Don Mager is a retired university professor who has published several books of poetry. He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004, where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). He has published more than 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian poets, including “Us Four Plus Four,” an anthology of translations from eight major Soviet-era Russian poets.. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
May Journal: Thursday, May 9, 2013
Midmorning comes trotting down into
the backyard but no invitation
is required and brunch is very near
ready, just waiting for scones to warm.
Shadows from the predawn downpour still
clutch coolness to their chests with mittens
of March. But it is May. It is the
birthday of tomorrow’s yesterday
and of the clock hands’ meltdown. It spreads
its wide mottled skirts. Spanked down by the rain,
the young tomato leaves have lifted
and the tiny yellow stars beneath
are squinting. The scones are warm. Taste one.
Grass is steaming faintly in the sun.
August Journal: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Noon sun toasts the driveway to a fine
sizzle. A Skink’s feet luxuriate
on the heat of porch bricks. Its no-neck
slice of blue light darts down the crawl space
wall. In the cement cracks along the
side of the parked car, it laps up ants. It
lifts its no-neck head and, with regal
wave, waves it nose up at a sun
that broils the white cloudless sky. Like small
electric currents, its ritual
of homage twitches through every nerve.
It skitters back to the wall. A small
dry dollop of black excrement marks
the spot of its now—that now—is was.
August Journal: Friday, August 23, 2013
Thunderheads roil up in purple mounds
of dark excitement and then recede—
all day like monstrous bellows. Now, mid-
afternoon pressure builds the fevered
catharsis of a boil. It wears
the blackened robes of a tragic queen
whose horrid murders are about to
be exposed to a shrinking chorus
who wails in terror and awe. Dire
expectancy sends birds to dart in-
to shrubs and cats to slink beneath parked
cars. Heat seethes and day’s steam swells higher.
Time holds hostage. Helpless against its
better judgment, the boil does not burst.