PoetryIssue 06 | August 2009

Letter to Karla in Seattle

by Fredrick Zydek

Dear Karla:  Discovering our niche
is why we are born. It didn’t surprise
me that you found yours in the texts
of data collections and in training
the human spirit to jump through hoops.

Those circles are doorways opening
onto the vastness of the human journey.
They remind me that the moon is also
round as the sun, just before it
dumps its last load of light and sets.

The sublime circle of life is a hoop.
Most of the great Indian tribes knew
this, long before Europeans learned
the dangers and sharp edges of believing
in only teleological heavens and hells.

Don’t fuss much with those who have yet
to submit to natural selection
and profit motives. Ask the bears
and squirrels. They know. Their stores
are rich with the merchandise of labor.

Go to the ants and bees. Those dances
they do on twigs and leaves are less
different from the signals on Wall Street
than you might imagine. All things
on the planet, including clams and trees,

work hard for a living. It is the way
of things. Creatures that own their own
homes always provide jobs and sustenance
for those around them. Take cave lions.
Who knows how many beetles and mice

make a good living in those caves.
Here on Decatur Street there are even
bats living in the eaves. What I like
about capitalism and private property
is that even groundhogs and hornets

Seem to know the rules. We should make
no apology. These are instincts older
than the germ of man. It is not by
accident oysters create beautiful pearls,
and not by chance are they always costly.

About the author

Fredrick Zydek is the author of eight collections of poetry and editor for Lone Willow Press. Formerly a professor of creative writing and theology at the University of Nebraska and later at the College of Saint Mary, his work has appeared in The Antioch Review, Cimarron Review, Nimrod, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. When he’s not writing or editing, he’s a gentleman farmer.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok