an on-line poetry magazine
for the 21st century

WINTER 2021-22


Phibby Venable


It’s hard to know what a heart holds

A child’s face, a warm afghan,

fifty sets of solitaire prone playing cards

Some live on their own, never missing a beat,

so self involved, the whole heart holds

its own picture on a shelf

No room in some for the hunched back,

the tired eyes, the walk of defeat that leads

to a territory of no dreams,

or lost dreams, or unacceptable mindsets,

hanging like loose stockings all over the heart

I see people from a shanty, from a beach,

seaweed in my eyes, sometimes a beautiful blue

clear sky, a long boat of moonbeams, a chaotic record

stuck on hoping, on helping , a Buddha nearby,

long lines of love moaning like a loon.

Some days all things turn imaginary, glitter gold,

other days I am tall and friendly, my hands smoothing

a rough room of calamities —

Just leaving never works.

I am a circle of long choices that follow me

in a coastline.

I come again and again, to love, to friendship,

to all the warm places where I dance

on a crate of gold pieces.

And when I hear singing, I pause,

because it is heartbreaking,

it is beautiful, it is the coordinates to my heart

in a chorus of indomitable dreaming.


Phibby Venable lives in Abingdon, Virginia, between the Blue Ridge, and Appalachian mountains. She was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and enjoys community service, fostering care to animals, and reading. She is the author of eight books of poetry, a novel, and a book of short stories.