“Clouds Clouds Clouds” © Bonnie Matthews Brock



Sacred, sacred ground
the pastor repeats as wind
smacks the open tent
of chairs on fake grass above frozen ground.
We shiver in black tights or pressed slacks.
And again, he says the ground is sacred
standing over the hole next to the casket.
The wind too, again,
lashes from the north.

Geese from somewhere south
their kazoo-like honks crack
down on his words sacred and ground
louder and closer from long black necks
stretched northward and farther
until one human voice was alone again,
and our ears numb.

The deceased has gone
and we rush for the car
to measure this day’s cold against others
and in the days
and months and years
his absence began here.


Phip Ross teaches in a community college, works for community radio and in the county jail. He’s a “pop-pop” and has co-parented three children who do the good work, only better. His poetry has been accepted by lovers on an airplane as well as convenience store cashiers and café waitresses.

Bonnie Matthews Brock is a Florida-based photographer, as well as school psychologist. She enjoys capturing raw single-capture photos of a wide variety of subjects, and learning and experimenting with shooting techniques such as long-exposure and intentional camera movement, as well as with editing methods. You can find Bonnie’s images on the covers of publications such as Ibbetson Street, Poesy Magazine, and Wild Roof Journal, and on the pages of Oddball Magazine, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, Ember Chasm Review, Beaver Magazine, and Unstamatic. Her works are archived at institutions such as Poets House NYC, Brown University, University of Buffalo, and Harvard University.