at first light waiting 
for him, leaving him 
thinking for an instant 
he was somewhere 
his father had arrived first. 
I live outside a tiny town
in a house on a hill 
overlooking a valley 
rolling east over pockets 
of shadow where a creek 
runs clear and cold over 
old stones. It’s a place 
where the most beautiful 
sunrise I have ever seen 
might be the one I shared 
in strange, strained intimacy 
with that stranger, the 
furnace repair guy 
whose raw sudden grief 
arrived with the slow bleed 
of color on the horizon 
we watched lighten 
into a bracket of geese 
winging away. The most 
beautiful sunrise might 
be the one that comes after 
grief, the one that binds 
you to the bite of the world
yet wakes you just the same. 
The most beautiful sunrise 
surely is the one breaking 
somewhere someone 
is broken, the one 
that lightens softly 
as a promise, quiet 
as a whisper 
or a prayer.


Meet me on the white hillside 
where the shepherd’s white 
goats turn to white stones 
and tumble to the sea. 
Meet me at the crossroads 
where a blue figure forms 
a black cross against 
an orange moon. Meet me 
in the crowded square 
in a city that smells 
of cooked sugar where 
a man in a paper hat
winds taffy around 
a paper wand. Meet me 
on a curved bridge 
over a green canal 
where a gondolier’s lantern 
lights the wake of fishes 
who listen and are pulled 
by the pulse of coral 
many waves away.
Meet me outside the village 
where a girl in a red dress 
rings sparrows into a yellow 
field from the hollow bells 
of her sleeves. Meet me 
where everything is more 
than it seems. Meet me 
at the uncanny intersection 
of the ordinary world, where 
the mountain sings the music 
of rivers, where one dandelion 
seed unfurls a feathered 
umbrella and takes flight 
in the wind. Meet me under 
the spell of the world 
where we shimmer 
with the dust of stars. 
We are wounds, we 
are salve, we are hands 
reaching. Look how the sky 
fits in our palms. Look how 
lightly we touch clouds, cup 
the sun. Look how much
we can hold, hand over, let go.

Poet’s Statement:

Two of these are overtly love poems, inspired by and dedicated to my husband, Antonio. However, all four poems arise from a meditative writing practice that performs a similar transformative magic to the work of love. By this I mean in part that when we are in love, we pay attention. We observe from a state of gratitude. We may marvel at, say, the intricate perfection of our child’s ear. As we do, we marvel at the sheer gift that we and she exist at all. At the same time, we become mindful of ourselves and our actions and the effects these can have on others and the world around us.

For me, each of these poems forces a pause, a contemplation, gratitude, and ultimately an exultation of what is. Wide ripples tracing back to one drop, or a single stimulus resonating outward, the practice of writing these poems compelled me to observe connections. In troubling times especially, the work of these poems is to articulate and offer those connections and the movement that creates them.

Amy Sage Webb-Baza is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emporia State University, where she was named Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor and directs the Donald Reichardt Center for Publishing and Literary Arts. She is managing editor for Bluestem Press and Flint Hills Review. She publishes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, and is author of Your Own Life: Kansas Stories (Woodley Press, 2012).