CB Follett











Powder Puff


The powder puffs are out there

and they are not permanent.


Last month, thistles brimmed with bold,

bluer-than-sky tuffets of flowers,

cool against the hot yellow of the meadow.


Now, a few weeks of August have turned them

into a blinding white spume of seedlings,

each with its parasol of flight,


but at this moment, they are powder puffs

for summer girls with scuffed knees and

draggled pinafores.


With my girl scout knife, silver shield

on one side, I cut carefully through the stalk,

the seed-head bigger than my palm.  I brush


my cheek with it, my nose, across my closed eyes.

I brush my neck, arms and finally

the shapeless blank of my chest bones


as I have seen my grandmother, with a wink at me,

dust powder on the cleavage of her mysteries.







The ice is lumpy.

There are twigs embedded.

My blades are dull,

my ankles weak.

The air is crisp

like apples without taste.

My ears stick out

into the cold.

I lace my skates,

pull tight at the ankles.

My knees get wet.

They will get wetter.

I will be awkward,

a crane misjudging land.

The pond is dark slate

under a mica shield.

There are bumps and crackles.

My ankles touch the ice.

I look for Fred.

He has racing skates,

black leather, thick blades.

His ankles are vertical.

His nose is red.

He has a dimple I love.

I push off from shore

and fall flat.

I get better.

I crack the whip.

My breath billows.

My lungs heave.

I have a red scarf.

My breath catches in the wool

and freezes there.

My chin gets chapped

and my lips.

They’ll be prickly.

Fred won’t want to kiss them.

The pond is small.

We fill it with voices.

Our mothers made cocoa.

It rolls down our insides,

a fire against the chill.

Winter black and white.

Branches snagged with nests..

Some are squirrel’s.

They sleep,

bushed tails

wrapped like coverlets.

Dogs race on the ice.

Slide across the surface.

Surprised, they try again.

Their paw prints are strange

and ghostly.





The Swallow


my daughter is a swallow


who does not, any season,



she swooped out,


stroking hard

those small arrowed wings


with no intention then


or now

of turning back





At Your Own Risk


Waves break hard on a line of rocks,

wash over their table-surfaces like anger.

No one here bothers with suits, we like our bodies

bare and bold.  Seaweed catches

on outcrops like green mementos.


When the ninth wave comes, it towers

before the crest collapses and hits shore

with a thud that shakes our striped towels.

I look up from my book and wonder

if the captain’s leg is ivory or the whale white.


Along the shore a rip tide pulls its turmoil

out to sea and one thin lady with it.

To her children she’s irreplaceable, to the sea

she’s but another piece of flotsam.













CB Follett is the winner of the 2001 National Poetry Book Award from Salmon Press for her book At the Turning of the Light. She has been nominated for numerous Pushcart Prizes, including five times as an individual poet.  Her poems have appeared in many magazines and anthologies and she has received many awards and honors both nationally and internationally.  She is the recipient of a grant for poetry from the Marin Arts Council.  She has seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks. Along with poet Susan Terris, she was co-editor and publisher of a poetry annual,  RUNES, A Review of Poetry (2001-2008.  She is Editor/Publisher of Arctos Press a publisher of poetry books and anthologies, and she is the Poet Laureate of Marin County 2010-2013.





Also an artist and photography, her work is in many collections, has been in art shows both as an individual and in group shows.





Arctos Press






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