Kristi Conley and Amy Souza

Conley R

Kristi Conley
Created using Amy Souza’s poem (below) as inspiration

On the Wind
By Amy Souza

The amethyst-colored bug
flew into the room,
enraptured by the wind.

Like the tiny Chihuahua,
just seven pounds,
grabbed by a gust and
carried seven miles.

In the back of a pickup truck,
a chained dog paces,
catches the eye of a passing traveler,
mourns for
what might have been.

in the backyard
come summer,
but no one
eats them.

They are too small.

The radio brings news of disaster
While television asks you to forget:

People live and die
Generations pass
The wind blows time away.


Conley I_resized

Kristi Conley
Inspiration piece provided to Amy Souza

Cross-Country Drive
By Amy Souza

We hurried through the country’s midsection,
marveled at Nebraska’s verdancy—who knew?—
our sites aimed on the great peaks of Colorado and Wyoming.

The Internet had just come online,
our cellphone was the size of a small transistor radio,
and you knew you’d finally hit “the West” when
a particular brand of juice appeared on store shelves.

Then, we had no dog to hold us back,
nothing to lead us but a preferred route
and a due date in the bayside city awaiting our arrival.

Traversing vastness,
past few traces of man—
the tar beneath us, wood and wire fencing,
intermittent roadkill—
we came upon Java the Hut,
a tiny drive-through coffee shack
with room enough inside for
one man and an espresso machine.

And then, around a bend,
that first set of rocks
swelling brilliant from the earth—
Red ochre?
Before that turn, those were just words
not fully understood.

My East Coast eyes knew rugged bluffs
and green-sloped mountains.
But those plateaus!
We might as well have crossed onto another planet.

Perhaps to those born beneath them,
the rocks maintain mere presence or stature.
But even today, they have the power to confound,
to stop my breath,
the way looking out over open sea
you get the impression of being a speck
while contradictorily feeling part of it all.

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