Two Poems—KB Ballentine

Midsummer Spell

Deluge overwhelms, divides the river
 in desperate rush and roil,
dryads clinging to mossy stones.
 Rhododendrons drip, petals sloughing,
drowning in muddy puddles along the path.
 Sheer madness to come out
when even the cuckoo hides quiet
 in the hedgerows. But the pull of this place
draws us further into the glen, 
 off the trail where the woods close
around us. A greening of the air –
 the sudden silence a sign.
A twig cracks, smell of wet wood and loam
 rushing toward us, time tumbling around itself,
grasping to make sense of day, of cricket sighs, of us.
 Slipping in the in-between – moon and sun, 
water and fire together before, behind us –
 breathing with us as the mountain shivers,
tugging us toward the white door.

Shadow Words

In that space between crows,
 between wing and feather, quill and beak,
an ancient language lingers.

An alto moon dreams across a forest
 pale with frost. We’ve forgotten
the music of winter, of crystals on the tongue,
 syllables clinging to our teeth.

Two or four, together crows boast,
 low vibrato from a cello – wood calling
back to wood. And we shiver,

not from cold but from our bones
 humming over pools of ice solid and slick 
as gravestones in the rain.

The space between kissing and crying –
 where crows blur into shadow
still murmuring like ageless druids.

Listen –

KB Ballentine’s seventh collection, Edge of the Echo, was released May 2021 with Iris Press. Her earlier books can be found with Blue Light Press, Middle Creek Publishing, and Celtic Cat Publishing. Published in Atlanta Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including The Strategic Poet (2021), Pandemic Evolution (2021), and In Plein Air (2017). Learn more at

photo by NEOSiAM 2021 (via pexels)