The summer doldrums seem to be a cyclical affliction of the publishing world.

Maybe it’s because so many editors and staffers go on vacation, especially those work work on magazines published by colleges and universities. In any case,I rarely have publications to announce this month. I do expect oen or two stories to come out in September, but meanwhile, since I don’t want to leave my blog looking so empt and forlorn, I offer you my latest poem, “Shadows.”

This is a sacrifice, albeit a modest one : once I publish “Shadows” on this blog, I won’t be able to interest a formal magazine in even looking at it. But I am focused more on prose these days–and on you, my readers. So here, to keep both of us busy, is my latest work in verse:


and at noon
in the hour of small shadows
precisely between dawn and dusk
when we tread on compressed
images of ourselves, flattened
outlines mocking our
every move, when
we squint against
the sun’s murderous glory
cataracts and cancers
gnawing our perimeters
Nice day, we say, and slouch
under the heat, Nice day,
and hurry inside, seeking
cool air cold drinks a place
to open wide our eyes

our shadows follow us, expand and
meld together in our constructed

darknesses, they engulf us
even as we lose sight of them
even as we wait for dusk
when we stare out into the night
and seek the light of stars
or of the admirable lamps we use
to shape new shadows
that comfort us
with a defining darkness

mornings the long shadows
reach out from the sun, seeking us
spilling from us if we stand outside
to magnify us while the sun is low
and then contract and concentrate themselves
beneath our feet, we trample them
look up and wipe our brows
Nice day, we say, and slouch
under the heat, Nice day
and run for shade, for
the defining shade, itself
only a shadow of
the greater darkness

Rick Risemberg