Volume 14 • Number 2 • Fall-Winter 2022-2023

C. Mikal Oness

On the Feast Day of St. Nicholas

him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose, Psalm 25.12

I'm delighted by my new bathroom sink—
 Small, fits my hands as it would fit many
Of my other favorite things: a home grown
 And home-slaughtered chicken; several fonts

Of my favorite type, in metal; my cats,
 One at a time (old cats become suddenly very lithe
When you try this); Lowly Worm's radio controlled
 Apple car; my watering can; my 35th anniversary

Joffrey Ballet mug and my hands to rinse it;
 The root ball of my Christmas cactus; my shoes
Filled with candy and toys after the glorious march.

I love the souls I'm with this time around.
 I want to be free and happy with them. One day
I'll die. Though I intend to live forever.

Begging the Question

Hazard a guess to the autumn drizzle that lays
 Down varnish on the grass. Will it freeze?
Will it trickle through the karst, feed the spring
 And cataract into the mineral pool? A coyote

Runs across the deer plot. She should not be there,
 Nor should the antlered doe who wanders, fawnless,
Under the hunter’s scope. Bluestem, Golden Rod,
 Bergamot. Wood Lily, Larkspur, Pleurisy Root.

The heifers browse for a last sugary blade.
 In the hay mow the dog puppy whimpers
For his bone. The bitch sleeps. The farmer milks

His cows. The rain will soak the ground and usher
 Trillium to the spring where small trout
Glisten, and the coyote should not drink.

C. Mikal Oness is the author of Oracle Bones, winner of the Lewis & Clark Poetry Prize, and Water Becomes Bone (New Issues Press). He lives on a cottage farm in Southeastern Minnesota with his wife, Elizabeth Oness, and various beasts. He is the founding editor of Sutton Hoop Press, a literary fine press ( He is also a potter and a re-emergent alpinist hungrily exploring our diminishing natural world.